The day had come. We were finally leaving Siem Reap in Cambodia after spending nearly seven glorious weeks there. We had caught up on all of our work, ate a lot of really good food including German smoked pork, were hassled non stop by tuk tuk drivers to go to Angkor Wat, and stayed in really really nice accommodation at the Claremont.
We were getting lazy. It was time to move on. Next stop… Battambang in Cambodia. Just a four to six hour bus ride from Siem Reap. No problem!
It is also possible to take a boat. It takes around 9 hours to get to Battambang from Siem Reap. The time is highly variable depending on the water levels. Apparently it costs around $20 although we didn't bother checking. The bus sounded like a far more attractive option.
We headed to the nearest Travel Agent and purchased two bus tickets to Battambang. There are a few bus companies that travel the route from Siem Reap to Battambang and return. We chose the bus line that left when we wanted, 10:30am. For us, being able to sit up on the sixth floor having our breakfast at a reasonable time was preferable to leaving at 7:30am for Battambang.
The tickets cost us a grand total of $5 USD each. If we had gone to the bus station ourselves, they may have cost us $4 USD each, but who can be bothered going to the out of town bus station just to save $1 USD. It would probably cost more if you had to catch a tuk tuk to get there.
As promised, a minivan picked us up out the front of our hotel and took us to the bus station in Siem Reap where our bus was waiting for us. A lot of other people were waiting for us too. We were offered bread, mango, pineapple, sausage and drinks for our ride to Battambang.
A last minute bathroom stop at really clean toilets, which surprised us, and we were on our way to Battambang.
The bus was quite pleasant inside. We had enough room to put our backpacks between our legs if we needed to. In the end, we were able to take a full two seats each which was nice. The air-conditioner worked well, and the view was lovely. There was no toilet on the bus which was a little annoying but we did get to stop half way for a toilet / lunch break for about 20 minutes. It was long enough for Andrew to grab us a packet of crisps (chips) each. Tasty lunch.
We are unsure if this happens on every bus in Cambodia but our bus decided to show a karaoke video and then a movie to entertain the passengers. Great! Free entertainment. However, the volume was up really loud. Like really loud! Sylvester Stallone dubbed into Khmer with his grunts and lisp blaring over the speakers the entire way.
We arrived in Battambang to a barrage of Tuk Tuk drivers. One man went as far as running alongside the still moving bus for the last 100 metres before the bus station holding his sign against the window. When we said no he began hitting the side of the bus. It was amusing and scary at the same time. We hadn't seen anything like this before in all of our travels. We are used to being hassled by people when we get off a bus or train, but never like this.
We waited for most of the other people to get off the bus before us. During this time, we kept an eye out for our names on a sign. The guesthouse we were going to be staying, Battambang My Homestay, had promised that a driver would be waiting for us with our names on a sign.
There he was. Smiling, calm and happy, at the back of the crowd. He even gave us a thumbs up when we acknowledged him through the window that we were the people he was looking for.
On the back of his tuk tuk we went to Battambang My Homestay. We were happy to be in Battambang, Cambodia.