Hey turbo charger and geierwalli,
I just emailed John cafe, they just quoted me 4500 euro to do the trip, while i could probably pay it, but $6000 is about 5 years salary for a Chinese person.
It seems we all have a common interest, ie getting across china. For each month I stay in Cambodia, I save about $1,500 per month, perhaps if I can get through china for much less in a group, it would make sense to leave earlier, only problem is cold weather, which means taking many more clothes.
I am in Phnom Penh i will send a pm, give me a call if you are in town