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Laos forum

Overland - Vientiane to Siem Reap

Posted by mangie on 16/11/2006 at 03:45

Hi Guys,
Overland Vientiane to Siem Reap.
We are looking at an alternative way of getting to Siem Reap instead of flying.
The idea is to try & do it by train.
THIS IS THE GAME PLAN – CAN ANYONE LET ME KNOW IF IT’S FEASIBLE, PLEASE?
Road – Vientiane to Nong Khai – Train to Bangkok (no.138)
Dep. Nong Khai 08.15 – Arr. Bangkok 21.10 - Stay Overnight
Dep. Bangkok 05.55 – Arr.Aranyaprathet – 11.35 (no.275)
Tuk Tuk to Poiphet.(15km) – Poiphet to Siem Reap – taxi $25 – (3hrs)
It’s a bit longer than flying but at least you get to see the country.

Are there any other alternative ways of going?
Look forward to hearing from anyone out there who has done the trip.
THANKS

#1 mangie has been a member since 11/11/2006. Posts: 14

Posted by somtam2000 on 16/11/2006 at 05:27 admin

Hi mangie,

Another way to go is by bus- Nong Khai to Nakhon Ratchasima then change for bus to Aranyprathet, then as above. It's probably quicker than going via Bangkok too.

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Posted by mangie on 23/11/2006 at 01:12

HI Guys,
Another angle. If we take the overnight train from Nong Khai to Bangkok it departs at 18.10pm & arrives Bangkok at 05.45am.
I understand that its possible to buy a through bus ticket to Siem Reap from Bangkok. Can I do it same day?
Does anyone know what time the busses leave Bangkok & what time they arrive in Siem Reap?
Mini bus to the border then pick-up to Siem Reap (Rough guides)

#3 mangie has been a member since 11/11/2006. Posts: 14

Posted by somtam2000 on 23/11/2006 at 14:22 admin

The through tickets are a scam -- see the Tales Of Asia website for bucket-loads of reasons why the through tickets are a bad idea.

You're far better off taking the govt bus or the train to the border and then continuing on from there. See our Cambodia overland story for more information.

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Posted by kieranspt on 14/12/2008 at 13:34

My girlfriend and I are traveling through Thailand, Laos and Cambodia in feb, and are stuck on one leg of our trip. We are trying to get from Vientiane to Siem Reap as well but we don't have the luxury of time or money. So we are wondering what is the quickest way that isn't too expensive. Bus? Or fly from one border to the other inside Thailand?

#5 kieranspt has been a member since 14/12/2008. Posts: 4

Posted by somtam2000 on 15/12/2008 at 05:21 admin

Bus instructions in post #2 above will be the fastest way. No domestic flights in the manner you're thinking. You'll be looking at a very full day of overland travel to get from Vientiane to Siem Reap, but as long as you leave VTE as early as possible, it can be done.

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Posted by kieranspt on 15/12/2008 at 05:38

thanks somtan2000.
I was wondering if you knew anything about the Kap Choeng or Chong Sa Ngam border crossings into cambodia?
they seem to be a bit clolser and a more direct route to SR. What do you think?

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Posted by somtam2000 on 15/12/2008 at 05:50 admin

Yes, they're closer, but there's a lot less local transport to and from those borders -- especially the Chong Sa Ngam border -- when I crossed there I had to hitch a 20km ride to get from the border to a main road in Thailand.

The advantage of going via the traditional Poipet crossing, is there's no shortage of transport getting to and from the border -- this more than compensates for the extra miles you'll be doing.

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Posted by kieranspt on 15/12/2008 at 06:01

thanks again. i really appreciate your help!

#9 kieranspt has been a member since 14/12/2008. Posts: 4

Posted by mookie on 23/12/2008 at 01:32

Sorry to "hijack" this thread but I have another question...

How about doing this without going through Thailand (all the way towards south inside Laos)? Doable? How long? Can I do a few steps using bus and others using a boat? A day or two stops in a spot or two?

Any info will be more than welcome :)

Thanks all!

WBR

#10 mookie has been a member since 23/12/2008. Posts: 1

Posted by somsai on 23/12/2008 at 17:12

yes. You are describing the normal route through southern Laos, mostly bus. I think the only regular slowboat southern Laos is Pakse to 4000 backpackers island (si phan don)

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Posted by kieranspt on 29/3/2009 at 13:43

hi!
just letting you know wew got through safe and sound. if you're interested we took the first bus on a Sunday out of Vientiane at about 7:30am for nong khai. we got our next bus straight away which left as soon as set foot on it for khorat. unfortunately we missed the bus from khorat by half an hour that would have had us over the boarder to Cambodia that day so we got the next one and stopped at Aranya prathet over night. we made it across the next morning.
so as long as the buses are on time it is possible. a very long day, but possible.
cheers!

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Posted by somtam2000 on 30/3/2009 at 07:17 admin

Thanks for the report back kieranspt.

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Posted by dollarava on 2/5/2009 at 10:47

can we hire a taxi or van from vientiane or luang prabang to siem reap? or is it possible to travel by boat?

#14 dollarava has been a member since 29/4/2009. Posts: 1

Posted by buzzybee on 20/10/2011 at 16:11

Just a short note: we traveled from Luang Prabang via Vientiane to Siem Reap overland, by bus. No problem. Had one of those busses from Luang Prabang to Vientiane, which leave every few hours. In Vientiane, at the International Bus Station, a direct bus leaves to Nakhon Rachasima at 9 am. Only stops at the Laos / Thai-border. In Nakhon, you can catch a direct bus to Aranya Pathet (Thai / Cambodian border) from Bus Terminal 2 the same day, if you have accomodation in Aranya. We stayed one night, and took the morning bus at 9. From Aranya, transportation to Siem Reap is standard business, although a little bit adventurous due to a lot of scam going on.

Took us 4 days altogether, but can be done faster. We had time, and wanted to spend one day in Vientiane, and one evening in Nakhon.

No travel agency was involved. We asked a few, but everyone wanted to sell flights, or a bus drive via Pakse and Phnom Phen, which is much longer and therefore less relaxing, I suppose.

All passages were daytime only, the longest one took nine hours, all other were more like 4 to 6 ours. Very bearable. Bought all the tickets at the bus stations. All drives combined, the tickets sum up to about 35 Euro per person. Add some nice fews into the landscape, and a real nice way of travelling.

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Posted by MADMAC on 20/10/2011 at 17:33

Buzzy
It's ten hours from Luang Prabang to Vientiane. Or so everyone has said. That must have been your longest leg. And yes, by bus it's pretty affordable, but going via Thailand means TWO visa fees. So add on the cost of a visa going to Thailand. I'm glad you enjoyed it, but for most people, taking the bus every day for 5 or more hours sucks. And it sucks a lot. Views or no views. So yes, it can be done, and it's certainly the cheapest way to go, but it ain't a good time.

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Posted by buzzybee on 20/10/2011 at 20:49

You´re right, the trip from Luang Prabang to Vientiane took 10:30 hours. Got that mixed up, sorry. As for going through Thailand: Thai provides free visas for 15 days when entering by land, at least that´s the case for people from europe. As for entering Cambodia, there is no difference which way you choose to get in: it will cost you 20 Dollars at least. And certainly you´re right - some people might not enjoy travelling by bus for more than 5 hours. But as I undertand it, the topic in this thread is: alternative way to flying. To me this means bus, or if one prefers, he might make the passage from Vientiane to Nakhon as easily by train. Not to rule out car, motorcycle...

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Posted by MADMAC on 21/10/2011 at 00:45

Well on that point you are right. If you are not willing or able to fly, and you are determined to go to both Luang Prabang and Siem Reap, you're screwed. It's going to suck - no getting around that. Most people who are of the backpacker persuasion are down with a five hour bus ride, or even an overnighter. But four days in a row? Yikes.

(Myself I prefer taking my bike, but when going to Bangkok I suck it up and take the horrible bus)

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Posted by buzzybee on 21/10/2011 at 01:14

If one told me I had to spend four days in a row in a bus, I´d shake my head and get off. But the whole trip took us four days only because we travelled in a very relaxed manner. Should probably make it clear, that we spent one short evening and one whole day in Vientiane, then the next morning continued jour journey. After a six hour drive, we spent one full evening in Nakhon. All in all we had a relaxed experience, that we enjoyed a lot. Especially the time in Nakhon, we´re we met no tourists whatsoever, but very kind and interested Asians instead.

The only thing that bothered us was all the scam going on at the Aranya / Poi Pet-Border. The Tuktuk from the Bus station took us to a fake Cambodia Visa office, that happily exists just one hundred meters from the official border. After telling them to p... off in a nice way, the guys there even threatened us. The official guys at the border were all very kind, though. Better pay the Cambodian visa in US Dollars btw., safes a little bit of money compared to paying in other currency. Later the bus, which took us from Poi Pet to Siem Reap, stopped 30 Minutes prior to our proposed arrival; had us have a 1-hour-lunch in a restaurant; the guide then tried to sell rooms at a guesthouse. Nothing serious, if you know what´s going on. Still not the welcome one hopes for. Be warned.

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Posted by MADMAC on 21/10/2011 at 01:31

Yeah, Khorat is definitely not a tourist hot spot - big city though with a large expat population. Well, big for Issan. The horrible night bus to Bangkok stops there on the way. I've been there many times in the dead of night, exhausted and tortured. Someday I'll have to go when I can enjoy it. I'm glad it worked for you. I despise buses as you can probably tell. I don't own a car, so I use them more often than I would prefer, which might explain why I despise them so much.

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