Direct Bus from Bangkok, Thailand to Siem Reap, Cambodia

Mo Chit Bus Terminal

With 2 days left on our 30-day arrival visa in Thailand, I frantically searched for how to get to Siem Reap, Cambodia from Bangkok, Thailand. Seeing as how Southeast Asia is so well trodden by backpackers, I assumed a cheap and relatively simple bus option existed. Google, and many travel forums pointed me to Tales of Asia, a very detailed guide of how to get from Bangkok to Siem Reap.

According to the guide, the trip would cost a maximum of $75 USD if you travelled by land. It could be cheaper if you were willing to rough it more or had people to do the trip with. However, the trip was far from simple.

The path was described to be rife with scams and aggressive touts. There were several legs to the trip, and you had several options for each leg (ex. bus, taxi, train, tuktuk, “gambler express”, minivan). The more I read about it, the more stressed out I got. In summary, the bus trip involved:

  1. Get from your hostel/hotel to the Mo Chit (Northern) Bus Terminal. (A to B in the map below)
  2. At Mo Chit, get on a bus that takes you to Aranyaprathet (“Aran” for short), the town right next to the border. 170 baht for second class, or 220 baht for first class. (B to C)
  3. At Aran, get a tuktuk to take you to the border (80 baht) (C to D)
  4. Cross the border into Poipet, the border town in Cambodia.
  5. Get a taxi to Siem Reap for $45 – 60 USD, cheaper if you could find people to share the ride with. (D to E)
  6. Ignore touts and watch your stuff at all times.

The segments would’ve looked something like this:

I shared my findings with Adam, and he was prepared to follow me through that mess. However, curiousity about one leg of the trip led him to the interwebs, where he discovered that there was a new bus that takes you directly from Bangkok to Siem Reap!

Apparently this bus has only been operational since February 21, 2013, but several people had shared their experiences on travel forums, so it seemed legit enough for us to give it a shot.

Here’s our detailed account of the entire trip.

Hostel/Hotel to Mo Chit Bus Terminal

The cab ride from our hostel in Silom to the Mo Chit (Northern) Bus Terminal was less than 10 minutes (we left around 7:20 am), and cost 150 baht ($5.25 CAD). This included 95 baht for the cab ride, 45 baht for an express toll, and a 10 baht tip.

Side note #1: A cabby was waiting outside our hostel for customers. When we asked him to take us to the bus terminal, he quoted us 500 baht ($18 CAD). Adam’s immediate reaction was “f@&# that!” and went back into the hostel to ask how much the ride should cost approximately. The hostel staff said it should be less than 200 baht ($7 CAD).

Side note #2: The cabby we ended up going with used the meter, and asked if it was ok to take the express toll road. When we asked how much, the cabby said 60 baht. Once we reached the toll booth, we could see very clearly on a sign that the toll was 45 baht. So Adam confirmed with the cabby that the toll should be 45 baht and not 60 baht, to which the cabby agreed to very quietly.

Granted that 15 baht is about $0.50 CAD, which is really not worth fighting over, we simply don’t like being taken for suckers. We would much rather hand over the money as a tip, instead of being scammed out of it.

Mo Chit (Northern) Bus Terminal

The bus tickets to Siem Reap, Cambodia can be purchased from booth 22 on the ground floor, for 750 baht ($27 CAD) each, and leaves at 9:00 am.

We arrived at the station around 7:30 am. By the time we got to the booth, there were only 2 tickets left on the bus leaving that day. We were very, very relieved to have gotten the last 2 tickets! If you want to avoid potential disappointment, I have read that you can purchase tickets the day before to be safe.

I have also previously read that there were supposed to be two busses each day, leaving at 6:00 am and 4:00 pm. As at April 16, 2013, the agent at the ticket counter confirmed that there is only one bus each day, and it leaves at 9:00 am.

Side note #3: There is a booth 22 outside the bus terminal too. You want the booth that’s inside the terminal, it is a few feet away from the 7 Eleven and has a sign that says “The Transport Co. Ltd.” above.

Once we got the tickets, we were free to wander around the terminal, get some breakfast and buy some snacks for the bus ride. There is a small food court, a 7 Eleven and several ATMs if needed.

Mo Chit Bus Terminal

Mo Chit (Northern) Bus Terminal

Mo Chit (Northern) Bus Terminal Outside Booths

Mo Chit (Northern) Bus Terminal Outside Booths

The Transport Co Ltd Next to 7 Eleven

The Transport Co Ltd (blue sign on the left) next to 7 Eleven (in the background on the right)

The Transport Co Ltd Booth Window

The Transport Co Ltd Booth #22 Window

Bangkok to Siem Reap Sign

Bangkok to Siem Reap Bus Sign (yellow sign on the right)

Bangkok to Siem Reap Bus Ticket

Bangkok to Siem Reap Bus Tickets

Gate 106 for the bus

Platform 106 for the bus

The Transport Co Ltd Bus to Siem Reap from Bangkok

The Transport Co Ltd Bus to Siem Reap from Bangkok

The Bus Ride

The bus was comfortable enough, not brand new or anything. It was air conditioned and had a toilet on board, which I would suggest using for emergencies only. It was pretty grimy… Your luggage would be stowed at the bottom compartment of the bus, and there is a small overhead compartment on the bus for carry-on items.

The Transport Co Ltd Bus

Once on board, a small breakfast was served. It consisted of a small orange juice and muffin, which was actually very nice and unexpected!

Breakfast

Breakfast

Lunch was also served around noon. A small hot meal of rice, pork, some veggies and a bottle of water. Also unexpectedly good.

Lunch

Lunch

Around 12:30 pm, we stopped by quickly at a market. I assume it was the Rongklua Market near the border. The passengers were not to get off here. We simply saw the luggage compartment open and close, and a few minutes later the bus continued on its way.

Side note #4: We’ve seen the luggage compartment open and close a few times during the trip. I was worried that the driver may have been letting people get on and off to rummage through our luggage as I’ve read about that happening with other bus companies. I did not expect this type of activity on this bus because The Transport Co. Ltd. is a government operated company, but I was still a little worried. As it turned out, one of the times the luggage compartment opened was because the driver had a huge fish in a bucket stashed down there, and he needed to add ice to it. Luckily, nothing seemed to be amiss once we got to Cambodia. 

Shortly after, a Cambodian gentleman came onboard (we will call him “John”) and handed out laminated passes to all the passengers. John said something about how we needed them to get our visas.

Pass needed for visa?

Pass needed for visa?

The Visa Travel Agency (Scam Alert)

At 12:45 pm, we arrived at a travel agency. John said we would get our visas here.

Adam and I have read extensively about all the visa scams and how easy it is to get one at the border. Apparently it’s so easy that a monkey could do it, provided that it had $20 USD. As such, we could not understand why we were dropped off here, especially because this was a government operated bus, so you would think it should be scam free and go directly to the border.

I hopped off to ask how much they were charging for the visa, and was told 1,100 baht if I already had a photo (which I did). That’s ~$38 USD, when the visa should only cost $20 USD.

Travel agency for visa applications. I'm standing there trying to convert 1,100 baht to USD on my phone, while all the passengers funnel into the office.

Travel agency for visa applications. I’m standing there trying to convert 1,100 baht to USD on my phone, while all the passengers funnelled into the office.

We spoke to John nicely, and asked if we could get our visas at the border. He said it’s raining and it will be easier and quicker this way. Adam said 1,100 baht is too expensive, and somehow gave John the impression that we did not have enough baht on us. It was then that John divulged the travel agency only accepts baht, so with Adam’s quick thinking, he said we had already spent all our baht and only had USD left. At this point the Thai driver and John said “ok, you can get visa at the border”.

That's "John" by the bus

That’s “John” by the bus

So Adam and I waited on the bus while all the other passengers filled out their paper work, and continued to wait even when everyone was back on the bus. At 1:40 pm, one of the travel agents came onboard to hand out passports back to the passengers, and we were on the road again at 1:50 pm.

In less than 1 minute, we were at the border. Everyone got off the bus and walked.

Side note #5: If you prefer to be prepared, you could get an eVisa online for $25 USD. There is a 3 day processing period. 

The Border Crossing

Step 1 is to get stamped out of Thailand which is easy enough. There are foreigner lines and Thai lines. Once that’s done you pretty much walk across the border into Cambodia.

Thai Customs

Thai Customs

Border to Cambodia in the background

Border to Cambodia off in the distance

Border to Cambodia

Border to Cambodia

Step 2 is to get your tourist visa, which should only require $20 USD, a passport photo and filling out a VERY easy form. The visa office will be to the right of the path that you get ushered through. It’s called the “The Office of International Border Check Point of Poipet”. Here’s a picture of what it looks like, stolen from Travelhead2010’s Blog, because we were too rushed and it was too rainy to take our own.

Cambodia Border Visa Office - "The Office of International Border Check Point of Poipet"

Cambodia Border Visa Office – “The Office of International Border Check Point of Poipet”

We have already read about a bunch of scams the Cambodian officials will try to pull, one of which simply involved asking you for an extra 100 baht ($3.50 CAD). You could pay it just to make life easier, but we didn’t want to on principle. What’s funny is that we didn’t expect how blatantly obvious it would be. Once we handed over our completed forms, $20 USD and a photo, they pointed to a clipboard on the counter, with “20 US + 100 baht” written on a white piece of paper, in bubble lettering… I asked Adam to recreate this drawing, it looked something like this:

photo

A very official looking sign indicating the need to pay an extra 100 baht for a tourist visa :p

We assume the “800” is for Thai bahts if you didn’t have USD on hand.

Right above the counter there’s a proper sign on the wall that says “Tourist Visa: $20 US, Business Visa: $25 USD” etc. So I looked and pointed at the sign and acted surprised about this 100 baht. Then Adam said “We didn’t know about this 100 baht. We don’t have any left, we only have US dollars!”. Both of us played the ignorant and flustered tourist card and it worked quite nicely. The Cambodian official didn’t even put up a fight and our visas got processed just fine (although I must admit I was a little nervous). We may have waited a whole 5 minutes for them, but I should mention that there was only one other couple in front of us at the time. We were in and out in about 10 minutes.

Side note #6: We’ve read that it’s not a big problem if you don’t have a photo ready, you simply have to pay a bribe and you’ll still get your visa. A friend of ours also got away with using a coloured photocopy of her passport photo that’s been cut to size. Interesting tip there!

Side note #7: While we waited for our visas, we could see a Cambodian guy off to the side of the office with a stack of passports, filling out a bunch of forms. We suspect this is what happens when travel agencies “help” you get your visa. They take your passport, money and photo, and run over to the visa office to fill out the forms for you. We assume the travel agency did the exact same thing with the passengers on our bus. Adam recalled seeing a guy come and go in a golf cart with a bunch of passports back when we were parked next to the travel agency.

Armed with our visas, we went on to immigration office, which is about 100 meters further, past the casinos and such. Remember to fill out your arrival/departure card while you’re waiting in line. I would suggest choosing the line with the most foreigners in it, as they seem to get waved through more quickly than the asians. I don’t really understand why that is, so please leave a comment if you know!

Side note #8: Pay attention while you’re standing in line. On a busy day, if you look away for one second, you might notice a little asian person standing in front of you who wasn’t there before.

We were back on the bus by 2:45 pm, and were the last ones to get on. Despite taking a little bit longer than our fellow passengers because we had to get our visas, this was not what made us slower. We saw people behind us in the immigration office line get stamped in before we did, simply because we chose the wrong line. So don’t worry about getting left behind by the bus if you decide to get your visa at the border instead of the travel agency.

Arrival in Siem Reap

After another 2 hour ride, we arrived in Siem Reap at 5:00 pm. The bus was supposed to drop us off on Pub Street, but instead took us to John’s travel agency, Nattakan Cambodia Co. Ltd., which was at 22 Sivatha Road, or 500 metres north of Pub Street.

Not too big of a deal, but we have a sneaking suspicion that the bus driver got kickbacks for 1. taking the passengers to the travel agency for visas, and 2. taking us to the travel agency in Siem Reap, instead of Pub Street. Although it is also quite possible that The Transport Co. Ltd. is involved as well.

Even though the travel agents were trying to sell us further trips to Phnom Penh or wherever, they were perfectly nice. There was also free wifi in the travel agency office, so we used that to get our bearings. In the end, we used one of their tuktuks to get us to our guesthouse for $1 USD.

Siem Reap Travel Agency

Siem Reap Travel Agency – Nattakan Cambodian Co. Ltd.

Summary

Direct bus from Bangkok, Thailand to Siem Reap, Cambodia

Company: The Transport Co. Ltd.
Price: 750 baht
Duration: ~8 hours (1 hour was spent waiting at the travel agency for people who wanted to get visas there, and it took about 1 hour to do the border crossing. This time is highly dependant on how busy it is at the border. You could get lucky and arrive at a slow time. We were unfortunately behind a large lineup of people crossing the border to go to the casinos.)
Departure Time: 9:00 am
Approximate Arrival Time: 5:00 pm
Where To Get Tickets: Mo Chit (Northern) Bus Terminal, Booth 22
Destination: Should be Pub Street in Siem Reap, but more likely, in front of the Nattakan travel agency at 22 Sivutha Street, Svay Dangkom District
Phone Number: 0066 (0)2 936 0657 (call center) 1490

The trip went pretty smoothly. We were prepared for any potential scams we may have to face so we were on alert, although it seemed like some passengers were fully aware of the visa scam, but chose to pay double the price anyway for convenience or other reasons. To each their own.

Keep in mind that this is a direct bus, so it does not make stops for bathroom breaks or to buy snacks. The light breakfast and lunch were nice, but might not be enough for some people.

All in all we were happy with the bus ride and very glad Adam found out about it, instead of having to do the trip with several legs and fight off aggressive touts.

April 27, 2013 Update: Siem Reap to Bangkok

We personally have not done this trip from Siem Reap to Bangkok, but it looks like it can be arranged through the Nattakan office we were dropped off in front of. Neil C. described his experience on Trip Advisor.

Nattakan Cambodia Co. Ltd.
22 Sivutha Street, Svay Dangkom District, Siem Reap City
Siem Reap Office H/P: 063 96 48 96 / 078 795 333
Departure time: 8:00 am

Website

Nattakan Cambodia Co. Ltd.  Sign in Siem Reap

Nattakan Cambodia Co. Ltd. in Siem Reap

Nattakan Cambodia Co. Ltd in Siem Reap

Nattakan Cambodia Co. Ltd in Siem Reap

May 8, 2013 Update: Bangkok to Siem Reap Bus Tickets Available Online

We just found out on the Lonely Planet Thorn Tree forum that the bus tickets can be purchased online from Thai Ticket Major. The bus ticket selection will show up on the right sidebar. In the drop down menus, I believe you want:

  1. “Central”
  2. “BKK (Mochit 2 (N&NE))
  3. Type in “SiemReap”
Advertisements

136 responses to “Direct Bus from Bangkok, Thailand to Siem Reap, Cambodia

    • Yea it’s frustrating to have to keep your guard up the whole time and stay up to date with the new scams people come up with!

  1. Pingback: Crossing The Border On The New Bangkok-Siem Reap Bus | FRUGAL FROLICKER | Independent Adventure Travel·

  2. Thanks for your greatly detailed trip report. I’m doing this journey tomorrow morning and will look forward to all the touts!

  3. That’s a nice trip report! Thanks for sharing, especially the info how to avoid the scams is very useful. I hope you had a nice visit to Siem Reap. 🙂

    • Cool, happy to hear that! I’m living in SR since a couple of years and it’s amazing how fast things are changing. But it’s still a great place to live! 🙂

  4. Pingback: Bus from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh, Cambodia | ARTY DUBS·

  5. Excellent post! We just did this ride yesteday, and yes, you are correct to surmise that the 1100 baht visa charge was a scam. However, we did end up paying the 100 baht bribe…. but after hearing your story I wish we had not!

    • If I didn’t know about the 100 baht bribe beforehand, I would’ve handed over my money without thinking twice! They are government officials after all, you wouldn’t want to piss them off when you need them to grant you a visa.

    • Hi Ben! We haven’t done this trip ourselves, but someone on Trip Advisor said that the departure time for Siem Reap to Bangkok was 8:00 am.

  6. yay! thanks for writing about this. I would say for all write ups about this topic, this one is on top of my list. I will be travelling to Thailand very soon and then cross cambodia. I was wondering if do you have blog archive about your Thailand travel? I would love to read more about your stories, so much to learn!

    • Thanks Yaj! I’m very glad you liked the post! We do intend to write about our time in Thailand, but we are very, very behind. You’re more than welcome to send us any questions you might have and we’ll answer to the best of our ability! 🙂

      So far we’ve been to Phuket, Ko Tao and Bangkok. We will be returning in mid-May to check out Chiang Mai!

  7. Thanks for this, it made our lives a lot easier when we did this trip yesterday. It was pretty much exactly as you described, and we also had no problems getting the visa at the actual border. They were still trying the extra 100 baht scam at the Cambodian visa office and when we said we had no baht left the guy insisted on an extra US$3 each instead. It was annoying but I couldn’t be bothered arguing too much for that amount. I would definitely recommend this bus as a relatively comfortable and hassle-free way to get to Siem Reap from Bangkok.

    • Thanks for sharing your experience Hamilton!

      Too bad the “no baht” excuse didn’t work for you 😦 I suspect they’ll soon add “$3 USD” in bubble lettering to their clipboard sign 😛 But at least by taking this bus, you’re only faced with 2 scams instead of 9238737 of them. Yay?

  8. Hi guys,

    Has anyone dones the SR to BKK journey? Did you go for the bus from the travel agent mentioned, I was thinking of crossing the Cambodian border into Thailand and getting the train from there. There are lots of stories about the buses from SR to BKK fairly dangerous. Any advice much appreciated

    • Hiya Kev,

      No sorry we haven’t done the SR to BKK trip, but someone on Trip Advisor did write about their trip here -> http://www.tripadvisor.com.au/ShowTopic-g297390-i9163-k6447815-Siem_Reap_to_Bangkok_Direct_Bus-Siem_Reap_Siem_Reap_Province.html

      This bus service is pretty new (Feb 2013) so it might be different from the dangerous busses you’ve read about it, and yes you would book the bus from the Nattakan travel agency in Siem Reap.

      Hope this helps!

      • Thanks for your reply Julie much appreciated.

        I am in two minds whether to get the bus or train to get back to BKK. Bus does seem quicker as you got back 1600 and train is 1955, but might be a nice easy journey.

      • No problem! The bus does seem to be the easier and most direct way of getting between the two, but the train is so cheap and might be an interesting ride!

    • Prior to this new bus service, I have used Capital Tours Siem reap to Bangkok many times ($10) It is scam free and a bus from SR to the border and then a van from Thai border to BKK. I will be trying the new service this month (July) and try to give some info.

      • Thanks for the tip! That’s a very good price for a scam free bus. I’m kinda surprised this even exists after our experience in Cambodia.

  9. Hi, really useful info. Amazing, also considering how new the bus service is. We are thinking about catching the bus in October but I am quite tall (around 196cm / 6″5) is the bus too small for me? 🙂

    • Hi Nacho, thanks for visiting!

      Adam is 183 cm / 6′ tall and he said he had JUST enough space for his legs. There was more leg room than most busses, but he suspects that he would’ve been uncomfortable if he were any taller. His knees weren’t touching the seat in front of him, but they were very close.

      Hope this helps! 🙂

  10. Does anyone have any information or experience buying the tickets online? It sounds like the tickets may then need to be picked up somewhere, and not sure how that happens. It would be great to order tickets online, however, since we’re coming straight from a night train from Chang Mai, and don’t want to run the risk of them being sold out. Thanks!

  11. Thank you for the detailed account! We were beginning to think there was no way to go direct from Bangkok to Siem Reap without paying a fortune to fly. Much appreciated!

  12. Great report, we are heading over in July and looking forward to see the scams in action. I’ve looked at the on line ticketing and I would assume that you pick it up at the bus terminal, but I’ll keep digging

    • Hi TeeJay!

      Apologies for the late response. We’ve been in China for the past month and our blog was blocked (amongst many other websites :/ )

      Have you made your way over to Cambodia yet? We’d love to hear how it went!

      • I have registered on Thaiticket and asked where we pick up the tickets if booked on line, they replied that we pick up the tickets at the bus station on the day of travel. You can book a month out from your trip date, so that is what we will do for our trip in August. And book our return tickets when we arrive in SR.

  13. Pingback: Skipping Scams at the Thai-Cambodia Border Crossing | twotravelaholics·

  14. Hi Julie
    It is very very nice and helpful topic you shared thanks for this.I just want to know that. somebody told me that from bkk to siam reap we can go by road but fro SR to bangkok is only way by air plane.Can we come from SR to bkk by bus?
    Thanks DP Singh from India.

    • Yes you can go from SR to BKK by bus as well! The travel agency in SR where you can book the bus tickets is called “Nattakan”. I’ve updated the blog post with their contact information near the bottom of the entry. Good luck! 🙂

  15. Hi All – We finally did this trip two weeks ago. We were taking a train from Northern Thailand to Bangkok prior to this trip and were supposed to have plenty of time to get to the bus station prior to the 9am departure. Unfortunately the train was 2 hours late, so we missed it! That said we got to try the multi-step trip out of necessity (State bus to Aranyaprathet, tuk tuk to border, etc.). It really wasn’t too bad, and may have actually been a bit quicker (and cheaper) when it’s all said and done. The main piece of advice I’d give to anyone doing this is to GET YOUR E-VISA!! It’s an easy online process and eliminates most of the scams at the border.

    • Ah yes, it also took us 2 train rides to learn that we should expect them to be at least 2 hours late. Good to hear that your multi-step experience wasn’t too bad though!

  16. Hello julie & all
    I am going to Bangkok trip after two weeks near about from 24 or 25th of July. I will fly from Delhi to Bangkok and then i want to travel to Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam from Bangkok by road. Can anybody suggest me the best and budget route to make this trip a worth-full. I really need help from all you.If anyone knows the best way by road to Thailand,Cambodia,Vietnam and Laos. I will be very thankful.

    • Hi DP 🙂

      If you have plenty of time to travel, taking a bus will be the cheapest method to get around.

      From Bangkok to Siem Reap, Cambodia, you have the information on this post. 750 baht (around $25 USD).

      From Siem Reap to Phnom Penh, I refer you to this post: https://artydubs.com/2013/05/05/bus-from-siem-reap-to-phnom-penh-cambodia/
      You can buy bus tickets from any guesthouse, hotel or travel agency. We got ours from our guesthouse at $8 USD.

      From Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh City, I refer you to this post:
      https://artydubs.com/2013/05/11/direct-bus-from-phnom-penh-cambodia-to-ho-chi-minh-city-vietnam-mekong-express/
      You can buy bus tickets from any guesthouse, hotel or travel agency. Our ride was $13 USD, but make sure you find a travel agency that sells Mekong Express!

      Once you’re in Vietnam, travel agencies sell what’s called an “Open Bus Ticket”. This can take you from Ho Chi Minh City all the way to Ha Noi. I believe our ticket was around 750,000 dong ($35 USD), and took us from Ho Chi Minh City -> Nha Trang -> Hoi An -> Hue -> Ha Noi. In separate trips of course.

      There is a bus that can take you from Vietnam to Luang Prabang or Vientiane, Laos, but many travellers have reported that it is a very painful journey. The ride could be 25-40 hours long, and costs around $25-$50 USD, depending on your bargaining skills. It is highly recommended that you fly for this leg instead, despite the bus ride being much cheaper than the flight (around $200 USD). We opted to fly because we had had enough of busses at that point.

      Once you’re in Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos, there will be travel offices everywhere. So you don’t need to worry about not finding transportation. All you need to do is book one day in advance.

      Hope this helps!

      • Hello Julie
        Thanks for to give me a important information.It will help me a lot.Thanks. Please tell me can i get vietnam & laos visa from siem reap or it is only possible from phnom penh? And my flight from india is from bangkok. When i returned from siem reap to phnom penh to Ho chi minh to back to bangkok .How i can get the visa. is it on arrival at bkk border or i should have to make it in advance?
        Thanks DP Singh

      • Hi DP!

        With Visas, it depends on your nationality. As Canadians, it works as follows:

        Thailand: Visa on arrival. 30 days if you arrive by plane, 15 days if you arrive overland.

        Laos: Visa on arrival

        Cambodia: Visa on arrival

        Vietnam: You have to get a Visa beforehand. Most guesthouses, hotels and travel agencies can arrange this for you in Cambodia, both in Siem Reap or Phnom Penh. It will take a day or 2 to get your passport back.

        To be safe, it’s best to check the requirements based on the passport you hold.

  17. I’m doing this trip tomorrow, here’s hoping it goes well! Am also planning to pretend to have no bahts left to avoid the scams haha. Thanks for the info, it’s very helpful!

    • Good luck! It seems that the no baht left excuse doesn’t work anymore 😦 Now they’ll ask you for $3 USD if you claim you have no more bahts. Those sneaky bastards. I’d try pointing at the sign that says “Tourist visa $20” and act confused. That seems to work for some! But you’ll have to put up a bit of a fight.

      • Damn. I don’t even have an extra $3, I only exchanged enough baht for $20 (although if I’d known Cambodia uses usd anyway I would’ve exchamged more)

      • Haha I don’t even have an extra $3, I only exchanged baht for $20 before I realised Cambodia uses usd anyway. Fingers crossed!!

  18. Thanks for this helpful post! I’ll be doing this trip next week. Question: at the border, did you leave your bags etc in the bus? Or did you take everything with you?

    • Yup everyone left their stuff on the bus! Adam and I took our backpacks with us cuz we tend to worry, but we didn’t grab our suitcases or anything.

  19. Hi Julie,
    Thanks a lot for the detailed info. I was looking for a direct trip from SR to BKK and I found a Thai site but -alas- I don’t speak Thai 🙂
    Going back to Cambodia after 8 years and looking forward to it!

  20. This is very informative. Thank you for the info.. My family will be going this weekend.. Great job! 😀

  21. Thanks Julie! i will be doing this trip on Thursday, ill be coming from Phuket and will be arriving Bangkok at 6:00 AM so we have to be at Mochit at least at 7:30 AM. So the bus only leaves at 9AM no other schedule.

    • Hi Yashee! Yea when we were there they only had a 9:00 am bus.

      Also, a quick heads up that if you’re travelling by train, they tend to be late! Our train from Chumphon to Bangkok was 2 hours late! And according to our friends who are Thai locals, this is the norm x_x;

  22. Just finished the bus both ways. Booked tickets on line no problem, picked them up in passengerhall adjacent doorway. Bk to SR uneventful and the visa scam isn’t evident. In fact they just handed out the entry cards at the little shop. Make sure all details are filled in before heading into the Thai departure. Clean toilets in the Casino are welcome. On arrival in SR your bags are put on a tuk tuk for 1$US anywhere, the driver will then try to get you to use him. They quoted $20 for a day, hotel offered $18 but used nice old man for $15. So you wondered why you were given coffee and a cup but no water, that’s because the water is on the return trip. Booked return as soon as we arrived so no problem. They picked us up from hotel no charge. Bus left just after 8am. No drama, but at the Border one passenger USA Citizen, wearing a bandanna, tood in line,had fingerprints taken, the man made all the stamping noises, handed back his passport. At Thai entry after getting your bags off the bus you are stamped and scanned into Thailand. The scanner was broken and the ‘drug search’ guys were reading the newspaper.BUTbandanna man was stopped because passport wasn’t stamped. You go back. He is stuck half way, a man says to him, you not stamped, I can fix. 1000baht, gives his passport to the fixer, he’s back in 10 minutes with the passport stamped.

  23. Hi there,
    I’m planning on just getting the evisa? you think my life would be easier if i chose to get visa in advanced? thanks

    • Hi Angela!

      Yes I do think the evisa will make your life easier! I’d prefer to avoid all the nonsense of having to deal with the scammer visa agents and the corrupt border control people.

      The authorized government officials issuing the visas at the border will try to charge you an extra $3 in bribe money anyway, so in reality the evisa is just an extra $2 for peace of mind.

      Have a great trip! 😀

  24. I did this trip in May 2013,
    We got E-Visa, definitely worth the ease of not having to worry about all the sketchyness at Cambodian border.

    With the taxi problem I just demand meter, if not do one. If they reluctantly use the meter I’ll tip them so maybe they learn that not conning people can benefit you too!

    We booked our bus tickets through Thaiticket major the night before we travelled, which is good as like you say it gets very busy. http://www.thaiticketmajor.com/index_eng.php

    One thing we did witness was the thai bus company dumping all the food waste on the cambodian roadside once out of thailand, not cool…

    • Thanks for sharing your experience Stephen! I think if we had to do this trip again, we would also opt for the e-visa.

      The lack of waste management is pretty sad 😦 We saw so many makeshift garbage dumps alongside the road or right in front of people’s homes.

  25. Hi Julie,

    Thank you for his informative blog! I will doing this journey in December, don’t you think it’s safe for me to travel alone? This is my first solo trip though… Hopefully everything will be smooth 😉

    • Hi Celest! I think you’ll be ok as long as you’ve done your research and you’re aware of your surroundings. We’ve met several amazing solo travellers along the way, although I can’t say I’ve done it myself. I admire your courage! You’ll be much stronger for it in the end 🙂

      There is political unrest and protests in Cambodia right now however, so definitely keep an eye on that before you go. Good luck!

  26. Pingback: Journal Entry: April 11th to 15th – Bangkok, Thailand | ARTY DUBS·

  27. Pingback: Journal Entry: Apr 11th to 15th, 2013 – Bangkok, Thailand | ARTY DUBS·

  28. Thanks for the information, it very helpful. We did this on October 16, 2013 and was still exactly as you described although we didn’t arrive until 6:15. We bought out tickets on thaiticketmajor.com without issue and picked them up at the MoChit Terminal. For two tickets the total was 1,586 Baht, 86 more than if you buy them in person, worth the fee if you are worried about the bus selling out and don’t want to make a trip to the station.

    They of course stopped at the tourist agency but almost the entire bus was wise to the whole thing and nobody used their ‘services’. The official cambodia visa agents attempted to get an addition 100 Baht or $3USD but didn’t charge anyone with very little effort on our part. Just calmly point to the official sign and ask for an official receipt.

    The whole experience at the border was far less stressful than expected and I got the feeling they have accepted that most people are wise to the scams now.

    • That’s awesome news!! Thank you SO much for sharing your experience!! I read your comment out loud to Adam and we both laughed at how the scams aren’t working as easily anymore! Way to stick it to them!

  29. Excellent information. I am taking this bus at the end of the month, and I bought a ticket online same as some of the others. I already have a visa that I got from the Cambodian embassy here in Washington. My question is — who hands out the arrival-departure cards?

    • Ah good question! I remember we had to ask one of the staff at the immigration office/building for them while we were standing in line. There may have been a counter or something where you can grab them yourself, but we went on a busy day so we couldn’t see it if there was one (too many bodies in the way).

    • Hello Bizon,

      To get a visa for Vietnam, you can approach any travel agency or guest house in Cambodia and they will arrange it for you. Good luck!

  30. Thanks so much for this amazing post!

    I did the Bangkok – Siem Reap journey and then took the same bus back again to Bangkok.

    When we got to “John’s Tourist Agency” some others and I who were already aware something was amiss convinced everyone to stay on the bus. The bus sat there for 5-10 mins and they came on a few times to coerce us off but no one went so then the bus started up and drove off to the border.

    One additional tip I have for the border is if the arrival line is long like it was for us, go over to True Coffee and grab yourself and nice cool drink and the WIFI password because you can get the WIFI pretty much the whole time you are in the line which was over an hour for us.

    For the journey back the ticket cost was US$28 and left at 8am. The ticket also included tuk tuk pickup from our hostel at about 7:15am. At the border you have to take your bags off the bus and carry them through so they can go through the x-ray machine.

    Thanks again for this great guide!

    • It is SO awesome to hear about people fighting back against the scams! I’m very glad this guide was helpful. Have a wonderful time in Cambodia!! 😀

  31. I just took this bus from Bangkok to Siem Reap last week and wanted to add some information. As many folks have described, the bus stopped in Thailand where they sell visas at higher prices. However, there is a very important function that goes on at that stop – that is where you get your arrival-departure card for Cambodia (also, a Cambodian guy gets on there to “assist” the bus and drivers across the border). If you don’t have an arrival card, you won’t get stamped in, and the bus will probably just leave you at the border. And you might have a hard time getting back into Thailand since you won’t have an arrival card for Thailand. Not a good situation to be in. So my advice would be to get off the bus, fill out the card, take it with you, and get back on. If you already have a visa, there is no need to purchase one there (the price last week was 1,000 baht or about 32 US dollars) and you can get one at the border. Hope this is helpful.

    • You don’t have to get the arrival card from that office, that’s just something they do to lend legitimacy to their rip off “service.” You’ll be handed an arrival/departure card as you approach the Cambodian border and you can fill it out on the spot, only takes a few minutes.

      • I have to disagree Nick. Once I got stamped out of Thailand and walked across the border, I went first to a building where I presented my passport/visa. The guy just eyeballed it and handed back to me. When asked about where to get stamped in, he motioned me to a second building, where you are actually stamped in. At neither location was I handed an arrival or departure card, and I didn’t see any available in either building. I think people should take the opportunity to do it when the bus stops rather than taking the risk.

    • Hey guys,

      Adam and I got our arrival card at the immigration office, probably the second office you’re referring to Harry. We didn’t see any available in the building, but there was an attendant there who provided us with the cards.

      I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to grab the cards from the travel agency though. May as well fill them out while they make you wait on the bus anyway.

    • Thanks for latest info on crossing into Cambodia from Thailand. We’re be there in a couple of weeks and appreciate your comments. Don

  32. Thanks! This was so helpful. Could you suggest a comfortable and safe yet reasonably priced guest house in Siem Reap? After a long bus journey, we would not be really looking forward to an adventurous search for an accommodation. Thank you!

    • Hi Amrita!

      We DO have a guest house we can recommend! – The Tropical Breeze Guesthouse. If you google it their website should come up, or their page on Agoda (http://www.agoda.com/tropical-breeze-guesthouse/hotel/siem-reap-kh.html). It was $12 USD/night for the both of us for their AC room.

      We thought the guesthouse was great for the price! But this does depend on what kind of traveller you are. The condition of the room and bathrooms are not as nice as you see in the photos. The bathrooms/wetrooms were rather dingy and old, but it got the job done.

      The location was great, walking distance to Pub Street and the markets. There was also a restaurant in the lobby if you’re too tired to make it any further than the front door. The food was decent, not spectacular or anything. It was a $1 USD tuktuk ride from the travel agency the bus drops you off at.

      Hope this helps! 🙂

  33. Pingback: Direct Bus from Bangkok to Siem Reap – The NEW Bus Route — Live Collar Free·

  34. Hello Julie, this post is really informative and helpful 🙂
    I would like to ask the bus itinerary on thaiticketmajor states this, BKK -> Aranyaprathet -> RongKluea Market -> Poipet border checkpoint(Cambodia) -> Siemreapt(Cambodia)
    Is this true to the route that you took?:)

  35. Thanks for posting this detailed experience! My partner and I ended up on the slower bus as the one you recommended was sold out. We were dropped at a travel agency (Angkor Amazing holiday and tour) at the border and asked to pay 950 baht for visa and service. The travel agent was very rude barking directions and saying if we didn’t pay/stay with the group we were on our own and probably would not make it through to meet the last bus Siem Reap at 4. We walked away, made it through on our own, ignored all the touts and rejoined the group. The bus left very late (around 5:30, even though they kept saying the last bus was at 4) and we didn’t make it to Siem Reap until after 10, but it wasn’t too complicated. Just be stern and ignore the touts, and don’t forget your bus snacks.

    • Thank you for sharing! It’s always good to know that when the first option isn’t available, there are ways of getting around it 🙂 Way to ignore the touts!

  36. Pingback: Temples, Temples, Temples | Taking the Long Way Home·

  37. Thanks for this! Managed to get the whole bus staying on today instead of being scammed! Lots have people seemed to have already known about it thanks to you! Pretty sure your blog will be everyone’s talking point on the bus from now on!

  38. This blog is how we found out about the bus to Siem Reap. We took the direct bus from Bangkok to Siem Reap Jan. 3rd, 2014. The metered cab ride (always ask for a metered cab) from the Chern Hostel (excellent hostel) was 175 Baht – included the 50 Baht to go on the toll road which saves a lot of time. Bus ticket was 750 Baht each. We had purchased our e-Visas a month before on-line at: (http://evisa.mfaic.gov.kh/ContactInformation.aspx). Left at 9:00am from northern Mo Chit 2 bus terminal. The bus stopped before border and everybody that did not have a visa was asked to get off and get one. They paid a little more than we did on-line. There did not appear to be any scams. We filled out the paper to leave Thailand. The bus then dropped us off (all our luggage stayed on the bus) so we could go thru the Thailand border exit and walk on over to the Cambodian border – just follow the crowd. No one interrupted us or tried to get more money from us. There was a long line going thru the Cambodian border that day and it took us over 2 hrs – but had a nice time talking with other travelers. Took the bus the rest of the way to Siem Reap where it dropped us off and a tuk tuk took us to our hotel. PS: A good site for checking out bus travel thru out Thailand is; http://www.Thailandee.com

  39. Update there are now 2 buses per day and the bus Co is not in on the visa scam but are aware of it and is trying to stop it.

  40. Thanks a lot for all the information! We have to leave Thailand tomorrow, because our Thai visa is running out. Unfortunately, the immigration offices in Thailand or closed today (national holiday). We’re going to Mo Chit right now and get our bustickets for tomorrow. We’ll definitely take your advice in mind when we arrive at the tourist information…

  41. is it just me or they ask you for a looooot of information if you want to log in on thai ticket major website in order to purchase a ticket? like passport number and date of birth and bla bla bla, they don t ask for this much not even when you get the actual visa thing at the fucking border!

    • Really eh? I haven’t purchased a ticket through the website myself, so I’ve never been through all the shenanigans. I wonder if they’re making an effort to counter further scams that might be happening.

  42. Hi, I took the trip on Jan 29, 2014. Got my tickets in advance on Thai Ticket Major. It’s an extra B43 (B20 Thai Ticket Major service charge and B23 “convenience fee” for using a credit card), but provides peace of mind that tickets won’t be sold out if you just show up and buy a ticket at Mo Chit bus station.

    I went to ticket window 22 and said I had a reservation with Thai Ticket Major. Employee said her window was only for buying tickets on the spot and pointed to a kiosk right next to the entrance to the station with a sign on it, “Thai Ticket Major.” Sure enough, my name was on a list and my ticket was in hand momentarily. Bus was nice and service was good on the 4 hr. trip to the border at Aranyaprathet.

    As your blog says, that’s where the scam starts. I’m sure the people at the travel agency have been reading blogs like this on the internet and have refined their tactics. First, when we got there a guy got on the bus and said, “We’ve already arrived at the Cambodian border.” And if you look out the window of the bus, the building doesn’t look like a travel agency. It looks like a border post, with “Welcome to Cambodia” signs and things all over the place. That was enough to get everyone off the bus and into the office. I decided to go in and see what was happening. People gave me a form to fill out and asked me to affix a passport picture to it. I decided to do it just for the heck of it. When I was done, an employee came over and said, “That will be B900.” That’s when I knew for sure the scam was afoot. I said I only brought dollars and he was super quick to say, “We accept dollars, too! $30, please.” He’d been reading the blogs… At that point I politely said I would get my visa myself at the border. He reluctantly relented and I walked out with my passport and the visa application form they’d given me and got back on the bus. (A big tipoff that you’ve not “already arrived” at the Cambodian border is the huge Thai flag a few hundred meters between where the bus stops and the real border. You’re definitely still in Thailand.)

    I figured everyone else who’d gotten off the bus and gone inside were doing the same as me—blowing off the scam. Not the case! EVERYONE on the bus except me and two dreadlocked Australians fell for it and handed over the B900 and their passports. I was shocked since people on the bus had been chatting about the scam on the way there. (At least the price is lower now–down from the B1100 when you were there to B900 now–so it’s not as much of a gouge.) Bus left for the 2 min ride to the real border. Stamping out of Thailand actually took like 30-40 minutes. A really long line there.

    After that over to the Cambodian side of the border, an Angkor-themed entrance, as pictured in your blog. Once through the Angkor gate, the people who’d handed over B900 went with the travel agency employee toward the “travelers with visas” line while me and the two Aussies went in the “travelers requiring a visa” direction. When I got to the Cambodia Border Visa Office, pictured on your blog, where you get visas, I showed a guy the form I’d filled out at the travel agency. But he said it was not the right one and gave me another one to fill out. (This contradicts what commenter, Harry, said in his Nov. 9, 2013 comment that the travel agency has the useful function of giving the correct forms, and is consistent with nickmorrisinadelaide’s response to that comment. All the forms you need are available at the real border. You CAN get arrival/departure cards at the travel agency, but you don’t have to. It’s not the only place. And the visa application form you get at the travel agency will not work if you do the border formalities yourself.) Filled it out and attached the photo from the other form to it. Got up to the window with that form filled out and the officials asked me for USD20 plus B100. I patted all my pockets and said apologetically, “I’m so sorry. I only have USD 20.” They just gave me an annoyed look and I had my passport with Cambodian visa in hand in 5 minutes—for USD20, no more, no less.

    From there, as you write, it’s to the immigration line. Guards at the head of the line give you arrival/departure cards—again, you don’t have to get them at the travel agency. As you wrote on your blog, it’s a long wait in line there. I didn’t see any evidence of any one line moving faster than another, but you could certainly be right about lines with more Asians going slower, as they are sometimes more highly scrutinized than Westerners (might be trying to enter illegally, bringing a lot of things to sell, etc.). Here I noticed that the Aussies and I had gotten in this line before most of the people from our bus who’d shelled out B900 to have the travel agency process their visas. We were done with the formalities and back to the bus before most of them. Don’t know if it was luck or not, but that’s how it turned out. Total time at the border about 2 ½ hours—about 2 hrs for me and the Aussies and 2 ½ hrs for the last people on the bus.

    Journey to Siem Reap took a really long time—4 hrs—because of road construction and we didn’t get to the Nattakan travel agency till about 6:15 PM. But the ride was fine.

    Thanks for the great info! It was essential to my getting across the border scam-free.

    • Brendan – thank you for your detailed account of the trip!! We very much appreciate it! It’s so interesting to hear about how they’re trying to work around people wising up to their scams!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s