Bangkok to Siem Reap

How do I get from Bangkok to Angkor Wat? That is the question most often asked in the Guest Houses of Kaosan Road and Travel Agencies throughout the city of Bangkok.

The answer is relatively easy for those who just want to get there as quickly as possible, but not as easy for the truly adventurous who like to take the route less traveled and avoid airlines whenever possible, or those who are traveling on a very tight budget.

You can fly directly from Bangkok to Siem Reap (Angkor). In only a little over an hour you can be transported from one of the most adrenalin charged, constantly hustling, shopping and nightlife obsessed cities of the world, to the edge of a majestic outcropping of ruins that is still largely in the clutches of the jungle, that it’s ancient rulers and architects had once tamed, if only for a brief moment of it’s entire history.

Flying directly is fairly expensive though for the short one hour flight (currently close to US $300.00 round-trip), so it encourages many travelers to find an alternative mode of transportation. In the future (when Bangkok Air loses it’s monopoly on the route) the price of flying may become more reasonable.

Bangkok Airways – Bangkok’s Suvarnaboumi Airport to the Siem Reap Airport. Either book a return flight ticket with Bangkok Airways or book your return flight with Siemreap Airways International in Siem Reap.

THE EASY WAY to Siem Reap – 2011 Update

Bangkok Airways – Bangkok’s Suvarnaboumi Airport to the Siem Reap Airport. Either book a return flight ticket with Bangkok Airways or book your return flight with Siemreap Airways International in Siem Reap. Current (Feb. 19, 2011) round-trip Internet Booking fare – starting at 10,820 Baht (fare could go up or down at any time).

Bangkok to Siem Reap flight schedule:

08:00 – PG 903 – Seven days a week
11:35 – PG 905 – Seven days a week
13:55 – PG 913 – Seven days a week
17:45 – PG 907 – Seven days a week
19:20 – PG 909 – Seven days a week
(departure times vary, please check with airline)

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Air AsiaAir Asia (Thailand) – one flight per day from Suvarnaboumi Airport to Phnom Phen’s Pochentong Airport

Current round-trip fare – 6,230 Baht (Internet price – Feb. 19, 2011). I only see one flight per day listed right now, FD 3616 – leaving BKK at 15:15. (please check airline for the latest schedule and prices)

From Phnom Phen you will have to take a 6 hour bus ride, or a 9 hour boat ride up the Tonle Sap River, to reach Siem Reap and Angkor Wat.

Helicopters Cambodia – http://www.helicopterscambodia.com

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THE HARD (but more adventurous) WAY to Siem Reap

Trains, Boats, Buses, and Taxis

Trains – the train will take you from Hualompong Station in Bangkok to the Thai-Cambodia Border at Aranyapratet. Unfortunately the old rail line across the border and into Cambodia no longer exists.

Boats – once you get to Phnom Phen, Battambang or Sianoukville you can elect to take a boat the rest of the way to Siem Reap. Depending on the time of the year and the amount of rainfall this can be a more or less trying experience.

Buses – big luxury tour buses, Thai government public transport buses, tour company mini-vans, and trucks with benches make up this often hair raising assortment of transportation choices.

Taxis – you have all heard the horror stories of hiring Cambodian taxis. First there is the problem of communications and getting to the destination you have asked for. Second there is the problem of rates changing as the trip progresses. Third is the suicidal driving habits of most of the taxi drivers.


Thai-Transport – direct bus service from Bangkok to Siem Reap

2015 (August) Update: I have finally taken the Thai Transport bus from Siem Reap (Sivatha Road) to Bangkok (Morchit Bus Station) and even took my bicycle on the bus with me. It was a fairly painless experience. You do have to get off the bus with all your luggage and clear both Cambodian and Thai immigration by yourself, but the bus does go through the border and waits for you on the other side. In Bangkok I took a Tuk-Tuk from Morchit

2013 (April) Update: There is now a direct bus from Bangkok to Siem Reap. I have not taken it yet, so do not know what happens when you arrive at the border between Thailand and Cambodia, but it should be an improvement on the usual Bangkok to Siem Reap bus experience. If you have taken the trip, please send me an e-mail outlining the experience.

A travel report from berriesenthusiast blog site:
Part 1 – Direct Bus from Bangkok to Siem Reap/
Part 2 – Direct Bus from Bangkok to Siem Reap: Step-by-Step Journey

Thai-Cambodia buses open a new era with new land connections on public transport
As of the 29th of December 2012 the Transport Co. of Thailand (a state enterprise under the Ministry of Transport) and  Nattakarn Co. of Cambodia have launched a joint venture air-conditioned bus service from Bangkok to Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. I do not know where to catch the bus yet but will publish the information here as soon as I do. The fare will be 750 baht or US$25. (If you have taken this bus to Siem Reap, please send me a report – george@dpmac.com)

http://www.traveldailynews.asia/news/article/51288/thai-cambodia-buses-open-a-new

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2011 Update: Most travel guides and blogs still recommend the Morchit (Northern) bus terminal in Bangkok. Although it has the most buses traveling to Aranyaphrathet from Bangkok, it does not take you all the way to the border and a 100 Baht tuk-tuk ride is required from the bus station to the border. On the way the tuk-tuk driver will try to take you to a fake “Cambodia Consulate” for an overpriced Cambodian Visa service and then deliver you directly to touts at the border. Just be strong and insist that you already have a Visa and that you want to go to the market (not the border). It is only a short walk to the border from the market and you can stock up on drinks and snacks, or even go shopping and change money at the bank, for the trip to Siem Reap. Cambodian Immigration police will issue you a Visa on arrival (they will ask for a tip though, so it is really best to get a Visa on-line or at the Cambodian Consulate in Bangkok.

—–bus pic —–

The bus to Bangkok at the Rong Kluea Market bus station

A less known (but much better) bus service that goes directly from Bangkok to the Rong Kluea Market at the Thai-Cambodian Border for Poipet is available from Ekamai (Eastern) Bus Terminal on Sukhumvit Road. There are only a few busess a day though, so it is best to go to the Ekamai bus station and reserve your seat ahead of time. The bus can also be caught from the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok.

—bus pic —–

The same bus at the Bangkok Airport (Suvarnabhumi) Transport Center

Bangkok Taxi to the border & Cambodian Taxi to Siem Reap – (Easy on the Thai side of the border but not so easy on the Cambodian side) Very comfortable taxis and even more comfortable limousines can take you from Bangkok to the Cambodian border in three hours or so for from 2,000 Baht up. Once you are across the border it becomes another story all together. Cambodian taxis traveling from Poipet to Siem Reap tend to be fairly beat up by the rough roads and heavy loads that they carry. Taxis can be shared with up to six passengers and will cost from US $35 to US $60 dollars for the four hour trip.

Poipet to Siem Reap Road Update: As of the June 2009, the road from Poipet to Siem Reap is completely paved and smooth driving all the way. The trip takes less than three hours, but the taxi ride (private, no local passengers are picked up) is still around $50, unless you are very good at bargaining, in which case you may get the price down to as low as $35.

2011 update: There is now a second Poipet Bus Station and both of them offer buses and taxis. Unfortunately they have been used to scamming the travelers for so long, that they are still trying as hard as possible to make a few extra bucks by squeezing 4 to 5 people into a “shared” taxi (at an average of $10 per passenger) and delaying bus journeys untill the bus is full. The bus also has a number of bus company “employees” on board who chat up as many travelers as possible to stay at “my” guesthouse. These guys are experts at making “friends” with newly arrived tourists and travelers, stay alert and watch your bags at all times.

Share taxis will drop their passengers off at the side of the road on the outskirts of Siem Reap, where they are handed over to “free” tuk-tuk (motorcycle trailer taxi) drivers who will insist on bring them to pre-arranged guest houses. Even the “private” taxi drivers will try to drop you there (no matter what agreement you made with them), so do not pay them untill you get to your hotel or guest house.

The taxi drivers will all give you a sob story about only getting a small part of the fee and try to get a large tip out of you on arrival in Siem Reap. The last trip I took, the guy owned the car himself and did not work for a taxi company (I took a motorcycle into town and found him on my own), but he still gave me the usual sob story. The best way to deal with this problem is to pick up (or print out) a map of Siem Reap, before you leave Bangkok and mark your hotel or guest house destination on the map. Show it to your taxi driver before you leave Poipet and insist on being delivered directly there.

I should explain that I am not a tight fisted jerk or always looking for the dark side of the cloud. Cambodia can be a great place to visit for a short or even long time. I first visited Cambodia in 1979 and am now based out of Siem Reap, so obviously I have found something to like. Just please keep your wits about you, especially when it comes to dealing with anyone in the local transport industry.

CAUTION: Never buy a bus ticket from Bangkok to Siem Reap from anyone but the Transport Company (a Thai state enterprise) – this continues to be a royal scam – there is no other direct bus from Bangkok to Siem Reap. You will be dumped at the border and given over to the bus and share taxi gangsters on the Cambodian side of the border. They will often try to make you pay again, lie to you and generally screw with you as much as possible. The lies start at Kaosan Road in Bangkok and continue for the entire journey to Siem Reap. In Siem Reap they will even sell you to a Guest House they are working with.

Read this page carefully and you will be fine, above all have fun in Cambodia.

If you have any interesting Bangkok to Siem Reap travel experiences or comments regarding this page, please contact George Mann – george@georgemannphoto.com

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