I am wondering what the best way to get to Siem Reap by bus is. We are currently on Don Det and have researched and have read about scams eg. Not getting a VIP bus as paid for, over charging etc.
We have also read about how maybe stopping in Kratie and then getting another bus to Siem Reap from there is an option?
Any advice would be really appreciated!! Thanks!
#1 kbabin has been a member since 9/4/2013. Posts: 10
No matter what you do you are going to be ripped off travelling from 4000 islands into Cambodia.
When I did the crossing some people refused to let the bus guy do their passports and then refused to pay the extra corruption fees at border. They didn't have issues that day but you never know. The border crossing there is not a place you would want to get stuck at as there is nothing there.
The buses are horribly over priced, your only chance at possibly getting a cheap ticket would be to walk through the border and then try and purchase a ticket from the bus driver himself but I honestly wouldn't try this as they probably won't let you do that either(especially since the buses are usually full or overfull).
Now that you know of those 2 little issues, you also need to know that going directly to Siem Reap is going to be a very long trip. You will leave the island around 8 in the morning and even though it is only a short distance to the town then border you will be lucky to start heading into Cambodia by noon since that seems to be when the buses leave(they make you wait a long time in both town and border). From what I have seen in total if you do it all in one go it will be 20+ hours on a bus.
Our bus was a piece of junk that kept having to be tinkered with and it was already supper time by the time we got to Kratie . I had only planned on going this far and I am very glad I did. I then chose to stop in Kampong Cham the next day to even further break up the trip. Both Kratie and Kampong Cham are decent enough places to walk around and relax for a day/evening and you can even find things to do if you want to spend more time in either place. If you have time I would recommend stopping, if you are short on time go back to Pakse and fly imo as it will save you a bunch of hassle and time travelling.
Well, we made it finally to Siem Reap after a very long day as we expected. Got on the boat at 8am and didn't get into Siem Reap until 3am. Im very glad that we had expected the trip to be horrible otherwise I'm sure it would be a lot worse!!
We had no issues at the border other than having to wait about an hour or so, and didn't have to pay any extra money. The first bus was a piece of crap though with a lot of seats being broken and the air con not working too well!
We finally arrived at where we needed to change buses at about 830pm, and we were told we had to wait an hour. This turned into nearly 2 hours. We were all convinced we would be setting up beds there. The bus finally came which was nicer and more comfortable. As we arrived at 3am we had to go to 3 separate guesthouses before we found a room as either the place was full or no one was at reception due to how late it was. Plus it was pouring with rain. I would only recommend this bus trip if you are absolutely desperate!!!!!!!
#3 kbabin has been a member since 9/4/2013. Posts: 10
Heh, funny how some people choose to torture themselves. Guess if you don't have time to spare and too cheap to fly then it makes sense though.
What did you pay for your visa? If you paid the guy in Ban Nakasing(if you bought ticket to Siem Reap while on Don Det or in Ban Nakasing) it was likely $30, it theoretically should have been $20 but they rip you off good.
In hindsight now you know (and for others planning this trip) trying to make the 4000i to Siem Reap in one day's travel is a form of self-torture. Better to aim for Kratie for a night, which is a pleasant little town on the Mekong, then get a regular bus to SR. You still have to change buses near Skuon where the two main routes meet, but if you start early you'll be in SR well before dark.
Yep we paid $30 for our visa! We are very limited for time so we didn't want to stay somewhere over night, nor could afford the flight. Self-inflicted I know! Well, we now know for next time and will certainly advise people who are planning this trip not too :) thanks for your replies guys!!
#6 kbabin has been a member since 9/4/2013. Posts: 10
So we paid $35 for a bus ticket the night before we left, and hopped on the boat to get back to Nakasang at 8am. We then had to wait an hour or so for everyone to pay for their visas and fill out forms etc, which took about 10 minutes so I'm not sure what else we had to wait for. Finally got on the bus to get to the border crossing which took not even half an hour, but then had to wait another hour or so for our visas to get processed and get our passports back. We then hopped onto a bus where we travelled for about 8 hours, thats roughly how long I cant remember exactly. Everyone who was going to Siem reap then hopped off in a town half way to Phnom Phen, and we were told we would have to wait an hour for the next bus to pick us up. An hour turned into at least 2 or so before the next bus showed up. It then took another 5 hours to get to Siem Reap. Its definitely a bus ride you would only do if you 100% need to- flying is recommended for sure. You do get there in the end but just be prepared for a long day. We had limited time so we did the whole thing in one go without stopping anywhere for the night which you could do. Hope this helps!
#8 kbabin has been a member since 9/4/2013. Posts: 10
marypeanuts if you have time stop in either Kratie or Kampong Cham if not both. The trip will actually be cheaper(since they rip you off so bad on the islands) and it breaks up the travel into manageable times. Both of these towns are definitely nice enough to spend an evening.
Definitely stop over in Kratie.
Go and see the Irrawaddy dolphins when you get there in the afternoon. The late afternoon/sunset boat ride is beautiful. They are very rare.
Cheap to get a tuk tuk just out of town and a bit to pay for the opportunity. A swim at the rapids is great too.
A huge room at the silver dophin is about $6US, cheaper elsewhere.
A great little town and worth the visit.
#10 pete61 has been a member since 27/9/2009. Posts: 39
Just to let you all know, a new VIP minivan service going directly from Stung Treng to Siem Reap is now operating daily from the Laos/Cambodian border. This service takes only 8 hours compared to the 13 or 14 using the current route and WIFI, water and comfortable seats are all included as part of the package. For more information visit The Last Resort (teepee field) on the sunset side of Don Det where tickets can be organized. This service also takes you to downtown Siem Reap instead of the "bus station" 8km outside of Siem Reap where a door is actually closed on you so the horde of tuk tuk drivers can mob you for outrageous fares to go downtown!
#11 Mrwatkinson has been a member since 18/3/2014. Posts: 2
Just found this. Seems very informative.
We are intending to do the PP to Battam to SR loop, then up into Laos, ( to Dong Khong then up), so this seems to be the only way.
But if you know of an easier better route. Do please reply here.
We are coming into Cambodia from HCMC.
The only other way (besides fly) is to cross the border near Ubon Ratchathani. But then you incur an additional visa fee. The smart way to go, if you really want to head to 4,000 Islands after Siem Reap, is to return to PP and then go to Stung Treng and overnight there, and then head into Laos. If you want to get to Vientiane - fly. Easy. But if you are intent on southern Laos, then take the reasonable amount of time it takes to get there instead of killing yourselves. That's what makes sense.