hi- i'm trying to get a sense of whether its possible to leave siem reap in the early morning + arrive in bangkok in time for the night train to chiang mai (it departs at 7.30). the guides ive looked at all say to budget 7-11 hours, but i dont have a sense of how early its possible to leave from siem reap.
i've been advised to buy tickets for the train in advance + i dont want to spend an extra night in bangkok if i can help it.
#1 cynko has been a member since 15/3/2007. Posts: 4
The journey from Bangkok (Aranya Prathet) to Siem Reap was quite a journey when i did it a couple of years ago, we used a taxi as it was so cheap but the roads were appalling and it was raining so it took quite a while. I would leave as early as you can from Siem Reap if you are going in the other direction. If you are going through Aranya Prathet the border crossing took ages too.
#2 salserojo has been a member since 4/4/2007. Posts: 1
it is possible to depart siem reap in the morning and catch that 7:30 pm train to chiang mai, but it will make for a long day and you'll need to be comfortable with the risk of missing your train if anything doesn't go smoothly on the trip.
a taxi from siem reap to the border will take from 3 to 4 hours. it is another hour or so to work your way through customs and immigration on both sides of the border. from there, your best bet is to hook up with a bangkok taxi trying to catch a fare back to bangers. it will take about 3 to 4 hours to taxi back to bangkok. however, if you don't find a taxi, then you'll need to hire a tuk tuk to get to the bus station in aranya prathet, then catch the bus back to bangkok, which could take up to five hours. the unknown factor is how long you'll have to wait for the next available bus from aranya to bangkok. they typically run every hour, but there are times when there are no buses too.
an alternative might be to make your way to ayutthaya instead of bangkok. the overnight train from bangkok to chiang mai stops in ayutthaya a few hours after it departs bangkok, and you can pick it up there. an even better option, if you have the time and are keen to avoid overnighting in bangkok, would be to make your way from siem reap to ayutthaya a day before you need to catch the train to chiang mai, to give yourself a better margin of error and reduce the stress of an exciting but taxing overland trip back from siem reap.
in any case, even though it is possible, i'm not sure i'd want to take the risk of trying to make the trip back the same day i was catching the train. the slightest delay at the border or catching a bus or even with a flat tire could mean you miss your train.
i hope that helps. cheers.