Did you know that Bangkok, Thailand is just an 8-10 hour bus ride away from Siem Reap, Cambodia?
As of writing, there are two bus companies that travel directly from Bangkok to Siem Reap and vice versa:
1. Nattakan/Transport Co., Ltd.
- Thailand Pick-Up: Mo Chit Bus Terminal
- Cambodia Drop-Off: Nattakan Cambodia Office, 22 Sivatha Blvd, Svay Dangkom District, Siem Reap
- Online Booking: via BookMeBus or via 12go.asia
2. Giant Ibis
- Thailand Pick-Up: 22 Tanao, Rd, Taladyod Phanakorn, Bangkok / Tel. No. +66921939333
- Cambodia Drop-Off: Phum Salakanseng, Sangkat Svay Dangkum, Krong Siem Reap, Khet Siem, Behind Old Stadium / Tel. No. 095 777 809
- Online Booking: Giant Ibis Website
Important Note: We’re not sure if the pick-up and drop-off points are exactly the same for the Siem Reap-Bangkok route because we only personally experienced traveling from Bangkok to Siem Reap. To avoid getting lost, it’s always best to confirm with the bus companies. ?
We chose to go with Transport Co., Ltd. because our sleeper train was expected to arrive in Bangkok Railway Station at 6:50am, and we couldn’t risk missing Giant Ibis’ 8:00am departure due to morning traffic or any unforeseen circumstance. We were more comfortable with the former’s 9:00am bus schedule, so we booked our tickets a few weeks before our trip through the 12go.asia website.
Upon arriving at the Mo Chit Bus Terminal, we went straight to the Transport Co., Ltd. booth and presented our online booking reservations. The lady at the booth verified our bookings and handed us our actual bus tickets in no time. Since we had extra time to kill, we had our excess THB exchanged to USD and ate breakfast at the station.
Quick Tip: Cambodians widely use USD over Cambodian Riel (KHR), may it be in local markets and even tuktuk rides. Surprisingly, some souvenir sellers (who speak fluent Tagalog) in tourist spots even accept Philippine Peso. “Mura lang, pwede peso, tatlo isang daan,” you’ll most likely hear someone say.
Our assigned seats were near the toilet and boy was it unfortunate. The funky smell coming out from the loo each time someone entered made us feel uneasy. Good thing there were unoccupied seats further in front so we asked to be transferred and the attendant let us.
Quick Tip: For long bus rides like this, always try to get seats closer to the front whenever possible.
Upon taking our seats, complimentary snacks and drinks comprised of a pack of biscuits, orange juice, iced coffee, and bottled water were distributed to us by the conductor. At around 1:30pm, packed fried rice with fresh cucumber slices were served for lunch.
By 2:00pm, we were instructed to get down from the bus to have our passports stamped at the immigration in Aranyaprathet (Thailand), then to walk towards the Poipet (Cambodia) immigration for entry stamps. Below are some important points for this part of the journey:
• Since Transport Co., Ltd. is a “direct” bus, meaning we didn’t have to transfer vehicles unlike in other bus companies, we didn’t have to bring our big backpacks with us. We just brought our daypacks containing our valuables and got back to the same bus that was conveniently waiting for us near the Cambodian border.
• Before alighting, the bus personnel will explain the steps that you need to take and where they will meet you after getting exit and entry stamps. Listen attentively.
• There are directional signage in almost every corner so there’s little to no chance of getting lost.
• Do not entertain the people bombarding tourists in the border and always keep your valuables close to you.
• Thanks to the fact that the Philippines is an ASEAN member, Filipinos can enter Cambodia visa-free.
The whole process only took us around 15 minutes. To be honest, we were in a sort of Amazing Race-ish mode because we’ve heard too many horror stories about the infamous scammers in the Aranyaprathet-Poipet border so we made sure to do it quick. Kaya rin wala kami masyadong photos mga besh, praning mode! LOL. After waiting for all the passengers to get in, we continued our journey to Siem Reap for another 2.5 hours.
We arrived at the Nattakan Cambodia Co., Ltd. office by 6:00pm. It is located at Vihear Chen Village, Svay Dangkum Commune, Siem Reap, Cambodia. Here, we were able to buy Cellcard sim cards for USD 6 each, which included a bundle of 5GB mobile data good for 30 days, unlimited calls and texts, and USD 1 consumable load.
We were picked up by a tuktuk driver c/o our Airbnb in the Nattakan Office, and arrived at Wheel Garden Residences 15 minutes later.
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