Thursday, 4 August 2016

Crossing The Border Bangkok to Cambodia

Here is the story of when I became a fully fledged member of the Travelling Superhero Society. If this society doesn't exist then it should. Crossing the border from Bangkok to Siem Reap, scams, threats more scams and a superhero to rival anything marvel or DC have to offer.

When we heard about the price for the train from Bangkok to Siem Reap I was amazed and simply had to try this journey, 49 Baht which is less than £1 for a 6 hour train journey to the border, through the Thai countryside, rice fields and some amazing villages. Now the price comes with a few downsides there are only 2 trains a day that leave from Hualamphong Train Station the first leaving at 05:55 arriving at Aranyaprathet Train Station around 11:40 and the second leaving at 13:05 arriving at around 17:40. The first train is the only now that will guarantee you getting through the border on the same day.

We got to the station around 04:00 it was already bustling with people we bought out tickets and went for a coffee in at the station coffee shop, the coffee and iced tea were pretty good to be fair, we bought some water and snacks from the shop and headed to the platform at 05:20. The train was already pretty full and we had to walk the entire length of the train to find 2 spare seats near each other. So get there early and get on the train as early as possible especially if there is a group of you. 

The train set off promptly at 05:55 as most things do in South East Asia when they arrive is a completely different story though. The ride itself is pretty comfortable if you're near a window the views are stunning and the breeze is a god send, it can get pretty crowded at times and stops at I believe 13 different stations. We got to Aranyaprathet Train Station at midday only 20 minutes later than expected. 

Now here is where it gets interesting I had read up on the Thailand to Cambodia scams so I was well aware of what was about to happen but for the purpose of this blog I went with it so I could experience first hand what happens so strap in for the ride folks.

We got a tuk tuk relatively simply and for 4 people (we met a couple from New Zealand in the train) the driver only quoted us 100 baht £2. As I thought he took us to the tourist information centre at the back of the bank next to the KFC. The sign over the door says "WELCOME TO CAMBODIA" the first signal of the scam as you have not even left Thailand yet. 

You are greeted by a bloke who gives you all the relevant Cambodian entry paper work to fill in very very very poor photocopies of the paper work I might add. Then asks for 2 passport sized photographs the second signal of the scam as your official Cambodian visa only requires 1 passport photograph.

Then here is the good part you get offered the chance to pay for your visa with baht or dollars, American dollars is the ONLY currency accepted for the Cambodian visa at the land border the third sign of the scam. 

Then the big one the price is $40 apparently thats the $35 visa fee and $5 processing fee, the forth sign of the scam as the Cambodian visa cost $30. By this point there was the 4 of us in the office with another 3 backpackers so 7 all together so do the maths 7 x 40 is $280 and none of us had even stamped out of Thailand yet.

This was when The Bearded Manc whipped out his cape put his boxer shorts on the outside of his pants and spring into action, well I say spring it was more of a stumble as I had not slept for 24 hours but in my mind it looked impressive all the same. I told the man behind the counter that I knew very well this was a scam and the visa price was $30 dollars, luckily one of the other girls had heard the same too so she piped up she was like my robin but I don't like batman as much as superman so for the purpose of this blog she can be Lois Lane. At that point I put all the other people on my back luggage included and flew out of the office accompanied by some dramatic but heroic orchestra music, well I walked toward the door and the others followed but just go with me. 

It was here that the bloke started shouting something abusive and saying he was honest and genuine and we were making a big mistake but he would do it for $35 if we stayed! To that I turned looked at him sternly with my hands on my hips and said "Sir crime does not pay" well what I actually said was "I'm going to write about this in my blog" it was here the Eastenders drums kicked in and the camera zoomed in on my face as I turned and walked out the door. (A little comedy reference only the Brits will get) 

When we left the office our tuk tuk drivers were waiting in anticipation for their cut of the scam, as you can imagine they were not happy when I told him we were not falling for that and walked away. The rest of the border control process is easy and simple, you stamp out of Thailand over to the visa office in pay your $30 yes $30 get your visa in about 3 minutes and then stamp into Cambodia. Don't worry the scams are not over yet.

There is a FREE GOVERNMENT bus from the border to the taxi office although they say when you get into Cambodia. DO NOT GET THIS BUS it takes you to a tourist information place in the middle of nowhere for tourist buses and taxies at ridiculous prices $50 for a taxi. At the Cambodian border you can get Private hire taxies from there and depending on the driver and your negotiation skills you can get a taxi all the way to Siem Reap a 3 hour trip for as little as $12.

I have been told that these men in the pink shirts who work for the bus and taxi scam get very abusive if they hear you telling other tourist not to get the bus so be careful if you do want to help other tourist or backpackers if you see them in the bus lines.

Just have your wits about you folks Cambodia and Thailand is just like everywhere else in the world it has its dishonest people and companies who are looking to take what they can from whoever they can. Since being in Cambodia we've had no issues apart from he usual trying to be over charged for accommodation, tours, tuk tuks and food and drink, but if you're firm enough you can always get a reasonable price everywhere.

I hope this blog is found to be useful for you folks. Please read like share and subscribe but above all please let me know what you think both good or bad feedback is nothing but positive for me.


Richard :)



  1. I paid 10 usd for the ticket from the border to Siem Reap after taking the free government bus to the station.The only thing is you have to wait for 10 passengers before the bus will leave. You can wait at the lounge area in the station which is very comfortable though! For me the wait was only around 5 minutes.

    1. Yes a bus ticket for $10 a taxi from the border is only $12 so imagine how cheap a mini bus would be without taking the free government bus to an isolated tourist transport depo. To put this into prospective we paid $60 from Phnom Penh to the border on our way out of Cambodia.

  2. I welcome all the suggestion mentioned in this blog related to new learning skills. It is definitely going to help me to adopt new exited way of learning. I think, others will also feel helpful this blog for their needs.Bangkok Trip


© THE BEARDED MANC. All rights reserved.