There are lots of ways to get from Siem Reap to Bangkok, and it all depends on how much time, money, and patience you have. In this post, I’ll cover the best ways to get from Siem Reap to Bangkok whether you travel by plane, direct bus, mini-bus, taxi, or my favorite: mini-bus and casino bus combination. Later this week I’ll give you the lowdown on crossing the Poipet/Aranyaprathet border overland.
Bangkok Airways used to have the only flights between Siem Reap and Bangkok, and the outrageously high price of tickets made a good argument for why competition is necessary in the world of airlines. For a one-way ticket, prices are between $200 and $300 for a one-hour flight, making this one of the more expensive routes around. Return fares are significantly less, starting at $291.
More recently, though, Malaysia-based LCC Air Asia has started offering daily flights between Siem Reap and Bangkok. You can find one-way flights on this route for as little as $60 if you book in advance, but usually tickets are more often in the $140 range. Flights arrive at Bangkok’s DMK airport and you’ll pay extra for baggage.
Local airline Cambodia Angkor Air also flies the Siem Reap to Bangkok route and generally offer the lowest prices for flights that aren’t booked months in advance. In many ways their offering is superior, because tickets include 20 kgs of luggage per passenger and they fly into Suvarnabhumi Airport. One-way flight start at $136 and roundtrip flights start at $190. If you’re flying return, CAA almost always works out as the lowest-price option. Read our full review of Cambodia Angkor Air.
There are Nattakan/Transport Co. Ltd direct buses that go from Siem Reap to Bangkok for $28 and from Bangkok to Siem Reap for for 750 baht ($23). You can purchase tickets in Siem Reap at any guesthouse or travel agent, or directly at the Nattakan Transport office on Sivatha Blvd. The bus leaves at either 8:00 a.m. or 9:00 a.m. every day and take between eight and ten hours to arrive. The direct bus from Siem Reap to Bangkok is definitely the easiest option, although perhaps not the fastest and certainly not the cheapest. The best part about the direct bus is that you keep your luggage on the bus while you walk through the border. Read our full review with photos of the direct bus from Siem Reap to Bangkok.
Taxi is the most expensive overland option, and doesn’t save much hassle over going by bus, as you still have to use two taxis and walk through the border on foot because cars aren’t allowed through the border. You can book a taxi at any guesthouse or local travel agent in Siem Reap, but you may get a cheaper rate by asking a tuk tuk driver to get one of his friends to do it. Prices from Siem Reap to Poipet are around $30 and take two hours.
Once you’ve crossed the border, there are taxis waiting that will take you anywhere in Bangkok for 1900 baht ($60). The trip takes from Aranyaprathet to Bangkok takes three or four hours.
As per usual, taxis in Cambodia (and Thailand) are usually Toyota Camrys that can comfortably seat three passengers and can uncomfortably seat four. They usually have a tank in their trunk and cannot fit a lot of baggage.
There are mini-bus services that go “direct,” meaning the same company will drop you off on the Cambodia side of the border and then meet you on the Thailand side of the border. You still need to haul your luggage through the border on foot, and often end up waiting for others on your bus who takes hours to go through immigration. These services offer you no direction or hand-holding in getting through the border, so there’s really no reason to take them through. It’s better to buy a ticket from Siem Reap only to Poipet and then either take another mini-bus or a casino bus from Aranyaprathet to Bangkok.
From Siem Reap, there are mini-buses that leave for Poipet every morning. I can’t recommend any specific company because they are all disappointing in their own way. But at $5 a ticket, it’s hard to complain because they do manage to get you from A to B without much hassle. Book a night in advance. You can book tickets to Poipet at any local travel agent but be sure to haggle, as they’ll often try to charge $10 for a $5 ticket.
Once you are through the border in Aranyaprathet, you can grab another minibus that goes to Victory Monument in Bangkok for 230 baht ($7.20). You’ll need to wait for enough passengers to show up and fill the bus, but it doesn’t usually take long. The trip from Aranyaprathet to Bangkok takes between four and six hours, depending on what time you leave.
Mini-bus and casino bus combo
Of all of the options, this is my preferred overland means of travel from Siem Reap to Bangkok, costing a total of $11.25. I hop a $5 mini-bus in Siem Reap to the Poipet/Aranyaprathet border, walk through, then head to the car park next to the 7-11 and catch a casino bus. You’ll recognize the casino buses because they are massive and brightly painted with kooky designs.
The casino buses are meant for Thai gamblers who leave at 5:30 a.m. to come to Poipet to gamble all day, then head back to Bangkok in the afternoon. They are VIP luxury buses and are very comfortable. They go from Rong Kleu Market in Aranyaprathet to Mo Chit, Lumphini Park, and Bang Na in Bangkok and cost 200 thb ($6.25). The trip takes five to six hours (they usually get stuck in traffic) but stop halfway at a nice little rest stop with a couple of dozen street food vendors and all of the gamblers make a mad dash for bowls of soup and then pile back onto the bus and eat it. This method provides the best cultural experience. Unfortunately I can’t tell you what time the buses leave or stop running because I don’t speak Thai, but they seem to be around noon to 4 p.m. from Aranyaprathet.