We departed Siem Reap on April 9th since Songkran (Thai New Year) was fast approaching and the traffic would have been unbearable. Since Cambodia also has their New Year at the same time it would have meant that we would have been stranded in Siem Reap until atleast April 15th and that probably would have gotten old quickly. So we bit the bullet and left early. We figured that since we had our Thai visas already arranged that this border crossing would be a piece of cake. However, we didn't factor in the incredibly long lines and the very inefficient workers. Getting to Bangkok from Siem Reap took about 10 hours and atleast 2-3 hours of that were spent at the border, either waiting to go through or waiting for the next bus (we had to switch buses after going through the border) to show up.
One nice thing, the bus dropped us off near the backpacker area in Bangkok so we weren't stranded in the middle of nowhere like we'd been in Hanoi. At this point it was about 7:30 pm and we had to make some quick decisions. First stop was an ATM to get some baht and then next we went to a travel agent to ask about buses to Khon Kaen. The first place we walked into they were really bitchy so we went to the next place where they were much more pleasant. It seemed that we would have to find our way to the Northern bus terminal and take our chances if we wanted a night bus to Khon Kaen. It was pretty nerve wracking considering that this is the biggest holiday of the year and everyone goes to their home towns for it. We were nervous that everything would be booked up and we'd be stranded in Bangkok.
We flagged a taxi and negotiated a price (I wanted the meter but we didn't have time to find a cab driver who would go for that) and before we knew it we were at the bus terminal- along with about a million Thai people. Crap. The taxi driver advised us to go to the second floor to purchase a bus ticket to Khon Kaen. It took a bit of wandering around and looking confused before someone helped us find the right window. We got a ticket for the 9:30pm bus and even had time to chow down on some dinner at the food court.
The bus ride... Well, it was hellish. We were stuck in upright seats next to the bathroom, which had a door that was hard to close so everyone was constantly slamming it. Our location also meant that we weren't able to recline our seats but the people in front of us could and did so we had barely any space. Oh, and we were in this section that had a giant TV blaring some sort of Thai comedy show ALL NIGHT. Okay, they did shut off the video portion at 2 am but they kept the audio on until 4 am. They had told us we would arrive in Khon Kaen at 6 am but we actually got there at 5 am so we had to call and wake up Matt's Mom and get them to pick us up earlier than planned. It was pretty wild but we made it mostly in one piece (Matt somehow managed to cut the crap out of one of his toes so he was bleeding all over the place). I think the Amazing Race would be a piece of cake after that trip!