I have heard nightmare tales about the overland route between Bangkok and Siem Reap so am now looking into other option.
We are thinking of flying from Bangkok to Phnom Penh and then catching a bus to Siem Reap for a few days and then back to PHnom Penh before heading to Vietnam.
Has anyone ever done this route, or have any other suggestions about getting to and around Cambodia?
What time of year are you going? If you are going during the rainy season then road travel does become a bit more difficult. However, the roads are improving all the time, especially going to the Thai border. Your alternative route is a lot more expensive and time consuming, and still involves road travel in Cambodia. The roads in Thailand are fine. Personally i would overland Bangkok > Siem Reap, go by boat from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh, then road to Vietnam. Roads may be a bit bumpy wherever you go in Cambodia, but it's all part of the adventure.
Thanks for the info. Just some of the stories i've read soun d horrendous! We're heading to Thailand at the start of July and prob go to Cambodia mid July then onto Vietnam.
it's really easy to get from PP to vietnam - I did it in the other direction (starting off from Ho Chi Minh) but there should be plenty of tour operators who can organise this for you in PP. it took around 7 hours if i remember rightly, including a bit of messing around at the border. Between PP to Siem Reap its easy to do by bus and takes around 5 hours. the journey from Siem Reap to Bangkok has improved lately as it used to be a total nightmare, with terrible roads and loads of delays but i believe the road condition has now improved. another option if your budget will stretch is to fly with bangkok airways.
have a look at this website:http://www.talesofasia.com/cambodia-overland.htm this guy has done the journey between bangkok and siem reap numerous times and updates his website accordingly.
[ Edit: Edited on Mar 13, 2008, at 12:08 AM by bex76 ]
Yep, alot of tour operators along the PP riverside offer bus/boat journeys to HCMC, which are pretty much hassle free. Tour operators can also be found in abundance in PP's version of Thanon Khao San, Boeng Kak AKA the "Lake"...
Hey Fiona, as far as the Bangkok to Siem Reap bus trip I heard similar and then met some travellers upon arriving who confirmed. I flew from BKK to Phnom Penh on Air Asia, it was about $50 US, hung out there for a couple days and then took a bus to Siem Reap, talked the lad down to $4. My only bit of advice regarding this route is, upon arrival, the bus operator will tell you that a tuk tuk affiliated with the bus company will take you to the hotel/guesthouse/hostel of your choice free of charge. The ride is free but the choice is not. They proceed to take you to just about every place except where you want to go, opting for the locale where they will get a kickback and then proceed to hassle you about being your personal tour guide for Angkor. You will be literally attacked by tuk tuk drivers as you are getting off the bus advertising $1 to anywhere in town, this would be the best option if you already have a place in mind to avoid the runaround. Hope this is helpful. Enjoy yourself, Cambodia was the most eye opening destination on my trip.
We flew air asia bangkok-PP then after a couple of days took the capitol tour bus to SR.
There wasnt a toilet on the bus but it stopped for toilet breaks a couple of times along the way.
I agree about the mob of tuk tuk drivers waiting for you to get off the bus but i know a real nice driver who could meet you.
I can give you his phone number/e mail if you like.
We live in Siem Reap, Cambodia and deal with volunteers all the time... so have a real up to the minute perspective on things I feel.
We have many [in fact one this morning] volunteers who thoroughly enjoy the bus trip from Bangkok to Siem Reap as it gives you a chance to see so much en route. Yes the roads are rough and sometimes things happen i.e. punctures etc. but it is safe and we have not had any 'situations'. Durning July it can get pretty wet so the road may be slippery BUT they are continuosly working on it so shouldn't be too bad... we have to travel it frequently as do the locals so?
It is certainly far cheaper than flying all be it a few hours longer!
With regards to the road from PP to SR that is a pretty good road and no worries for bus travel etc. We do this trip all the time... sit back, relax and enjoy! It is an experience - in a good way...
Having travelled Africa, Oz and many other places in the world I would say that here is no worse than some of the main roads in Australia...
Feel free to drop us a line if you would like any more info... I am off to Vietnam BY BUS this weekend to see some voluntary projects, so IF there is no response you know why!