After a few nights in Bangkok, we decided to do the over land trip from Bangkok to Siem Reap.
You can find all necessary information below.
How to get from Bangkok to Siem Reap?
There are 3 options:
Several flights operate daily from both Bangkok airports. A good website to compare prices is Skyscanner.
The good thing with flying to Siem Reap is the time because the flight takes only 55 minutes. So you will arrive quickly and relaxed. Your luggage is limited though with the maximum allowance of the airlines.
The negative thing is the price. For our dates, the cheapest ticket was 120 Euro per person.
There is a direct bus service from Bangkok to Siem Reap. The bus departs twice a day (8AM and 9AM) from Mo Chit 2 Bus Terminal (Northern Bus Terminal)
The ticket cost only 750 THB, so this is a great thing for us.
For a bus trip to Siem Reap you should calculate a full day. In our case it took around 9 hours.
You can hire a taxi, but it won´t save you much hassle. You will pay around 2000 THB to the Thai/Cambodian border. Then you need to cross the border by foot and organise a Cambodian taxi which brings you to Siem Reap.
As we had plenty of time, we decided to take the bus.
Where can you purchase tickets for the Bangkok to Siem Reap direct bus?
The tickets should be purchased one or more days in advance because this route is very popular amongst tourists. So the bus might be fully booked when you go there without a reservation.
You can book the tickets online and print an E-Ticket.
We bought the tickets directly at the bus station two days in advance which is a good thing to check out how to get there and how long it might take. 😀
How to get to Mo Chit Bus Station?
Mo Chit Bus Station is also called Northern Bus Terminal, Mo Chit 2 or Chatuchak Bus Terminal. As we asked locals for the way, we found out that most of them only understood Mo Chit 2 (Mo Chit Song).
Unfortunatelly it is not that convenient to get there because there is no BTS Skytrain nor MRT station near the terminal. From the Sukhumvit area take the BTS to either Mo Chit station or Saphan Kwai station. From there you need to take a taxi, tuk tuk or bus to the bus terminal. For a tuk tuk we paid 150 THB. Another time we took the shuttle bus from Mo Chit BTS station. This bus is free, took in our case although 30 minutes due to heavy traffic.
Review : Our bus trip from Bangkok to Siem Reap
We started from our hotel near the BTS station Nana 90 minutes before scheduled departure of our bus. We needed almost all of the time. The ride with the BTS Skytrain to Mo Chit Sky Train Station was not an issue. We then got quickly on the free shuttle bus to the Northern Bus Terminal but the ride took almost 30 minutes due to heavy traffic.
Once you arrive at the Northern Bus Terminal, you have plenty of opportunities to buy snacks and drinks. There is a 7/11 as well.
The bus was fully booked, So we were lucky to have purchased the tickets in advance. The seating is alright. Stefan felt quite comfortable although he is almost 7ft tall.
We departed on time from the Northern Bus Terminal. Only a few minutes later we got complimentary water and some crisps.
The bus was full of travellers so it didnt´t take long to find someone to chat. This is what we like with bus rides. You meet other people unlike in the anonymous environment of an aircraft.
We did two short stops on the way to the border. At 1 pm we stopped what looked like a minibus station in Aranyaprathet where we received a lunch which looked a bit like 7/11 food, but tasted really good.
30 minutes later we arrived finally at the border. The bus dropped us at a parking space near the border.
You have to cross the border by foot. The bus will be driven across the border empty,but you can leave your luggage inside . That´s why it is called a direct bus as you don´t have to change vehicles.
Make sure to note the number of the bus into your Thai departure card.
Border Crossing from Thailand into Cambodia (Aranyaprathet/Poipet)
The Aranyaprathet / Poipet border is one of the busiest borders between Thailand and Cambodia. That´s why it can take hours to do all the formalities.
So you should calculate a full day for the complete journey to Siem Reap.
First of all we need to go to the Thai Immigration to get our exit stamps.
In our case we had to wait around one hour. The room does not have a great air condition so it was quite uncomfortable.
The queue was huge.
When you get your exit stamp just follow the crowd towards Cambodia.
Soon you will meet a lot of people who want to offer an express visa service and things like that. Don´t do it. It´s a scam. The actual visa process is easy and does not need a special service.
Impressive Gate on the Thai side of the border.
Friendship bridge between Thailand and Cambodia.
Welcome to Cambodia. The first big difference between Thailand and Cambodia: The traffic runs at the right hand side.
Visa requirements for Cambodia
Certain nationals require a visa before entering Cambodia, some are allowed to obtain a visa on arrival at the border. There is also the possibility of applying for an E-Visa, which will save you a few minutes at the border. As the immigration rules might change, always check online before your trip.
If you need a visa on arrival, turn right at the Cambodian gate and enter this building.
Here comes the tricky part of the border crossing.
According to official information the visa on arrival cost 30 US – Dollar. Make sure you have US Dollar with you, as this is the main currency in Cambodia. Make also sure you have plenty of small Dollar Notes with you.
Fill out the visa application form. You require also a passport size photograph.
The attendant in the bus told us, the fees are 30 US – Dollar plus 200 THB processing fee.
The immigration officers also told us that there is a processing fee of 200 THB.
THIS IS A SCAM!
A processing fee does not exist.
We refused to pay more than 30 US Dollar and mentioned that the fee does not exist. What followed was really interesting. Stefan´s passport was taken away and he was seated far away from other travellers. Maybe he could have given them a hint about the bribe?
The passport was returned after exactly two minutes including the visa and he was then escorted by two officers out of the building. Very fast. We heard other stories, where guys, who refused to pay the bribe were not that lucky and did not get a visa straight away.
After you get your visa you need to proceed to the immigration counter. The queue was quite long again so we had to wait another 45 minutes. Here you must fill in an arrival and departure card. Once you get your passport stamped look for your bus and the journey continues towards Siem Reap.
In total we spent 2.5 hours for the border crossing.
After another 2 hours we arrived finally in Siem Reap. The bus will stop at the Cambodian bus company´s station from where you get a complimentary Tuk Tuk to your hotel.