Border Crossing Guide: Bangkok to Siem Reap

Thailand Cambodia border crossing

welcome to Cambodia!

I wish this guide posted on the Matador Network was available before I did this border crossing.  Border Crossing Guide: Bangkok to Siem Reap

Here are a few of my own tips:

1. Do. Not. Buy. A. Direct. Bus. Ticket. From. Bangkok. To. Siem. Reap. Unless you like to spend way more money than everyone else. This “direct” bus drops you off at a travel agency in the Thai border town. Then they tell you that you have to pay more than what the visa costs because you didn’t buy it in advance, and then they take your passports and walk to the border crossing, get the visa for you, and pocket the extra cash. They will smile. They will be friendly and reassuring. All the other clueless travelers will exchange looks with each other trying to seek comfort in this. It is all a scam. Just ignore them and walk to the border crossing.

2. Before you pass through the crossing in Cambodia, your chaperone will tell you that the bus from the Cambodian border town to Siem Reap takes 6 hours, and it’s on a horrible road, and best of all, it won’t be ready until x (x is the time they figure is too long for you to wait). But you can use a share taxi! This, of course, isn’t included. It’s not recommended that you wait for the bus… because who knows when it will get there… and it takes so long to get to Siem Reap. I’m not sure if there is even a bus that exists. This article recommends you take the share taxi (and in my experience, it was $40 per taxi ride, 4 people in a taxi).

After you get to Siem Reap, and see the Temples of Angkor, it will all seem worth it :) Good luck!

  • petsafe

    Checked the link and it looks really useful. I’m crossing the border with couple of friends on March but I’ll be doing it the other way (Cambodia-Thailand), plus after Siem Reap, we’re still thinking of going to Sihanoukville. I’ve made an itenerary where we still have to go back to Phnom Penh before proceeding to Battambang-Poipet-Aranyaphratet route. Any suggestions? Is there an easier and faster way to do it? Thanks.

  • jasminewanders

    Where in Cambodia are you starting? Phnom Penh or Siem Reap? If you start in Siem Reap, you could go down to Phnom Penh, then down to Sihanoukville, and then get to Thailand by taking a bus from Sihanoukville to Koh Kong (Cambodia) and you walk over to Had Lek (Thailand). After, take a bus to Trat. You could stay the night there and then head to Bangkok by bus afterward. That’s what I did :) It’s a non-scam route. I hope that’s what you meant… if not let me know and I can tell you another route.

  • petsafe

    We’re starting in Phnom Penh to Siem Reap then Sihanoukville before heading to Thailand. The planned route is Phnom Penh to Siem Reap then back again to Phnom Penh then Sihanoukville. Wish we don’t have to go back to Phnom Penh if it’s possible. So the Koh Khong-Had Lek-Trat route would be easier and quicker than that of Battambang-Poipet-Aranyaphratet? Thanks for your help. :D

  • jasminewanders

    Yeah for sure, because Sihanoukville is in the south, so if you went through Battambang you’d have to go all the way back up through Phnom Penh for a 3rd time. The Koh Kong -> Had Lek -> Trat -> Bangkok is easy and hassle free. Hope you check out the S-21 prison and watch the doco, it’s very eye-opening. Enjoy your trip! I love Cambodia :)

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  • Hi Jasmine, I enjoy reading your blog, as I did a similar thing a couple of years ago. I only spent a couple of weeks in Thailand though. I think for my next trip I will definately have to do more of SE Asia, I missed out a lot.

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  • jasminewanders

    I just write about what I see, feel, and experience… and sometimes ideas just come to me randomly. Not very helpful I know, but I never really thought about it :)

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  • jasminewanders

    What’s the essay on?

  • simple spell

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  • What a fascinating and inspirational site!Great advice to boot :)

  • Siem Reap

    One of the most famous
    facets of this city is the temples of Angkor that have been named as Cambodia’s
    eighth wonder of the world. The Old French Quarter offers a look back in to the
    colonial times of the city, where some of the buildings of an era gone by still
    stand today. Angkor is a place to be savoured,
    for its historic past, for its natural beauty and local charm. Things are
    developing fast in this region, with luxury boutique hotels and resorts
    springing up around and a new rush of tourist entrants in to the country. The
    rustic charm of this country still remains, and is one of the things that will
    make you fall in love with it.