Bangkok To Siem Reap via Bandit Country
Poipet Travel Blog› entry 9 of 17 › view all entries
If you're travelling by road, getting to Cambodia from Bangkok makes for an epic journey. First, you need to get a bus to Aranya Prathet which you can do from most of the main bus stations (Ekkami, Morchit and Southern). From Ekkami they run every 30 mins and cost about 200 baht, the other two stations have a reduced schedule and prices are similar.
The bus takes 5-6 hours and acutally leaves you at Aran, and from here you need to get to Aranya Prathet border market. From here, it's best to look like you know what you're doing, so try not to be futzing about with a lonely planet or standing scratching your head.
You can get a minbus if it happens to be there for 15 baht or a tuk tuk for about 50 baht. It's 7km away. We took the minubus with the locals. Once you get to the border market you will be surrounded by touts asking if you want a lift to the border.
You'll first go through Thai border checkpoint and get stamped out of Thailand. Now you're in no mans land - walk towards the big arch that says The Kingdom Of Cambodia. Ignore the guy dressed as a police man who greets you there and asks you to follow him. He will charge you 1400 baht for the visa which should actually cost a lot less, but we'll get back to that. Walk to the right of the arch to the kiosk that says Visa Service. This is staffed by Cambodian officials.
Once you have the visa, walk onwards into the Kingdom. You'll come to another checkpoint where you have to fill in the same forms again and show your visa to the customs people, and get stamped into the country.
Ignore everybody else too.
Go into the bus station. You have two choices with a seperate clearly signed window for each - bus or taxi to Siem Reap. Bus is cheaper, but no toilet, windows or AC and takes a lot longer than the taxi and is liable to break down. We took a taxi which took 6 hours in good conditions. The taxi is 600 baht per person (they still use baht here) which is a decent price. Our taxi had two drivers who occupied the drivers seat at the same time for the entire duration, for reasons I'll never understand as neither of them spoke a word of English.
Six hours later you're in Siem Reap, which rises out of the mud so suddenly you'll think you've just fallen asleep.
Likely, it is late in the evening and you are tired. But you made it. Congratulations! You can relax a little now because Siem Reap is actually a great place with very friendly people and not at all like the bandit country you've just come through.
I highly recommend Earthwalkers. It's a great little hotel just outside the city center, closer to the temples. The atmosphere is really friendly, there's a nice pool, the rooms are clean with AC and shower and it's cheap as chips.