Travelling from Bangkok to Siem Reap is a pretty smooth experience, however there are a couple of things to be weary of and to look out for, so I thought I’d provide you with a quick guide on how to cross the border without getting scammed.
Kerry and I opted to travel to Siem Reap on the coach from Morchit Bus Station in Bangkok. Using the Siem Reap Transport Company via 12go.asia cost 870 Thai Baht each (about £20) and the journey took around 9 hours which includes the hour or so it takes to officially leave Thailand, apply for a Cambodian visa and legally enter the Kingdom.
The coach journey to the Cambodian border took about 5 hours, it wasn’t the most comfortable of rides but the seats did recline and you did get a free bottle of water, the assistant handed out arrival cards for passport control and printed lanyards (incase you get lost lol!) There was a meal available, a microwaved pot of rice with either ham or prawns, so unfortunately not for us, but the rest of the passengers seemed pleased. We also stopped at a service station somewhere on the outskirts on Bangkok to refuel, use the loo and grab a snack at the obligatory 7 11.
Once we reached the border we were told where to head and where the coach would wait for us once we had everything sorted. Everything seemed pretty easy. We filled out our Thailand Departure Card, joined the queue and had our passports stamped. Then, we walked over to the visa office. This is where things got a little tricky. Kerry and I had both read how the border officials like to add a little extra on top of the price of the tourist visa, which is currently set at $30. As we waited to pay, correctly filled out forms and thirty American dollars in hand, we caught sight of a hand written sign, stuck to the glass with tape that read, ‘100 Baht fee for visa’. Here it was, the ‘scam’…. The official approached us, he took our paperwork and said we had to pay $30 plus 100 baht. Kerry and I both stood our ground and refused to pay anything except the $30. We were given back our paperwork and passports and asked to move to the seating area. We had already read about this ‘tactic’ from the officials so went and sat down knowing what was to come. 5 minutes later he came back over, took our stuff and presented us with shiny, new, $30 visas. Yay, scam avoided!
From here, we filled out the card we were given on the coach. It is essentially an arrivals card, you just need your name, address in Cambodia, DOB, passport number, visa number and point of arrival. A lot of people were filling these out on the coach, don’t bother. It’s hard to write while aboard a moving vehicle so just complete it while you’re in the passport office. There are big fans in there too which are extremely welcoming!
Once you’re done, head back to the coach and await everyone elses arrival 🙂
The journey from the border in to Siem Reap takes between 3-4 hours, it’s a pleasant drive through the flat, Cambodian countryside. There are lots of rice fields to marvel at and cows everywhere! Upon arrival we were given a free tuk tuk to our hotel. The tuk tuk driver is a self-employed sales man and will do his very very best to sell you a tour to Angkor Wat. And he was very persistent! By all means book a tour, but just be aware your hotel can probably arrange a better deal!
So we arrived in Siem Reap at about 6pm, my first impressions were that the city seemed like a crazy mixture of really cool and modern and really old and rundown. But as I explored more I grew to love the place, I’ll write a separate piece on Siem Reap, what to do, where to eat, drink, dance, laugh, for now, I just hope this guide has been helpful and informative. If you have any questions, just ask! And don’t forget to follow Without_Cruelty on Instagram for more travelling adventures✌❤