The Masters of Minibus Tetris!

So, how many people would you reasonably expect to fit into a twelve seat minivan? Probably a question little considered in the west as the answer would be simple… Twelve seats, twelve bottoms right? Wrong. When we purchased our tickets from Sen Monorom to Kratie, I had a vague idea what was in store for our five hour journey. When we were picked up, we were told to sit four to a three seat bench, which, as we’re pretty small, wasn’t really too much of a squeeze. At this point there were already 17 people in twelve seats and we hadn’t even left town!

P1050281The luggage was tied on to the outside of the bus, along with an old pump and 25 kilograms of sugar. At this point I was thinking… ‘wow, this is a lot of stuff in one van. I can’t believe that our stuff is going outside! It will be so dusty. What if it falls off?!’

P1050285Then we stopped at the market and picked up more people and more luggage. The German couple in the row in front of me kept exchanging worried glances which was unsurprising as the guy was about 6’5″ tall and practically had some other man sitting on his lap!

An hour or so into this ridiculous journey, we passed another minibus with even more stuff than we had. I’m pretty sure our driver saw this and made it his life’s ambition to double or nothing.


Just when I thought there really was no room at the inn, we picked up two more adults, a child and a newborn baby. Then we stopped again. Each time we stopped to pick someone up, I was newly amazed.


When the inside was well and truly full (when the occupants could no longer breathe), they started adding new passengers to the luggage. Previously I had been worried about my bag falling off, now we were driving erratically  at 100 miles an hour with the boot open and PEOPLE sitting on the bags that were tied on the back.


Once again, I was amazed. Three more people joined the party. Oh, and they also had 150kg’s of rice and three live chickens in a wicker bag!


There’s me worrying for their lives and two nodded straight off to sleep! Feet dangling just inches from the rapidly passing tarmac. The Khmer Elvis look-alike on the right fell asleep pretty soon after singing a bit of karaoke to himself…


All in all the grand total was: 25 adults, 1 child, 1 newborn baby, 3 live chickens, 3 bags of rice, 1 pump, and 22 backpacks.. all in twelve seats. If you think that’s crazy, check out this guy we overtook at 90 miles and hour. Just chilling on the bonnet…. it’s ok though, he’s holding on!

Can anybody top this? I’d love to hear your crazy travel experiences!




5 responses to “The Masters of Minibus Tetris!

  1. And I thought sitting 4 across in the front seat of a minivan, knees pressed against the dashboart and going 80mph on the highway with no seatbelts was bad! Yipes. PLEASE tell me the newborn baby was NOT on top of the luggage dangling from the back!


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