After a pleasant couple of days in Kep, the Irish guys and I left for the capital. With the exception of the cities I visited in Ecuador, Phnom Penh is the only place in the world where I haven’t felt completely safe and wouldn’t walk around alone at night.
It’s strange how revisiting a place can trigger long forgotten memories. That night we joined a group of people who were adamant about finding a place with $1 beer and promising them I knew where to go, I surprised myself by successfully leading them to a bar I’d visited three years ago.
The next morning, I said goodbye to the Irish guys before leaving for my bus to Battambang. I felt a little sad that we were parting ways but after spending the past fortnight in the constant company of other people, I was looking forward to having some time to myself. I spent the next two days exploring the city on foot and rode the bamboo train, which was very cool.
This brought me to the end of my second week in Cambodia. I’d tentatively planned this first part of my trip but it was now time to decide where to go next. After giving some thought to a second visit to Siam Reap, I made up my mind to cross into Thailand.
Discovering buses to the border only ran late in the afternoon, I opted for a share taxi instead. I immediately regretted this decision the moment three Cambodian men squashed into the back seat with me. It was only a small Toyota Camry but they somehow managed to cram four people in the front as well. It seemed entirely possible that they might try to add a ninth person and I swore to myself that this is where I drew the line but fortunately it never came to this.
It was close to noon when I arrived at the Poipet and Aranyapathet border, the most popular border crossing between Cambodia and Thailand. I braced myself for a long wait but it was relatively painless. I was over the other side an hour later.
Although I knew it was ambitious, I hoped to make it to Phi Phi the next morning. I took a long haul bus to the northern bus terminal in Bangkok, followed by a shuttle service to the southern bus terminal.
I then got a taxi after getting off the shuttle too early. I had just under an hour to make the night bus to Krabi – a goal which seemed increasingly unlikely the longer we were stuck in traffic.
I’d just about resigned myself to spending the night in Bangkok when we pulled up at the bus terminal. Thanking the taxi driver, I got out, dashed into the station and located the office that sold the bus and ferry combination for Phi Phi. I bought the ticket with about twenty minutes to spare.
It was now seven in the evening. I’d spent the whole day travelling and hadn’t showered or eaten anything since lunch. But none of this mattered to me at that moment. Getting on that bus, I felt a great sense of exhilaration. I’d made it.