You hear horrible stories about buses out here and the roads don’t seem to be in such great shape either. Somehow I’m not convinced Cambodia has a highways agency. But when it comes to getting from A to B, buses are probably the cheapest way.
We needed to get from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh and in true backpacker style asked around. The company Great Ibis kept cropping up so we decided to book on to their nightbus. I know, I instantly thought of Harry Potter too. Saving us money on a nights accommodation, the nine-hour journey seemed like a great idea.
Clambering on to the bus at 10pm we were amazed to find rows of bunk beds, each with a little pillow and blanket. Brilliant! After a little snooze we’ll be there, no problem.
Apart from only getting about an hours sleep, thanks to the ‘uneven road surface’, it wasn’t too bad. Just be prepared that it is going to feel like you’re driving over a cattle grid, for about nine hours.
The next question people always have about buses is, does it have a toilet? Well yes, the Great Ibis bus does have a toilet…
Let me begin by saving, like most of Asia, it is custom to remove your shoes when entering someone’s home, or in this case bus.
I love the idea of not wearing shoes, until it comes to using the on-board toilet of a moving vehicle.
After crossing my legs for just over six hours I decided to bite the bullet and use the facilities. Thinking it couldn’t be all that bad as none of its previous visitors had come out in tears. How wrong could I be?
Clambering down from my cosy top bunk spot, I navigated my way to the back of the bus and opened the door…
For some reason the room and everything in it was soaked. Flooded might have been a better word. Surely no one can pee this much?!
And then I spotted the issue (there were many issues but I thought it was best to ignore the rest), there was no lid on the cistern. Meaning that every time the bus went over a pothole, which are more like craters here in Cambodia, water went every where.
Repeating in my head were the words, ‘It’s character building’. Over and over again.
Needless to say I did feel slight relief after visiting the ‘ladies room’. More so after I’d antibact’d my hands and feet.
The Great Ibis bus company runs regular night buses to and from Phnom Penh for about $15 dollars one way.