crossing the border

The Khmer empire constructed buildings, irrigation system, city structures that were far advanced during it’s time, superior to its neighboring counterparts. The fact that they were able to weave such magnificent framework of technology that world has never seen, not just impeccably made but intricately adorned. Ironic that now, at the height of technological advancement, they can’t even put up a passable road leading in and out of the country.

The explanation lies behind political conspiracies. And I leave you with that.

Bottom line, if you going out of Cambodia the cheapest way is via land travel, but be ready for a long bumpy bus ride. 12 hour-long bumpy bus ride. Or you can fly in and out and burn your wallet.

The most affordable and easiest way is through a bus, there are lots of liners that run to and from Bangkok and Phnom Penh. If you’re lucky, you may just have to brave four hours of bus ride from Siem Reap to Poipet-Aranyaprathet border then another six from the border to Bangkok.

We scouted for the best bus line, and we originally booked a de luxe one, they even mentioned “first class” complete with hot towel and a bottle of water. Meang (our host) warned us, apparently he never heard of such thing as “first class”  bus going to the border. But thinking of a long bumpy trip, we thought a more comfortable seat will kind of compensate with the road condition. So I still booked it, a punch in the dark.


In time for the departure, Meang brought us to the pick-up point near the old market. But the first class bus is nowhere to be seen… the only bus in the area is a not-so-old shabby looking air-conditioned bus, more of like those that you’ll find running along EDSA. You bet, there goes our bus!

We hopped-on and realized that even the promised hot towel and bottle of water wouldn’t happen. Oh well, another “I TOLD ‘YA SO” moment in the book of Ron and Monette’s adventures.


Other than Peso bills, We only have US1 and few thousand riels on or pocket and money changer is nowhere to be found. That means we have to brave the entire day with that cash at hand, a bottle of half consumed water and a bag of chips.



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  • nina

    February 7, 2010 at 7:43 pm

    …or you can go to Poipet via hired car (most likely a Toyota Camry), cross to Aranyaphratet on foot, take a tuktuk to the bus station, then ride the bus to Bangkok. I left SR around 8am, arrived in Bangkok around 3pm. Not the cheapest option, but it’s certainly faster than the 12 hour bus ride.

  • flip'n travels

    February 8, 2010 at 3:25 am

    Hi Nina

    i heard of the rent-a-car option… but when we booked a bus to Poipet, half of the leg (border to Bangkok) is already part of the package… 😉

    hey, back from the northern expedition! Can’t wait to hear more stories.

  • Meang- Siem Reap

    March 13, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    Hello Ron & Monette!

    How are you doing? Where are you now? Oh what a pitiful bus ride! I forgot which bus company we got for you. In such inconsistency of bus companies running from Siem Reap – Bangkok, I just cannot book seats for our guests anymore. It’s truly hard thing to do. In short, I really wished that the Siem Reap – Bangkok route would be free from such curse soon or else most people would choose to burn their hands and pocket/wallet! Even more, some might choose to empty their account at Banco de Oro, HSBC or RCBC.. We learnt good lessons!

    Have a great 2010!

    Meang and the boys!

  • flip'n travels

    March 15, 2010 at 11:45 pm

    hi meang!

    we are doing great! thanks for asking. we hope you and your family are doing good as well. we forgot the bus company too, but all in all, the experience of crossing the border is worth treasuring. we actually found the trip relatively easy, contrary to what the other blogs say. we are so used to such kind of transportation here in the philippines, we forgot we were in cambodia! why did you stop booking?! it was convenient for us and we would think that you’d be able to help a lot of tourists going that route. we would want you to fix our transportation still when we go back. Ü

    have a great year ahead and we hope to see you soon!
    ron and monette

  • rayanne

    February 2, 2011 at 8:44 am

    hi there…

    ur blog is very insightful…

    my hubby and i are planning a trip to siem reap but our 1st stop is bangkok 1st… heard lots of humors and even stories from frends regarding “crossing the border stuffs”. im planning to book a cheap flight bkk-phnom penh… how far is the travel time? since we’re quite running on a tight schedule… ny advice? tnx tnx

  • flip'n travels

    February 2, 2011 at 9:20 am


    we find the bus ride not as bad as we’re expecting it to be. it’s safe and fast actually, a lot of backpackers are actually going through this route because it’s cheaper. you just have to bear 6-7+ hours on the bus.



  • rayanne

    February 3, 2011 at 2:39 am

    hi there again…

    tnx for the advice!
    any suggestion for the bus company offering safe crossing?

    so, whats total # of travel hours if where coming from bangkok-siem reap?

    tnx again

  • Backpacking Southeast Asia

    October 5, 2011 at 9:20 am

    Hey! I crossed the Cambodia-Vietnam border at Ha Tien and it all went pretty well, aside from the $1 fee to have a ‘doctor’ tell me that I was well enough to cross into Vietnam. I heard a fair few horror stories on my last trip, but so far, I have managed not to get caught up in any of the land border crossing in Southeast Asia, even when using the cheapest transport I could find.

  • jan

    April 4, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    really cool experience, thanks for sharing 🙂

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