We arranged to travel by VIP coach from Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh City, leaving at 10.30am, journey time 6 hours. A taxi would pick us up at the hotel at 10:00am and take us to the coach station. All this for $10 (£6.50ish). Anyway, 10:00am came and went. We made a call and were informed that the taxi couldn’t find the hotel. Another one was dispatched and we were picked up about 10:40. The next we know, we’re driving through the streets of Phnom Penh chasing the VIP coach that left on time…. ! Our driver was frantically making and receiving calls on 1 of his 4 mobiles phones to the coach company and the driver of the VIP coach. We finally caught up with the coach and proceeded to overtake and undertake, beeping the horn with the taxi driver still continuously making and receiving calls.
After 15 minutes the coach driver realised it was the missing passengers and reluctantly pulled over. Our luggage was quickly stowed and we joined the bemused passengers. First impressions were ok! After sitting and getting comfortable, the first swarm of mosquitoes attacked us, there were only 3 Europeans on the bus and we seemed fairer game. We spent the majority of the journey trying to cover up any bare skin and the rest of the time waving our hands around hopefully making contact with some of the little blood sucking bastards. This was much to the amusement of the locals.
One hour in to the journey, feeling physically tired from swatting mozzies, we had an emergency stop – puncture. All credit to the driver, the wheel was changed and we were on the road within 20 minutes. I swear more mozzies got on during the period.
Within an hour we came to a ferry crossing. No delays. The doors were opened and we were completely over run with locals selling mango, boiled eggs, rice and other food stuffs I didn’t recognise. What does door open equal – more bloody mozzies.
Just before the border crossing we stopped for afternoon tea and scones! Well curry, mango and eggs. We also had a pack of young urchin kids begging for the last of our Cambodian riel.
All this said, we arrived in Ho Chi Minh in one piece (with the exception of what the mozzies sucked) and spot on time despite the breakdown.