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Border Crossings

Getting to Thailand: Siem Reap to Bangkok

Getting to the border By far the busiest crossing between Cambodia and Thailand, the Poipet/Aranya Prathet border crossing (6am to 10pm in theory, 6.30am to 7.30pm in practice) is the route most people take when travelling between Bangkok and Siem Reap. It has earned a bad reputation over the years, with scams galore to help tourists part with their money, especially coming in from Thailand.

Frequent buses and share taxis run from Siem Reap and Battambang to Poipet. Don't get off the bus until you reach the big roundabout adjacent to the border post. Buying a ticket all the way to Bangkok can expedite things and save you the hassle of finding onward transport on the Thai side. There are now several bus companies that offer through-buses from Siem Reap to Mo Chit bus station in Bangkok.

At the border Be prepared to wait in sweltering immigration lines on both sides – waits of two or more hours are not uncommon, especially in the high season. Show up early in the morning to avoid the crowds, but be aware that rarely does anybody get across before 6.30am. You can pay a special 'VIP fee' (aka a bribe) of 200B on either side to skip the lines, but beware of scams and realise that you are contributing to longer wait times for everybody else. There is no departure tax to leave Cambodia despite what Cambodian border officials might tell you. Entering Thailand, most nationalities are issued 15-day visa waivers free of charge.

Coming in from Thailand, under no circumstances should you deal with any 'Cambodian' immigration officials who might approach you on the Thai side – this is a scam. Entering Cambodia, the official tourist visa fee is US$30, but it's common to be charged $35. If you don't mind waiting around, you can usually get the official rate if you politely hold firm. Procuring an e-visa (US$37) before travel won't save you any money but will lower your stress levels.

Moving on Minibuses wait just over the border on the Thai side to whisk you to Bangkok’s Victory Monument (230B, four hours, every 30 minutes from 6.30am to 4.30pm). Or make your way 7km to Aranya Prathet by tuk tuk (100B) or sŏrngtăaou (pick-up truck; 15B), from where there are regular buses to Bangkok's Mo Chit and Eastern station between 5am and 3pm (229B, five to six hours). Make sure your tuk tuk driver takes you to the main bus station in Aranya Prathet for your 100B, not to the smaller station about 1km from the border (a common scam). The 6.40am and the 1.55pm trains (six hours) are other options to Bangkok.