How to Go to Siem Reap from Bangkok without Dying Inside the Bus

We took a bus from Chiang Mai to Bangkok for 280 baht per person. Various travel agencies have different pricing for this route so I suggest thart you ask around first before you purchase your ticket.

The bus ride from Chiang Mai to Bangkok took around 10-12 hours (depending on the number of stops). We left Chiang Mai at around 7PM and arrived at Khao San at around 5:15AM. We could have gone straight to the train station but decided to rest first and hang out at Khao San for a day.

The following morning we went straight to Hua Lamphong train station and bought tickets to Aranyaprathet. The ticket cost 48 Baht and the train ride was approximately 6-7 Hours.

As soon as we got off the train, we then transferred to a tuktuk that brought us to the border (Aranyapathet-Poipet). Before we went to the border, the tuktuk stopped to a travel agency and offered us Cambodian Visa. We just politely said we’re Filipinos and we don’t need a visa to enter Cambodia.

No hassles so far.

We exited the Thailand side of the border and entered Cambodia via Poipet and this guy said that he’s a government employee and he’s assisting tourists to get to the bus terminal.

So we followed him and boarded the FREE Bus that took us to the Poipet International Bus Station together with two American tourists.

Along the way, the girl got paranoid of where the bus was heading and if it would cost us some money. They told us that they’re sick and tired of being scammed and the last thing that they want to happen was to get scammed again. I just said don’t worry, I’ve read this in various forums and its really free. She asked me if the bus that we’re currently riding would charge us as soon as we get off. I just said I don’t know but there’s a sign there that it’s a free government bus.

The girl asked the tour guides why there’s a need for two people to help four tourists inside the bus. The guides just said that they’re just helping out. Then a mini-argument started to happen between the girl and the guide.

The guide got insulted by the girl and said that “We’re not asking you for any money. We’re just taking you to the bus station. Not all Cambodians are scammers.

The girl didn’t stop talking about being scammed for some reason I don’t understand.

Nearing the bus station, the guide finally snapped and said “Do you want to die inside the bus?”

I tried to calm the situation by throwing a joke at the girl, “You pissed him off, now we’re gonna die inside the bus!” and making a hand signal to the guy asking him if he’s ok.

The girl apologized for (unintentionally)insulting the guy.

The girl was paranoid and scared and thus reacted that way. The guy was insulted and provoked and thus reacted that way. I just witnessed surging human emotions that could have lead to violence. I felt sorry for what both of them have been thru in the 10 minute bus ride.

In the Poipet International Bus Station we paid for $10 each for a van that will take us to Siem Reap (another 4-5 hours).

Inside the van, the girl still didnt stop talking about the possibility of being scammed, stressing herself in the process. While the rest of the passengers were just laughing about it.

Were we scammed or not? I don’t know. All I know is that we got to Siem Reap unscathed. The cost of going to Siem Reap is definitely higher than the cost of taking the reverse route. Some online articles said that it’s because the bus station in Poipet is a travel monopoly.

Taking that 10 minute bus ride incident out of consideration, my overland travel to Siem Reap to Bangkok could have been a hassle free one.

Tip: NO need to exchange to Riel, US Dollar is widely accepted in Siem Reap.

Summary of Transpo Expense

Bus from Chiang Mai to Bangkok: 280 Baht/Person
Taxi from Khao San to Hua Lamphong Station: 35 Baht/Person (Shared cost – 70 Baht)
Train from Hua Lamphong to Aranyapathet: 48 baht/Person
Tuktuk to Border: 30 Baht/Person (Shared cost – 60 Baht)
Bus from Border to Bus Station: Free
Van to Siem Reap: $10

Total Cost: $23.1

How to Go to Siem Reap from Bangkok without Dying Inside the Bus


  1. Paranoid girl. Haha. Thanks for this post flip, another helpful post from you 🙂

  2. Can’t blame that girl. We got scammed from Chiang Khong, Thailand to Luang Prabang, Laos. And for some reason, we couldn’t understand why the 7 of us, all girls, above 30ish, didn’t even realized it that we got screwed! LOL

  3. Sometimes I can see myself being that girl. I get so frustrated by the language barrier I assume everyone is ripping me off. Usually if other people are not concerned then I can relax too. Poor girl.

  4. Eeek, I don’t wanna be like that! Hahaha! Thanks for this tip very useful. I’ll remember to shut up! 😀

  5. I can commiserate with the gal. When I was in Egypt, I was so constantly harassed to give Baksheesh for practically everything that it became inculcated in me. I unintentionally insulted an Egypt Air ticket agent in Aswan by offering Baksheesh to him for reserving my return flight to Cairo, and an ugly confronation unfolded. I was damned if I did and damend if I didn’t…

  6. nakakafrustrate yung babae! lol

  7. “The girl asked the tour guides why there’s a need for two people to help four tourists inside the bus.”

    – they are there to help out indeed but at the same time they are “hoping” you will give them a tip. and sometimes it may get irritating when they continuously ask for one even if you say “no”. so best thing to do is ignore them or if you want, give them some loose coins like a 5baht coin ;o)

  8. She’s funny but we can’t blame for doing that because she had a bad experience in the past. Thanks for sharing this.

  9. The girl just caused herself a lot of unnecessary stress that will plague her the whole trip if she keeps that way of thinking.

  10. this is the reason why I crossed the border the other way around. SR to BKK. ayoko din ma-scam..

  11. Hi! What’s the name of the 280 thb bus from chiang mai ? Thanks! 🙂

  12. This is really useful. I guess you really open up yourself to being scammed if you go to a place without knowing basic taxi and transpo fares. Thanks for listing the prices for reference Flip. 🙂

  13. It’s easy to see how emotions could get tense under this situation. As a backpacker, I’m all too familiar with being ripped off. Sometimes it happens so often that it’s hard not to think everybody in the tourism industry isn’t out to get you; however, that’s definitely not the case and sometimes things have to be put into perspective.

  14. We need to stay calm in these situations, but how? Yay. Can’t blame the girl and i can’t blame the guy either.

  15. Not all Cambodians are truer word.
    Meantime my facetious comments-
    But we’re tourists…we’re meant to be scammed.
    If I’m not scammed, I don’t feel I’m really experiencing the place!

  16. Hahahahaha, crazy. Sounds like an eventful journey!

  17. Cornelius Aesop says:

    Hopefully the girl was able to eventually let go of the whole experience and just enjoy it for what it is.

  18. Great article on this common leg of the SEA loop. I took a bus between these two cities and the border crossing was not fun! It probably took about 12 hours longer than necessary, but did to make new friends with the other travellers!

    – Lily

  19. Traveling Ted says:

    I had one of the craziest experiences ever going from Bangkok to Siem Reap via bus in 2005. I have heard they improved the road since then, so the trip is not as crazy. The bus that picked us up on the Cambodian side stopped at a money exchange station. They scammed us and told us the exchange was less than it really was. I forgot to check the exchange rate before I left Bangkok. Lesson learned here is to always know the exchange rate before entering a country. I only exchanged $20.00, and I think the scamming cost me $4.00 or $5.00.

    The thing about scams in Southeast Asia is they usually are pretty harmless if you get caught in them and you learn and move on. I feel sorry for the girl in this post as she is so paranoid about harmless scams that she is letting it affect her enjoyment of travel. Travelers need to be aware of scams and try to avoid them, but relax and enjoy the journey.

  20. EscapeManila says:

    I crossed that border in 2008 and it was scary. The bus was free but when i arrived to the taxi station the guides/touts forced me to take a taxi from them. Told them i know someone from there and he’ll pick me up (of course i lied) just to keep them away. Sine i was alone, i tried to find other tourists willing to share a cab. Fortunately i found one. When i took the taxi with the other tourists the tout looked at me as if he’s gonna eat me alive and began talking in the local language.

  21. Prinsesa Batongorange says:

    Hi just wondering, did you get your passport stamped in Aranya or Poipet? Thanks. =)

    • Both… Aranya for the Thailand Exit Stamp and Poipet for the Cambodia Entry Stamp 🙂 hope this helps

      • Prinsesa Batongorange says:

        Oh alright. I’ve been here in Thailand for 2 years now, but I haven’t been to Aranya. What a shame. haha. I’m planning to go to Seam Reap pretty soon and your posts are helping me a lot. =)

  22. “Stay Calm and SHUT UP!” Very nice post. Thank you so much. 🙂

  23. Hi! I am doing the reverse journey from Siem Reap -> Bangkok and have heard that the border can take up to 5 days to cross! I have ideally only allocated 2 days to get between the two locations! Can this be done!? would be thankful for any advice!

    • flipnomad says:

      Hi Emily,

      Siem Reap to Bangkok will only take you you a day. You leave SR early in the morning and you’ll be in Bangkok around late in the afternoon.


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