Saigon bid us farewell with still more noise 🙂 about 10 minutes after we boarded public transport for the Cambodian border, the bus’s horn got stuck in the on position. A long 10 mins later we changed buses and got back on the road. it was just over 2 hours to the Cambodian border. The bus was set up with a huge TV screen so we passed the time watching a movie and the countryside passing by.
The Cambodian border was interesting. If you go – here is the drill. The first thing you have to do is line up to exit Vietnam. If you don’t have a broker (for want of a better word) and pay the extra “tax” you will wait a long time to exit Vietnam and a long time to enter Cambodia. The two borders are separated by about 100 meters which you will need to walk. Our company has it down pat and we moved quickly through border formalities and got back on the road.
The decrease in traffic on the road is marked as soon as you are in Cambodia. The country lost 1/4 of its population during the rule of the Khmer Rouge and population levels are much lower than in Vietnam. Our route to Phnom Penh took us to the Mekong River again which we crossed by ferry and finally wound our way on dusty roads into the city.
Phnom Penh is a mix of old and new. Opulent houses of the governing elite line some beautiful blvds, just a street away are slum like streets. We were introduced to the city via a cylco tour on a beautiful early evening. The cyclos took us to the Mekong River promenade that is the home of countless restaurants, bars and the Kings Palace. It is high season here now and the people watching is first class 🙂 A tuk tuk trip after dark revealed a seamier side of the city with the local ladies of the night plying a brisk trade.