Bangkok to Siem Reap : How to Do it By Bus

By on December 12th, 2019 in Asia, Budget Travel Ideas, CAMBODIA, THAILAND with 0 Comments

Bangkok to Siem Reap By Bus

If, like me, you’re wanting to travel overland cheaply and efficiently from Bangkok to Siem Reap, then listen up!

I’ve just made this journey and it could not have been more straightforward or simple… if you know a few bits of key information!

So read on to get the latest and complete lowdown about how to do this in the best possible way from someone who’s been there, done that…


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All information contained within this post is based on my own personal experience as a British citizen, written in good faith and correct at the time of publication. I cannot be held responsible for any actions taken as a result of this information.

This page contains affiliate links meaning Big World Small Pockets may receive a small commission on any purchases at no extra cost to you.


Cambodia Visa

Cambodia, Siem Reap, Ibis Styles Decor

Before you do anything in terms of travelling to Cambodia, you need to make sure you have a visa.

As a Brit, I was eligible for a Cambodia eVisa, which I organised quickly online here.

Technically you are meant to allow a few working days for the visa to come through, but mine was granted almost immediately.

To apply for an eVisa online you need to have an electronic copy of your passport you can upload, as well as some suitable passport photos you can upload too, but with this all at my fingertips, it was easy.

You also need to know your dates of travel to Cambodia and at which border you’ll enter, so it pays to do a bit of travel prep and research in advance.

FYI: If you’re going to cross from Bangkok to Siem Reap using the method I outline in this post, the border you’ll cross at is Poipet.

Once you get the eVisa approved, you will need to print off 2 copies of the paperwork emailed to you – 1 to be submitted on entry and the other when you exit.

You pay for the Cambodia eVisa online and there is a small handling fee, but honestly you’ll likely pay this amount at the border (or more)  as a “processing cost” anyway, so I do advise saving yourself time and hassle and just coughing up in advance.

I paid £27.72 for my Cambodia eVisa, plus a non-GBP transaction fee of £0.82 charged by my bank.

If you complete the eVisa process you can also avoid getting a whole page visa sticker in your passport (crucial if you’re short on pages like I was) and just get an entry stamp for Cambodia instead.

 

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Booking a Bus

Thailand, Bangkok, Giant Ibis Office

So first up is finding a reliable bus company that are actually going to deliver you from Bangkok to Siem Reap and not just leave you at the border!

After reading several horror stories of this nature online, I decided to put my trust in Giant Ibis and am really glad I did – they were excellent… but more about this later.

Because I was staying in the Sukhumvit area of Bangkok and didn’t have the time, or the inclination in the crazy humidity, to walk to their office just off the Khao San Road, I decided to spend the extra dollar (which I would have spent on public transport anyway) and book my Giant Ibis bus ticket online.

I did this through a great website I’ve found called 12Go, who operate across Southeast Asia and are a great portal for booking loads of long distance bus services in the region online.

The website was secure and issued me with an e-ticket I could use without having to print anything off.

I was actually glad I booked online, because when I did go to the Giant Ibis office in Bangkok several days later, as well as on the morning of my departure, it was closed… but more about this later!

To book your Bangkok to Siem Reap bus with 12Go, click here!

My ticket cost £25.32.

 

THE BEST TRAVEL INSURANCE FOR SOUTH EAST ASIA

I wouldn’t dream of travelling anywhere in Southeast Asia without coverage and always recommend travel insurance from World Nomads, which I’ve used during my time in Thailand, Cambodia and beyond.

I love this company’s easy online claims process, as well as their great customer support and the fact that you can buy or extend your travel insurance with them even if you’re enjoying your travels already.

 

Finding the Giant Ibis Bus

Bangkok to Siem Reap, Giant Ibis, Info

So the key information to know once you have bought your ticket through 12Go is that the departure point details are a little hazy – in fact they gave me 2 options and didn’t seem to be able to clarify which point of departure was correct – hence why I found myself at the Giant Ibis office (located at 229 Phra Sumen Road) trying to get some answers some days later!

But as I said, it was closed – cue mild heart attack on my part!

To save you the trouble and confusion I went through – which involved several emails to 12Go – the best thing is to call Giant Ibis, once you’ve booked your ticket, to find out the departure information from them direct.

They will probably tell you to just go the Giant Ibis office on the morning of your departure, which you should do at least half an hour before your bus is scheduled to leave.

But if, like me, you still find the office closed (cue 2nd heart attack) simply call them again and they will promptly come and collect you from the office and take you to the bus – which is parked a few streets away on Thanon Bowon Niwet.

You could of course head straight here on the morning of your departure, but as I don’t know when you’re going to be reading this post and if / when the information and bus departure point might change – I’d honestly just advise calling them to be sure.

The number I used to get hold of Giant Ibis was +66 92 193 9333.

This number is also printed on your 12Go eTicket.

 

5 PACKING ESSENTIALS FOR SOUTHEAST ASIA

#1 Lonely Planet Guidebook – The Southeast Asia Lonely Planet is excellent and very helpful for any trip to this part of the world with lots of top tips and great information.

#2 Walking Shoes – There’s likely to be a lot of walking in both Bangkok and Siem Reap, so I advise packing a pair of good runners, like these New Balance trainers, which are perfect for city strolling.

#3 European & British Power Adapters – Thailand and Cambodia use a mix of power outlets, but generally opt for a mix of European and British ones, so make sure you come prepared with a Skross world adapter.

#4 Camera and Lens – I love my Sony A6000 mirrorless, which was ideal for capturing this crazy and beautiful part of the world.

#5 Travel Scarf – A great multi-purpose travel item that can be used to safely store valuables and offer sun protection, a travel scarf is especially great when visiting Southeast Asia’s temples where shoulders must be covered.

 

Onboard Giant Ibis

Bangkok to Siem Reap, Giant Ibis, Bus Seats

When I got onboard the Giant Ibis bus, I suddenly knew all the panic was worthwhile, because this luxury liner was epic!

With wifi, reclining seats, tons of legroom, leather seats, aircon, onboard toilets, free water, snacks and even lunch –  it was about as comfortable as a bus can get I reckon!

Along with the driver, who drove very safely I’m delighted to add, there was a perfect-English speaker guide on the bus, who helped us through every step of the border process – so simple it was a delight!

 

Leaving Thailand

Bangkok to Siem Reap, Giant Ibis, Bus

My scheduled departure from Bangkok to Siem Reap was at 7:45am.

We actually left the bus parking area at 8am and then drove around to pick up a few extra passengers before departing Bangkok and setting off to the border.

It took a few hours, but we stopped for toilet breaks and snacks!

When we got to the Bangkok border, the great English-speaking guide talked us through the whole process and even walked through the border with us.

There were no queues and the process was very easy.

REMEMBER: You will require the white exit slip you received when you entered Thailand to leave, otherwise you will have to “pay” for a new one.

You have to take all your carry-on luggage with you when you exit Thailand as you’ll walk across the border and meet a different Giant Ibis bus on the Cambodia side.

But brilliantly, the staff deal with all your big bags – which are stored underneath… high five Giant Ibis!

 

Entering Cambodia

Bangkok to Siem Reap, Giant Ibis, Cambodia Entry Form

Once you’ve walked across the Thai  border with the guide, you’ll present your eVisa documentation (remember the paper you had to print out) to the Cambodian immigration official, who will simply stamp your passport and staple an exit form into it – no 1 page sticker.

As a Brit I got a 30 day, single-entry tourist visa for Cambodia this way.

Once this was done, we got onto the new Giant Ibis bus, got lunch given to us and waited for our big bags to arrive.

Once this was complete, we set off to Siem Reap.

FYI: The Giant Ibis staff do a side-hussle on SIM cards, so I actually got my Cambodian SIM up and running within minutes of having crossed the border – stellar service! I got a Metafone SIM off the guide for 25 Baht which included $150 USD worth of data!

 

Arriving into Siem Reap

Cambodia, Siem Reap, Ibis Styles

We eventually arrived into Siem Reap at 5pm after a very smooth drive.

As you start motoring through Cambodia, the level of development compared to the Thai side is quite evident.

Once you arrive at the Giant Ibis office in Siem Reap – which is a little way from the centre – there will be tuk-tuk drivers, who speak great English, waiting to take you to your hotel.

My hotel ride cost $3 USD and my helpful tuk-tuk driver even waited for me to use an ATM on the way so I could get some Cambodian Riels out.

TOP TIP: Check out this post for my tip on the best place to stay in Siem Reap.

It’s worth noting that Cambodian Riels (KHR) and USD are used interchangeably in Cambodia and both can be withdrawn from ATM machines. The exchange rate at the time of publication was 4000 KHR to $1 USD.

 

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How to Travel from Bangkok to Siem Reap by Bus {Big World Small Pockets}

 

And there you have it, my complete lowdown on crossing from Bangkok to Siem Reap overland.

Have you made this trip lately?

Do you have any updated info to add?

Please help other travellers out by posting any news in the comments box below…

 

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About the Author

About the Author: Creator of Big World Small Pockets, Stephanie Parker is a budget travel addict! Originally from Jersey in the Channel Islands, Stephanie backpacks the world collecting tips, advice and stories, to share with a smile .

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