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Traveling from Bangkok to Angkor Wat

By: Angkor Road Posted: January-08-2011 in
Angkor Road

How do I get from Bangkok to Angkor Wat?
That is the question most often asked in the Guest Houses of Kaosan Road and Travel Agencies throughout the city of Bangkok.

The answer is relatively easy for those who just want to get there as quickly as possible, but not as easy for the truly adventurous who like to take the route less traveled and avoid airlines whenever possible, or those who are traveling on a very tight budget.

You can fly directly from Bangkok to Siem Reap (Angkor). In only a little over an hour you can be transported from one of the most adrenalin charged, constantly hustling, shopping and nightlife obsessed cities of the world, to the edge of a majestic outcropping of ruins that is still largely in the clutches of the jungle, that it's ancient rulers and architects had once tamed, if only for a brief moment of it's entire history.

Flying directly is fairly expensive though for the short one hour flight (currently close to US $300.00 round-trip), so it encourages many travelers to find an alternative mode of transportation. In the future (when Bangkok Air loses it's monopoly on the route) the price of flying may become more reasonable.

Bangkok Airways - Bangkok's Suvarnaboumi Airport to the Siem Reap Airport. Either book a return flight ticket with Bangkok Airways or book your return flight with Siemreap Airways International in Siem Reap.

The Hard Way
Trains, Boats, Buses, and Taxis

Trains - the train will take you from Hualompong Station in Bangkok to the Thai-Cambodia Border at Aranyapratet. Unfortunately the old rail line across the border and into Cambodia no longer exists.

Boats - once you get to Phnom Penh, Battambang or Sianoukville you can elect to take a boat the rest of the way to Siem Reap. Depending on the time of the year and the amount of rainfall this can be a more or less trying experience.

Buses - Big luxury tour buses, Thai government public transport buses, tour company mini-vans, and trucks with benches make up this often hair raising assortment of transportation choices.

January 2011 Update:
Most travel guides and blogs still recommend the Morchit (Northern) bus terminal in Bangkok. Although it has the most buses traveling to Aranyaphrathet from Bangkok, it does not take you all the way to the border and a 100 Baht tuk-tuk ride is required from the bus station to the border. On the way the tuk-tuk driver will try to take you to a fake "Cambodia Consulate" for an overpriced Cambodian Visa service and then deliver you directly to touts at the border. Just be strong and insist that you already have a Visa and that you want to go to the market (not the border). It is only a short walk to the border from the market and you can stock up on drinks and snacks, or even go shopping and change money at the bank, for the trip to Siem Reap. Cambodian Immigration police will issue you a Visa on arrival (they will ask for a tip though, so it is really best to get a Visa on-line or at the Cambodian Consulate in Bangkok.

A less known (but much better) bus service that goes directly from Bangkok to the Cambodian Border at Poipet is available from Ekamai (Eastern) Bus Terminal on Sukhumvit Road. There are only a few buses a day though, so it is best to go to the Ekamai bus station and reserve your seat ahead of time.

Bangkok Taxi to the border & Cambodian Taxi to Siem Reap - (Easy on the Thai side of the border but not so easy on the Cambodian side) Very comfortable taxis and even more comfortable limousines can take you from Bangkok to the Cambodian border in three hours or so for from 2,000 Baht up. Once you are across the border it becomes another story all together. Cambodian taxis traveling from Poipet to Siem Reap tend to be fairly beat up by the rough roads and heavy loads that they carry. Taxis can be shared with up to six passengers and will cost from US $35 to US $60 dollars for the four hour trip.

Poipet to Siem Reap Road Update:
As of the June 2009, the road from Poipet to Siem Reap is completely paved and smooth driving all the way. The trip takes less than three hours, but the taxi ride (private, no local passengers are picked up) is still around $50, unless you are very good at bargaining, in which case you may get the price down to as low as $35.

December 2010 update:
There is now a second Poipet Bus Station and both of them offer buses and taxis. Unfortunately they have been used to scamming the travelers for so long that they are still trying as hard as possible to make a few extra bucks by squeezing 4 to 5 people into a "shared" taxi and delaying bus journeys untill the bus is full. The bus also has a number of bus company "employees" on board who chat up as many travelers as possible to stay at "my" guesthouse.

Share taxis will drop their passengers off at the side of the road on the outskirts of Siem Reap, where they are handed over to "free" tuk-tuk (motorcycle trailer taxi) drivers who will insist on bring them to pre-arranged guest houses. Even the "private" taxi drivers will try to drop you there (no matter what agreement you made with them), so do not pay them untill you get to your hotel or guest house.

The taxi drivers will all give you a sob story about only getting a small part of the fee and try to get a large tip out of you on arrival in Siem Reap. The last trip I took, the guy owned the car himself and did not work for a taxi company (I took a motorcycle into town and found him on my own), but he still gave me the usual sob story.

The best way to deal with this problem is to pick up (or print out) a map of Siem Reap, before you leave Bangkok and mark your hotel or guest house destination on the map. Show it to your taxi driver before you leave Poipet and insist on being delivered directly there.

Source: AngkorRoad | A Guide to Siem Reap and the Angkor Temples

On the Forums: Reaching Vietnam border at Ha Tien to Rach Gia (and then for Phu Quoc island)?


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