The trip from Bangkok to Siem Reap is one of the most talked about routes in the Southeast Asia region. Here’s a cheat sheet to get you there and back without having to lose much effort.
Bangkok Airways was for a long time the only airline flying from Bangkok to Siem Reap route, and it was one of the most expensive flights around. Thankfully, a pair of regional airlines - AirAsia and Cambodia Angkor Air - cracked the monopoly. While Bangkok Airways still charges more than 5,000 baht ($157) for a one-way ticket, flights on AirAsia can be found for as reasonable as 1,800 baht ($57), and on Cambodia Angkor Air for around 2,500 baht ($79) including taxes. While that’s still not cheap for an hour-long flight, it’s a major improvement.
Keep in mind that AirAsia flies out of Bangkok’s old airport, Don Muang, while both Cambodia Angkor and Bangkok Airways will depart from Suvarnabhumi. With Bangkok Airways, checked bags up to 20 kilograms are free, unlike AirAsia, which charges 500 baht ($16) for the first 20 kilograms. Bangkok Airways is still probably the most comfortable choice.
The eyecatching cover of Bangkok Airways plane
The full trip has two segments: the Thai side (from Bangkok to Aranyaprathet and the border) and the Cambodian side (from Poipet to Siem Reap). The border crossing opens daily from 07:00 to 22:00 and Cambodian visa on arrival is available for most nationalities.
Bangkok to Aranyaprathet
Unless you’re willing to hire a taxi from Bangkok to Aranyaprathet (expect to pay around $94), your choice is down to train or bus. If you’re traveling slow(slowly) and maybe considering overnighting in Aranyaprathet, then the train is great, but most people choose a bus or minibus as they're a lot quicker.
Two ordinary third-class-only trains depart for Aranyaprathet daily from Bangkok’s Hualamphong Station. The morning train leaves at 05:55, the afternoon one at 13:05, and the trip takes a solid six hours or more. You must catch the morning train if you want to get to Siem Reap on the same day without hiring a taxi. The train is slow but scenic so if you have time, it’s worth doing at least once. While neither of the border towns is charming in the least, Aranyaprathet has a better selection of accommodation if you need to spend a night in the area.
Getting by train is a good way to enjoy the beautiful nature
There is now a direct bus service running from Morchit (Northern) Terminal in Bangkok to Siem Reap, with buses leaving at 08:00 a.m and 09:00 a.m every morning. Tickets are 750 baht ($24) and can be bought from Transport Co. Ltd at Morchit - look for the orange booths.
The bus will take you directly to the border at Aranyaprathet. The staff will provide some instructions for getting through the Thai immigration checkpoint, from a couple of hundred metres across a casino-studded purgatory. Once through to Poipet in Cambodia, the same bus will be waiting to take you onwards to Siem Reap.
If those travel times don’t work for you, or tickets aren’t available, there are other options. From Morchit Terminal, buses to Aranyaprathet depart hourly from 03:00 to 12:00 and three more times up to 17:30, each costs 205 baht ($7). Tickets can be purchased from booths on the ground floor and buses depart from the massive parking lot out back. These buses will run straight to the border crossing at Rong Khlua Market.
From Bangkok’s Ekkamai (Eastern) Terminal, buses to Aranyaprathet depart roughly every two hours from 07:00 to 16:00, while minibuses run hourly from 05:00 to 17:00, both for around 200 baht ($7). Compared to Morchit, catching buses at Ekkamai is easy and the location right next to the same-named BTS sky train station making it more convenient. These buses will also run straight to the border.
From Aranyaprathet train or bus station you’ll need to take a tuk-tuk, motorbike taxi or Songthaew to Rong Khlua border market around 7km away. The ride costs around 60 baht ($2) for a motorbike and 100 baht ($4) for a tuk-tuk, depending on the number of passengers. Do not allow a tout into the tuk-tuk with you, and do not take the driver up on offers to take care of your Cambodia visa on the way to the border.
Once you’ve been stamped into Cambodia, take the government shuttle bus from the border to the transport depot. From there you have some choices: share- or private-taxi, government bus or pick-up truck.
Leaving Poipet by a taxi to Siem Reap will cost $30 to 50, so try to hook up with other travelers to split the fare. The government bus costs $10 and is a lot faster than it used to be. A ride in a pick-up will cost 100 baht ($4) for two seats in the cab — note that this is only to Sisophon, from where you’ll need to organize another ride on to Siem Reap. The road is completely sealed and a trip by taxi from the border to Siem Reap can take as short as an hour and a half. If you goby bus, expect a slower ride that will probably include a stop at a restaurant.
See, getting from Bangkok to Siem Reap is going to be easy!
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