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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.