Thailand & Cambodia 2023

Back in Bangkok 2

Battambang to Bangkok

Yesterday was always going to be a long day. The minibus ticket was at 07:30 and they want you there to check documentation well before departure. So up early, quick pot noodle and banana to have something to eat and checkout by 06:30. Tuk-tuk to the bus company’s offices.

It’s all calm and a get a seat at the side of the street to read my book until time to leave… until somebody tells me that they’ve changed the departure time to 08:00. Still as delays go that’s minor.

The temperatures had cooled significantly 3 days before. All through the first part of the trip it had been about 35 °C in the day and around 25 °C at night. Both figures had dropped by around 10 °C in the last few days. So, almost ironically, I was slightly cool sitting reading in just my T-shirt. Still, I’d be fine in the bus.

10 person minivan
10 person minivan

The minibus turns up 10 mins before departure. We get loaded on and it’s just me. And the aircon is going full blast… I try to ask the driver to turn it down, but he doesn’t understand. We’re winding through tight little alleys by the market, so I don’t distract him further and set about closing every vent in reach. An hour and a half later we stop for fuel (LPG) and a toilet break. The driver come round to explain how to open the vents and make it colder. I finally get him to understand it’s freezing.

After that, and with the aircon off, it’s a short run to the border. The roads on the last stretch as chaotic, but we get there. I unload both my day and main rucksack from the minivan as the driver tells me he’ll see me on the other side.

Getting stamped out of Cambodia is a pretty quick affair. There is only a 10-minute wait then the 100 yard walk through no man’s land to Thai immigration. Up the escalator to the section for foreigners and I’m presented with this :

All I can think is “$^(&“. This border had been so fast in the other direction. There was nothing to do but join the zigzag queue. Thankfully I’d downloaded some BBC R6 shows to the phone, so in went the ear buds. That helped with the 2 hour 45 minute wait to get through.

It’s now about 13:20. Out the other side and a 200 yard walk to the office of the bus company. I know roughly where it is, but someone sees the lanyard I’m wearing and leads me the last bit. At this point I’m on the hourly minibus to Bangkok which leaves at 2 pm. So that’s enough time to grab a chicken Pad Thai (no egg) and a bottle of water.

The next minibus has its full complement of 10 passengers and my allocated seat is in the middle of the back row. It’s a long journey to Bangkok lengthened by the driver making a wrong turn at a junction which took 10–15 mins to get back to the correct rout. The journey was punctuated by a stop for LPG and a later one to have a bit to eat. It was there that I spotted a couple of people who must have been 30–45 mins behind in the immigration queue.

The bus dropped me off a 400 m walk from the hotel (pretty good) and I checked in around 19:30. I popped out to a favourite local restaurant for dinner and a couple of beers. Before 9 pm my brain was telling me it had been a long day and that was it, I needed bed.


Today is a lazy day. Despite the early bedtime I rose late. Plans today are to do little, perhaps figure out some activities for the next few days. I have my base here until my flight home on the 29th. That base is a guesthouse on an alley just north of the canal at the top of Banglamphu. Across the alley from the guesthouse is Wat Sangwet Witsayaram which is a visual nice reminder of where I am :

Merry Christmas to anyone who reads this today.

I’ve been reading through Terry Pratchett’s books recently and by coincidence today’s book happens to be “Hogfather”.

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