Bus from Bangkok to Siem Reap

Taking a bus in Asia is always something that needs care. The roads are very dangerous and in this case you can add also the fact that this route from Thailand to Cambodia has the border fact. You need to stamp your pass out of Thailand and provide your visa in to Cambodia. So, after reading so many bad experiences about this entire process, we decided to share our very nice and easy experience with you, so you can follow our step by step and manage to go through all of it without any trouble at all.

Of course that this information is valid for Thailand > Cambodia or the other way around. We just made one way, so that’s why we share it always mentioning the route from Bangkok to Siem Reap.

We also wrote some posts about traveling  in Cambodia, which bus company to trust in Cambodia, the night bus between Siem Reap and Sihanoukville and also the bus from Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh. Don’t forget to read it too and get more tips!

The most trustable Company Buses to this route

Like you are doing, we also researched to get this information and avoid scams and accidents. After surfing around and reading articles here and there, we got to the bus company named NATTAKAN. You can book a bus with them through this website, but pay attention to select the right company. They are the only company that has direct buses between Cambodia and Thailand. By direct buses I mean that you don’t have to change the bus. You will start the travel in Bangkok and finish it in Siem Reap using the same bus. Or the other way around. All the other companie have some buses change in the border. Most of them starts with a travel bus and when in Cambodia finishes the travel with a minibus.

Getting to the bus station in Bangkok

During this travel that includes Thainland, Cambodia and Vietnam, Bangkok was so far the only city we’ve been that actually has a bus terminal. We took a taxi from our hotel to the bus terminal, because they are much cheaper than the Tuk Tuks. Just pay attention to just take the taxis that are yellow and green or blue. All the others have a bad reputation. Also, never stay in a taxi whitout the Taximeter on and never negotiate the price. The driver tried to sell us this travel from Hotel to Bus Terminal for double the price and we said no, we wanted the Taximeter. So, never use a cab without the official counter on. For you to have an impression, from Old City Center to the bus terminal, we paid around 80 Baht. Remember to go earlier to the bus station, because Bangkok has some heavy traffic and you don’t want to miss your travel, right?!

At the bus station we had to find the right place to exchange our online ticket for a paper one. It was everything pretty quick and it was very easy to find the bus platform as well. Most of people there spoke some english, so communication was not so hard. With our ticket in hands, we went to the platform and around half an hour earlier to the travel, the bus arrived to be loaded.

The bus and the travel

The bus structure was pretty nice. The sit also had a very good laying position (keep the good sense while using it, so you don’t disturb the person behind you) and it was very comfortable. It had some space for the legs (even considering that Simon is 2.02 meters tall) and for shorter people you could even lift the feet support. Even though, Simon asked for two girls in the front sits to change with them, because they had more space and in this way he could at least have the chance to strech the knees a bit. Both said no, which I found pretty out of sense. The girls were not so tall (I would guess that the taller was top 1,75 m), but even though they denied a person the chance to travel as comfort as them would travel in other sits.

If you are reading this, believe me, a man that is 2,02 meters tall can’t have any comfort in any traditional sit. While you might even have some distance between your knee and the front sit, this man needs to find a way to fit in that space. So, even if you think it is super cool and luxury to travel in such nice space like front roll of buses or emergency exit in airplanes, for a person that tall is just about traveling with the same space you would have in a normal sit. Don’t be like those girls unless you really have a condition that forces you to travel in a sit with more space to the legs.

Ok, back to the travel.

As soon as the bus departured we were given fresh water and a Nescafe Iced Coffee. A bit after they gave us some snack bag that contained a soft bread, a hard bread in the style of cookie and a orange juice. It was not the most delicious snack you will ever have, but was pretty ok.

After around 2 and a half hours driving we made a 15 minutes stop in a nice place, where we could buy something else to eat if we feel like. Prices were ok. A little bit before we arrived in Cambodia the bus made a second stop, but this time no going out was aloud. They just stopped in their company to get our lunch and we hit the road again. The lunch was just a small portion but impressively delicious. We really felt like asking for more, but they had one per person. They served a portion of Thai rice mixed with some small vegetables and slices of cucumber.

The border

When the bus get to the border, the nice staff of the company explain us how it will work. They distribute a kind of a card to hang in our necks with some informations about the bus and pretty much the same information the staff gave us inside, in case someone was sleeping or not paying attention. But this is pretty much what he says:

“We are about to arrive in the border from Thailand and Cambodia. All of you got those passes that will identify you as a passenger of this bus and will allow you to enter the bus again. There’s no need to take your bags with you, but you can take your personal belongs. Don’t forget to fill the card of departure from Thailand. First you need to go to Thailand border control to stamp your pass out. After that you need to go to Cambodia border control to get your visa. When you are done, go to the Casino Diamond and find our bus parking in front of it. We will just leave when all of you are done. When going out of the bus, make a picture of the number plate, so you don’t get inside the wrong bus.”

The bus won’t give you any further help in this process. Some people blammed them for providing scams and offering VIP Visa service, so nowadays they won’t get any involved in your visas process. Just for information: this bus company made a great service and didn’t ask for any extra money nor offered any extra services.

Well, that said, the bus stopped at the Thailand side of the border and drop us there. Here are some important things you need to know:

  • There’s no VIP Visa and no one else can make the Visa for Cambodia for you. Don’t trust if somebody offers you that.
  • You will need a Passport Photo for your cambodian visa. If you don’t have one, you will find people offering you the photo at the border before you go through the Thai border control. It will cost you around 150 Baht. Make the photo, pay, take the photo and leave to do the rest by yourself. They will be persistent and keep offering you Visa Systems that doesn’t exist. JUST WALK AWAY.
  • Don’t trust no one in that place and NEVER, I said NEVER hand your passport if not at the border control cabin. No official will ask you for your passport if not in the Border Control places.
  • Don’t pay nothing to no one and simply walk through everything people offer you. If you already have the photos for the cambodian visa, simply walk straight to the border control of Thailand.
  • The visa for Cambodia will cost U$ 30,00 or 1.500 Baht. The business visa costs U$ 35,00. Try to pay in US Dollars, because it is cheaper. They will also charge you something between 100 to 200 Baht in case you pay in Dollars. This charge is illegal and corrupted, you can argue with them about it and scream out that this doesn’t exist and you might get free of paying it. We just paid, because we were not in the mood of making scene or getting in any kind of trouble.

Knowing all of this, this is how the process works:

After you leave the bus, looking around is pretty confusing. But as soon as you find the Thai border control, all the rest goes almost automatically. You will find the The Thai border control in the end of a very long corridor. In front of this corridor there are some signs indicating “arrivals and departures”. This is also the train station access, so it is not so hard to miss.

Inside the Thai Border Control you will find a lot of cabins, very simalar to an airport style. There will be a queue but doesn’t take so long. I guess we waited around 15 to 20 minutes to be out of there. At this point you need to have your departure card filled out. When you get to the control, you just give the official person your passport and the departure card. They will make a picture of you. Be sure that the person stamps your passport out of Thailand so you won’t have any future problem.

You leave this room and walk through a path that was under construction by the time we did it. It basically leads you to the Cambodian border control. First you enter a room to make your visa. Everything there worked pretty quick. You give your passport and you pay the visa fee. After 5 minutes or so, they will call you by name and you take your passport back. Then you need to follow the signs to stamp your passport (properly enter Cambodia). At this moment we even walked by the side of our bus. So we already knew where it was.

The cambodian border control is a medium room with around 4 lines. As soon as you enter this room be sure you were given the arrival card to fill up. If you don’t get one, ask for one. While in the line you can fill it out. When you get to the Passport Control, they will make a picture of you, take your arrival card and stamp your passport in. Take your passport back and go back to the bus.

After everyone is done (this will take between 1 to 2 hours) the bus will departure. The travel from the border to Siem Reap was quick so no more stops were needed.

Besides it looks complicated, all this process was pretty simple and without trouble. If you are doing all of this, just relax and be sure you have a Passport Photo with you so you don’t waste any time with that as well. If you are going to go back to Thailand after visiting Cambodia, it is recommended that you inform the border control official. If you are doing the other way around, just remember that you need to stamp your passport out of Cambodia and in to Thailand. Check if you need a valid visa for Thailand. If not, you just need to get your stamp and have a nice travel!

Date of our travel from Bangkok to Siem Reap: 01.04.2017