Taking a flight is the fastest and easiest way of getting from one country to another. It is also the most expensive. If you are traveling for a longer period of time you try to save up as much as you can so you could extend your trip. For some, it terrifies them to do land border crossing. Having experienced the Vietnam-Cambodia overland border crossing which was super easy, I felt calm when I traveled from Cambodia to Thailand by bus.
After spending seven days in Cambodia, I traveled to Bangkok, Thailand because I am taking my flight there to Yangon, Myanmar. I took the direct bus from Siem Reap to Bangkok. The travel time is nine hours. Want to know how my experience was? Read on…
Where to Purchase Bus Tickets
Bus tickets can be purchased online, in the bus station, in travel agencies in Cambodia or you can ask the receptionist in your hostel/hotel because most are affiliated with bus companies. I purchased mine online, in Giant Ibis’ website. I have mentioned Giant Ibis in my previous post, but for those who haven’t read it, Giant Ibis is the most popular bus company in Cambodia for backpackers. The Mekong Express is also a good one but I chose Giant Ibis for my trip to Bangkok because of the good reviews I have read from other passengers. If you have plenty of time and prefer the traditional method of doing things, you can always visit their bus station and book your trip there.
If you want to check out other bus or travel options (if you want to compare the price of flying vs. taking the bus) you can do it through Baolau. Baolau is a ticket booking service for bus, train, and plane for traveling in China, Vietnam, Cambodia
My Experience with Giant Ibis Bus
Giant Ibis offers free pick-up to hotels/hostels affiliated with them. You can see the list of hotels/hostels when you book your ticket online.
In the terms and conditions part of the ticket, it says that you should be ready for pick-up one hour before the trip. I booked the 7:45 AM trip so at 6:45 AM I was already waiting outside my hostel. But I was picked up at 7:45 AM. I guess I was the last one that they picked up because when we arrived at the bus station the bus left as soon as I was settled on my seat. No big deal though.
Before boarding the bus I placed my big backpack in the bus compartment. They then gave me a luggage tag. They checked the tag when I retrieved my bag when we arrived in Bangkok (it means your bag is safe with them).
The trip from Siem Reap to Bangkok costs USD 32 (~PHP 1664 ) plus USD 1 credit card processing fee. Like Mekong Express, Giant Ibis gives free water, a pack of facial wipes and croissants for a snack. They also give out packed lunch when you get back to the bus after sorting things at the Thailand immigration.
Crossing the Poipet/Aranyaprathet Border
A few minutes after our bus drove off from the bus station, we were given an immigration card to fill out. The bus attendant explained to us how to fill out the form. After three hours of travel, we reached the border crossing station at Poipet. We alighted the bus and walked to immigration.
The Cambodian Immigration
At the Cambodian Immigration, you line up like what you normally do at any immigration. You give your passport and if I remember it correctly, you also have your picture and fingerprints taken. Then you wait for the immigration officer to stamp on your passport.
The immigration card we filled in at the bus is for the Thailand Immigration. They didn’t ask for it at the Cambodian Immigration. Also when I entered Cambodia from Vietnam, the immigration officer stapled in my passport the immigration card that I filled in. He stamped something in it then stapled in my passport. It was at the border crossing station at Poipet that I figured out why he did it. You actually need to keep that card with you while in Cambodia and when you get out of the country you have to submit it to the immigration office. He stapled it so I won’t lose the card.
Passing the immigration at Poipet was easy, it took around 10-15 minutes including waiting in line. From the border crossing station, we were told by the bus attendant to wait in front of Tropicana Resort and Casino. He gave us border pass with important numbers just in case we get separated from the group. When we were complete, we walked together to Thailand Immigration.
The Thailand Immigration
The line at the Thailand Immigration was very long. It took us around one hour to finish. But the process was basically the same. You hand your passport and the immigration card, have your picture and fingerprint taken and then wait for the immigration officer to stamp on your passport.
After passing the Thailand Immigration, we went back to the bus and there we were given the packed lunch. We ate while waiting for the others to return to the bus. After that, we continued our trip to Bangkok. In Bangkok, we were dropped off near Khao San Road. Overall the trip was good. The bus was very comfortable and I have no complaints about the driving. And the bus attendant was very attentive to our needs and assisted us during the border crossing.
Hope this post helped you with your queries regarding border crossing from Cambodia to Thailand. If you have questions, feel free to comment below. Subscribe to my blog if you don’t want to miss any of my posts. And please follow my Facebook page @iwentanyways and like my Instagram accounts @iwentanyways and @tnadeperalta for updates. You can also check out my backpacking highlights in my IG @tnadeperalta.