Step-by-Step Journey from Bangkok to Siem Reap
The bus from Bangkok to Siem Reap leaves from Mochit Station (You can also find buses that cross into Laos or Vietnam here as well). You can purchase tickets here in advance for a safer bet (what we did http://bit.ly/10VnSn6) How to get to Mochit Bus Terminal: http://wp.me/p1Txsb-9V
Update: Now you can get your bus tickets online! http://www.thaiticketmajor.com/bus/index.php?la=en You have to register on the website, pay a little extra fee, “It only costs an additional 20 Baht per ticket, and a 46 Baht ‘convenience fee’ per payment transaction. You can collect your tickets in advance from one of their offices or at the bus station one hour ahead of departure time.” – Kimberly (Thank you!)
The ticket booth is on the 1st floor. You can only buy a one-way ticket from Bangkok to Siem Reap, the return route has to be bought in Siem Reap. The officer does not speak English, so normal steps would be:
1) Say your route (in this case) BKK – Siem Reap 2) Give the date of travel 3) Show your passport and if applicable your visa 4) Pick your seat (s) 5) Wait (a while) for the officer to fill out your info 6) Pay and snatch your tickets! The ticket is 750 baht.
Now comes the travel date. Tada! The Bangkok – Siem Reap bus is real! The bus from Bangkok to Siem Reap now leaves daily at 8 and 9 am. We traveled on the 6th of April 2013 and this direct bus, we believe, is less hassle than most other ground transportation options. In the past, you would need to change to another bus service (Cambodian run company) at the boarder. With this direct route, however, you will be traveling on the same bus and with the same driver and staff the whole route.
Prepare some food and drinks prior to boarding the bus since it’s gonna be a 8-9 hours long journey. (On the way back, the trip was about 7 hours.) For convenience, there’s a huge 7-11 at Mochit Station for you to stock up on some food.
The seating is normal and comfortable enough for a 5-6 hours drive. The actual drive from Bangkok to Siem Reap without traffic would be only about that, however, with all the waiting at the boarder, the trip is 8 hours+. The scam alert in the next paragraph is what we experienced, just be cautious, there’s no guarantee that it will not come back 😉
Scam alert (our experience as of April 2013:) Before you get to the boarder, the bus will stop here claiming that you can get your visa done. They will charge you 1,200 baht ($40) which is more than you would if you were to do your e-visa which costs $ 28. The only good thing about stopping here is the clean toilet. So if the staff tells you to get off the bus, just have a go as this is your only bathroom stop. You pay 5 baht for a toilet that’s actually clean, and it was so clean we had to take a picture to prove it. The bus does have a toilet, however, it is much filthier and has a distinct and pungent urine aroma. The choice is yours!
New experience: No more scam stop (as updated by you guys from later in 2013 and 2014.)
“A few updates:
– They don’t try the scam stop anymore, our experience at the border was very quick and easy.
– There was a stop at 11:30 am at a rest stop that had food (thai restaurant stalls and a Western coffee shop) and a nice bathroom (although squat toilet)
– They handed out breakfast (pastry), lunch (hot 7-11 fried rice with crab), water, and a cool towel.” – jonandjenwohlers
The food comes in a small amount, seems to be different every time (from what I hear from your updates) and may not be to your liking, so don’t rely on it and stock on food you like! (Especially when you are travelling with kids or a picky eater!)
When you are traveling as a group, it is highly recommended that you plan ahead and get your visa done prior to the trip. Everyone on the bus will have to wait for the few of you who did not prepare ahead of time. It’s simple, convenient, and will cut down at least 45 minutes of the time spent at the boarder http://www.mfaic.gov.kh/evisa
You will be handed this card on the bus, wear it and show it with pride. This card will allow you to skip the crazy lines outside, go directly into the a/c room (but still pretty hot inside) and wait in line to get your departure stamp. The bus staff will not give you any instructions, just leave as soon as the bus stops (after the scam building) and follow the group (run!) to get checked out of the country. A few seconds faster could save you a lot of time.
After you get your departure stamp, follow the crowd and walk across the Cambodia boarder to get your arrival stamp. After the bus drops you off at the Thai Boarder, and while you get your departure stamp, the same bus will be waiting over by the Cambodian boarder. You will need to get your passport stamped again at the building circled in the picture …or, the tip we learned on the trip is to give a 100 baht to the bus staff, he will get your passports stamped and you can wait comfortably on the a/c bus instead of having to wait in line (yet again) in intense heat and humidity.
From this point on, it will be easy breezy. Just relax and sleep or observe the Cambodian countryside. The bus driver will make some dubious but quick stops along the way, but the official one will be a building among a small row of shops named Nattakarn Bus Company(reference location will be KFC, the office is close to the only KFC in town.) That is where you can buy the ticket back to Bangkok, and you should do so immediately upon arrival. The ticket back should cost $28 each.
The bus company is not known to most hotels, so just tell them its close to KFC if you get a free transfer from your hotel. If not, the bus company will introduce you to a tuk tuk driver who hopes to be of your service during your stay. A tuk tuk trip to anywhere within Siem Reap should cost about 1-2 dollars each way. To hire a tuk tuk driver for the entire day will set you back about 12-15 dollars.
On the morning of your departure from Siem Reap, Nattakarn should also provide a free pick-up from your hotel (if you paid $28.) The bus from Siem Reap to Bangkok leaves daily at 8 and 9 am. Good luck!
Update: Now you can get your bus tickets online! http://www.thaiticketmajor.com/bus/index.php?la=en
New route: Low cost airline flies to Siem Reap! http://wp.me/p1Txsb-5f