Jan 13 2013

Cambodia and Thailand: bus routes and joint visas

Published by at 12:46 am under Transport

Cambodia and Thailand have not always been the best of neighbours. In fact, they’ve often bad-mouthed each other to the rest of the local community, had arguments over quite where each of their gardens finish, and sometimes even had dust-ups in the street. Despite, or perhaps because of, much shared cultural history, feelings run deep. But recent developments have seen the two countries working together on bus routes and joint visas. What does this mean for travellers?

Just admit it - we invented the sport!

Just admit it – -we invented the sport!

In the past decade, the spats over Preah Vihear temple and badly drawn boundary lines, and the ongoing ill-tempered debate on whether Muay Thai is just a repackaged version of Kun Khmer, have been demonstrations of the general undertone of suspicion that crosses the border both ways. However, the new spirit of cooperation can only be beneficial for travellers who want to spend time in each country.

I think I can see Bangkok from here

I think I can see Bangkok from here.

The governors of Phnom Penh and Bangkok signed an agreement in January 2013 to become sister cities, working together on areas including culture, tourism and transport.  More significantly, the two countries have agreed a joint visa initiative, allowing visitors from 35 countries to spend up to 60 days each in Thailand and Cambodia. The visas can be applied for at the embassies of either country but visa fees for both countries will still need to be paid. The visas are single-entry only, so don’t allow for hopping between Cambodia and Thailand.

Do you qualify? The 35 countries whose nationals are eligible for the joint visa are: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bahrain, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, India, Japan, Korea, Kuwait, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Portugal, Qatar, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Thailand this way

Thailand this way.

All this neighbourly friendliness means it should also be easier to travel between the two, with the launch of direct bus services between Bangkok and Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. The Bangkok-Siem Reap will run twice a day, a 424 kilometre journey that should take seven hours at a cost of US$25. Phnom Penh-Bangkok will be once a day, taking 11 hours to cover the 719 kilometres for US$30. Unfortunately, despite the press releases and staged photos of buses, the service is apparently not quite up and running. We’re still sniffing out information on buying tickets and actually travelling across the border and arriving at your destination on the same bus you started on — update soon!

Further reading
The Bangkok Post reports on how Phnom Penh is welcomed into the Bangkok family.

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3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Cambodia and Thailand: bus routes and joint visas”

  1. Emmaon 22 May 2013 at 11:48 am


    It was very interesting to read your blog. But still I have a few questions regarding Cambodia, Siem Reap. Maybe you can help me with that. I am going to Cambodia on September this year. Besides Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam are also listed to be visited. But still I have a question about a hotel you might have seen during your visit in Siem Reap. I booked the following hotel: Tara Angkor Hotel. You know if it is a good hotel? I heard good stories about it. What are the best attractions to visit in Siem Reap and in the surrounding? Thank you in advance.

  2. Samantha Brownon 23 May 2013 at 2:25 am

    You can see attractions around Siem Reap here:

  3. Lisaon 03 Jun 2013 at 10:12 am

    Hello Emma,
    I read your message and wanted to help you, because I have been in Siem Reap a lot of times. The Tara Angkor hotel is a beautiful hotel and is ideally and conveniently located, Tara Angkor Hotel is situated only 6 km from the Angkor Wat Temples, 15 min drive from the Siem Reap International Airport, a few minutes stroll to the Angkor National Museum and a short ride to the city town center with an array of Cambodian souvenirs, shopping and culture. They have a few promotions that you can make use of if you haven’t booked already: Last minute bookings, summer sales, early bird promotion or Angkor temptations. Of course there are a lot more, but have a look at their website. It is not that far to the Angkor temples that I would advise you to see for sure. I would say, grab yourself a 3 day pass and find yourself a decent tuk tuk driver to take you to the farther ruins and for a drive in some of the outlying villages. If you’re up for it consider renting a bike and checking out Angkor Wat on your own. There’s a lot to see and do so a lot depends on your time and budget. A few temples I would strongly suggest you check out besides Angkor Wat itself are Bayon Temple, Angkor Thom and of course Ta Prohm just to see the amazing tree. The Banteay Srei temple is farther out of Siem Reap but has a very different feel than a lot of the others. If you want to do something else as well, you can visit the day and night market. I can really recommend these attractions. If you need to know more, let me know.

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