Siem Reap has quickly become the most popular tourist attraction site in Cambodia. The Angkor temples are the main attraction that makes the city a wonderful place to visit. In addition, the city offers you the opportunity to have a taste of the many attractive traditions such as the traditional Apsara dance performances, craft shops, boat trips on the great Tonle Sap Lake and many more.
The journey from Bangkok to Siem Reap has become much easier over the last few years, especially with a new paved highway from Poipet to Siem Reap. Travelling has been facilitated by the many convenient means of transport available. You can either travel from Bangkok to Siem Reap by flights or overland.
Travelling from Bangkok to Siem Reap by a flight
Siem Reap International Airport is the second largest airport in Cambodia. It is around 7km only from the town center. On arrival at the airport, you can take a taxi to the town center at a cost of US $7, but most hotels offer a free airport pick-up if you have booked in advance. The airport is served by many airlines and there are two airlines that travel from Bangkok to Siem Reap and back, Bangkok Airways and Cambodia Angkor Air.
Bangkok Airways is the oldest airline operating from Bangkok to Siem Reap. The airline has daily flights which cost around US$200 to US$250 one way. However, these prices vary according to days, seasons and events. The cheapest day to travel is on Thursday and the most expensive day to travel is on Wednesday. Generally, the trip takes around 1 hour and it's really enjoyable.
Cambodia Angkor Air is the new flight operating from Bangkok to Siem Reap. The airline launched its new route on 30th November 2012. The airline operates daily flights from Bangkok to Siem Reap. The fare is comparatively less compared to that charged by the Bangkok Airways. Due to the high number of tourists to the Angkor Wat temples, the airline is planning to increase its number of flights which will make it easier for people to travel from Bangkok to Siem Reap. We recommend that you book your flight ticket early in advance so as to avoid inconveniences since tickets sell out.
Travelling overland from Bangkok to Siem Reap
It is a fact that traveling overland is always more interesting and such a nice adventure, than traveling by air. This is so because of the sights and experiences involved in traveling overland. To travel from Bangkok to Siem Reap overland, you can either use the trains or travel by buses which are readily available.
There are no direct trains from Bangkok to Siem Reap but there are two trains that leave Bangkok at the Hua Lamphong train station for Aranya Prathet every day. One leaves at 5.55 am and arrives at 11.55am. The other departs from the station at 13.05 and arrives at 17.35. Trains tickets cost approximately US$ 1.50. From Aranya Prathet you will need to take a short trip to the border (Poipet) by tuk-tuk or motorbike for around 100 baht.
Alternatively, you can take a regular government bus from Morchit bus station. These buses run frequently and are very efficient hence are convenient. A journey from Bangkok to Aranya Prathet will cost you around US$10. From here you will also need to take a short trip to Poipet by motorbike or tuk-tuk.
When you are at the border, you should beware of scam buses halfway through their journey and you should avoid them. It is not advisable for tourists to change money at the border because of the many scams involved. Therefore, we strongly recommend you to avoid changing money at the border.
You will need a valid Cambodia visa to cross the border and the official price is US$20, you will also need a passport photo. Unfortunately, most people end up paying the so-called express service fee of 100 baht. Please note the officials will try to charge you 1,000 baht at the visa counter and possibly more. If this happens, be firm but polite and let them know that the correct price is $US20. Also, be warned that they are scam visa offices before you actually reach the border, some of these offices look very official, so it is easy to get tricked into obtaining your visa here. These offices will try to charge you $US40 to $US50. If your tuk tuk driver tries to take you to one of these places then insist he takes you to the official visa office at the border crossing (official visa office pictured).
The road from Poipet to Siem Reap has been greatly improved due to the high number of travelers along the road (pictured). Once you are through with the border, you can take a private bus to Siem Reap. This will take you around 3 to 4 hours and cost you approximately US$10. Alternatively, you can charter a taxi which is the fastest and most comfortable. The taxi charge is generally around US$40 and takes only two to three hours. Share taxis are normally 12$US per person. Generally the whole trip is tiresome and annoying, but if you take note of our advice it should be a walk in the park. We advise you to pay the taxi drivers an extra $US5 for them to drop you at our guesthouse, if you have a booking with us. Generally, the taxi drivers will drop you 5km outside of town at the “mafia” tuk tuk association. This is not a place to be after a tiresome journey, the drivers are known for their scams.
“Angkor Tours by a Local” is part of Siemreaprooms Tours & Guesthouse. A British/Khmer managed tour operator based in Siem Reap, Cambodia. All of our tours are led by a local Angkor Tour Guide. Copyright 2013