Posted by: James Shannon | September 3, 2011

Onward to Cambodia: Destination Kratie!

My time in Laos had come to an end, and with that, I began my reluctant journey southward towards one of the most poor, corrupt (bad yet unfortunate combo) nations on Earth, Cambodia. Yet, thousands of travellers visit every year without incident (save a few hassles, but that’s life in the Third World), so I took the age-old advice of doing something every day that scares you … and I booked my minivan ticket for the border.

**big breath** Here we goooooooo….!

This was actually the second vehicle taken on my courageous voyage south … as part of my joint ticket to Kratie, Cambodia, a van was to take me to the Cambodia border, where the Angkor Express bus would take the rest of the way.   What I didn’t realize was that there was a van change at Don Det (AKA 4,000 Islands, the backpacker hangout I was passing on this time around) … this caused a few moments of tension between the driver and Yours Truly, but it ended happily as I eventually realized I was hopping into another van to continue my trip (as pictured above!)

Arrival at the Laos/Cambodia border.  The moment I had been dreading on this day had arrived, wondering if some scammer was going to gouge me a huge amount of money, or whether I would be made to pay a bribe, making the Laos entrance fee (1700 Thai Baht, or $57 CDN) seem like pocket change.  At this crossing however, it was remarkably straightforward.  Get Laos exit stamp, $2 … medical check … $1 … Cambodia visa-on-arrival … $20 … and after 10-15 minutes … done.  Wow, not too shabby!  After another 30-45 minutes of waiting around, the Angkor Express bus arrived, and I, along with a bevy of backpackers, were off on the road again!

Mass deforestation in the north country of Cambodia, courtesy illegal logging operations … crazy.

Cambodian chicken curry, as served as a bus stop just north of Kratie for $1 a pop.  Was a little hesitant to try it, as I was unsure of the cleanliness of the place, but my stomach won the debate in my head.  The verdict?  Simply amazing!  I get hungry every time I look at this picture! 😛

Trees stripped of their branches … vestiges of the tough years, when the Khmer Rouge ruled the roost, and people were desperate to gather whatever they could find, kindling/firewood included

Mother and daughter gaze out onto the Mekong after a long day … in this section of the mighty river, there is a rare type of freshwater dolphin known as the Irrawaddy dolphin.  There are tours that leave from town to see these guys … alas, I had no time to check this out, as I was en route to Siem Reap to see Angkor Wat (I was at *3* weeks and counting down, towards the end of my trip 😮 )

After a eventful, adventrous day, there was no better way to end it then by watching the sultry sun slip below the horizon, all whilst enjoying an Anchor beer (it was either that or Angkor, both excellent beers that are made in Cambodia)!

With fear behind me and Siem Reap looming in the morning, I found a resturant on the terrace of a neighbouring guesthouse (a gay-friendly one at that, nice cute guy that runs it 🙂 ) to have my dinner, and then, after an evening of blogging (first fast internet since Vientiane, Laos) and cruising Khmer cable (foreign TV is so intriguing and entertaining to me!), I called it a night, mind racing at what the next adventure would be in this new exotic country I had just happened upon…



  1. very enjoyable reading. Great blog, James!

    • thanks Mom! 🙂

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