I spoke with the guesthouse I will be staying at in Siem Reap and they said they have their own company that will provide transportation to Bangkok. The owners are Aussie expats. I've read the travelfish article about this journey and heard lots of horror stories about cheap travel agencies and scam buses. Do you think this is a scam? Is there legitimate packaged cross border travel available in Siem Reap? or should I just do the journey on my own?
Thanks ahead of time. Any insight would be appreciated
#1 phishsticks has been a member since 10/10/2011. Posts: 32
I did this journey in reverse (Bangkok to Siem Reap) in August. I booked it in Bangkok for 350 baht. We were picked up from the hotel and driven to a dodgey cafe near the border. It was quite scary cause the guy was really threatening and was shouting at us (we were 2 21 year old girls, first time travelling. He tried to charge $35 for the visa claiming you couldn't get it on the border and also wanted 2 passport photos, I knew this was wrong so I challenged him and he wasn't happy). Anyway so we walked to the border ourself, passed through without any problems in about 10 minutes, jumped on the government free bus to Poipet Tourist station (again scary as it was just the two of us and there were 3 Cambodian men blocking our exit from the bus, but it was fine). When we arrived at the station they tried to claim the bus wouldn't leave until there were 52 people even though we'd paid and were trying to make everyone buy taxis instead. Anyway after 3 hours we argued again and told all new arriving passengers about their scam and not to pay for a taxi and within minutes a private minibus was outside for us!
So anyway, as long as you expect problems on the border and make sure you know how to get through and how much it costs and where to go etc then you'll be fine, if people try to scam you then you'll know about it etc. I would recommend either allow the hotel to arrange a bus to the border, or pay for one yourself in a tourist office, then just get the train or minibus from the other side (not sure how easy the bus is on the Thailand side but I imagine there must be some). Or book the whole journey and just expect it to take longer than planned with a few added extras included, and have a back up plan just in case. Good luck.
#2 Nixxypie has been a member since 27/4/2011. Posts: 55
Thanks for the info. Sounds like no matter what its gonna be an interesting journey which will warrant a good nights rest.
#3 phishsticks has been a member since 10/10/2011. Posts: 32
It's much more straightforward doing the journey from Siem Reap TO Bangkok as there's no visa scam they can try and get you on, nor do they try any other scams on. I doubt very much that the guesthouse operates their own transport all the way from Siem Reap to Bangkok (in any event there has to be a change of vehicles at the border). At the very most they could offer to drive their guests to Poipet and then hand them over to another company for the Thai leg but I suspect they are just acting as travel agent. If you do decide to book a through ticket you are unlikely to run into too much hassle but there probably will be a LOT of waiting around.
It is pretty easy to do it by yourself and you'll find a lot of info on this forum but it works smoothest if you can arrange a share taxi from Siem Reap to Poipet either with other travellers you hook up with or a travel agent may have others looking to share (make sure you know how many you will be sharing a car with!). If not, bus. Then make your own way across the border; once on the Thai side you can either get a tuk tuk to the bus or train station or walk a little bit beyond Thai immigration and you'll find the place where mini buses run to Khao San Road. These are the ones you'll probably travel on if you've booked a through ticket but you've cut out a lot of the waiting around ......
Interesting Kirsty I didn't realise those mini buses picked up new passengers at the border.I've crossed this border quite a few times and apart from the casino bus and taxis which take you to Lumpini I have yet to see a tour bus waiting so I hop on a motorbike for 60 baht to the bus station and get a bus there but it seems I always end up on the slow bus- five and a half hours! What interests me is that the side of the bus says it comes from the border but I've never found anywhere to get a ticket or timetable there.Any ideas? Usually I'm so pleased to be out of Poipet I don't care though.
#5 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
We booked through our guesthouse in Siem Reap and it was all pretty smooth. Tuk tuk to the bus, bus to the border, easy crossing, bit of a wait for the bus on the Thai side and the routine "stop at a friend's restaurant to try to get everyone to buy food when actually no-one really wants to stop because we've just been waiting at the border for an hour" plus a cramped mini bus ride into Bangkok, but easier than doing it yourself I imagine.
I don't think it's easier than doing it yourself and the waiting and cramped conditions are unnecessary. Instead of hanging around for a minivan driven by a surly KSR Thai you could be on a motorbike (lines of them just after Thai customs) heading for the bus station where buses go to Bangkok every hour.Tour buses are a damned sight more comfortable than KSR minibuses.
Of course you have to get to KSR from Morchit,if this is your preferred destination in Bangkok but you can get a taxi.
#7 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
Get to the border. Cross. Get to the bus station with buses going to Morchit. Go to Morchit.
My bus trip bought through the very nice Angkor Pearl was crap. You can read about it if you want. My trip. Do each part yourself. Shouldn't be too hard.
Ya I think I will do it myself. It doesn't seem too difficult. A couple transfers and ignore the touts! I will keep in mind the transfer points. Not sure if I'll take a tuktuk or moto taxi on the Thai side. I'll see what happens, but I will take your tips and grab a bus from the bus station, its sounds like it will be faster, unless I see mini bus ready to go offering the right price. Thanks for all the help.
#9 phishsticks has been a member since 10/10/2011. Posts: 32
@ sayadian - the minibus direct to KSR is a fairly recent revelation for me too! The place to take them from is a couple of minutes walk beyond immigration, just opposite the place where you can get a taxis to Bangkok from memory. It was a bit chaotic so unfortunately I wasn't able to extract much information vis a vis whether they have a regular timetable or just run when full from through-ticket passengers. It went directly to Bangkok with just one 10 minute stop at a service station en route. I'm assuming it wasn't a one off that they let me jump on as they had the space as I know someone who does it this way regularly.
@ phishsticks - go for it, it's pretty easy.