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Cambodia Overland

Travelers' Reports:
Overland, Bangkok - Siem Reap

Page 15 of 22 (April 2004 - September 2004)

These are a variety of reports detailing experiences traveling both independently and on Khao San Road-purchased bus tickets. If you'd like to share your own experiences, please e-mail them to me. There are also sections here devoted to all other overland border crossings as well.

Family Affair, Koh Chang - Aranyaprathet/Poipet - Siem Reap (August 2004):

Travelling with my wife and 2 daughters (13 & 15) we went overland from Koh Chang to Siem Reap on August 18-19 and on to Phnom Penh a few days later. I found the information from Tales of Asia very useful in planning my trip!

Going to Cambodia from Koh Chang you can take daily minibuses to Phnom Penh or to Aranyaprathet. Prices vary between 1100 and 1400 B per person. For Phnom Penh you will leave around 8 am and will have to stay a night in a guesthouse (included in the price) in Koh Kong City to continue on to Phnom Penh the next morning at 8 am. I negotiated a private minibus to Aranyaprathet for 3000 B. Pick up at my hotel and including the ferry crossing to the mainland. We got the 11 am ferry and arrived in Aranyaprathet around 3:30 pm. Roads are excellent and very quiet on this route. It should be possible to continue onwards to Siem Reap the same day, but since I was with my family and left late in the morning, I decided to spend the night in Aranyaprathet. We stayed at the Mermaid hotel (900 B/room), next to the train station. A sterile, impersonal, business type, hotel, but otherwise clean and OK rooms. In Aranyaprathet, we couldn’t think of anything else to do than a face/foot massage in the centre of town (the massage lady appeared to be in the visa business as well, but I declined!), and in the evening my daughters happily sang away in the Mermaid karaoke bar (there was 1 other guest!).

The next morning in drizzling rain, we took 2 tuk-tuks to the border for 60 B each and were dropped off at a sort of fast food joint on the left hand side of the road. Here the road turns to the right and then to the left again to arrive at the Thai border. Among a few touts there were also a number of guys with handcarts who asked 100B to ferry our luggage. I agreed 30 B with a young boy who had a cart with a nice plastic cover to keep our luggage dry. He ferried it all the way to our Toyota Camry in Cambodia, staying on the main road while we had to go in and out of the various immigration offices along the way. It appeared to make things a lot easier (and I actually gave him 100 B in the end)! We quickly got our exit stamp in the Thai immigration office on the left-hand side of the road, and then crossed the road to the small Cambodian Visa office a little bit further on the right-hand side of the road. We completed 4 forms (there is a pile of them on the left hand side in the office and a completed example on the wall), attached pictures, added 4000 B and handed it over through the left of the 2 small windows. Five minutes later our passports were thrown out of the little window on the right hand side (it is advisable to hang around and keep an eye on this window, because anybody could pick up your passport and run with it). There was only one guy who offered to help me but I declined and he turned around almost offended (it could have been a genuine offer of course!).

Having received our visa, we continued on to the next office (Cambodian immigration) on the right hand site of the road to complete our entry cards. However before we reached the immigration office, there were two very kind, officially dressed Cambodian health officers at a desk, who claimed 20 B per person in return for a small yellow piece of paper that stated that we were healthy (I read somewhere else that you can avoid this scam by temporarily crossing the street. It’s not a lot of money though…) By now the first touts started harassing me for transport to Siem Reap but I ignored them. After handing over our passports with visa, completed entrance cards and yellow health statements we got our passports stamped and finally stepped into Cambodia!

I immediately made it clear to a few touts that I was going to pay 1000 B for a Toyota Camry to Siem Reap and that I was going to the guesthouse/hotel of my choice. This didn’t seem to be a problem and a Camry was already waiting for me with trunk open. Before committing, I inspected the Camry and talked to the driver. Apart from the fact that it had no license plates, it looked fine. After a policeman, joining the scene, assured me that driving with no plates is perfectly normal in Cambodia (after all these guys need to do something for their bribing money), we jumped in and off we went. Not before the driver had paid another policeman 60 B though. The driver appeared to be a nice chap, speaking understandable Cenglish (Cambodian English), and he told me that it costs him a total of 200 B to bribe him in and out of Poi Pet. He also told me that he had bought his Camry for 2500 USD and that it was illegally imported from Thailand to circumvent the import tax of around 1100 USD (that’s why it has no license plates and has the steering wheel on the wrong side!). It seems that this situation is tolerated over here, but he wouldn’t be able to drive to Phnom Penh.

We left the border at 11:30 and took 4 hours to bounce to Siem Reap. The road is one of the worst I have ever seen, and I have seen the roads in Java, Myanmar and India! The first bit is much deteriorated asphalt scattered with potholes, than it changes to slippery (that is when it rains) red clay also scattered with potholes and big protruding rocks and the last 20 km or so is ok again. It is a miracle that these Camrys stay together in one piece driving up and down this road every day. Our driver, constantly tried to convince me that it was better to speed (sometimes 100 km/hr) and fly over the potholes instead of going slowly and falling into them! At some point we reached a bridge that was half collapsed and hanging at a 30 degree angle. A long queue of trucks was waiting for the bridge to be repaired. Before I could say anything we were already in the middle of the bridge with my heart skipping a beat, and my wife in panic! We spent quite some time envisioning what we would have done if we hadn’t been able to cross the bridge! Also, there was this police guy stepping into the road and clearly raising his hand to stop us…….our driver just ignored him and lowered his right foot! He didn’t feel the need to pay another bribe…..In the end we survived and would not have wanted to miss the experience!!

Two days later we took a Camry with license plates and the steering wheel on the correct side (that is the left side in Cambodia!) to Phnom Penh which took us about 4 hours (2000 B). The road is good and the traffic was very light. In Phnom Penh we stayed at the Billabong (advertising on Tales of Asia website). Got a good rate from the Australian owner and very much enjoyed the good rooms, swimming pool and very kind staff.

Small dramas (August 2004):

I speak NO (as in NONE) Khmer - even breaking the first rule of what you learn to say in any language - First, learn to count (to 100 if possible); Second, the word for BEER; Third and last, the word for "used beer department" (toilet).

It's interesting when one tries to take another route from the "usual" one. Chantaburi is far enough south that it would have been "easier" to cross at Cham Yeam (Koh Kong) except that I wanted to go to Siem Riep (This WAS the trip when I would do Angkor!) At any rate - a relatively easy trip from Chantaburi to Sa Kaew (left at about 08:00am, arrived Sa Kaew about 12:00 noon), then an "instant" bus change to Aran, the tuk-tuk to the border (arrived about 13:00 pm). Lots of "baggage carriers" offers (have wheeled cart, "Mai ow, krup") but a LONG wait to get OUT of Thailand - maybe 25 minutes in line. Then the trek to the visa area (or at least what I thought was the visa area - turned out it was actually entry point, so turn around and hike back maybe 100m). I HAD the visa photo and a couple of old Cambo stamps in the passport as well, so they KNEW that I KNEW the visa drill. Anyway, the usual "visa costs 1000B" where upon I shrugged and walked away, put a picture of Jackson ($20 US) with the visa app into the passport and handed it over to the money taker and walked away (Note for anyone reading this - IF you can get the visa in Bangkok - the embassy - you will save SO MUCH TIME AND AGGRAVATION). They weren't HAPPY with the $20 but 10 minutes later, the visa appeared. Now for the trick - IF you don't go thru the SARS guys, you don't even have to DEAL with them - and there is NOTHING they will do if you walk across the road to the other side go up about 25m and cross back again (they are too busy working their other pigeons to actually CARE).

Crossed at the entry in a few seconds and then started walking for the traffic circle. I wanted to take a pick-up but after actually GETTING to Siem Riep, I'm glad I took advantage of the Camry ($25 - the pickup would have been MUCH less, but after seeing the pickup I was offered, I took the cab (who was on the return leg after a drop-off from SR).

Right hand drive, so I sit front left and do "passing clear" duty. Driver spoke reasonable english and some Thai, so we got on enough. The paved road from Poipet to Sis0phon deteriorated but was at least still paved.

IMMEDIATELY upon leaving Swai (Sisophon), we were onto a dusty red clay road and leaving rooster tails of red dust for maybe 500m behind us. About 30km into the trip, road got progressively worse (soon having potholes large enough to swallow a Volkswagen). Bridge crossings were somewhat "adventuresome" - roll up to the edge (depending on which side of the road has the "best" approach) and cross onto the bridge deck and then off the other side with a bit of a bounce. Drive around the larger holes, occasionally find a spot under repair (graders and dozers) - From Swai to where the paved road picked up again, maybe 2.5 hours. Immediately after getting on the tarmac again, we stopped at a friend of the driver's (broken down). A couple of minutes and a guy came up and in halting english asked if I would mind if 2 women and 2 kids rode into SR with me (big-hearted American - why not? Lots of room)
We go about 4km and THUMP-BANG-TINKLE-TINKLE-GRIND (stop, of course) Oh well, we broke a shock in two. So much for "hi-speed" travel - the remaining 40km took a bit over 1 hour. Arrived at about 6 or so.

RELATIVELY easy trip. People need to understand, though that in SEA the "distance" is measured in TIME. "How far is it? - About 3 hours." Sort of makes me want to fly (even at the expense). I can only imagine what the road condition is like now (in the wet season). Thanks for the heads-up on the drill at Poipet, though

A family trip (August 2004):

We went on Monday, July 28th 2004, at 7:00 a.m. from Sukhumvit with metered Taxi to Mor Chit station (about 120 Baht plus 40 Baht highway toll) where I got a ticket for the bus to Aranyaprathet (164 Baht per passenger), leaving about 2 minutes later at 7:30 a.m. -- you would never make this schedule if you planned it that way ;-)

After arrival in Aranyaprathet around 12 a.m. we took a tuktuk to the border, which cost me 60 baht. I didn't bargain, I never haggle for 10 baht.

We made a short stop at the convenience store and bought some food and drinks. I shook off the touts at the border (I have some training from other trips, how to ignore them in a manner so they give up quickly) and we went to Thai immigration where we were stamped out.

Getting a Cambodian visa was a little bit of a nasty experience and expensive. The officer behind the window did not accept 80 dollars for four visas and made absolutely clear he would only hand it out for 1000 baht each. After some haggling I gave up and paid the requested sum - this guy is in power to deny us our visas. None of the visas in our passports showed a readable price for the visa (only "USD" if any). So this officer scammed us for about 20 dollar. I have never seen such a behaviour of an officer anywhere in the world against western tourists before. Although I exactly knew the correct price, I could not obtain a visa for this price.

Cambodian immigration was easy, the officer there was very friendly. The complete process from entering the Thai immigration building until leaving off at the Cambodian side took about one hour.

When arriving at the circle around 1 p.m., a tout approached me and offered me a taxi ride to Sieam Reap for 1500 Baht. I denied his request, telling him I would pay 25 dollar and not one cent more. I was very firm and told him I had done this trip many times before (which was a clear lie) and after less than one minute haggling we agreed upon 25 dollars for a Camry Taxi to Siem Reap.

We only had one medium sized bag - so it was no problem that the driver already had two big sacks with crop or something in the rear trunk. He delivered them in Sisophon, which took only 1 minute as it was on the way. I decided to ignore this. We stopped in Kranlanh for 20 minutes, getting some drinks and visiting the toilets and arrived in Siem Reap at Chenla Guesthouse (a very nice one!) after about 3:30 hours from Poi Pet.

The road is a little bit bumpy but only short parts of it are really bad. But driving with almost 100 km/h on a good dirt road made me feel uncomfortable. When the road turned worse and the driver had to reduce speed, I felt somewhat better.

After three great days in Siem Reap (my wife fell in love with the country and especially the Cambodian people which are much more hearty than the Thais in her eyes) we made the way back to Bangkok. Chenla Guesthouse ordered a taxi for us without claiming any fee for that service for the normal price of 25 dollars. This time we had no hassle and made the complete way in slightly over 9 hours. On the way back we were lucky and got one of the newer buses from Aranyaprathet to Bangkok (also 164 Baht per passenger) what made the trip much more comfortable. We were lucky again and the bus left within 2 minutes after our arrival at the bus station.

At Mor Chit bus terminal we got stuck in the worst traffic jam I ever saw in Bangkok, as it was Friday before a long weekend. After spending 30 minutes in the taxi and only going 1 kilometer in this time, we decided to go to the BTS station and went to the hotel in Sukhumvit Road by skytrain, which took another 30 minutes.

An Overseas Khmer's journey (August 2004):

I went through Poipet (my wife's village) last year for the first time and it was to be expected and as you described. Although, there were a few moment of difficulties at the border crossing (Cambodia's side), the trip was an enjoyable and very inexpensive experience for us, compare to air route. As Khmer-Americans, my wife and I, faced a little more harrasment than our Western traveler companions, especially at the check point. It is also a little bit costly for us in term of "tea-money" or else we have to head back to BKK and then fly into Siem Reap, something we were not prepared to do. Personally, my view of my fellow Khmer border guards, I wish I could... well better not say it here.

Would I do it again, crossing at Poipet? Surely. But I may think twice if I brought with me those who need a little more comfortness (such as my wife and other travelers). I very much enjoyed the overland trip to Cambodia and have very, very little complain, except perhaps about the few immoral Khmer border guards and their less than professional behavoir, especially toward their fellow Khmers. It is nothing new there.

For potential travelers, my message is to give it a try. It might not be as a comfortable trip as by air, but you experience more of Cambodia that you come to explore and pay a much less $$$ for what you will gain in return. Go by land!!!

Train news (August 2004):

Despite it being 5:30, I could not miss to notice that there was a AC 2nd class carriage at the end of the train (Bangkok to Aranyaprathet). It seems that the train now has 2nd class as standard?! This was February 28 - but I heard of someone else who experienced the same thing a few days later. It was a very well spent 165 Baht. After that everything was as you explained, down to the colour of the Camry. It was first when we where there that realised why it is not a good idea to travel on the back of a pick up.

We travelled with a Swede that runs a small car rental company. He swore that if the Camry survived he would ever only rent out camrys. I suppose there is now a rental company in Stockholm offering Camrys only. Also, I liked the fact that the driver never turned of the engine whilst filling up the tank - keep that AC blowing!

Positive trips still do occur on the KSR buses (July 2004):

Thanks for the useful information on this trip. I only found your page the night before leaving Bangkok and just after parting with my money for the bus tickets. So I got on the bus at 7am filled with the expectation of a day from hell. However, I'm glad to say it was nowhere near as bad as expected.

The big air-con bus finally left Bangkok around 7.30am with two groups on board (one with stickers and one without). We headed near to the border with no fuss where the stickered group were ushered off at one restaurant and we were taken to another.

We were invited to have the staff apply for our visas and when we asked the price we were told 1200 baht. We asked how much it would be at the border and they said "the same". We declined the offfer with no hassle had a drink and were back on the bus in 30 minutes.

We passed through the Thai exit point with no problems and then applied for and recieved our Cambodian visas with no hassle. In between a guy from our bus handed out SARS info, but didn't ask for any money. At no point did anyone even ask if we wanted to change money, much less force us to.

Once safely on the Cambodian side we were taken to an office where we waited for another 30 minutes for a bus to arrive half filled with a different group. We hopped on and 4 hours later, after a dinner stop of 45 minutes or so, we were in Siem Reap, arriving almost exactly 12 hours after leaving Bangkok.

Predictably, we were dropped at a guest house - Fresh Air, just out of town. I looked at a room which was nice, but opted to head to another place in town. Again leaving without any hassle.

The next day we met some people we had travelled with who had stayed at Fresh Air and had good reports of clean rooms with free laundry and free bike hire. All in all a better deal than I ended up with!

I agree that it was hassle that could have been avoided by travelling independently, but it didn't seem half as bad as it could have been.

There and back (July 2004):

I crossed from Bangkok to Siem Reap on July 18th. I took a taxi to the bus station, and then the first 1st class bus to Aranyaprathet. The ride only took 4 hours (7am-11am) and the only odd thing that happened was that at the checkpoint about 20km from the border, the military guy got on the bus and actually asked 2 women for IDs and kicked 3 others off the bus. The bus just drove off without them.

I had to do some bargaining to get my Tuk Tuk ride to the actual border from the bus station to cost the 50 Baht you mentioned (their first quote was 70). Once at the crossing, I was swarmed with touts as I exited the Tuk Tuk, but I completely ignored them, and they quickly fell away one by one asking, "why won't you speak to us?"

Thailand immigration generally went fine, but despite the fact that I had arrived before the tour buses, it still took forever. I stood in the "Alien Passport" line, but quickly realized that the other lines (full of mostly Thais) were all moving much faster than mine.

I wasn't hassled at all in the "no man's land" between the Thai and Cambodian side--the beggars just sat on the side of the road shaking their coin cups and looking sad.

At the Passport Service Office--about 4 guys (in uniform) all wanted me to give them their passport before I got to the window. I refused, walked to the window, and was given a form to fill out. I tried handing them $20 US with my passport and form, but they said they only accepted Baht and that they needed 1,000 of it. I said that the visa only cost $20 US, and that wouldn't equal 1,000 Baht--only around 800, but the guy said that if I had gotten the visa in Bangkok, I could have gotten it for $20 US, but here the price was 1,000 Baht. He accented his point further by pointing to two other foreigners' passports with 1,000 Baht each stuck inside. Realizing that I was out of luck, I handed over 1,000 Baht, and in about 15 minutes, a guy in uniform came out of the visa office flashing my passport to everyone (he even tried to give my
passport to someone who didn't look like me at all--luckily she refused to take it). The guy in line in back of me was charged 1,100 Baht for the visa--I guess they didn't like how he looked.

My original plan was to take trucks to Siem Reap, since I was a solo traveler and felt that a Camry just for me was too expensive. I ended up talking to two other backpackers while waiting for my visa, however, and we agreed to share a taxi. The taxi touts were in full force. We shook 2 of them off, but the 3rd pointed to a guy and said, "he is a driver"... and we turned and talked to the driver and agreed on $25 US for the fare (1000 Baht) immediately. Despite the fact that we spoke directly to the driver--he still paid the tout 100 Baht for us! The taxi ride was quick--about 3 hours--with 2 toilet breaks (one at the "city of toilets") and an unasked for stop at the side of a lake down a sketchy dirt road where locals could rent a hammock in the shade.

I stayed at the Red Lodge, and found it to be very nice (really good reading/TV watching area, free bike usage, helped arrange guides, etc.)--although I had to travel past the many "24 Hour Massage" parlors to get there from downtown. I hired a local guy (English-speaking student who was also working at one of the huge and expensive hotels on the edge of town to support his two younger siblings--his parents died 2 years ago) to take me around the temples on his motorbike. The temples were amazing--and worth the journey!

The trip back to Bangkok on July 21st was just as easy as the trip there. I shared a taxi to the border with another guy staying at my guesthouse (1000 Baht total), walked across the border in about 20 minutes without any problem, had to bargain with the Tuk Tuk driver to get the fare to the bus station down to 50 Baht (this one wanted 60), and stayed away from all of the touts trying to get us to go on the 2nd class bus back to Bangkok. The 1st class bus to Bangkok took 5 hours and had many whiney tourists on it--but otherwise was comfortable. One thing to note would be that there is actually a local bus that runs from the Northern Bus Terminal to the Mo Chit Sky Train station--bus 77, which leaves from a local bus station a few meters down the road from the metered taxi stand at the Terminal, and costs only 4 Baht per person.

Easy as usual (July 2004):

Thanks very much for all the detail on the land crossing into Cambodia at Poipet. We went over early in the morning of June 30th (sounds like it's a good thing we didn't wait until the 1st) and had no problems whatsoever. Compared to trying to get a rickshaw in India, where you might be swarmed by a dozen or more people, it was even pleasant.

We took the govt. bus to Aranya Prathet and stayed overnight there. If you have the time, it's definitely worth a stopover. We found the people to be more friendly than any others in Thailand and it's definitely not your typical border town. There was a parade in honour of cleaning the city and everyone was in good spirits. Street food is good too; look for the guy with the 5 baht pork satay.

Took a tuk tuk to the border at about 8am and arrived at the same time as a group of Koreans and all the little kids swarmed them instead of us. Had a couple of touts try to be my friend but a quick "Not interested" and they took off. No lineup at the Thai exit, got Cambodian visa for 1000 baht in about 5 minutes. There were a couple of guys in the office handing out forms and giving passports back to people waiting for visas, but I didn't see them asking anyone for money so maybe they work there. No SARS stuff, no changing money, and no wait going into Cambodia. There was a girl ahead of us, maybe on a visa run, who the immigration guy was trying to get money from, but she was arguing heatedly. We went up next and got stamped in no questions. I think she scared him.

Walked out to the traffic circle and had one guy talk to us but we just ignored him. I looked around for taxis but they were all behind a layer of motos and had no drivers in them. We walked around the circle and I couldn't spot any drivers so I told the tout Siem Reap. He wanted 1100 baht but quickly agreed to 1000. Then the driver pops up from the other side of the vehicle, and gives 100 baht to the tout and 50 to the cop. He didn't seem to upset about it. We hop in and away we go. We got an older Camry so the driver went slower, which was fine with us, and we got to our hotel in about 3 and a half hours.

Based on the last traveller comments in the column, we stayed at the Peace of Angkor and we'll second the recommendation. Absolutely great place. Some of the friendliest people we've had in almost 6 months of roaming the world.

To Siem Reap and back (June 2004):

We just returned from Siem Reap, traveling overland and following the advice on talesofasia.com. We had no real difficulties. On 20 June we took the 5:30 a.m. bus from Bangkok to the border. The worst part of the trip was arguably the 90 minutes we stood in line waiting to clear the Thai departure building. The building was airless, they crammed us in like cattle and then, oddly, locked us in. It was muderously hot.

We never saw the SARS table and no one ever asked us for money to stamp our passport anywhere along the way. We had gotten our Cambodian visas in Bangkok and that was so easy - took less than a day.

The touts followed us in a cab from the traffic circle and for the 1 km down the road to catch a taxi. All the while they yelled and cajoled for us to get in the
car. It was less intimidating than it was just irritating as hell. They were really persistent. We ended up catching a Camry where all the trucks were loading up passengers. He asked 900 baht and we agreed immediately. The trip took just over 4 hours and the road was quite rough and jarring in spots. It had just rained - which added to it.

The return trip on 23 June was without difficulty and took just 2 hours 40 minutes from Siem Reap to the border.

So - great advice on the website. It did seem to me though that if you had riel it was cheaper to buy water and postcards and souvenirs of any kind in riel than in dollars. Water was a buck a bottle, or 2,000 riel. I know it would not make sense to change a lot, but after we figured this out the first day - our water and bananas etc the second and third day were less than half the price of paying in USD.

Lastly - we stayed the relatively new Peace of Angkor Villa and it was fabulous! Great great staff - they were so helpful in every way and they booked motos/tuk-tuks for us that they use regularly and trust. It made everything so easy. The food was great and a good bargain too. I would highly recommend the place.

Persistence (June 2004):

Just arrived in Siem Reap yesterday, coming overland from Bangkok. The trip made that much easier due to the wealth of info from the site. Train from Bangkok (nice journey, young thai family providing plenty of entertainment playing with their toddler).

Scams in abundance at the border, though nothing that could be avoided with some persistence. My buddy and I had our visa-on-arrival forms filled out by a man in uniform sitting at a table at the far end of the Cambodia immigration station (right next to the 12 USD bus ticket booth) and after encouraging us both to sit and relax, which we kindly refused to do, electing to stand and watch our passports. When the time came for us to sign the forms, we were told that this "service" would cost us 1100 Baht, then after we shook our heads, they dropped to the more reasonable price of 1000 Baht. After stating that the price of the visa was 20 USD, then stating it again when they dropped the price again, then just holding out our hands to collect our passports, we were given forms, passports, and pointed toward the actual visa-on-arrival window. Forms, passports, and two US twenties were handed over, after which another man came over and again insisted the price was 1000 Baht, we again said it was 20 USD and sat down. 10 minutes later, we received out passports with visas.

At this point, I guess everyone figured we weren't worth the trouble because weren't asked to fill out a SARS form (I did see a couple of backpackers carrying the stamped yellow health certificate). Clear of the visa-on-arrival station, we picked up our first tout, who hung with us, though removed several steps until we cleared immigration and were stamped into the country. Our Camry (1000 Baht after what couldn't have been longer than 5 min) paid both a tout (though I'm unsure if this tout really did anything) and a cop (which he argued with a bit before coughing up what seemed to be a few thousand reils). Travel time to Siem Reap: 3:30, slow going through some heavy downpours.

Easy (May 2004):

Some interesting facts:
1. The touts approached us as we arrived to the border. They started with a usual small talk - where are you from (Israel) - Oh, I have Israeli friends (....) - Do you know that you need a visa to Cambodia ? It costs 1200 baht, I can help you.... I got off them very simply - I told them I have visa from Cambodian embassy in Bangkok for 20$. They were totally shocked and did not know how to react, so they simply stopped annoying me.
2. While receiving visa in Cambodian office, I found that we don't have a passport picture of my girlfriend that was needed for the visa application form. The problem was solved by additional 100 baht. The visa price was regular 1000 baht.
3. The price for the taxi was 1000 baht for 2 people or 1200 baht for 4. Half price at Poipet, another half in Siem Reap directly to the driver. No bargaining possible. We took the latter.

We left Bangkok at 8 or 8.30 am and arrived to Siem Reap approximately at 6-7 pm.

Easy still (May 2004):

Just back from Cambodia, did the overland route Bangkok to Siem Reap via Poipet under my own steam. Easy, just looked at your website and followed the clues. No probs at the border, though paid 1100 baht for the visa, as expected.
Touts tried to convince me to pay $US25 for a bus to Siem Reap, as no taxis....hahaha!

Only myself and one other at the border not already enslaved by KSR bus operators. We paid 1000 baht for the taxi, happy to as we were both tired, and blasted off to Siem Reap, border to guest house in 4 hours no problems or scams. Later met travellers with horror stories about the KSR bus trip. 14 hours Bangkok to Siem Reap!!!!

People wake up! Catch the Thai bus/train to the border and do it yourself!!!!

Exited Cambodia from Sihanoukville via Koh Kong and a 7 hour bus trip...very rough but well worth it!!! What an adventure :) ferry crossings, rice fields, rainforest and at one point exposed mines!....well worth the dust, bumps and sweat! some great photo ops :)

No problem at the border. On the thai side of the border we negotiated a price for a mini bus to Bangkok,we left right away and arrived at KSR in about 6.5 hrs.

This story is a bit dated - Dec 2002 - but it's still an appropriate description of the Khao San Road tourist bus service (note: reports are logged here by when I receive them, not when they actually took place, though most reports come in a considerably more timely fashion...) (April 2004):

According to subject this is of course an old story, but since my trip back then, I’ve been visiting your site frequently and would like to share just a few funny tout-lies (or whatever they’re called – I’m from Denmark :) I’ve experienced traveling overland from BKK to Siem Reap.

Traveling on a budget, me and my girlfriend got a good deal on Th Khao San - 150B each. So of course we expected a bit of a hassle along the way, but showed up at 7am in front of the “travel agency” in good spirits – although hung over from celebrating the King's Birthday.

Everything went as expected, including paying in advance for visa (about 15 miles from the border) and several kick-off stopovers – well I hope they earned their money on the cigarettes and bottled water – well no not really!

But when we were about to enter Siem Reap (around 7pm of course), the funniest thing happened – well laughable anyway. An onboard teenage “guide” said that the bus – which from the beginning was supposed to take us all the way – supposedly was too big for the bridges and roads of Siem Reap and could not enter, so half of us needed to shift to another minibus before continuing – which caused a lot of fuss.

Half laughing I asked if it was because we were to be taken to different guesthouses – “yes” he admitted and said “but eeyy Beckham don’t worry you’re coming with me, I’ll take care of you”. Well it must be my haircut ‘cause the only thing I ever felt like kicking was him!

So as guessed both vehicles went on all most side by side, only dividing when we finally entered “downtown” Siem Reap, but of course it didn’t stop there. The tout said that the best place to stay was Skyway (were we were taken), because they had an alligator farm in the backyard (so they had) and they (the alligators) were able to keep all the malaria-bearing mosquitoes away and that we didn’t need to worry about their discount rooms with missing nets.

Well, throughout our trip we experienced similar things described else were on your pages, and I have to say that in SEA the price is what you’re willing to pay, there’s no price-tag, and many Farangs are not use to that. A good example is the elephant-ride up The Angkor-Sunset-Vew-Mountain (can’t remember the name), the ride up is $15, the ride down is $10, don’t think the elephant cares, it’s what it’s worth for you.


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