One of the easiest ways to travel to Thailand and Cambodia to visit the famous tourist destination of Siem Reap, the Angkor Wat temples, is by going on an overland border crossing at the Aranyaprathet Border in Thailand to reach the Poipet Border in Cambodia.
There are several ways to consider when you want to know how to travel from Bangkok to Aranyaprathet especially if you want to go to Siem Reap. I have listed 6 ways to travel from Bangkok to the Aranyaprathet Border if you are going to Cambodia from Bangkok by land trip.
When you travel by bus to get to the border in Aranyaprathet, you will normally be dropped off a few meters outside the entrance to the Immigration Office in Thailand. If you travel by train, you still need to hire a tuktuk to bring you to the border because the distance from the train station to the border is around 3-4 kilometers. Do not hesitate to ask where to go if this happens.
How to find the Aranyaprathet Immigration Office?
If you are coming from the train station, you need to hire a tuktuk, ride a motorcycle or their public transportation to get to the border. You will be dropped off a few meters outside of the entrance to the border in Thailand. Please beware of scammers since most tuktuk drivers and motodup drivers will drop you off at a building a few meters from the border gate. That building is located a few meters on the right side of the photo below. To avoid getting scammed, please make sure you have your visas for entry to Cambodia. If you have not processed them yet, be sure to know how much the rate is to prevent getting over charged. For members of the ASEAN nations, like the Philippines, remember that you do not need to pay any fees since you don’t need one. Your passport would suffice.
Aranyaprathet, Thailand Border
If you will be dropped off across the 7 Eleven store at the Rongklua Market, just cross the road and you will see a covered walkway leading towards the entrance to the immigration office.
I bet once you see the covered walk way, you won’t get lost anymore. Simply follow the signage.
On the photo above, at the end of that walk way, is where 7 Eleven is located. Before entering Cambodia, be sure you have a full stomach since you might have a hard time buying food on the other side. The food in Thailand is much cheaper than the same items you will find in Cambodia.
the walkway leading to the Immigration Office in Aranyaprathet
What to do inside the Aranyaprathet Immigration Office when crossing borders to Poipet
Once you reach the end of the walk way, you need to get inside the immigration office and line up to get your passports checked. On this area, the immigration officers will remove the immigration departure card that you filled in when you arrived in Bangkok. They will stamp your passports as you exit Thailand. Make sure you check that all information on that departure card are filled in so that you won’t have any problems with the officers. Otherwise, you will be asked to go back in line and complete the forms first.
a stolen shot inside the immigration office; taking photos is not allowed though 😉
click at your own risk, ok? 😆
There are a lot of immigration counters inside the office. On busy days, which is almost everyday, the place gets packed. So be sure to find the less crowded line and complete your departure cards while waiting for your turn to save time.
Overland border crossing: Aranyaprathet to Poipet
keep walking till you reach the Cambodia border
Once you are done, exit the building and walk forward. Do not confuse yourself if others would walk in the opposite direction. All you need to do is walk straight till you find the exit and see the iconic arc of the Kingdom of Cambodia in Poipet. That’s really not hard to miss.
By the time you exit the building of Thailand’s immigration office, brace yourselves for long sleeved men might approach you. Some of them are Khmer touts. They will try to talk to you and befriend you. Do as you please. Entertaining them won’t harm you unless you are rude to them. Just beware and be mindful of your things and the information you give to them (ex. where you are going) Some of them are taxi drivers who would offer their services to bring you to Siem Reap or any destination in Cambodia. Some of them are simply touts who would try to ask a tip from you after giving you unsolicited advice on where to go before you leave the Poipet immigration office.
(When you hire a taxi while in the border, be sure you agree on the price before you go with them. The official taxi fare from Poipet to Siem Reap is $48 (4 heads) once they bring you to the Government Bus Terminal. You can talk to some drivers and haggle for $30-$40 if you are brave enough. Will discuss more of this on another post).
take time to capture that epic jumpshot at the Poipet border 😉
How to get to the Poipet Immigration Office?
Once you are done taking customary 😉 photos at the Poipet border, simply walk forward again. You’ll notice that there are buildings on both sides of the road. Those are hotels with casinos. You see, I recently learned that people from Bangkok travel all the way to the casinos in Poipet to gamble.
Anyway, you’d see a covered walkway again. Just follow the road as shown on the photo below.
photo credit: Ed
At the end of the road where the hotels are lined up, you will see a clearer picture of Cambodia. Beyond those buildings lie a small one-storey structure where you’ll see the word “Arrival” below some Khmer writings. Yes, that’s the Immigration Office of Cambodia in Poipet.
The Poipet Immigration Office will give you an idea of how different Thailand is from Cambodia.
What to do inside the Poipet Immigration Office when crossing borders from Aranyaprathet?
When you enter the building, be sure to look for the Kingdom of Cambodia Immigration Arrival and Departure Card. Usually, a police officer will hand out these forms. If you can’t find one, don’t hesitate to ask where the other travellers got theirs or look for that officer outside by passing through the door at the side of the building.
complete the questions asked from the Cambodia Immigration Arrival and Departure Card
There are only 3-4 counters inside the immigration office in Poipet so immediately line up when there’s a long queue. Once you are done with the immigration checkpoint, you can head to the waiting area outside and wait for the government bus to bring you to the bus terminal. The ride is free.
government bus, waiting area, and Poipet immigration office
Things to know when crossing borders going to Poipet, Cambodia
Remember the tout I mentioned before? Most likely, that tout will continue to follow you and chat with you. As I said, the more you get friendly with them and the more they provide you information on getting to your next destination, a tip is expected of you. So you can simply ignore these Khmers and turn a deaf ear, refuse them politely or you can give in to their demands if their pestering will become unbearable. As for the tip, I think 20 baht or $1 will do if you really find them super helpful but it’s really up to you. No pressure. But if you were to ask me, I won’t give any since I’m travelling on a budget and every penny in my pocket counts. 😉
When I first attempted to go on an overland border crossing from Bangkok to Poipet, I was really scared with all the negative feedback that I read online. I’ve read countless horror stories of how people got scammed when crossing borders from Thailand to Cambodia via the Aranyaprathet to Poipet Border. Reading those stories prepared me for the worse as I knew already what to do should my friends and I ever get in the same situation like the ones I read online. We had some trouble on our first border crossing but managed to get out of it. On my second overland border crossing, everything was hassle-free as I got used to it.
Crossing the border from Bangkok to Poipet is not something that anyone should be scared of. So long as you are prepared (meaning you’ve done your homework on what to expect, where to go, what to do) then you’d be fine. It might get stressful though, especially if you are new to this, so be sure you don’t cross borders with an empty stomach, ok? 😉
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