BORDER CROSSING: Cambodia-Thailand via Poipet-Aranyaprathet Border

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Unlike bus lines from Vietnam to Cambodia that allow online booking, Cambodia to Thailand is a different story. Before heading to the Pub Street, I dropped by on one of the travel agencies along Sivatha Road. With my experience in getting a seat reservation from Vietnam, a friend insisted that I should book my trip to Bangkok upon arrival in Siem Reap. She also mentioned that border crossing Cambodia Thailand is less hassle compared to Vietnam to Cambodia yet takes longer time because of the horde of departing tourists.

border crossing cambodia thailand bus
Comfy coaster-ride from Siem Reap to Poipet border.

RELATED POST: Indochina Backpacking Guide: 9 Days in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand

The agency promised that a mini-bus (coaster) will be utilized for the Cambodian side before the border. And after that, everyone will be transferred to a bigger and more comfortable bus. Don’t believe them! Continue reading to know why.

After 1.5 hrs, bladder break.

Moreover, for the Siem Reap to Bangkok ride, I got my reservation from Sara Tour Tourist Agency. Bus fare is 18USD with schedules at 6 AM, 8 AM, 10 AM, and 12 NN, leaving Siem Reap. A bus crew picked me up at my hostel 30-minutes before the schedule. We left the streets of Siem Reap around 8 AM and had a stopover somewhere after an hour and a half.

Lunch before entering Thailand.

Fifteen minutes before the border, the bus stopped for lunch and for another crew to put a sticker on our shirts. This will be the marker for their counterpart in Thailand that will bring you from the border to Bangkok.

EXITING CAMBODIA via Poipet

If you already got your belongings inside the coaster, look for the building with ‘DEPARTURE’ sign. Enter the building, join the queue, and fill up the necessary information needed on the departure card stapled in your passport when you entered Cambodia. Make sure that you provided the correct information as the immigration officer won’t let you do the revisions while on the line. Few ladies were sent back to the end of the queue when the officer found out that the cards weren’t filled in yet. Bring a pen during your trip, this will save you a lot.

The shuttle sometimes stops far from the building so look for the Departure after getting all your stuff.

After taking your fingerprints for both hands, he will stamp your passport and you can now exit the building. From the Departure building on the Cambodian side, walk for about 200 meters to finally exit Cambodia. Follow the flow of people and enter the arrival area of the Kingdom of Thailand.

Bye Cambodia. Photo was taken from Thailand side.

For visa related concerns, check the visa policy of Thailand to know if you are exempted or need to secure a visa before your arrival. Philippine passport holders are visa-exempt in Thailand up to 30-days. However, please take note that you can only have a maximum of two visits per year if you’re arriving by land/sea (no limit for air travels).

ENTERING THAILAND via Ayanpratet

Before entering the arrival building, don’t forget to ask for an arrival/departure card from the officer before the stairs. Fill the information needed, both arrival and departure, and join the queue. It was a busy day and it took us around 2 hours to finally get our entry stamp.

Once you complete the x-ray scan, follow the signs that will lead you to an area where buses and vans wait for passengers. Look for the guy who has the same sticker that was put on you when you were still in Cambodia. You need to wait for everyone to exit the arrival building before finally boarding the van (again, not a bus).

Arrival/Departure cards are being handed to arriving people before the stairs. Don’t forget to get one.

The promised ‘bigger bus’ turned out to be a larger-than-normal van. Though it’s bigger compared to the usual vans, we were 13 and space was too cramped given that most travelers have a bulky backpack. One of the late passengers who boarded the vehicle got irritated and had a heated conversation with the van crew.

The driver will stop somewhere for everyone to have lunch. After that, prepare for another 4-hour ride to Bangkok. Most vans terminate in Khao San Road so you need to find your ways of getting to your destination. On my case, I went straight to Mo Chit Bus Station for a sleeper bus to Chiang Mai.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Hi! I’ll be crossing the border this December and your post has really been helpful. I have a question though… Are there fees you have to pay at the border? (I’m Pinay, so visa-exempt). My friend told me she paid a certain amount at Ayanpratet.

    • I didn’t pay anything when I crossed that border last year. And I believe we don’t need to pay anything. However, I heard from other Pinoy travelers that they were actually asked for USD1 for the officer to stamp their passports. I encountered this when I crossed Laos to Vietnam last September.

  2. Hi good day! Im about to cross the border this july, and im still sorting things out how to cross from cambodia to thailand (pattaya). Is it okay if we travel around 12:30 am cause the bus schedule to poipet is 12:30 – 2:30 in the morning. And were planning to stay in the border and wait till it open.

    • You can do that but be aware that the Thailand border does not open until 6 a.m. and the small town of Poipet is a REAL gritty Hell-Hole of a place. Not much to do there to while the time away other than maybe stay up all night in one of the sleazy casinos that litter the place.

      I recommend traveling later in the afternoon to avoid the hoards that hustle through in the morning hours. Every time I’ve gone it was after 4 p.m., sometimes 5 and the place was virtually empty! Had my passport stamped into Thailand in 10-15 minutes each time.

      I took a minivan to the border from Siem Reap for $7, did the crossing and then proceeded on down the road to a small shopping mall on the left where there are a number of minivan operators with departures throughout the day, last one leaving around 7 p.m. for about 300 Baht (USD $9).

      Good luck!

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