Bus from Thailand to Cambodia
After about 3 weeks around Thailand it’s time to keep moving and move on to the next country of interest; Cambodia.
Considerably cheaper to live, much more poverty, but a country rich with beautiful temples and also a horrendous past.
I only have a short time in Cambodia so my main objectives are to visit Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, and The Killing Fields in Phnom Phen. Those will be awarded their own separate post no doubt.
fIrst, I need to get to Cambodia.
How to get to Cambodia from Thailand
Your best bet in most cases is to fly. You’ll save yourself probably 10 hours and after all the fees/potential scams included in busing, you probably won’t lose that much by just flying.
Here is a recount how NOT to do it.
For better or worse, I took the bus route through a tour company.
In hindsight I would have gone straight to the bus station myself and bought a ticket to the border all by myself. You can get a visa upon arrival and it SHOULD cost you $30 USD. A bus ticket from Bangkok to Siem Reap is advertised as less than 1000 baht on 12go.asia
Don’t always plan in Asia, but plan your bigger transportation
I didn’t plan ahead and arrived to Bangkok around 1am and was bombarded by taxi and tour salesmen. It was late and I was tired so I took information from a guy who promised to scoop me from my hostel and take me straight to siem reap for 1000 baht.
Surviving in Southeast Asia and most other 3rd world countries is simple: assume almost anyone too friendly or helpful is scamming you. Now I’ve heard a few of the most generous stories I’ve ever heard in my life occurring out here. But from my experience especially in the cities, everyone is trying to extract as much money as possible from you.
The bus trip took 11 hours instead of 6. The company charged us double for our visas and we were carted around to some expensive restaurants. Ones the tour company made a commission from, no doubt. They pitched us lies about exchanging money such as baht to Cambodian dollars. We were also taken heavily for a shitty exchange rate at the border.
Here’s how to do it yourself
With a little advanced planning, and reading the following tips you can save yourself time and money going from Thailand to Cambodia by bus.
Go to Mo Chit bus station in Bangkok.
Book either online with 12go.asia or directly at the bus station
When you reach the Cambodian border you need to leave your bus or cab and walk physically across the border. You’ll apply for a visa on the spot there.
If your bus is taking you straight from Bangkok, Thailand to Cambodia (Siem Reap, for example) then you’ll leave your bag on the bus and get back on that bus on the Cambodian side of the border. Otherwise you’ll bring your bag and find new transportation on the otherside.
The visa for Cambodia costs $30 USD. You will also need 2 passport photos.
Either exchange for Cambodian money in advance or avoid exchanging right at the border.
ATM’s charge $5 USD to take out money and almost every place accepts either Cambodian Riel or USD.
Tips for visiting Cambodia
My next post will include a summary of my time in Cambodia and some tips you need to know before visiting the country.
Tour companies may seem to make it simple but you’ll usually end up paying much more in the long run as they frequently work with other people and businesses to try and hustle you along the way.
Bus from Thailand to Cambodia yourself, or save time and money by just flying.