Cambodia is not a very easy place to reach, more so if you are budget traveler and looking to save money. It is not as well-connected by flights and the tickets are normally quite expensive. So, for my own budget trip, I had to put in numerous hours of research on the net and speak with loads of people and travel agents to decipher the best and cheapest way to reach Siem Reap. Since I had put in so much of an effort, I decided to write a detailed post on the best ways to reach Siem Reap from Bangkok for my other fellow travelers who too are struggling as I was.
Since the post is very long I have split it into 3 parts –
- Part 1 – Bangkok to Aranyaprathet (Aran) Border (Thai border) by train, bus, mini-vans or taxi. – Already done and available at http://wp.me/p29z7S-iT
- Part 2 – Visa requirements, Visa on arrival Vs e-visa in Cambodia, the Border Crossing and the various scams near the border at http://wp.me/p29z7S-jo
- Part 3 – Transport from Poipet Border (Cambodia border) to Seam Reap by bus or taxi.
This post is part 3 of this 3 post series and in this I shall cover on how to travel from the Poipet border to the city of Siem Reap. This journey (Poipet to Siem Reap) takes about 2 – 4 hours (depending on your mode of transportation) and is best covered during day light hours.
Once you have cleared the Cambodian Immigration and have the Cambodian stamp, you exit from this small building. You are now officially in Cambodia and all set for the last part of your journey. From here there are 2 ways to go about the next part of the journey –
- You can book a travel agent in advance from Siem Reap. In this case they come to the border to pick you up and have a private transport ready to take you to Siem Reap. If you just book a travel agent for this journey it turns out to be pretty expensive. In case you plan to book a package with a travel agent for your local sightseeing, hotels etc in Siem Reap then you can also include this pick-up in it. This is the most convenient way and time efficient too, but also quite expensive.
- Travel via the local transportation and make this journey on your own. This needs some effort and is time-consuming but also the cheapest option.
Once you walk out of the Immigration building you reach a small shop cum bus stop that also sells some snacks, water etc. No private or local transportation can be arranged at the border except the local government bus shuttle that takes you to the Poipet Government bus stand. Even if you have booked a private pick-up through a travel agent, that car cannot pick you up from here. You need to take the local government shuttle to the main bus station which is about 6 km away from this place.
Please Note –
- This government shuttle is free and you do not need to pay anything for it.
- The local government authorized personal and guides in Cambodia wear a light beige / very light brown shirt, black pants with a ministry of tourism badge. In case of any queries ask them and don’t speak with anyone else.
- Do not fall prey to any other services like cheap tour packages, translator services, transportation etc here.
The shuttle bus will drop you at the Poipet bus stand and from here there are a few options available to travel further.
- Transport via a Travel Agent – If you already booked this leg with a travel agent, then their car will be parked here. So once you reach this place, all you need to do is sit in your transportation and you are good to go.
- Government Bus – You can take a local government bus for a ticket of US$ 9. This trip takes about 4 hours so choose this if you are in no hurry. There are ticket counters of 2-3 bus companies and you can buy tickets from any of the counters. The buses do not depart immediately but wait for all passengers necessary to fill the bus and at times this wait can be for a few hours. So I suggest that before purchasing a ticket, check out the status of the buses and then buy a ticket of a bus that is filled the most. These buses drop you at the Siem Reap bus stand and from here you can take a tuk-tuk to your hotel. Siem Reap is a small city, so depending on the distance to your hotel, a tuk – tuk will charge anywhere between US $ 1 – 3.
- Shared Vans – At times when there are no buses available, you can look for a shared van with other travelers. They charge about US $12 for the ticket and the travel time is about 3 hours. Majority of the times they drop you at your hotel / hostel but if they drop you at the main bus station / any guest house then you can take a tuk-tuk to your hotel / hostel.
- Taxi / Shared Taxi – You can also take a solo taxi (then you pay the fare for 4 travelers) if you want to travel alone or share it with others. A taxi ride costs about US$ 12 per person and takes about 2 – 2.5 hours. Normally these taxis drop you at your hotel / hostel but if they drop you at the main bus station / any guest house then you can take a tuk-tuk to your hotel / hostel.
Please note –
- The road is in a good condition so the road journey is very comfortable.
- Try and cover it all during day light hours as the prices of services may start shooting up once it starts nearing night fall.
- In case you are considering booking a taxi / van etc near the immigration office or anywhere other than the government bus stop, then be sure to negotiate really hard.