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.
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