There are a lot of entry points when you want to travel to Siem Reap, Cambodia. One of those entry points is the overland border crossing from Aranyaprathet, Thailand.
Bangkok to Aranyaprathet
Aranyaprathet is a province in Thailand which have a border check point when entering from Poipet, Cambodia or exiting to get to Poipet.
To reach Aranyaprathet, you can ride the following transportation:
This is an airconditioned bus where you will pay approximately 200 – 500 baht. Travel time normally lasts for 4-5 hours. Buses leave Bangkok at around 8am. There are different travel agencies in Bangkok that offers this service. You can ask them to pick you up at your hotel/hostel/guesthouse. You can also catch a bus to Aranyaprathet at the Mo Chit Bus Terminal, Bangkok’s Northern Bus Station and it costs less compared to the bus service offered by travel agencies.
This mode of transportation can be quite expensive but if you can make arrangements for a taxi to bring you to Aranyaprathet without the customary stop overs, you might reach the border in 3-4 hours.
3. Public Train
This mode of transportation is the cheapest. You only need to pay 48 baht to get to ride the train to the border. The travel time takes 6 hours since it will stop at every train station to load and unload passengers. You can enjoy looking at Thailand’s scenic landscape on board the train. The train is non-airconditioned and you will sit with locals on your way to Aranyaprathet. The train station is located at the Hua Lamphong Train Station. The train has only 2 schedules: 5:55 am and 11:55 am.
4. Private car
You can also drive your way to Aranyaprathet if you find a car rental service.
Once you reach Aranyaprathet via train, you have to hire a tuktuk driver to take you to the border. The fare is around 60 – 80 Thai baht. For solo travellers, you can also hire a motorcycle to bring you to the border. Fare is approximately 50 – 60 Thai baht. If you are quoted a higher price for either of the two modes of transportation, haggle.
Before you exit Thailand from Aranyaprathet, be sure you take your meal or have a full stomach since you may have a difficulty looking for food on the Poipet side.
For vans or buses, you will be dropped off at a restaurant before they bring you to the border. Be sure to grab a bite in there too.
Aranyaprathet to Poipet
Once you complete the necessary steps to exit out of Thailand, follow the walkway after exiting Thailand’s Immigration Office. You will then see the big arch that tells you you are about to enter the Kingdom of Cambodia.
Hawkers wearing long sleeves will try to approach you and talk to you. It is best not to respond to them. Be polite and walk away. Most likely, they will still follow you. Just ignore them.
You need to walk a few meters after getting inside the arch, way pass the casinos and hotels. Then you will see a small office which has a signage that says ARRIVAL. You enter the office and ask for a Cambodian Immigration Card. Fill up the form, line up and wait for your turn for the Immigration Officers to stamp you an entry approval into the kingdom.
Poipet to Siem Reap
Once you get your visa/passport stamped, exit the office and walk a few steps to a waiting station. A free bus is provided which will bring you to Poipet’s Bus/Taxi Terminal. If you decide to eat in Poipet first, most likely, the hawker who was following you earlier will continue to follow you and bug you on what mode of transportation you will take. Be sure to bring an extra potion of patience so that you can drink that when situations like this happens.
There are 2 bus terminals in Poipet. One terminal is 5 minutes away from the Immigration Office and the other one is around 15-20 minutes away from the border. The latter is much bigger compared to the former. Both are legit terminals. Once you reach the place, you have to decide what mode of transportation you want to take.
Private Taxi – The taxi costs $48 if you decide to rent the whole car. You can split the fare among 4 heads. You can look for other travellers who would agree to share the cab and split the fare with you. The cab leaves immediately when you have settled all your things inside the car’s trunk. Travel time takes 2.5 up to 3 hours. Unscheduled stop overs could happen when the cab ran out of gas. The taxi used in Poipet is the old Toyota Camry so do not expect any brand new cars since there’s none.
Public Bus – The public bus costs $9/head. The bus leaves as soon as the bus is filled with passengers. Travel time takes approximately 5 hours with unscheduled stops at restaurants and souvenir shops.
Before you leave Poipet, a tourism officer will introduce himself and ask your country of origin or nationality. They will also ask you if you have booked a place to stay and would ask you where you will be staying. If you choose to ride a cab, they will give your hotel’s information to the cab driver and he will drop you off at the hotel/hostel where you booked your stay.
If you are unlucky, these taxi drivers will not bring you to your hotel. Instead, they will drop you off at certain drop off point where you will be forced to hire a tuktuk. These tuk tuk drivers will tell you that the ride is free but you need to hire them the next day for your temple tours. If this happens, walk a few meters away and hire a regular tuk tuk for $1-$2 to bring you to the town center or better yet, contact the guest house where you made your reservations and ask them to pick you up (most of them offer free pick up service anyway).
Note: The transportation fares may change without prior notice.