Bangkok to Siem Reap

I’ve read countless horror stories about the international journey from Bangkok to Siem Reap. The border crossing at Poi Pet is infamous for its touts and scam artists, but I can’t help but feel it’s been painted in an extremely bad light and that if you have your wits about you and do your research, then you will have no issues whatsoever. There are several ways to travel across the Cambodian border: plane, taxi, minibus or coach. Coaches and minibuses can be slightly dubious, often dropping passengers at homes before the border to purchase their visas for an inflated fee. All you have to do is politely refuse, and you’ll be taken to the border to purchase your visa at the official office.

 

 

Minibus

Travelling by minibus is probably the best way to travel this route for backpackers because its extremely cheap. There are two options when travelling by minibus: either you can organise a private transfer through one of the street vendors or your accommodation that will collect you and drop you at the bus station in Siem Reap, costing around 500 THB (£10) or you can travel from the Mo Chit 2 bus station where minibuses depart all day, every 30 minutes, at a cost of 200 THB. The latter requires you to then purchase a new bus ticket at the border in order to travel to Siem Reap, so in my opinion the easiest option is to book a private transfer for ease. The journey by minibus to the border takes around 3 hours, and from Poi Pet the drive is around another 4 to Siem Reap.

Plane

There are several direct flights per day between Bangkok and Siem Reap with airlines like China Southern Airlines and AirAsia, taking just under an hour. Flights can cost anywhere upwards of £40, but be sure to check the airline’s terms and conditions regarding checked baggage allowances as this is often not included in ticket prices.

Coach

There are two reliable coach companies that depart from Bangkok, these being Transport Co./Nattakan ($32 one way) and Giant Ibis ($28 one way). These companies will take you directly to the border crossing, issue you with a sticker and collect you at the bus terminal on the other side. Although these coaches are larger and more luxurious than the minibuses, they are significantly more expensive.

Taxi

If you’re not on a tight budget then taxis can also be a great way of travelling on land. Typically, two separate taxi journeys will be required: one to and from either side of the border. From Bangkok to the border it will cost around 2000 – 2500 THB, and on the opposite side between $35 and $55. Like I wrote in the beginning of this article, there are a lot of scams that go on around the border and the police are more often than not included in this, so the further away you get a taxi from the border crossing the less likely you are to get ripped off. Be sure not to get in a taxi without arranging a price beforehand, and be doubly sure not to pay for it until you finally arrive at your agreed destination.

 


20 thoughts on “Bangkok to Siem Reap

  1. I experienced a similar event! we bought the minibus ticket to cross the border to Cambodia. upon reaching the border between Thai and Cambodia our bus stopped at some dodgy restaurant and started separating everyone according to nationality and then took us to their very own visa office saying we have to make our visa there. i told my friend, who was Dutch that i think this could be one of the scam i read about on the internet and insisted that we go for the one at the immigration office in Poipet – but he refused and did it anyway. I was lucky enough to not be charged much extra because of the ASEAN agreement(i am Malaysian). I saw the immigration office in Poi Pet and told my friend and only then he realized he was scammed over 13$ but lucky enough that the Visa was legit. After that, came a series of adventure entering siem reap as our bus left us in Poi Pet for more than 2 hours and actually never really came so we end up hiring another run down van crammed with 6 other people which then they took 3 more locals and drove 5 hours all the way to Siem Reap. After this experience, I would highly recommend getting a plane if anyone needs to cross the border.

      1. I’m sorry to say that this won’t change any time soon. It’s probably been going on for at least 30 years or so. This is the way of most SE Asia border crossings.

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  3. Hi I’m a wee bit confused as to what happened. Did the VIP Bus drop you before you got to the border ? Who separated you into groups and took you into separate offices, Was the bus company in cahoots with the scammers? Can I refuse to get off of the bus until we reach the actual border? Sorry for asking so many questions.

    1. Hi Ian! Yup it did. The people at the house, obviously in tow with the drivers, separated us. My boyfriend, another English girl all refused and they then took us to the border in another bus.

    2. I’m glad you pointed out your confusion – I wasn’t the best writer when I initially created this blog, so I’ve done a little bit of rewording and clarifying to make it more readable.

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