a VirtualTourist member from Bournemouth
I'm planning to travel from Ubon in Thailand to Phnom Penh. I have a number of questions...
1. Is it necessary to go via Pakse?
2. Does anyone have experience of travelling by bus Pakse to Phnom Penh?
3. Timetable and Bus Company info, anyone? I know it takes 12+ hours.
4. Is there an alternative overland route to Phnom Penh?
Thanks guys. Any help or advice appreciated.
Hi. I've done it.
The best route in to Lao from Ubon is of course Pakse.
From Pakse you can easily (by Lao and Khmer standards) organize the trip to Phnom Penh from a guest house.. or there's a bus company with a store front on the road parallel the Xe Don just north of the bridge that crosses it from Pakse.. they run occaisional trips south and even up and across the hills in to VietNam.
The bus operator picks you up in a van.. takes you down past Si Phon Don and down to the border (about 2-3 hrs south of Pakse)... From there.. you will have an antiquated bus (likely with no toilet) waiting for you on the other side.. Hop in.. and get ready for 10+ on that one.. The trip happens once a day and gets you in to Phnom Penh at night.. so tuk-tuk/ motorcycle taxi is usually your only bet to get in to the city proper and to your hotel.. and better to grab one quickly because where the bus drops you can be a dead location where they park the bus.. just a few "in the know" drivers waiting for you guys.. then, nothing.
The other option is to cross in through one of the border posts in NW Cambodia directly.. but it is a logistical nightmare.. a volitle border spot.. and the least developed part of the country.. making travel very "adventurous"..
If you don't like this super-bus option.. Ubon to Phnom Penh overland is still best done via Pakse and down along the river by any means.. Kratie is a nice stop over.. as is Si Phon Don, of course.. Strung Teng is a logistical opportunity but nothing more than a dirt strewn truck stop type of town.
Thanks for the info @AuTourDeMonde.
About what time did you arrive in Phnom Penh? I'm wondering whether it's a day-time or night-time journey, and does the bus have A/C?
What about making the journey using river craft. Is that a possibility, do you think?
At the moment, I'm wandering if I'm trying to cram too much into my trip. At this point I will be 3 weeks into a 6 week journey. After Cambodia, I will be travelling up through Vietnam, then on to Taiwan. So I am just passing through Laos and Cambodia in order to get to Saigon. So my question is... does this part of my trip deserve more time? If it does, then maybe I should consider a different trip in the future, taking in NE Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. It would be disappointing to leave out this part of my schedule, but it would allow me to fly direct from Bangkok to Saigon.
The left in the early morning and arrived around 10 at night I believe..
It was not AC. No toilet or baggage hold either. In fact, the bus was probably older than I.
The trip from Bangkok to Saigon is an epic journey lol.
It will NEED (much less "deserve") atleast one week..
If traveling up the vietnamese coast is your true aim,
then get the most out of your time in Viet Nam and just fly to HCMC/Saigon.
Or, you can do the overland journey, then fly from HCMC to Hue or Hanoi and continue from there..
Each stop warrants 5+ days IMO.
As far as naivgating the river,
the only way to do so is by "hitching" rides on commerical barges..
which takes a good deal of time, risk and of course, linguistic/ culutural comfort.
You will sleep on sacks of goods or on a hammock.
It is far from reliable and more than adventerous.