But where will the chickens sit?

by Poi on April 19, 2011

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How do you fit 17 people, luggage, 12 planks of wood, a few chickens & birds, a few bags of rice, a motorbike and a coffee table in a minibus that usually seats 12?

On the bus from Ban Lung to Phnom Penh we learnt how…..

The journey started off pretty regularly, there was a motorbike tied to the back so we had to shove our backpacks under the chairs. But despite the warnings from the hostel owner we ended up with quite good seats. When we got on there were three other passengers and we went off to go find some more, when we left Bang Lung 30 mins later the mini bus was full (13 people)… or so we thought.

About ten minutes out side Ban Lung we turned off on to a dirt track to pick up a a family of three, who had a couple of chickens and a few birds in tow. They clambered into the back seat and off we went on the extremely bumpy road between Bang Lung and Stung Treng.

Minivan creative commons

We stopped an hour later in the middle of no where for a supposed toilet stop, but ended up collecting a monk and a few bags of rice too. This meant a change in the seating arrangements. I moved into Poi’s seat and the Monk took mine, which left Poi hovering preciously between both seats, with no back rest, basically in no mans land.

We arrived on the edge of Stung Treng ahead of time and got out for a breakfast stop. But the mini bus didn’t wait around with us, instead it drove off with all our stuff and absolutely no explanation! We waited over an hour for the mini bus to reappear slightly panicking that they may have sold all our processions – instead we found a table had been added to the mix!

Still without a real seat for Poi, we set off once again towards the capital – around 4 hours later a lady got off the bus, giving Poi her seat – I think his arse was very very very relieved at this point!

We stopped at a petrol station to get all the mud of the north west off the mini bus, as it was being cleaned I noticed that all our bags were being unloaded from the van – “why, what are they doing? Don’t say THIS is the end of the road??” Nope – they just needed a bit of space to shove 12 massive planks of wood under the seats!

With our foot space well and truly gone we proceeded, we had been on the road for over seven hours and hadn’t eaten anything but a bag of crisps… but there was yet another stop, this time the driver stayed with us but all we really just wanted to get there, but it would be another 4 and half hours until we would be able to finally check into a hostel.

We were told that the mini bus would take a total of 9 hours, but we were on the road for nearly 12! 4 months ago we would be at each others throats by the end of the day, but the interesting thing we noticed throughout the whole journey was how incredibly relaxed we were about each thing – But now it was just like, meh it’s fine, we’ll get there eventually!


{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Dan collins April 19, 2011 at 2:31 pm

Glad you survived! Sounds like a very interesting ride indeed… I hate the bus rides in Asia. I somehow always get shafted by them.
Dan collins´s last blog post ..Friday Photo 3


Poi April 23, 2011 at 11:33 pm

How can you hate the bus rides in Asia,after all they mean you’re in Asia…..


Natalie April 19, 2011 at 5:11 pm

I get ratty on bus drives that are long. Even more ratty if there is the local farmyard on there!
Natalie´s last blog post ..The Green Fields Of Turkey


Poi April 23, 2011 at 11:35 pm

haha I think it’s fair to say when we buy our ticket we aren’t expecting to share our seats with animals….


Karen April 20, 2011 at 9:41 am

Glad you survived and was “zen” about it! These kinds of rides get the best of you but sometimes that’s the way it is in some parts of the world! 🙂
Karen´s last blog post ..Bankrådgiveren- Huskeliste til dig der søger forbrugslån


Poi April 23, 2011 at 11:36 pm

Honestly a few months ago we would have been going mental, I like the new us…


Jaime April 20, 2011 at 1:44 pm

I am cracking up because that is what I have been dealing with my entire time in Central America. Just when I think no one else fits in this bus more seats appear and more people fit. It just works… it just works.
Jaime´s last blog post ..The “Traca Traca” in Granada!!!


Poi April 23, 2011 at 11:37 pm

Glad you’re having some interesting journeys as well Jamie, as well as all the other crazy stuff you’re getting up to!


Skott and Shawna April 21, 2011 at 1:18 am

Isn’t it crazy how this crazy mayhem no longer gets you all riled up!?? You just get conditioned to the craziness! Good for you two, because, although we would like to think we could handle this, there is a good chance Shawna would have pushed someone out of the van 3 hours in !


Poi April 23, 2011 at 11:40 pm

It takes some work, you’ll have it down by the 100th time!


Bluegreen Kirk April 21, 2011 at 2:02 am

That is certainly a lot to fit into one bus. I dont think I would have managed to stay on the bus. I guess if are used to it, it probably wouldnt bother you as much.


Poi April 23, 2011 at 11:41 pm

you mean 12 hours with no real seat doesn’t appeal to you haha?


Shaun April 23, 2011 at 11:12 am

Oh, man. I’m not really looking forward to bus rides like that over the next year. We’re gonna really have to enjoy the Primera Plus rides while we have them (where the only thing there is to complain about is that the A/C is too cold).


Poi April 23, 2011 at 11:44 pm

Ahh yeah make the most of them, I suggest sleeping, it’s impossible once you get on these fecking bumpy roads…


Ali May 18, 2011 at 10:48 am

Finally trying to catch up on my feedreader….. This is hilarious! It sounds like a comedy act or something. I’m glad you guys have adjusted to this sort of craziness so you can just go with the flow, I’m sure that takes time.
Ali´s last blog post ..The Secrets I’ve Been Keeping


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