Overland Route Bangkok to Siem Reap

*This post is first published on my RIP Travel Blog, I apologize for some missing comments

Overland from Bangkok to Siem Reap is part of my Indochina road trip in 2013 where I started my journey from Kuala Lumpur to Ho Chi Minh without stopping over at the airport. Passing through 2,708 km Southeast Asia by land and got 5 different country stamps on my passport, urrgh, how I miss that moment.

The road from Bangkok to Siem Reap, Cambodia is super flat, paved and good condition. It takes around 6 hours road trip and there’s one stop at  food center  in a remote Thailand, 1.5 hours from the border. We can get some coffee, food or snacks, or just socializing with minivan-mate

I’ll share you guys my overland trip passing the border from Thailand to Cambodia. I bought a minivan ticket at a travel agent on Khaosan Road, and the passengers not more than 12 people with the driver. Most of them are Caucasian travelers, only driver, my travel mate and I were Asian here.

The minivan prices range from 300-800 Bath in Bangkok. I got 350 Bath, it was the cheapest in town

Or if you don’t want to take minivan and cheaper, there are still another option, such as;

Bangkok to Aranyaprathet Road; 300 km, good road.

Bus:

164 – 196 Bath (first class)

140 Bath – 155 Bath (second class), 4-4.5 hours. Departing the Northern Bus Terminal (Mochit) hourly from 4 AM to 6 PM

Train:

48 Bath (third class), 6 hours, two daily, departs Hualamphong

If you take bus or train, you need to continue the journey toward the border by Tuk-Tuk or Moto, 50 Bath – 80 Bath, it takes around 10 minutes. On the Cambodian side, take a shuttle bus to the transport station for $ 1 – $ 2.50. From there you can take Bus or Taxi to Siem Reap.

If you want the fastest  and comfortable ones, take Taxi and pay for $35- $ 50 (tourist price), though the local rate is about $ 25, and it is a 3 hour ride. If you have travel mate, split the cost. DO NOT pay in advance, pay once you arrive in Siem Reap

I like Siem Reap, but  like the rest of developing countries, Siem Reap can really rip you off.

However, if you take my way by minivan and unfortunately your minivan-mates are people from Non-ASEAN countries, a little obstacle might be facing you. Before we reached the border the minivan dropped us at a small office, then, the driver said we had to do paperwork first.

Two young Cambodians came over us, introduced themselves and gave an immigration white card to us. One of this Cambodian asked my Nationality, I replied; I’m Indonesian. Then, he told me, you don’t need visa, all you just need to fill in the immigration white card. Okay, as simple as that, but… NOT THAT SIMPLE for my minivan-mates, because they need a Cambodian visa.

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Immigration White Card

Besides non-ASEAN countries passport, these travelers from USA and Europe will be charged for a visa fee to enter Cambodia. The visa is available at the border. But, the stories about overcharging visas are well-known for these westerners and I guess they’re already noticed about this. So, the confrontation between these two Cambodians and European tourists happened, and it’s really frustrating for me, because wasting my time.

Our minivan driver on the Thai side border told them that they should get a Cambodian visa from these couple or they called it a ‘local consulate’ on the way to the border crossing. The strange things, among them paid in different visa fee, and the fees sounds too expensive. They argued with these ‘local consulate’ and asked their money back, because they smelled this as a scam, and they didn’t get the Cambodian stamp straight away.

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Nice Message

What if, when these two Cambodians vanished and theses Europeans tourist arrived at the immigration, the officer said they didn’t know them. They have to pay double for visa. These ‘local consulates’ assured them, it’s just a misunderstanding, and they took us together with the minivan to the border, stood in line not really far from us and we all passed the border.

It is not something new at the border, what these locals did, was a scam but because these European tourists really argued with them, they skipped this scam part. Lesson learned, don’t let them dictate you.

For Non-ASEAN travelers who passed Thailand and Cambodia border by land, you should notice;

DO NOT USE THEIR SERVICES. DO NOT GET YOUR VISA AT THE ‘LOCAL CONSULATE’ ON THE THAI SIDE. IT’S DEFINITELY A SCAM

Do not get your Cambodian visa until you have stamped out of Thailand, crossed the border into Cambodia and arrived at Cambodian immigration.

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Dealing with Visa Matter

Entering the Cambodian border, we were greeted by little kids mostly girls by asking our money. The poverty started here, it is really different night and day from Thailand border, which’s cleaner, no trash on the road and, few meters away from Thai border, we see the different world. Dusty, less developed and the strange thing is, there are casinos in big and quite developed buildings. The fact is, Cambodians are not legally allowed to gamble.

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Thailand and Cambodia Border

After getting our Cambodian stamp, we got into a bus that brought us to Poipet bus terminal. And there, one of this local consulate (his friend already left I don’t know where), told us that we’d better never withdraw money from ATM in Siem Reap, because most of the ATM in Siem Reap don’t accept foreign cards. Which is not true, Siem Reap is more developed, many tourists, and world class hotels.

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Poipet Bus Terminal

There is no requirement to change money at the border. It is a scam to get you to change money at a rip-off exchange rate.

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Cambodian Money

From Poipet, we took another bigger bus and joined other tourists and  the distance from Poipet to Siem Reap is 160 km, the road was a good condition and spent another 2 hours.

We arrived in Siem Reap after dark, the bus stopped not at a formal bus stop, smaller road, no street lights, but not really far from the main road, and when we got off, we had raided by dozen of Tuk-Tuk drivers. We shared tuk-tuk with a random couple from Ghuang Zou to the hostel.

authorRahma loves writing & reading before she knows how to write and read. A geek who loves her spirit of individuality and has traveled solo since her early age.

One Response to “Overland Route Bangkok to Siem Reap

  • leo lutz
    4 years ago

    Hi great blog!
    I’m ASEAN too (Philippines) and I love reading your blog. Western backpackers are far more common than people from SEA and I was scared there would be a lot of trouble for the brown men and women this side of the world.
    I’m going to Bali in January! But it will be with family so we will be wearing touristic linen pants, souvenir shirts and wide-brimmed hats =((. But we will be going to Ubud for a day! I better read up on that post.
    PS: Your other post just killed me.
    Foodporn in Krabi
    I visited Krabi, Thailand, in wet season.
    The use of “Porn” and “wet” within 15 words of each other awoke my soul

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