Crossing the Poipet Border from Cambodia to Thailand

I’m so excited to travel to Thailand from Cambodia by land. I’ve researched countless topics in the internet about a good transportation that will bring us to Bangkok, Thailand from Phnom Penh, Cambodia. I’ve also read a couple of reviews and tips about tourist’s experiences and almost all leads to a bad experience.  Regardless, I’m still full of optimism and hoping my sister and I are more fortunate than them. Sadly, our luck runs out.

We booked our ticket the day before our travel from the bus company Golden Bayon Express. It costs 21 USD each, from Phnom Penh to Bangkok. I’m so excited because it’s my first time riding a sleeper bus.

  • Remember the picture of the bus in the station is a completely different one from the actual bus.

The following night we arrived at the bus station early, our ticket is at 12:00 am. My sister and I stayed in front of the station just waiting for our ride. The bus station does not have  proper seats for passengers, just a few chairs and benches. If you’re lucky enough you can sit on the chair but rarely it’s unoccupied or you have to sit on the floor. At 10:00pm the bus for Siem Reap arrived. A couple of passengers already entered the vehicle but one particular situation caught our attention. A french couple were complaining about their sits. They expected a sleeper bus where their two children can sleep comfortably while traveling. The bus for Siem Reap was ordinary and the sits can only be reclined. According to the bus’ staff they can not do anything because that’s the only bus scheduled for 10:00pm to Siem Reap. The couple demanded to reimburse their tickets but the bus company refused to. So, the french family has no choice but to ride the bus unwillingly.

Our bus arrived at 12:15 am. Yup, it’s a sleeper bus alright. My sister and I shared the bunk at the 2nd level.

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Me, finding a comfortable spot to sleep

The bus is a little crowded and the bunks are small, enough for Asians and not so tall people. But to Caucasians and tall people you just have to tolerate the space. At 12:30 we left the Phnom Penh. The first two hours of travel was going smooth. But at the third hour, the bus wiggles and stops on the road. I woke up, tried to see what was happening outside but it was too dark. I can’t continue to sleep because I was really worried. There was no light on the road just darkness. After 30 minutes, the bus starts and continue its way. I thought that was the end of it but after 30 minutes the bus breaks down with a crumbling noise and stops. Every now and then, the bus continue its way and every 30 minutes it breaks down and stop. According to the other passengers that we asked the bus’ suspension was broken and every time the bus stops they fixed it a bit. The predicament continued for 9 hours until we arrived Siem Reap. Imagine, Phnom Penh to Siem Reap is supposed to be a 6 hour drive but it took us 11 hours to travel.

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This is how it look inside the bus. On the right side is my sister.

We arrived at the bus station in Siem Reap around 11:30 am. A lot of passengers traveled for Siem Reap only. Only six of us were continuing for Thailand. Those six includes my sister and I, a lady named Jennifer who was an american with cambodian roots, two swedish guys and an older european guy.

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That shoulder over there (right side) belongs to an american, Jennifer, who has cambodian roots. She was spending 6 months in her native country and moving back to the states. Very lucky to have met her as she was really nice and helped us pass through the notorious conmen-ridden border at Poipet.

At around 12:20 pm a car arrived at the bus station and told us that he can only accommodate two passengers for Poipet. We then realized that the vehicle was part or affiliated to the bus company. The two swedish guys joined the first car and after five minutes the next car arrived and accommodate the four of us remaining.

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Here is an example of a Cambodian Taxi traveling from Siem Reap to Poipet vice versa.
(Photo courtesy of dpmac.com)

The car was old but the air conditioning was working fine. In the car we met Jennifer, a pure Cambodian but she was born and raised in the US. She was really nice, we talked a lot with each other. The old european guy was very quiet and we haven’t got the chance to talk to him. It was a four-hour drive from Siem Reap to Poipet. We arrived at Poipet border around 4:30 pm.

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The Poipet Border, one of the borders dividing Thailand and Cambodia
(Photo Courtesy of dpmac.com)

At the border, someone was waiting for us. I think he’s one of the staff of the bus company. He instructed us that he will be waiting for us on the other side after we are done crossing the immigration and stamping of our passports.  He will then show us our next ride going to Bangkok. He gave us an orange sticker to stick it somewhere in our garments as an identification.

Jennifer was our guide. She crossed the Poipet border a couple of times and I think she is an expert of this. We were really thankful that we met her.

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The long line at the border
(Photo Courtesy of Thai-blog)

The line was very long and it was really hot but at least, it was organized.

For inquiries regarding Visas: click this link Thailand Visa.

An hour at the border, and at around 5:30 pm we left Poipet. Our next vehicle was a mini bus. It looks like a van but a little larger. We were fifteen in the bus including the driver and all our bags stacked at the back side taking up space. Honestly, it was really crowded. The two swedish guys from before, Jennifer, my sister and I were all together on the same vehicle. The mini bus stop somewhere around Aranyaphratet. Luckily there was a seven eleven convenient store around the corner. My sister and I bought a couple of sandwiches because I was starving. We haven’t got the chance to eat since we left Phnom Penh.

We arrived at Bangkok around 8:30 pm. The mini bus stops near the democracy monument. The road was bustling with vehicles and the traffic was really heavy. The mini bus just stops abruptly for us to alight and we immediately took off. My sister and I haven’t got the chance to say our goodbyes to our new-found friends on the road.

We took a tuk-tuk to drop us to our hostel near Kaosan Road. We finally arrived in our destination safely, 21 hours after. It was a very exhausting, starving and challenging experience but it was still a memorable adventure.

 

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