Are you a backpacker looking to travel from Bangkok to the mesmerizing temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia? If so, you’re in luck! There’s a popular route that takes you from the bustling streets of Bangkok to the ancient beauty of Siem Reap. And the best part? You can do it for less than $9!
The Catch: “Minivan Scams”
Now, before you get skeptical, let me explain. There are tour operators near Bangkok’s famous Khao San Road that offer unbelievably cheap minivan transportation to Siem Reap. But here’s where the catch comes in. There are countless stories online about “minivan scams.” You might be wondering, how can there be a good deal in a scam? Well, in this blog post, we’ll show you exactly how to turn this scam into an advantage. By following our 5 simple steps, you’ll be able to travel from Thailand to Cambodia for just $9, all inclusive. And don’t worry, we’ll also provide alternative transport options with their pros and cons.
Step 1: Booking a Minivan at Khao San Road
If you’re familiar with Khao San Road, you know that there are plenty of tour companies offering cheap border crossings to Siem Reap. For less than $9, they promise to take you all the way. Now, you might be skeptical, thinking it’s too good to be true. But we took the risk and booked a ticket from Bangkok to Siem Reap via Stray travel. And guess what? It turned out to be a comfortable journey. So, our advice is to check out the travel agencies near Khao San Road and ask for transportation to Siem Reap. You might just find yourself on an amazing adventure.
Khao San Road in Bangkok.
Step 2: From Bangkok to 5 km Before the Border
The minivan picked us up at 7 am from the tour office on Khao San Road. The ride was comfortable, with air conditioning and enough space. After 2-3 hours of driving, we were almost at the border near Poipet, Cambodia. But here’s where things get interesting.
Step 3: Enter the Small Office
As we arrived at a small restaurant, everyone from the minivan gathered in the back. We were then taken inside a small office, one by one, to answer some questions. They wanted to know if we had already been to Cambodia and how we traveled there. This questioning was a tactic to gauge our knowledge of the visa procedure. They claimed it was difficult to get a visa at the border, trying to convince us to pay them $45 for a visa. But we knew better. We calmly informed them that we would handle the visa ourselves. They weren’t too pleased with our awareness, but they still assisted us by arranging another minivan to the border.
Step 4: Crossing the Border and Obtaining Your Cambodian Visa
After being dropped off near the border market, it’s a straightforward process to make your way to the border. Just follow the blue signs, and if you need help, there are always friendly locals around to guide you. At the border, you’ll go through two buildings: one to get stamped out of Thailand and another to obtain your Cambodian visa. The visa costs $30, with an additional $3 as a bribe. After a quick process, you’ll have your passport stamped and be ready to continue your journey.
Step 5: From the Border in Poipet to Siem Reap
Once you cross the border, you’ll be easily recognized by tour operators. They’ll guide you to a waiting area, where you’ll catch a free bus to the tourist bus station. After a short wait, you’ll board a comfortable tour bus that will take you to the stunning city of Siem Reap.
Congratulations! You’ve successfully completed the cheapest border crossing ever. Just imagine how much money you can save by taking this “risk” instead of flying. This scam technique is quite universal throughout border crossings in Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia. The key is to remain calm, be aware of the scam, and handle the visa process yourself. By doing so, you can save money and enjoy an extra cocktail at Pub Street in Siem Reap.
But wait, there are other ways to cross the border between Thailand and Cambodia!
Your Own Motorbike
If you’re planning to stay in Southeast Asia for a while, buying a Vietnamese-plated motorbike can be the least expensive option. Vietnamese bikes are allowed to cross most boundaries without any hassle.
Local / Government Operated Bus
For a more peaceful and direct connection between Bangkok and Siem Reap, you can opt for the Nattakan bus company. They offer fair prices and eliminate the risk of scams. You can find more information on the “Move to Cambodia” website.
While this option is comparable in price to booking a minivan, it takes longer. You’ll need to take a train from Bangkok to the Poipet border, arrange your visa, and then take a local bus to Siem Reap. Buses are readily available at the K.S.O Bus Station, just 500 meters from the border.
Choose the mode of transport that suits your travel needs best. If you want to save money, go for the minivan or train. For more comfort, take the government bus or opt for an airplane. And if you’re the adventurous type, consider buying a Vietnamese motorbike to explore the Golden Triangle of Southeast Asia.
Now, go forth and embark on your incredible journey from Thailand to Cambodia! For more travel tips and guides, visit Ekilove. Safe travels!