If you’re planning a trip to Southeast Asia then there is a good chance you’re wondering “What is the best way to get between Bangkok and Siem Reap?” This is actually the most common tourist route traversed between Thailand and Cambodia. And while the distance between Bangkok and Siem Reap is just 250 miles (402 km), the border crossing makes the trip a bit more complicated and time-consuming than you might guess.
Most visitors come to Siem Reap to explore Angkor Wat, the magnificent Buddhist temple complex that is one of the largest religious monuments in the world. But Siem Reap also offers a thriving international food scene, world-class hotels and spas, and a much-needed respite from the smog and traffic of Bangkok.
The easiest way to get from Bangkok to Siem Reap is to fly, which takes just an hour. All other transportation options will take you at least 7 hours due to the crossing of the Thailand/Cambodia border.
A private vehicle is the most convenient land-based option, but it can be quite expensive unless you’re traveling in a group of 3 or more. If you want to save money, you can also reach Siem Reap by a direct bus or by a combination of train and bus.
In short, the best way to get from Bangkok to Siem Reap really depends on your travel budget. Below we have summarized all of the best transportation options between Bangkok and Siem Reap so you can decide which method is best for you!
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Cambodia Visa-on-Arrival vs. eVisa
Whatever transportation method you take from Bangkok to Siem Reap, you will have to decide if you want to get a Cambodia eVisa or research if you can get a visa-on-arrival at the Cambodian border.
Citizens of all but 10 countries can get a 30-day single-entry visa-on-arrival when they reach Cambodia. The process is simple and straightforward – in fact, all you’ll need is $30 US and a passport that is valid for 6 months.
Unfortunately, corruption is quite common in Cambodia and there are incidents of travelers being overcharged for their visa-on-arrival. The best way to avoid this is to have exact change and if the immigration officer asks you to pay more or for a tip just play dumb until they give up and waive you through.
Of course, we recommended you do your own research beforehand to see what type of visa you’ll need to enter Cambodia before your arrival
If you want to avoid negotiating with corrupt border agents, consider getting a Cambodia eVisa in advance. Just like the visa-on-arrival, the eVisa is good for a single-entry and for a stay of up to 30 days. The cost of a Cambodia eVisa is $36 USD.
The approval process can take up to 3 business days so make sure you allow enough time for your eVisa to be approved before embarking for Cambodia. You’ll also need to print out your eVisa and have it with you when you cross the border. Having an eVisa can give you some peace of mind and can save you a bit of time in the immigration offices.
Note: If you’re a citizen of one of the following Southeast Asian countries you won’t need a visa to enter Cambodia: Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Brunei, and Myanmar.
The Best Way to Get from Bangkok to Siem Reap
Flights from Bangkok to Siem Reap
Duration: ~1 hour
Cost: $75+ USD per person
The quickest and easiest way to get from Bangkok to Siem Reap is to fly, which takes about an hour. There are several airlines that fly this route including Bangkok Airways, Cambodian Airlines, Cambodia Angkor Air, and Air Asia.
Take note that there are two airports in Bangkok: Suvarnabhumi Airport (Airport Code: BKK) and Don Muang Airport (Airport Code: DMK). The newer and larger Suvarnabhumi Airport is used by most major airlines such as Bangkok Airways, whereas budget airlines like Air Asia tend to use the older Don Muang Airport.
Suvarnabhumi Airport is located in the eastern suburbs of Bangkok, and Don Muang Airport is located in the northern part of the city. Both airports are about 20 miles from downtown Bangkok, so allow for ample transit time when going to and from either airport. We recommend leaving yourself an extra hour to account for Bangkok’s horrendous traffic.
If you use budget airlines, the flights themselves are very affordable, but it’s also important to look at the airline’s baggage policy. If you’re checking any luggage you can expect to pay an additional $15-30 USD per bag if you’re flying to Siem Reap on a budget airline. Just be sure to read the airline policies and fees carefully before purchasing your ticket.
Our favorite flight comparison search engine is Skyscanner – we always use it when booking our flights!
Note: If for some reason you need to transit in Bangkok between Suvarnabhumi Airport and Don Muang Airport make sure to leave yourself a couple of extra hours of travel time due to heavy traffic and the distance between the two. There is a free shuttle bus service that connects the two airports. To board the free shuttle, you need to show your airline ticket for your next flight.
Transportation from the Siem Reap Airport
Once you arrive at the Siem Reap Airport (Airport Code: REP), you’re just a few miles outside of the city center. Many Siem Reap hotels and guest houses offer a free airport pick-up so make sure you ask about it in advance.
Tuk-tuk drivers provide this service at no cost to the hotels (or you) because they want the opportunity to sell you their service as a driver for the remainder of your stay in Siem Reap.
If you forget to tell your hotel you would like an airport pick-up, don’t sweat it. You can easily arrange a taxi or tuk-tuk at the transportation information counter for around $9.00 USD.
Or you can arrange a ride-share using an app like Grab (iPhone|Android) or PassApp (iPhone|Android). It shouldn’t cost you more than $4.00 to get from the airport to your accommodation in Siem Reap. We prefer PassApp because it supports a local Cambodian company.
We also have a favorite tuk-tuk driver in Siem Reap. His name is Nakry Mean and he drives a batmobile themed tuk-tuk. You can reach him on WhatsApp at +855 17 761 110 or on his Facebook page, Siem Reap Batmobile Tuk Tuk.
Private Transfer from Bangkok to Siem Reap
Duration: ~7-9 hours depending on stops
Cost: ~$95 – $130 USD per vehicle
If you’re traveling in a group of 3 or more you may find it cost-effective to travel between Bangkok and Siem Reap by private car or van. Unfortunately, due to the border crossing, this method typically requires two different vehicles – one for the Thailand portion of the trip and a second for the Cambodia portion.
First, you’ll need to arrange a vehicle to take you from Bangkok to Aranyaprathet on the Cambodian border. This should cost ~$60-70 USD and takes ~3.5-4 hours
After the customs and immigration procedures, you’ll cross into Cambodia on foot before catching another ride from the Cambodian border town of Poi Pet to Siem Reap.
The rates of a car from Poi Pet to Siem Reap are anywhere from $35 to $60 depending on your negotiation skills and the drive takes ~3-3.5 hours. Make sure you agree upon a set-price before you get in the taxi. We also recommend that you do not pay the fare until you arrive at your final destination in Siem Reap.
A private transfer is, in theory, a great way for groups of 3 or more to save money and travel in relative comfort between Bangkok and Siem Reap. Unfortunately, because of the need to switch cars and drivers at the Cambodia border, this option sometimes turns into a giant hassle even if you arrange everything in advance.
Bus from Bangkok to Siem Reap
Duration: ~9-11 hours
Cost: ~$25 – $35 USD per person
Another option is to take a bus from Bangkok to Siem Reap via a direct bus. If you’re on a budget and aren’t pressed for time, this is one of the easiest ways to travel from Bangkok to Siem Reap.
Taking a direct bus can be even more convenient than a private transfer because you won’t have to change vehicles at the border. And if you have lots of bags, this option can be helpful since you won’t have to carry your luggage around since it stays on the bus the entire time.
A lot of budget tour offices in Bangkok will advertise a direct bus from Bangkok to Siem Reap. But when you arrive at the border you will discover that you do indeed have to change vehicles – often to a much less comfortable minibus.
There are only 3 companies that truly offer direct buses from Bangkok to Siem Reap: Travel Mart, The Transport Co. (aka Nakattan), and Giant Ibis. These are the only bus companies we recommend for traveling this route. And since there are only 6 direct buses a day between Bangkok and Siem Reap, you’re best off reserving your seat at least a couple days in advance.
Of these three bus companies, Giant Ibis is our top pick – you’ll be guaranteed a comfortable bus plus they include a bottle of water, a can of iced coffee, a breakfast pastry, and a cold towel. It’s definitely worth paying a few dollars more!
Direct buses from Bangkok to Siem Reap cost ~$25-35 USD per person and the total duration of the trip is ~11 hours. Most of these buses depart from Bangkok between 7:30-9:00am, for an arrival time in Siem Reap at 6:30-8:00pm.
We always prefer to use Bookaway.com for booking buses in Southeast Asia. You’ll receive an e-ticket that you can either print out or present on your phone when you arrive at the pickup point. Bookaway also makes it easy to cancel or modify bus tickets in case you have a change of plans.
|Departure Time||Bus Company||Departure Point||Ticket Price||Book Tickets|
|7:30am||The Transport Co.||Mochit Bus Terminal (Map)||~$31||Book Tickets|
|7:45am||Giant Ibis||Giant Ibis Office (Map)||~$33||Book Tickets|
|8:30am||Travel Mart||Travel Mart Office (Map)||~$26||Book Tickets|
|8:45am||Giant Ibis||Makkasan Station Airport Rail Link (Map)||~$33||Book Tickets|
|9:00am||The Transport Co.||Mochit Bus Terminal (Map)||~$31||Book Tickets|
|12:45am||Travel Mart |
(Overnight Sleeper Bus)
|Travel Mart Office (Map)||~$36||Book Tickets|
There is also one overnight sleeper bus through Travel Mart that leaves Bangkok at 12:45am and arrives in Siem Reap around 11:00am.
This saves you the cost of one night’s accommodation, but you’ll be absolutely exhausted for your first day in Siem Reap. Plus, if your bus arrives at the border before the offices open, you might have to wait to get your visa processed. We don’t recommend the overnight bus, but you can make your own choice.
Crossing the Thailand-Cambodia Border by Bus
If the Bus Company Processes Your Visa
Many bus companies like Giant Ibis will offer (or insist) to process your visa on your behalf for an additional “convenience fee” which is typically $5. The bus steward will collect your passport, visa paperwork, and the visa fee of $30 USD (so you’ll pay $35 total with the additional convenience fee). Make sure you have $35 cash in US dollars that are in reasonably good condition (no old or torn bills). If you already have an eVisa for Cambodia just give that to the staff along with your passport.
The bus steward will procure all of the Thailand exit stamps and then run ahead to start processing everyone’s visas on arrival for entry to Cambodia.
You will be required to get off the bus pass through the Thailand immigration office and walk ~100 yards to the Cambodian immigration office. You can leave your luggage on the bus, but it is best to keep any valuables on your person during the border crossing.
Once you arrive at the Cambodian immigration office your bus steward should be waiting for you with your Cambodian visa and entry stamp already in your passport. All you’ll need to do is briefly show your passport to a Cambodian immigration officer so they can double-check everything before you enter the country.
Some people on your bus will inevitably complain about having to pay an extra $5 to the bus company for this service, but it’s a small price to pay for the convenience of not having to navigate the immigration process on your own. The Cambodian immigration officials have a reputation for trying to extract small bribes out of tourists crossing the border here so you might even end up saving a bit of money by having the bus company take care of it for you.
If the Bus Company DOES NOT Process Your Visa
If your bus does not offer to process your passport on your behalf, then here is what you can expect at the Thailand-Cambodia border.
At the arrival at the border at Poi Pet, the bus will drop passengers off on the Thailand side. Your bus will wait for you, usually in front of the Casino on the Cambodian side after you complete the immigration process. Be sure to remember what your bus looks like as there will likely be many buses crossing the border at the same time. You may even want to snap a picture of the license plate number just to ensure you get back on the correct bus.
There is not a lot of signage or instruction at the border so it may feel overwhelming, but it’s actually all quite simple. Just remember to remain calm and patient. Depending on the time of day, the entire customs and immigration process may take up to 2 hours depending on how crowded it is.
First, you’ll have your passport stamped out of Thailand in the Thai immigration office. Then you’ll walk ~100 yards to the Cambodian side where you’ll purchase your visa and be stamped into Cambodia.
As previously mentioned, the visa-on-arrival costs $30 USD and you should make sure to bring US dollars in good condition – no old or torn bills. The Cambodian immigration officers may try to short change you or request a small bribe or tip. You can avoid most of the hassle by handing the immigration officer exact change.
If you are approached by anyone at the border that says that they can get you a Cambodian visa quicker it’s best to just politely but firmly decline. Proceed directly to the Cambodian immigration counter. If you get confused, it’s okay to ask an official custom official for help on where to go next.
Once you have your Cambodian visa and entry stamp, exit the immigration office and look for your bus in front of the Casino – remember you snapped a photo of it on your cell phone. Welcome to Cambodia!
Arrival by Bus in Siem Reap
When you arrive in Siem Reap, the bus will either drop you off in the central part of town or the bus station, depending on the company and the mood of the bus driver. The Siem Reap bus station is located a few miles outside of town. Prior to your arrival, you should arrange for your guesthouse or accommodation to pick you up, as most will do so free of charge.
If you have not pre-arranged a ride to your guesthouse, you can easily grab a tuk-tuk as there will likely be dozens of them waiting at the bus stop. A tuk-tuk to any hotel in the center of Siem Reap will cost you ~$2-5 USD.
Our preferred method of transportation in Siem Reap is by using Grab (iPhone|Android) or PassApp (iPhone|Android) to call for a taxi or tuk-tuk at a cheaper price. Unfortunately, you probably won’t yet have a Cambodian SIM Card so you may have to rely on bargaining with a tuk-tuk driver for your first ride in Cambodia.
Train from Bangkok to Siem Reap
Duration: ~8-9 hours (4-5 hours on the train, plus 3-4 hours driving time)
Cost: ~$15.00 – $45 USD per person
The most affordable way to cross the border from Bangkok into Cambodia is actually by a little-known combination of train and local bus.
First, you’ll take a train from Hua Lamphong Station in Bangkok to Aranyaprathet on the Cambodian border. From there, you’ll need to cross the border to the Cambodian town of Poi Pet, and then take a bus onward to Siem Reap.
There are two train services a day from Bangkok to Aranyaprathet, the aforementioned border town in eastern Thailand. One train leaves Bangkok in the early morning at 5:55am and the other departs at 1:05pm in the afternoon.
If you want to reach Siem Reap the same day you MUST take the morning train. The afternoon train gets you into Aranyaprathet too late in the afternoon. You won’t be able to find a bus in Poi Pet onward to Siem Reap (and a taxi from Poi Pet to Siem Reap will cost you ~$35-$60).
|Train Depart Bangkok||Arrive Aranyaprathet||Travel Time|
Keep in mind that trains in Southeast Asia are often delayed, so allow yourself some extra travel time.
Third-class seats cost as little as $3 USD, while the first-class air-conditioned berths (basic bunk beds) can cost up to $35. You can buy tickets the day-of or in advance at the ticket counters at the train station in Bangkok.
Once you reach the final station, it’s time to cross the border into Cambodia. The border crossing is a few miles from the train station to the border. The most cost-effective way is to take a songthaew, which should cost ~30 Thai Baht (~$1 USD). Other options to get to the border include taking a moto-taxi, which should cost ~60 Thai Baht (~$2 USD), or a tuk-tuk, which should cost ~100 Thai Baht (~$3.50).
Some drivers will attempt to overcharge you double or triple the normal cost, just continue asking until you get a fair price. No matter what your transport, it’s important to agree on the price of the ride in advance and not after arriving at your final destination.
After you clear both Thailand and Cambodian immigration, look for the free shuttle bus to the bus station that sometimes sits outside the Cambodian Immigration building. It’s important to deal with the Immigration Offices directly and avoid any scams at the border by ignoring anyone that tries to arrange a visa on your behalf.
Once you reach the main bus station you can buy a bus ticket to Siem Reap, which is about $10 USD. The bus to Siem Reap can take about 4 hours. Some travelers report being charged over $20 for a bus ticket to Siem Reap. If this happens, there are travel agencies in Poi Pet located on the main road that will quote you a fair price for a bus or minivan to Siem Reap.
Bangkok to Siem Reap FAQ
The distance between Bangkok and Siem Reap is approximately 250 miles (402 km).
The fastest way to get from Bangkok to Siem Reap is to fly which takes about an hour. Other methods of transportation (including by train, bus, and private car) will take you at least 7 hours and perhaps as long as 11 hours.
In our opinion, the best way to get from Bangkok to Siem Reap is to fly.
We prefer Grand Ibis. They are a little bit more expensive but worth it.
The most affordable way to get from Bangkok to Siem Reap is a little know combination of train and local bus. You’ll take a train from Bangkok to the border and then take a local bus from Poi Pet in Cambodia onward to Siem Reap. The total cost is ~$15.
We hope this guide helped you determine the best way to get from Bangkok to Siem Reap! Got any suggestions – let us know below.
Planning a trip to Cambodia? Check out our favorite books and travel guides.