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Danger lurks as a young girl is has to sit in the isle on a plastic stool on an overbooked bus - NR photo


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When it comes to travel safety, comfort and honesty is always an issue. On a recent trip on a Phnom Penh Sorya bus theft became an issue as our sport jacket was stolen. The most disturbing thing is the company's representatives could care less


Sunday January 31, 2010


It was time to make a trip via bus from Phnom Penh to Bangkok as we have reported on in the past to see what really was the condition of the notorious road that has been repaired several times but never done properly ad corruption had been accused of raising its ugly head that the roads deterioration was due to inferior materials and improper application (i.e.) not sealing the road properly.

In the past we have written stories about then Malaysian owned Ho Wah Genting bus transit company noting that their equipment was clean, comfortable and the staff for the most part polite. A few years ago Genting sold the company to Khmer buyers. Since that time the company's service and equipment has deteriorated.

On a trip that we took three years ago our new luggage was damaged by mishandling. The individual who placed the bag in the baggage compartment wrote a number with a permanent maker on it. Upon arrival in Phnom Penh we noticed that bag was marked up with ink and very dirty and dusty. At that time we didn't know the company had changed hands and went into the office to talk to the management that we knew about this problem and the bad attitude of its employees.

The entrance to the office was electronically locked and a female employee was very loud and negative about entering the office. When the door opened we entered only to be confronted by a nasty individual who when we expressed the problem assaulted us by pushing his hand into our chest and walking out the door to the bag. The police were there observing the matter.

The bag was then whipped clean and the permanent luckily was not permanent and came off. The bottom of the bag was ripped from it being dragged on the ground and not moved on its wheels.

We called the previous manager who is Khmer but polite which is unusual. His Malaysian boss also left the company but the explanation of the change of management was cleared up.

Since the time we noticed several new busses the company obtained and their massive expansion to new routes including Laos and the frequency of departures to key routes such as Siem reap and Sihanoukville. We decided to give the company another try and see if they had matured and improved into a professional business.

The first good sign was a polite rep at the ticket counter who spoke good English. In the past poor to no English skills was the norm. The ticket was purchased a day prior to departure as we needed a good isle seat to accommodate a bad back. We were the first ticket purchased on a blank seating list. The ticket was COMPUTER GENERATED.

The following day when we arrived there was someone sitting in our seat and the bus was full. The man refused to give up the seat and produced a HAND WRITTEN ticket with the same seat number. It took over fifteen minutes for the female staff member to sort out the problem and we obtained our seat.

The trip to Battambang was fine the seat reclined and the air-conditioning was functioning properly. The only problem was they OVERBOOKED the bus and a young girl had to sit in the isle on a plastic stool. Had the bus come to a sudden stop it is highly likely that she would have been smashed through the front windshield.

The following day we departed for the border at Poipet to exit the country. Poipet has a notorious reputation for child prostitution, corruption, murder and gambling casinos. It is recommended by the majority of travel publication not to spend any time there for safety reason and there noting of interest to do so unless you are a pedophile or a Thai gambler.

We boarded the bus in Battambang. The bus was in poor condition with rust and the seats didn't recline. Non reclining seats for a bus taking a 407km trip that began in Phnom Penh with Poipet as its final destination. The poor condition of their equipment is indicative of their lack of maintenance and the negative attitude regarding customer care. The translation equates to SORYA could CARE LESS.

PART 2 - The stolen sport jacket and ignorant, inconsiderate Phnom Penh Sorya Transit Employees


The road from Phnom Penh to Poipet is good. Also the road from Poipet to Siem Reap is good UNTIL one and a half hours prior to entering Phnom Penh where the road becomes bumpy and lumpy. The roads in Thailand are superb and the busses and vans used from the Thai border town of Aranya Prathet are excellent. We traveled in Thailand in a new Mercedes van.


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