During my previous posts, I have discussed the 6 ways to travel from Bangkok to Aranyaprathet border if you are doing a Bangkok to Siem Reap overland border crossing via Bangkok to Poipet. I have also mentioned that once you have determined what mode of land transportation you will choose to reach the border in Aranyaprathet, Thailand, you simply follow the instructions I provided on how to cross borders from Aranyaprathet to Poipet. Once you remembered those tips on how to do the overland border crossing from Bangkok to Poipet, you now need to know how to travel from Poipet to Siem Reap [on your own].
This article aims to help you follow a do-it-yourself guide so that you don’t have to spend too much when travelling from Poipet to Siem Reap. Booking for a Bangkok to Siem Reap trip from a travel agency is too expensive. I would suggest that you travel to the border on your own, unless you have a lot of money to burn. No worries, it’s not really difficult. Promise.
If you have read my article on how to cross the Thailand-Cambodia borders, you will remember about the touts I mentioned.
These Khmer touts normally wear black slacks with light colored long sleeves. My take is that they wear this kind of “uniform” in order to look presentable and professional to tourists when they approach them to offer their services – whether a tour package to see the temples of Angkor Wat, taxi ride, translator service, or your regular customer service aide. If you want to get some questions answered as to where you need to go once you exit the immigration office in Poipet, feel free to ask those Khmer locals at the waiting area. However, be prepared for they might attempt at offering their services to you. Simply decline their offers politely if you want to. Rememer the golden rule. If you are rude to them, you’d probably get the same treatment from them. However, if it gets to the point where they get annoying, then better do something about it, k? The best tip I can give you on how to deal with them is by using the silent treatment. Simply stop yourself from finding the urge to speak to them even though you are already imagining how you’d cut their tongues to keep them shut. They’ll eventually leave you if you don’t respond to their questions.
How to Travel from Poipet to Siem Reap?
There are different ways to go to Siem Reap from Poipet. However, since Poipet does not have an airport, you will have to endure travelling by land for 2.5 hours up to 3.5 hours. In here, I will list down 4 ways that you can choose on where you need to find your mode of transportation if you want to travel from Poipet to Siem Reap.
1. Government Passenger Terminal
The most widely used mode of transportation is via the transportation available at the government bus terminal. Once you exit the doors of the immigration office in Poipet, just walk forward till you see the covered area as shown on the photo on top. Just so you’d know, there are 2 “Government” bus terminals in Poipet. One only takes roughly 5 minutes to travel from the immigration office. You’ll reach the other one after 15 minutes. The trip to both terminals is free. A bus will be waiting for you when you leave the immigration office but you will not know what terminal the driver will bring you and the other travellers. Do not panic. You will reach the terminal. If there are no available buses that will bring you to the terminals, there’s an area where you can sit and wait. There’s also a store there where you can buy drinks to quench your thirst.
both white and red buses offers free rides to reach the Poipet Government Bus Terminal
the Poipet Bus Terminal 5 minutes away from the border
Once you are in the terminal, you will be asked where you need to go and what mode of transportation you will choose.
If you are on your way to Siem Reap, here’s what you need to consider:
Poipet to Siem Reap by Taxi – $12/pax
Poipet to Siem Reap by Bus – $9/pax
The taxi is good for 4 heads. If you are travelling alone and want a solo trip, you can hire the taxi and pay $48 for the special trip. Otherwise, it is best to approach other travellers so that you can share the ride. Travel time will take 3 hours. You’ll save 30 minutes of travel time if your driver drives like a maniac.
If you decide to go by bus, travel time will probably take 3.5 hours. The bus will leave when it’s almost full. So unless you are in a hurry, feel free to choose this option.
Poipet Tourist Passenger International Terminal, 15 minutes away from the border
When there are no buses available and your travel party can fit inside a van, there’s a high probability that you will be seated in a van along with other travellers. You still need to pay $12/head though. Travel time is approximately 3 hours.
Before you leave the terminal, someone will ask you what country you are from and where you will stay. Most likely, they will drop you off in your hotel.
For those who does not have any hotel reservation, they’ll probably take you to one of the hotels they partner with or drop you off 2 kilometers from the main city. When this happens, tell them you will look for your own hotel. And find your own tuktuk. It only costs $1 to hire a tuktuk driver. $2 if you are farther from the city area. However, certain tuktuk drivers offer free rides to help you find a hotel/hostel provided you hire them the next day to see the temples of Angkor Wat. Remember that it only costs $12-$15 to hire a tuktuk to view the temples in one day.
There are two places where you can hire a taxi and pay a cheaper rate to bring you to Siem Reap aside from the taxis waiting for you at Option#1.
Taxi near the immigration office
If you are travelling in a group of 3-5, you can attempt to discuss with a tout or immediately look for a taxi driver that will take you to Siem Reap. The good thing with this option is that you do not have to go to the Passenger Terminal. You simply discuss your price with the taxi driver. If you have great haggling skills, start haggling at $30 for the trip. Maximum should be $40-$45, ok?
To the right side of this roundabout, just a few meters after the waiting area where you wait for the free bus ride, you will see parked taxis. You can immediately go there and look for a taxi driver and start haggling.
Note: When I tried to do a visa run, I joined 4 Filipinos on our way back to Siem Reap. One of them speaks Khmer and he made a no-sweat deal with the driver to bring us from Poipet to Siem Reap for only $30. That’s just $6 per head!
On a next trip I made, when I travelled from Poipet to Siem Reap, I approached a Japanese couple and asked them if they want to share the taxi with me. They agreed. I haggled for $30 but since I can’t speak Khmer, the drivers were being difficult. I finally found one who agreed for $35. The couple gave an amount more than their share so I ended up paying only $9 for the trip!
If I went to the Passenger terminal, I would have paid $12 for the trip. The only inconvenience here is the haggling part.
Taxi within the city
I wanted to find out where locals find a taxi if they want to travel from Poipet to Siem Reap. I rode one where we only paid $30 for the trip. Surely there must be a cheaper taxi. So I talked to one of the locals and asked him where I can find a taxi where I only need to pay $6. He said there’s no rate like that. I insisted there must be one. He said he could take me to one where they charge $7 and I just need to pay him 20 baht for the ride. It was a done deal. He’s actually driving to bring passengers to their desired destinations. He brought me to a small office in the city center. One passenger was already waiting. I was the 2nd. We had to wait for 2 more passengers. After 1.5 hours, we left Poipet.
This mode of transportation is very inconvenient since you had to wait for the taxi to get filled. The maximum capacity of the taxi is 6 persons. Since there was a passenger who had goods with her, she paid for 1 seat and I got seated next to a couple of boxes while 2 more passengers were seated beside me. There were 2 more passengers in front of the taxi.
This mode of transportation is great for budget travellers like me. But if you are not the type of person who’d want to be inconvenienced by such and wouldn’t mind paying more, then I’d suggest going with option # 1.
3. Private bus company
I normally pay $3.50 for a one-way trip from Siem Reap to Poipet. Because of this, one of my goal when I was travelling back and forth Siem Reap was to find a similar bus company with that rate when doing the Poipet to SR route. However, I failed to find out more about this. On my last Poipet to Siem Reap trip, I attempted to find a bus company that would go back to SR after bringing passengers from SR in the morning. After searching for one, I finally gave in to riding a taxi and paid $7 again.
However, I did find out that there’s a private company that travels from Poipet to Siem Reap. I failed to inquire about the rate but the bus leaves at 8am, which I find impossible to catch since I normally arrive in Poipet (from Bangkok or SR) at around 11-12nn.
4. Travel Agency in Bangkok or the like
You can also book an overland trip from Bangkok to Siem Reap from a travel agency in Bangkok, specifically the ones near Khao San road. The only catch is that you’ll pay more than twice the rate of that taxi fare mentioned in option 1. What’s worse is that you’ll go through the same process when crossing borders if you are coming from Bangkok since there are no direct trips from Bangkok to Siem Reap.
the paved roads going to Siem Reap
Let me tell you a story:
I rode a van (option # 2 as mentioned here) from Khao San road to get to the Aranyaprathet border. Before we were brought to the border, we stopped at this small open air restaurant where Thai drivers normally bring their passengers. In there, they convinced us to take our lunch. The food were priced at 70++ baht per meal. I find the prices a bit expensive. Since I am travelling on a budget, I brought food with me and I didn’t order anything there. There’s this one Thai tout who approached everyone and told them what they need to do in securing their Cambodian visa and how to get to Siem Reap. I was half listening to him. Some of my companions already paid for their one way trip from Bangkok to Siem Reap. Others, like me, who do not have a ride yet from Poipet to Siem Reap were told we could join them for 700 baht. I had to stop myself from mocking the tout as I might not come out alive in that place. I told him I will travel on my own and that I will not join his recruits. He came back to me after a few minutes and asked me how much I was willing to pay to reach Siem Reap. I said 250 baht. He moved his head side ways showing his disapproval of my rate and walked away.
That Thai tout was asking me to pay 800 baht for a trip from Poipet to Siem Reap. That’s approximately $22 (~$1 = 31.50 baht). My budget was only $7. The regular rate to travel from Poipet to SR, if you take the “government” mandated taxi, is $12/head on a shared taxi of 4 peeps. The amount that the Thai tout quoted those innocent and first-time travelers was outrageous!
It really pays to know how much you need to pay when travelling to other places to avoid being scammed. Because of the famous Angkor Wat temples, there are many travellers who go to Cambodia all the time. There are a lot of scams happening both in the Thai and Cambodian borders. Even immigration officials extort money from travellers. I was one of them. It’s just sad knowing that scammers exist in those places because of us, travellers. My wish is that YOU will not be one of their victims.
Happy Safe travels you!
You might also find these articles useful:
- 6 Ways to Travel from Bangkok to the Aranyaprathet Border
- Crossing Borders: Thailand to Cambodia via Aranyaprathet to Poipet Border