Overland Travel Between Bangkok and Siem Reap by way of Poipet / Aranyaprathet
Quick summary for independent travel
Information current as of May 11, 2010
From Bangkok to Siem Reap
1.) About forty buses per day from Morchit (Northern) Bus Terminal. First and second-class buses to Aranyaprathet depart from the ground floor. Blue windows (26 or 31) for first class, red windows to the left for second-class. Fares are roughly 200 - 220 baht for first class, 150 to 170 baht for second class. Departures every half hour or so from three-thirty in the morning to six in the evening. Trip takes from 3:45 to 5 hours.
Train from Bangkok to Aranyaprathet - two departures a day, 5:55 a.m. and 1:05 p.m. Takes about five and a half hours. Third-class service.
If you want to splurge on ground travel, a metered cab from Bangkok to Aranyaprathet should run from 2100 to 2500 baht plus tolls (under 100 baht). This option can lower the time to the border to as little as three hours, two hours from Suvarnabhumi Airport. Prices under 2000 baht can be obtained but may involve a bit of haggling.
Gambler's express buses. Some leave from around Lumpini Park as early as 5:00 am, others from Sukhumvit, probably other locations as well. Usually around 100 baht.
From Suvarnabhumi Airport there are several buses a day between 8 and and 2 pm to Rongklua Market (at the border). Some buses also originate from the Eastern Bus Terminal (Ekkamai).
2.) If arriving by bus or train, once in Aranyaprathet take a tuk-tuk to the border six kilometers away. 80 baht. Do not allow anyone in the tuk-tuk with you. Do not allow the driver to take a detour to a local travel agency to sell you a ticket on a tourist bus, a visa, whatever. That's what you are trying to avoid! If you came by any other means you should be taken directly to the border. There is also a so-called "Cambodian consulate" where you may be diverted in hopes you'll buy a way over-priced visa. Don't.
3.) You'll be dropped off at the end of a large market. Follow the crowd to the immigration posts. You may encounter some taxi touts here. If the offer is good ($30 or so) it might be worth listening, if not, keep walking. If you do take up a tout on a non-association affiliated car be sure not to pay any money up front.
4.) Get stamped out of Thailand. Walk to Cambodia. If you need a Cambodia visa you're going to pay $20 for it and an extra 100 baht if you forgot to bring a photo, though they'll do their best to get 1000 Thai baht or more (about $31) out of you.
5.) Walk past the casinos to Cambodia immigration. Get stamped in.
6.) Exit immigration and walk towards the traffic circle. If you've already successfully negotiated a non-association affiliated taxi then follow the tout otherwise take the free shuttle bus to the new bus station. Take the bus ($10 - a silly price for a crappy slow bus that'll dump you at a guesthouse in the middle of nowhere), or better, a taxi ($40 - $60 or 1800 - 2400 baht - can share with other tourists to save some money). It's more expensive but usually less hassle than the next option.
Jump on a moto quickly, shaking off the touts and head about a km up the road and haggle with a non-affiliated cab. This can sometimes be rather difficult as the association touts will follow you and may intimidate the drivers to force you into one of their taxis. If you take a non-affiliated taxi, do not pay any money until delivered in Siem Reap.
From Siem Reap to Bangkok
Camry taxi to Poipet:
Have guesthouse or hotel arrange it for you but watch the price. If you were to get the taxi on your own the price would probably be around $30, so don't pay much more than this.
Find one on your own. Most of the taxis are now found on Hwy 6 east of Psah Leu and sometimes around the Koh Ker Restaurant on Hwy 6 near the stone bridge over the Siem Reap river and sometimes on the road along the east side of the river about 50 to 100 meters north of Hwy 6.
Poipet and beyond:
Go through immigration (Cambodia and Thailand). When finished turn right to the market. Vans and private buses to Khao San Road and other locations in Bangkok for 250 to 300 baht per seat or better, take a tuk-tuk to the government bus station in Aranyaprathet some six kilometers away and take a bus from there. Prices as above. Over two dozen departures from four in the morning to seven in the evening. There are also a couple of departures a day to Suvarnabhumi Airport (yellow buses). There is also a one p.m. train to Bangkok.
Fastest: Metered taxi. There is a fairly new taxi stand set up in Rongklua Market with a fixed price of 1900 baht to any point in Bangkok. Prior to the creation of this stand it was often possible to get a taxi (if there was one available) back for as little as 1000 baht.
There are also four bus departures pre day from the market. I think they are 9:30, 11:30, 1:30, and 3:30. Note to self, remember sign next time I pass through....
Gambler's Express buses sometimes available. Ask around. About 100 baht. Late afternoon departures only.
Arrive at Morchit bus terminal. Ignore the scummy taxi guys and walk to the taxi rank at the back of the terminal and be sure the driver turns on the meter, which from here he should. If you take a taxi from some guy who approached you when you stepped off the bus all sorts of problems will follow.
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