28 Jan 2008
Riverside Guesthouse, Koh Kong, Cambodia
Guesthouse
A$13.50/£6.50 night
11°36'27.30"N 102°58'42.45"E
1 room

 

The border crossing from Hat Lek near Trat brings you out at Koh Kong in Cambodia. The only reason people spend more than 5 minutes here is if they don't want to get up at 4.30am - the bus to Phnom Penh and the bus and boat to Sihanoukville all depart Koh Kong at 8am. For the two hour drive to the border, enough time to get through immigration (it takes forever on the Cambodian side as you have to apply for a visa) then travel the 10 minutes to bus and ferry depot, you have to be on the mini bus in Trat at 5am. Can't understand why it has to be so inconvenient - it's only either 4, 5 or 6 hours depending on which bus/boat you get. Leaving an hour or two later would be so difficult? Nobody would overnight in town, perhaps that's the reason.

We knew accommodation wasn't going to be up to much - nothing cost more than US10 per night, so it was choosing the best of a pretty average lot. We negotiated a good price with the taxi driver - 200 baht rather than the 250 baht all expats in Trat had told us to pay (between us, not each as the drivers would (and did) try). Condition was that we let him take us to the bus or boat office to buy the ticket - not a problem as far as I was concerned. The prices are fixed, and wherever we bought the ticket somebody somewhere would be getting a commission, so it might as well go to the little bloke rather than the travel agency.

The ticket office was at the Riverside Guesthouse - Peter had a quick look at a room whilst I sorted out the tickets, and said it could be worse, so we checked in. They tried everything to get me to pay for the tickets in Thai Baht rather than US dollars - I would have paid an extra 25-30% if I'd paid in Baht.

 

The room itself was fairly dismal and spartan. The bed was comfortable and clean enough, the air conditioner was very effective and we had over 100 channels on the satellite TV. The bathroom left a bit to be desired, but we were only there for one night. We had to go out and ask for a second towel then toilet paper - we really don't need to stay anywhere this poor, but there really wasn't an alternative. The cheapest rooms here are A$3.40/£1.60 night.

Our brief (but adequate) look around town showed most of the guest houses and hotels to be about the same from the outside, although to be fair we didn't actually look at the rooms of any of the others - there was no point. If we make this trip again, we'll opt for the early start. One hotel looked quiet good in an information book - swimming pool and internet access, but we went into the bar (when we eventually found it - new name) and got bad vibes from the place, turned around and found another bar with a bit more ambience. And pretty good food too - if you are ever unfortunate enough to spend the night here, I can thoroughly recommend Bob's Bar (Bob is English/Aussie), which has a good menu, good food, and ice cold beer.

Would we come to the Riverside Guesthouse again? Not a chance. If you're heading from Trat to Phnom Penh or Sihanoukville, do yourself a favour and get up early. If your heading from Koh Chang, overnight in Trat not here. It just isn't worth it.