Inquiry Submission By CarlosTamayo
I am going to give all the readers my five cents about this company.
My wife and I booked a US$30 bus ticket with Virah-Buntham Express Travel & Tour for May 22, 2013. The bus leaves at 8:30am from Sihanoukville and will arrive at 7:30pm in Bangkok (or at least that’s what they said).
We were picked up from our hotel at 7:30am and drove to the bus station where we got on the bus. AC worked and the bus was clean. The bus stopped numerous times to pick up and drop off passengers along the way, which is understandable. Four hours later we reach Koh Kong, the bus stopped at the bus station and all the local people and some tourists (smart ones) got off the bus. We were taken to a hotel/restaurant for lunch, which took more than 30 minutes even though nobody ordered any lunch and we told the driver to leave. We drove to the border and here is where things got messy.
At the border we were approached by lots of locals trying to scam us with bus tickets, collecting our tickets, etc. I demanded my bus tickets and kept them with me. We lost sight of the bus as they turned back, they cannot cross the border. We crossed the border on foot, getting the exit stamp out of Cambodia and getting the visa to Thailand.
In Hatlak, Thailand, we were left at the mercy of the locals to tell us what to do. We were told to wait by the road side. After a few hours, waiting on the rain, somebody came, asked for the tickets and told us to go to a mini van that was going to take us to Bangkok. We wasted more than 2 hours waiting when the mini van that took us to Bangkok was parked across the street the whole time. We got to Bangkok at 10:30pm, 3 hours later than expected and missed our connection to another bus.
It made it for a long 14 hour day.
Since I hate people that complain but does not give a solution, here is my solution and pricing:
Take the bus from Sihanoukville to Koh Kong, ask to take you to the border. This should cost you between US$7 to US$9. If you are dropped off at the bus station in Koh Kong, not a big deal, take a tuk tuk from there to the border, the asking price is US$8 but you can bring it down.
At the border you will cross on foot, exactly like if you were on the expensive bus.
When you pass Thai immigration you are in Hatlak, go across the street, there is a sign that offers the mini van service to Trat. Take the first mini van to Trat, they will drop you off at the bus station. The asking price is 120 baht, however locals pay 100 baht… bargain!
At Trat’s bus station take a bus to Bangkok, they leave every hour. The bus will cost you 250 baht.
If you do the calculation, you will be spending only US20 if your bus from Sihanoukville will take you to the border, if not you will have to pay that extra, lets say, US$8 for the tuk tuk from Koh Kong to the border.
The best part of the solution is that you will not have to wait over 2 hours on the side of the road in Hatlak plus around 3 stops to refill the LPG (liquid propane gas) mini van that takes you to Bangkok. Every one of these stops is around 20 minutes, that’s another hour.
I hope you consider doing it yourself, we already fell on the trap of this irresponsible, incompetent and negligent company, but if you are traveling on that route just do all the changes yourself, it is easy.
I hope this helps.