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New direct bus from Bangkok to Siem Reap

  • mago2

    Joined Travelfish
    27th January, 2013
    Posts: 9

    I've heard that the new, direct bus route between Bangkok and SR was launched. I was wondering if anyone took it? ow long does it take and how do they sort visa issues at the Cambodian border?

    Is it any faster than other methods? What the best value for money & time to do the travel? (flight for us is too expensive). Is it best to do the train/bus or bus/bus journey?

    Would appreciate any comments.

    #1 Posted: 25/2/2013 - 04:56

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  • msbees

    Joined Travelfish
    28th February, 2013
    Posts: 4

    I get the monthly newsletter from the Thai tourist board and there I just read about this new bus. The newsletter said that there is a new, direct, airconditioned bus service linking Bangkok to Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. Siem Reap twice a day, 7 hrs and THB 750. Phnom Penh 11 hrs and THB 900.
    The newsletter also said that since last month it is possible to get a combined visa for both Thailand and Cambodia, both single entry 60 days, at all Thai embassies and consulates. Since there are some (visa and other) scams on the Thai-Cambodian border, it might be a good option to get this visa beforehand (it is also possible to get a print-it-yourself visa for Cambodia online, it costs just a few dollars more but might save you some trouble at the border). I have to say that experiences with this border crossing are really mixed, some people still have nightmares about it and others passed with no problems whatsoever - so this probably depends on tourist season, political situation etc.

    http://www.globaltravelmate.com/travel/2-how-to-get-from-bangkok-to-siem-reap.html > seems to have more information on the new bus and the way it crosses the border, but i don't know how reliable this info is.

    #2 Posted: 28/2/2013 - 16:27

  • magalaya

    Joined Travelfish
    20th February, 2013
    Posts: 11

    I'm interested in more info about this as well...I was poking around and I found this on Trip Advisor on the topic: http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g297390-i9163-k5747799-Direct_Bus_Service_from_Bangkok_now_available-Siem_Reap_Siem_Reap_Province.html (but the only report on it - I'm not sure if it's one of those private bus companies that take forever? The individual writing about it seems to have had an okay experience in any case).

    Also found this news article with more details:
    http://www.ttrweekly.com/site/2012/12/bus-services-to-cambodia/

    Andddd the company in question issued a press release about it (I used Google Translate to translate the Thai): http://home.transport.co.th/en/press-release/421-open-two-new-international-routes.html

    #3 Posted: 2/3/2013 - 23:19

  • mago2

    Joined Travelfish
    27th January, 2013
    Posts: 9

    msbees, thanks for the reply! i'm curious about the combined thai-cambodian visa. I'm will be on the 30 days visa exemption in Thailand, so what is the easiest way for me to get the visa to Cambodia? Is that the online one? Or how difficult is it to get it on the border?

    Thanks in advance!

    #4 Posted: 3/3/2013 - 04:40

  • msbees

    Joined Travelfish
    28th February, 2013
    Posts: 4

    Well it is entirely possible to get a visa on arrival at the border crossing. Most people do it that way. However, there are scams going on at the border crossing and even if you escape them, you still have to be prepared for a long wait. It is quite common that you are charged between $2 and $10 dollars more than the usual visa price, especially if you pay in baht. But if you try to refuse politely (!) or just pay without any discussion you should have no problem obtaining the visa.
    If you get an e-Visa you pay 8 dollars more anyway. It saves you some waiting time at the border (you will still have to wait but not that long). You can only use the e-Visa for entry at the Poipet and Hat Lek/ Koh Kong border crossings. So effectively, the e-visa does not offer that much advantages. I used it once, in 2010, and concluded that it might not be worth the $8 more since last time I only paid 200 baht more on 'extra fees'. I do however advise to take a passport photos with you when crossing the border, because that saves also some time and a few baht. My hubby had to wait for 30 mins more because he did not have his photo with him.

    There are a lot of other scams at the border, the ones Wikitravel lists in their Poipet and Koh Kong section are the most common ones - and some of them (overcharging, bus problems, quarantine station) I witnessed or experienced myself. Preparing yourself saves you a lot of trouble.

    If you feel like you don't have the energy for the overland crossing, consider a low fare flight as an option. Overland transport in Cambodia is not that cheap anyway, especially not from the main border crossings. If the new bus runs like it is supposed to, it might also save you the trouble of the transport scams at the border - which are the most annoying ones imo.

    #5 Posted: 3/3/2013 - 14:14

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Overland transport in Cambodia is not that cheap anyway,
    Poipet to Phnom Penh approx $10;
    Sihanoukville to Koh Kong $8;
    Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville $6;
    AirAsia, Bangkok to Phnom Penh anything from $60 to $100 depending on how early you book and the day you want to go.
    I don't think overland travel in Cambodia is expensive.
    Why not just get a regular bus or train to Aran, motorcycle to the border then book in Poipet. It's really not as bad as it used to be.
    I think you WILL probably have to pay a couple of dollars tea money to Cambodian immigration. I found them not so greedy as those SOB's at Koh Kong.

    #6 Posted: 4/3/2013 - 00:46

  • msbees

    Joined Travelfish
    28th February, 2013
    Posts: 4

    Well if you take the tourist bus from Poipet they now charge $10 (up to 5 bucks more if you pay in baht). A taxi is at least $30 (had to take one once since there were no tourist buses anymore, we were the last ones to cross the border...) Then they drop you off outside Siem Reap and you will have to pay a few dollars again to get to your guesthouse. Add the costs of transport from BKK to the border. I took the trip like this at least 5 times and last year I never managed to stay under $35 - and that's without the extra 'fees' at the border which were last time charging 1000 baht for the visa. Of course everything is cheaper if you can actually pay in dollars instead of baht, but for me it would mean having to change money in BKK and that involves an exchange commission. So for me, it's actually worth to check out if there are any flights on offer.

    #7 Posted: 4/3/2013 - 06:20

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    If you go by train from Bangkok to Aran it'll cost you 48 baht 3rd class or tour buses are around the 250 baht mark, then you pay 60 baht for a motorcycle to the border (though some tour buses go right to the border) If you say it's $10 to SR that adds up to around $20.max.
    If their ripping you off an extra $5 for paying in baht surely it would be cheaper to buy dollars as Thai commission isn't that heavy maybe a 2 baht differential buying and selling per dollar. How much is a flight to SR?
    BTW Does this new service start from Khaosan Road because if so I'd give it a miss.

    #8 Posted: 4/3/2013 - 08:15

  • msbees

    Joined Travelfish
    28th February, 2013
    Posts: 4

    No the new bus service runs from Mo Chit is a TCL line (state), just like the public bus to Laos. I checked it on their website, 40 seats and airconditioning so quite comfy.
    I agree that it is not recommended to book anything that leaves from Khaosan (except for the Lomprayah bus heading south). The vans from victory monument are quite reliable though, but of course you have to watch out that they do not try to put too many people in a van. This year they are asking around 300 baht plus some luggage charge. Yes, things are getting more expensive...

    BTW the train is certainly a cheaper option, but it takes some hours so I would not recommend third class unless you bring a cushion with you. Since last year there have been quite some changes in public transport and sometimes on the early train there are also first and second class. Not on every day as far as I'm aware, since friends of ours booked a second class ticket (and paid for it) but ended up in a train that only had 3rd.... Thai railways says 222 baht for the first class. Anyway, I just got 30 and I'm seriously getting too old for crampy minivans and third class trains :)

    I do not know about Siem Reap but I got Phnom Penh return tickets for $90. Imo it's worth the effort to take a look if you can find a good offer. I found the trip to be much more relaxed, and it gives you a 30 day visa exemption upon return in Thailand in case you need it. Of course it all depends on your travel plans, the level of stress and comfort you need, etc.
    From Phnom Penh for example, there is the possibility to take a nice ferry trip (6 hrs, not exactly cheap or comfy, but scenic) to Siem Reap.

    Well now I'm out of Thailand until July - after I return I have to make my visa run every 60 days (or/and apply for extension ) so then I can give an update on prices and border crossings :)

    #9 Posted: 4/3/2013 - 13:39

  • mago2

    Joined Travelfish
    27th January, 2013
    Posts: 9

    Apparently to book the direct bus we will need cambodian visa in advance as otherwise they won't let it to book the coach in BKK (some updates on the tripadvisor). We will be travelling July/ August so if anyone knows anything new - would much appreciate the update. Seems for now that we will just get the evisa and book the direct bus (appears to be the most convenient way)...

    #10 Posted: 4/3/2013 - 13:48

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  • magalaya

    Joined Travelfish
    20th February, 2013
    Posts: 11

    Based on what I've searched a flight from Bangkok to Siem Reap will be around $200 (one way) at least and based on what I've read this is the norm due to the Bangkok Airways monopoly, so travelling overland certainly seems to be a better option money-wise. Has anyone been able to find the BK-SR air route cheaper in Thailand and booked it on a short notice?? It's an option we are considering but we're not sure if we want to risk it (or just budget time to do the route overland)...

    #11 Posted: 4/3/2013 - 13:50

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