Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Crossing Borders: Bangkok to Siem Reap

Bangkok Train

It was a sweet five-day retreat to Thailand during our Nepal-Southeast Asia backpacking trip but we needed to move further to the Kingdom of Cambodia. So how did we get there?

Crossing ASEAN borders can be stressful but having Philippine passport was our advantage. With the visa free policies around Southeast Asian nations, we literally passed by the immigration counters swiftly.

Our starting point was the Ekkamai Eastern Bus Terminal that is easily accessible through the BTS (Bangkok Mass train System). We booked our bus transfers on our very first day and paid all the necessary fees for a fast and efficient way of crossing the Aranyprathet/Poipet border.

Bangkok Siem Reap Border

We availed of the all-in-one package offered by Air Aran Pattana Inc. and Angkor Amazing Holiday & Tour Company. We paid 600 Baht (US$ 18.25) for the no-hassle transfers. The joint bus includes;
  • Aircon bus from Ekkamai Bus Terminal to Gateway Park Station (Border Market)
  • Assistance at the Thailand-Cambodia Border
  • Shuttle bus to Poipet Bus Terminal
  • Aircon bus directly to Siem Reap
It may seem arduous at first but it was easy!

The actual timeline of our Joint Bus from Bangkok in Thailand to Siem Reap in Cambodia

08:00 – We were scheduled to leave the bus terminal at 8:30 a.m. so we went to the bus terminal 30 minutes earlier.

08:55 – The actual time that the bus departed from the Ekkamai Terminal going to Gateway Park.

Bangkok Siem Reap Border
Bangkok's Ekkamai Eastern Bus Terminal
14:30 – We arrived at the Gateway Park Station and were assisted on filling out the necessary documents for the immigration.

Bangkok Siem Reap Border
Gateway Park station
14:45 – With the help of a guide, we were guided to the Thailand immigration for the passport check and immediately went to the Cambodian border.

Bangkok Siem Reap Border
Cambodian Border
15:00 – We queued to the Cambodian immigration office for our necessary visas (we are exempted) and other documents.

15:20 – We finished the immigration check swiftly and were assisted on taking the free 5-min. shuttle bus to Poipet Bus Terminal.

15:40 – We arrived at the Poipet Bus Terminal and waited for our exchange bus going directly to Siem Reap.

16:30 – We hopped on the exchange bus (the last one) that will bring us to Siem Reap.

Bangkok Siem Reap Border Bus
'Tis not a sleeper bus but...
18:30 – We had some engine trouble and the driver decided to turn off the bus air-conditioning unit. It was fine because there were only 10 people inside the bus (including the driver and the conductor).

20:30 – We arrived safely at Siem Reap and hired a tuk tuk going to our hotel.


Everything went by as planned and we didn’t regret getting this effortless joint bus service at all. If you’re on a tight budget, you may opt to scrap this service from the travel companies and do everything by yourself. You can ride a bus going to Gateway Park Station (leave at around 08:00). Then proceed to immigration and border checks. Then proceed to Poipet Bus Terminal and hail a cab or bus going to Siem Reap. That easy!

And we’re now ready for our Siem Reap adventures. Our first stop? Angkor What? Bar at Pub Street of course!

Pub Street Siem Reap


Important notes:

Purchased tickets are non-refundable.

The travel documents for entering Cambodia is required in the travel day (secure all the necessary documents before even booking the joint bus).

The ticket is for one way trip from Bangkok to Siem Reap on the same day only (plan your itineraries carefully).

Change policy: The passenger must provide the company a 3-day notice at their ticketing windows or by calling 089.844.9624.

The passenger is allowed only once to change the booking within 7 days of the departure day. There are no refunds for “no show” or “change less than 3 days”.

If your ticket is stolen or lost, an application of duplicate ticket will be considered and will be charged for administration fee of 100 Baht (US$ 3). This can be done only once.

The bus schedule has a limited time for immigration process. The company is not responsible for missing the exchange bus due to immigration process delays.





6 comments:

  1. Saan po makikita ang ir Aran Pattana Inc. and Angkor Amazing Holiday & Tour Company?

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    1. Sa Ekkamai Eastern Bus Terminal Jeah. May counter sila dun. Madali siya i-commute via BTS :)

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  2. Hi there.. just want to clarify.. aside from the philippine passport, what other travel documents do you need to secure? fb: jenny612

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    1. Hello there! I only presented my passport, filled out the immigration form and that's it :)

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  3. Hello Mam Carla, how much did you spend in Cambodia. First Abroad trip sana namin ang Cambodia kasi limited time lang kami, as much as we want to visit Vietnam sana kaya lang kulang na ang time for us to explore

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    Replies
    1. Aside from the flights, accommodation and temple pass ($20/day na daw ngayon), everything is relatively cheap even the tuk tuk and food :)

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