We looked at how to get from Bangkok to Cambodia the cheapest way, and this turned out to be a train/bus combination.
After a bit of online research we booked a room in Bangkok near Hua Lamphong train station, bangkoks main railway station. We stayed at at one inn, which was a really nice hotel and within walking distance of the station. We didn’t get there until late in the evening after flying in from Krabi, so we went straight out to get a bite to eat and find where we needed to go in the morning.
The train to Aranyaprathet leave at 05:55 each morning. We arrived at the station early and purchased tickets to our destination, there was no que. The fare for the journey is 48 baht each (just under £1!) and takes around 6 hours. The train is all 3rd class and the seats all wooden, so it isn’t the most comfortable journey, but it’s very scenic and the breeze blows in through the open windows, sellers walk through the carriages selling food and drink. It also left pretty much on time which I was quite surprised about!
When you arrive at Aranyaprathet, there are loads of Tuk Tuks waiting, we paid 100 baht to be taken to Poipet which is where you cross the border into Cambodia.
When you arrive in Poipet you first go through Thailands departure route, before proceeding through to buy your visa for Cambodia. This was quite a quick process, although I think luck was on our side as there were no ques. You need to have a passport photo for your visa, but they can do it there for you if you don’t have one. Once you have your visa you then walk through the arch into the “Kingdom of Cambodia”. You then have a final entry process, which is filling in an arrival and departure card, getting your passport stamped and you’re on your way.
Outside the arrivals office there are free shuttle busses to take you to a bus station, from which you then arrange your onward journey. To get to Siem Reap is $10 pp in a minibus or bus, and $42 for a private taxi (although this is to the taxi station in Siem Reap, there is an extra charge to take you to your hotel). We opted for a seat in the minibus and our journey took around 3 hours with a brief stop. You get dropped at a city centre location where there were some Tuk Tuks waiting. They told us they were free rides as long as they got to take us to the temple (Angkor Wat) tomorrow. We declined this offer and they then tried to charge us $5 to take us to our hotel (you should pay $1 each). When we declined and started to walk away, along with the other people on the minibus, they accepted our $1 offer and we were on our way to our hotel.
The whole journey cost around £7.50 for a 300 mile trip (not including visa). Which was a lot less than the cost of 2 flights! John is now enjoying his 50 cent beer…