Im travelling from Trat to cambodia on the 5th May. Firstly i'd like to know the quickest and cheapest way to do this.
I was looking at going to sinouhkville but all i can find are bad reports.
can someone suggest a beautiful location in the south of cambodia?
Any advice would be good. I the plan to head up th phom phen to travel up the mekong river to sien reap.
Get yourself over to the bus station in Trat as early as possible. There are minivans making the run to the Hat Lek/Koh Kong border every hour. They stop very close to the border. Check out of Thailand, walk to Cambodian Imm. This has always been a rip off crossing, I doubt it has changed. They want to be paid in Thai baht, not the $20 printed on the form. They also now fingerprint everyone. Ignore the touts, you don't need them. Once into Cambodia, you have several options. If there are 3-4 you, you can hire a a taxi straight to S'ville. Try to buddy up with others going to S'ville. Figure around $60 for the taxi. Haggle. With 3-4 of you, this is your best option. If alone, take a share taxi or moto to the KK market/bus station. Take the full size bus from KK to S'ville. Last one leaves around noon. $6-10.
Now S'ville. There are several beach options. I would give it a day or two and see if you like one of the beaches. If not, you can hop over to Kep or Kampot on a share taxi or minivan. Good luck with your planning.
[ Edit: Edited on 10-Apr-2013, at 10:49 by vegasmike6 ]
I crossed at that border crossing going from Koh Chang to Phnom Penh 2 months ago in Feb 2013. That border is riddled with corruption and a pain to get through. Read the guidebook warning on it, every bit is true, and be on your toes when you cross.
Here's my experience:
I booked a bus from Koh Chang to PP. The bus pulled up to the border and we all got off. Thais we thought worked for the bus company grabbed all of our bags off the bus, loaded them on a cart an took off across the border while everyone went through passport control on the Thai side (it's a short, few minute walk from one control to the other). We got to the Cambodian side to get our bags and they tried to charge us money. I've got a bit of experience traveling and had been to Cambodia before from the Vietnam side which is not corrupt, so I told them to F- off as I had not agreed to the charge and took my bag and walked away. Most everyone else was intimidated by their yelling and paid up the money. When we got to Cam passport control, they then tried to coral us for a "medical check" that involved ear temperature reading and passing out a yellow piece of paper, for a fee of course. I again told them to F- off and walked straight to the "Visa on Arrival" window. Some people grabbed my arm and tried to tell me that it was required for me to have someone else fill out the visa form (again for a fee), but it is NOT. I told them to F- off. I filled out my own form and then got quoted a 1500 baht fee. I argued with the lady at the visa office, showing her my previous Cambodian visa which had the $20 fee listed on it, and showed her my crisp 20 USD bill. After several minutes of arguing, she lowered the fee to 1000 baht and I couldn't get it lower than that. Then she shut me off. So finally I was annoyed and just paid the 1000 baht (about $32) and got my visa and passport stamped. Most everyone else that I was on the bus with hadn't read the warnings or talked to other travelers and paid all the other fees and were shocked that I had gone straight through on my own and paid far less then them.
Then it was a confusing hour or so wait for the bus I had booked to go on to PP.
Like Vegasmike said, they will not accept the $20 USD that they are supposed to, no matter how clean or crisp.
If you don't book the bus in advance and go to the bus station, it will be pretty easy to find a bus to either S-ville or PP. It'll be much cheaper than a taxi. I didn't go to S-ville, but I met others who did who loved it. It's a party place. If you like to party, you'll like it. If you want something chill and relaxing and quiet, with a taste of real Cambodian life, then go elsewhere - I don't have experience along the coast, but if you want to get off the backpacker party circuit and see some jungle and local life, I recommend Ratanakiri province in the northeastern part near the Vietnam/Laos border.
Also, do NOT take the boat up the river from PP to Siem Reap. It is a deathtrap. It's not regulated and the engines die often, stalling out on the river or in the giant lake near SR. Take a bus, it's 3x cheaper ($8-10 for bus vs $35 for boat) and faster also. Just look for reviews online and you'll get more info.
How do you think abt this itinerary:
DAY 1: Your City - Phnom Penh - Kampot - Bokor (Morning / Lunch / Dinner)
Flight to Phnompenh. Begin journey to Kampot Kampot, Bokor Highland journey up (altitude 1080m above the sea level), high-conquer system with beautiful winding road - from here THEN zoom can take panoramic Bay and Phu Quoc Island Thailand (Vietnam).,, stop visiting and living accommodation of King Shihanouk ever go hunting in this place, shooting Palace - Casino, Catholic Church built by the French colonists in 1917. In particular Pagoda Boat Tour - heard the legend of Preah Thom Prince and Princess Nagani Aquarium - the start of the Khmer civilization .. Then check Thansur Bokor 4 * hotel break you dine at the restaurant. Freedom of coffee at Waterfall Popokvil or try their luck at Casino Thansur Bokor
Day 2: Bokor - Shihanouk Ville (Morning / Lunch/ Dinner)
Have breakfast at hotel, then depart to Shihanouk Ville Ville Shihanouk lunch and get a hotel room, relax on the beach - immersed in the clear waters, the smooth white sand stretches ... Shooting souvenir picture at the Golden Lion Statue, The Daily Independent, dinner. You are free to walk along the beach street (West Street backpack with mini bars, bustling Dicotheque). Overnight at White Beach Hotel 3 * or similar
Day 3; Shihanouk Ville - Phnom Penh (Morning / Lunch / Dinner)
Have breakfast at hotel, then check out. Drive back to Phnom Penh. On the way to visit the bridge being in the Pass Peak Nil - goddess worship Mao Ya Lunch at Phnom Penh. Then relax in hotel Afternoon: visit the sacred symbol of the city: Wat She Penh, Royal Palace, Golden Pagoda, Silver Pagoda, and visit the shop at Shop City Jewery dinner at the restaurant with pot Suky. You take the car to visit Phnom Penh at night and try their luck at Naga Casino, the largest capital Phnom Penh. Overnight at 3 * Princess Hotel in Phnom Penh or equivalent.
Day 4: Phnom Penh - .....(your choice - maybe visit Vietnam )
You have breakfast, check-out. .......
That's a lot very fast. Changing cities everyday gets expensive, plus, you don't really get a feel for the town. It's good to stay at least a few days in each place.
oh yeah - for Kirstie - if you're going to PP, then you'll most likely go to S21, the school that was changed to a notorious prison camp by the Khmer Rouge, as well as the Killing Fields. You'll learn that many didn't get brought to justice and are just now being tried for their part in the genocidal atrocities. The hearings are taking place about twice a week in PP and are OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. You can actually see history happen and it's open and free to both locals and foreigners - in Khmer, English and French.
Tribunal's website with visitor info here
[ Edit: Edited on 12-Apr-2013, at 22:24 by coleenbee ]