From Bangkok to Siem Reap

Discussion in 'Asia' started by wcblack34, Jul 20, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. wcblack34

    wcblack34 Silver Member

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    Does anyone have any experience with the direct bus service from Bangkok to Siem Reap? I would like to make it to Angkor Wat for a couple of days, but I don't want to drop nearly $300.00 for a flight.

    Any thoughts?
     
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  2. olmangsr

    olmangsr Silver Member

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  3. wcblack34

    wcblack34 Silver Member

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  4. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    I did this trip last summer with my family (two girls aged 11 and 13).

    We did not use a "direct" service (which are run by agencies in KSR and elsewhere and about which we heard bad things). Instead, we went by regular bus from Bangkok to the border, crossed the border, and then picked up a car service to Seam Reap.

    From Bangkok to Aranyaprathet we took the bus from the Ekamai station in Bangkok, not whatever station most of the buses go from. This is an easy station to get to (on the overhead train line), and quite small. I think there are four buses a day.

    This bus (about four hours) takes you to the border and deposits you at a giant border market (which is kind of interesting in a non-touristy way) about 3 km from the border crossing. Tuk tuks meet the buses and will take you to the crossing for some fairly exorbitant (in relative terms) rate. It's really too far to walk, however, with luggage in the heat.

    You'll go through the Thai exit station on foot, then cross a casino-laden no-man's-land between the countries, then clear Cambodian immigration at Poipet (you must have your visa). There are lines on both sides of the border. After immigration, you will take a mini-bus shuttle some miles outside Poipet to a new bus station. There, you can get on a Cambodian bus to Seam Reap or hire a car. Four people in a car is not much more than the bus, so that's what we did. All told, from getting off the bus on the Thai side to getting into the car to Seam Reap was about 2 hours or so. The car to Seam Reap was about 3 hours.

    The car will, in theory, drop you off at whatever hotel you've chosen in Seam Reap. In practice, they will work hard to sell you on some other hotel. In our case, we were handed off to another car on the outskirts of Seam Reap (with a driver who spoke better English, the better to sell us a hotel or tour services) who did take us to the hotel we had reserved (double rooms $21 including breakfast and swimming pool in a central location).

    So, all told, the trip was about 9 hours. The scenery is nothing special, but the whole thing has an off-the-beaten-track feel about it (something you won't get in Bangkok or Seam Reap).

    In the past, the roads on the Cambodian side were quite bad. You can disregard those warnings -- the roads all the way through are now first-world quality.

    Hope this helps.
     
  5. gallivant

    gallivant Silver Member

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    I'm going to Bangkok and Siem Reap in October and have been researching travel between them. So this is a great post. So Larry in NYC what was the name of your hotel in SP? Any hotel suggestions for BangkoK?
    I'm leaning towards flying to Phnom Penh and taking a boat to SP then back to BKK.
     
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  6. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    I'm a bit hesitant about given hotel recommendations, because my interests and standards are different from most people on this board, but you asked.

    In Siem Reap, our hotel was Rithy Rin. Conveniently located for the central walking area where the markets and restaurants. Nice pool. While looking it up just now, I checked for hotels around $30 in Siem Reap and there were quite a large selection. I found the standards of even the cheaper hotels in Cambodia to be pretty high.

    In Bangkok, it really depends on where you want to be. On that trip, we had two stays. One was in a Park Plaza (we were doing the stay one / get one promotion -- very handy for our trip next week to Iceland). Western quality (or better), more-or-less Western prices. On our return we stayed in a budget place ($20 a room) on the little Soi between Phra Athit and Ram Buttri. Powerful air conditioning, but not much else to recommend it except location and price. If you're interested, I can try looking up the name.


    When we were there the boat was not running -- I can't remember if it was a mechanical problem, low water, or what. If you're absolutely counting on the boat make sure you get confirmation from someone who's been on it recently (plenty of bus service if it's not running)>
     
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  7. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    Looking up Rithy Rin on Agoda.com I see their rates have not changed -- $18 for a double including breakfast, plus 20% tax and service. They get a 7.7 rating across 300+ reviews.

    I should mention that when we were there, construction was going on in part of the hotel -- separate from where we were staying, but you had to walk through a dusty hallway to get to our part of the building.
     
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  8. gallivant

    gallivant Silver Member

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    I read about the possibility of no boat to SP . Thanks for the heads up. I am not a high end hotel person besides I figured if you took your daughters the hotel can't be too bad. My #1 hotel rule is no bathroom down the hall. I'll look that hotel up.
     
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