Crossing borders from Thailand to Cambodia
Nothing picture-worthy happened on the day we traveled from Bangkok to Battambang. It was a long day though and I was happy when we finally arrived. Here’s how crossing borders from Thailand to Cambodia went:
- We took the train from Bangkok to Aranyaprathet (the Thai border town). Two trains a day in each direction connect Aranyaprathet with Bangkok’s Hualamphong Train Station. To Aranyaprathet (i.e. to Cambodia), trains depart at 05:55 and 13:05, scheduled to arrive at 11:20 and 18:05 respectively. I recommend taking the early one so you make sure you can still cross the border the same day.
- When getting off the train in Aranyaprathet expect to be approached by the many tuk tuk drivers who eagerly want to bring you to the border (which is another 6km away). The train ride had been long and not sooo comfortable (with the wooden benches) so we decided to get lunch first. We passed the crowd and went looking for a nearby noodle stall and found a small restaurant around the (left, if I’m not mistaken) corner.
- The tuk tuk driver who had approached us many many times already was waiting outside the restaurant to bring us to the border. The plus side: the hoards of tourists coming of the train were already gone so we could negotiate the price much easier.
- We arranged our visas upfront (you can easily do this online) to avoid any scams our hassles at the border. Youneed to walk a long way, first out of Thailand and then into Cambodia. There’s a seperate queue for people who arranged their visas upfront. Don’t forget to fill in the extra form they hand you at the border crossing before you start queueing.
- Then comes the tricky part! You’re in Poipet now and need to find the free bus to the bus station out of town. We did get on a free bus but it wasn’t “the right one” because we were taken to this small bus depot in Poipet where they asked us $10/person to get to Battambang (while the right price was $5). We felt stuck at first but when I started walking around looking for another solution I found another small bus company in the street happy to take us for $5. Always look around, it walked to 5 different companies to finally find it.
- After a few hours on the bus through rainy weather we arrived in sunny Battambang. We got dropped off at a roundabout about 2 km from the city center and hired a motorcycle taxi (read: us 2 + 2 big backpacks + 2 small backpacks + the driver all on one bike) to get to town.
Poipet was a bit of a hassle and not a fun town to stay so make sure you get out of there as soon as possible. The rest of Cambodia is amazing.