Crossing land borders terrifies me. I don’t know why. In my early years of travel, I jumped from one country to another by plane. But when you’re backpacking across continental Southeast Asia, it often can’t be helped because it is the easiest, cheapest way, especially for the Bangkok-Siem Reap route.

I’ve already crossed the Thailand-Cambodia border overland three times now. I still remember how nervous I was on my first time doing it. The whole time, I didn’t know where to go, what to do, how to go about the whole thing. The dozens of touts swarming around me on the way into and out of the Immigration building were not helping. I’ve read about the scams that run rampant in the area, and the thought of falling victim to one scared the hell out of me.

If you’re traveling from Bangkok to Siem Reap and you’re a bit nervous, I know the feeling. Hence, I’m sharing with you this step-by-step guide. You have these options: by DIRECT bus, by ordinary bus, or by train.

Bangkok to Siem Reap by Direct Bus

You have two bus options. You can travel by bus to Aranyaprathet, the town on the border, then switch to another bus once you’re through with the immigration processes. But you can book a DIRECT bus.

DIRECT BUSES are those that would take you from Bangkok to Siem Reap without switching vehicles in 9 hours. Although you will still need to get off and go through the Immigration counters on your own, you don’t need to bring your luggage with you. You can leave your bags on the bus, go through Immigration, and the same bus will meet you on the other side.

Here’s the whole process:

  1. Go to the bus terminal and board your bus.
  2. Get off at the border. You will be given a badge which you shouldn’t lose because you’ll need it to board the bus on the other side.
  3. Go through the Immigration processes as quickly as you can. Yes, the bus will wait for you, but be mindful of other people’s time too. You’ll enter the Thai Immigration building first, go through Immigration, emerge on the other side, walk to the Cambodian side, go through their process this time.
  4. Find your bus on the other side. Hop in and you’ll be on your way to Siem Reap’s city center.

If you have questions or need help, do not hesitate to ask the driver. They’re trained to assist you.

IMPORTANT! You’ll find AN AWFUL LOT of advertisements for direct buses, but most of them are NOT really direct. They still switch buses after the border. I even experienced booking a supposedly direct bus but then at the border, we transferred to a much smaller minibus (van). Some of these scammers will squeeze money out of you. There have been reports from other travelers where the bus would make a stop at a travel agency and insist on buying visa from them. The catch: these are overpriced inauthentic visas. (If you’re an ASEAN resident, you don’t need a visa!)

If you want a genuinely hassle-free DIRECT bus, book only with the following companies:

Transport Co. (Nattakan).
Terminal: Morchit (Mo Chit) aka North Terminal
Leaves Bangkok at 8am and 9am.
Fare: THB 750 ($22) if you book at the terminal; THB 870 ($26) if online.

Giant Ibis
Terminal: Khao San Giant Ibis
Leaves Bangkok at 7:45am
Fare: THB 1091 ($32) is you book online

You can buy tickets at the terminal itself, but there are limited buses per day so you might want to reserve online.

Reserve here: Bangkok-Siem Reap Buses

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Bangkok to Siem Reap by Regular Bus

If the price and schedule of direct buses don’t work for you, you can always take a regular bus to the border town of Aranyaprathet, cross the border, and then take another bus or taxi to Siem Reap.

Warning: Go early because it becomes exponentially difficult to get to Siem Reap when you reach the border at night. The last thing you want is to be trapped in the border. The towns on either side of the border are unpleasant, and there’s really not much to do. There’s nothing there but hotels and casinos.

  1. In Bangkok, go to Morchit (Mo Chit) aka North Terminal.
  2. Book a bus to Aranyaprathet. There’s one every hour from 3am to 12nn, and three more buses from noon to 5pm. Fare: THB 205 ($6).
  3. At Aranyaprathet Bus Stop, take a tuktuk to Rong Khlua border market (Friendship market), where the border gates are located. Fare: 100 baht for tuktuk. Motorbike rides are also available at 60 baht. Do not entertain touts offering express visa or immigration services. Do all the paperwork at the Immigration gates instead.
  4. Clear Immigration. Once you’re through with Thai Immigration, you’ll emerge in the Cambodian town of Poipet. Cross the short bridge and you’ll reach the Cambodian Immigration on the other side. If you’re an ASEAN resident, you only to fill out a form on both sides of the border to get through. Again, DO NOT entertain touts that will approach you.
  5. In Poipet, take the FREE shuttle to the transport depot.
  6. At the transport depot, you may take the government bus (Fare: $10) to Siem Reap. Another option is taking a taxi, which costs $35-55. If you’re traveling alone, you can form a group with other travelers so you could split the cost. The great thing about the taxi is, you can ask the driver to drop you off at your hotel if it’s in the city center.

That’s it! Although it involves a few transfers, it’s actually very easy in practice. A bit tiring, yes, but not that hard to do.


Bangkok to Siem Reap by Train

  1. In Bangkok, go to Hualamphong Station and buy a ticket. Two trains ply this route scheduled at 05:55am and 01:05pm. Try to catch the morning train. Travel time: at least 6 hours. Fare: 48 baht.
  2. At Aranyaprathet Station, travel to Rong Khlua border market (Friendship market) by tuktuk (THB 100) or motorbike (THB 60).
  3. Clear Immigration on both sides of the border. You’ll have to walk a little bit in between. DO NOT entertain touts who will approach you.
  4. In Poipet, take the FREE shuttle to the transport depot.
  5. At the transport depot, you may take the government bus (Fare: $10) or taxi ($35-55) to Siem Reap. If you’re traveling solo, you can find other travelers to form a group so you could split the cost with them.

Top Budget Hotels Under $25

The Golden Gecko Villa
Street 20, Siem Reap Central Area

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Visoth Boutique Hotel
Sok San Road, Siem Reap Central Area

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Oriental Siem Reap
0503Watbo Village, Salakamreuk Quarter, Siem Reap Municipal

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Bopha Residence
City Centre, Wat Damnak, Siem Reap Central Area

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Yoshke Dimen

Yoshke Dimen

Storyteller at Yoshke.com
Yoshke is a part-time digital marketing consultant, part-time travel blogger, and full-time dreamer. He has three passions in life: social media, travel, and --- wait for it --- world peace. Yoshke has won 3 PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS and received 9 nominations. Learn more about his personal journeys at Yoshke.com.
Yoshke Dimen

Comments

  1. Mariel says:

    Hello. We are planning to cross Siem Reap on the 25th. If we’ll cross by the regular bus, are the tickets available at Aranyaprathet anytime?

  2. KC says:

    Hi, we are planning an indochina trip this year and I heard a lot about immigration scam in the TH-KH boarder. Hoping you could share on your blog tips how you handled things once you were in that situation since we are Filipinos which are visa-free for those countries. Have you also experienced that even from uniformed personnel of immigration? I heard one case of that. Thank you in advance

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi KC, we haven’t experienced falling victim to scams at the Immigration. We’ve done this crossing 3x now, and we simply ignore everything and go straight to the immigration counters.

  3. tinne says:

    hi! im planning to travel from bangkok to siem reap, is it possible for a day tour etinerary? im leaving bangkok early in the morning and planning of coming back from siem reap at 5pm. or if im going to stay there at night the im planning to go directly to ayuttaya. guides pls. thank you!

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi Tinne, that would be very exhausting. I don’t recommend that.

  4. cess says:

    Hi gusto ko lang po ask if what is the best option for you going to siem reap by bus or by train thank you

  5. Hya says:

    hi! thank you for this very helpful blog.
    would like to ask how many hours does it take for the regular bus to reach Aranyaprathet from Bangkok, then the whole immigration stuff, and the bus from Aranyaprathet to siem reap?
    thanks again.

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Bangkok to Aranyaprathet, around 5 hours.

      Immigration, depends on many factors, but if there is no line and you don’t need a visa, probably 30 minutes-1 hour. However, queueing can take some time so give an allowance.

      Poipet to Siem Reap, 2.5 to 3 hours.

  6. ajhay says:

    HI ! i booked my flight from manila to bangkok to visit thailand but i changed my mind and wanting to visit siem reap, would this help me for my immigration in cambodia ?

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi Ajhay, sorry, I don’t understand the question. May you clarify?

  7. Lottie says:

    Hi! Mahirap ba pag luggage yung dala pag bus? Mas okay ba backpack? Thanks!

  8. kristine says:

    Hello. Did you go back to bangkok after your Siem Reap? I’m thinking of taking the bus going back to bangkok. So, will I just reserve the process? :)

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      Hi Kristine, on my first time, yep. I returned to bangkok. I just booked a bus in Siem Reap. I did reserve but the bus was not full. But it was lean season (September).

    • Yoshke Dimen says:

      According to my female friend who traveled there alone, it felt safe. Just don’t stray too far from the tourist sites.

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