Aranyaprathet to Poipet Border Crossing

My top 3 most daring border crossings to date….

3) San Diego, USA to TJ, Mexico – Much tamer than the hype….
2) Singapore to KL, Malaysia – Men with guns, passport control in the dark, pretty scary….

Until now…. 1) Aranyaprathat, Thaliand to Poipet, Cambodia = Epic.

5am – Pitch black, drag my ass out of bed for the train from Bangkok – 3rd class, 48 tb (90p) 6 hours, bargain.

5.55am – On said train. Just sat waiting for the hordes of other backpackers to get on so I can make some border crossing friends.

6am – That’s weird, where are all the other backpackers…girls, boys, English, European….Anyone? Oh phew, a couple get on and sit next to me, yeay. Kate is from California and her boyf David from Spain. We are the only three non-Thai people on the train. I am glad they came.

7am – Loving the train chug -a-chugging through the Thai countryside as the sun rises. Pretty. See a lady with a basket of frogs (live?) board our carriage. As you do. Have a bit of Slumdog Millionnaire moment as I pump out MIA’s Paperplanes from my earphones, whilst leaning wide out of the open gaps between the carriages, pretending I was in my own little music video.

11.30am – Arrive at Aranyaprathet and negotiate a tuk tuk for good price, I have perfected my don’t mess with me face after only 24 hours. He takes us straight to the border, we queue, get stamped out of Thailand. Here is where the fun starts.

12.00pm – Nice little men with guns welcome us to the Cambodian Embassy (read hut) under a huge sign saying ‘Visa $20.’  He then asks for 100tb, for ‘ The Children of Cambodia,’ bless them. I hand it over, but he staples the notes – I don’t think ‘The Children’ will appreciate that. He lets us through.

1.00pm – We then sort out a taxi to take us the 2 hours from Poipet to Siem Reap, notoriously dodgy, but we are soon on our merry way. For at least a mile. Then our crafty taxi driver starts pulling over, keen to fill his extra empty seat with any waif or stray. American Kate doesn’t like this, and has screaming match number one with TD. He backs down, and sets off again as we three doze in the back.  We open our eyes to meet the lovely Lapin – a two month old Thai toddler crawling on our laps (her grandmother was in the front, it wasn’t a kidnapping.) We couldn’t possibly stay mad at anyone whose name is lapin (french for bunny!). Although to be fair I’m guessing it’s probably spelt Lai Pahn(?) but it amused me no end.

4.00pm – We pull up in Siem Reap for screaming match part deux between Kate and the driver, who admits he can’t find our hostel and that we should probably just get out please.  Sigh…..

5.00pm – With the help of Lonely Planet & Lapin’s grandma our TD finds it for us. We cheer and sing him a song but we think he is glad to get rid of us.

5.01 – We are led by a pool (it’s a posh little hostel) very proud of ourselves.

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An.an.tas.in : The Anantasin is the name of a shipwreck just of the coast of the Sensi Parasise, Mae Haad Bay, Koh Tao, Thailand. It’s one of my many favorite places.

Lit.tle: Just because it’s cute.

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