There are a couple of buslines that travel from Battambang to Phnom Penh all similar in services. We chose Sorya for the journey…The most extraordinary bus trip I have experienced yet.
In the beginning things boded well, there was only a dozen passengers hopping on the bus at BB….sweet, I’ll be able to move around seats to get comfy if I choose…however this was put paid to when after 10km or so we stopped to pick up the first of many Cambodian villagers from the side of the road.
Soon the vacant seats began to full with mish mash of people, young and old, with and without luggage, sometimes just a helmet, probably going to pick up their moto from the garage.
At the front of the bus we had a bus driver, mandatory of course and there was also a chap who stood in the door well the whole journey, his job was threefold, one as door man to check tickets, two, to help get people on and of the bus and third and most important, as spotter of oncoming vehicles when the driver was peering down the other side of trucks. It was not uncommon for us to have 3 vehicles side by side on a two lane road.
My interpretation of the rules of the road as applied by Cambodian Bus drivers…
1. Bicycles, Motorcycles and Tuk Tuks are the minnows of the road and must yield to the mighty bus always even if it means riding off the road in the dirt and down an embankment.
2. Cars, vans, light trucks with 23 itinerant workers on the roof must also always yield to a bus that has decided to overtake a truck on a blind sweeping bend, this usually results in car, van or light truck driving in the dirt on the verge of the road whilst the bus overtakes the truck, sometimes with a motorcycle or cyclist also out in the dirt with a panic look on their face, and one on ours too.
3. Trucks, they are the king of the road…if they are bigger than the bus. The driver tended to not take them on…if he saw them…hence that extra bloke at the front giving the driver the regular…yea or nay when overtaking.
Never in my life have I had so many “we’re all going to die” moments in one day, not even comparable to when on the roller coasters at a theme park.
As it turned out we made our destination, bus and underwear intact…just…quite the experience.