After finishing our semester in Bangkok I left to spend 10 days in Cambodja, my first time I would be traveling alone. Since I didn’t want to spend my money on a flight to Cambodja, I decided to go there by bus.
This meant that I had to cross the border by myself, something I read a lot of horror stories about. Turns out that I worried for nothing!
Today I’ll share my tips and tricks for crossing the Aranyaprathet – Poipet border.
Get to the border
First things first, how to get there? You’re probably staying somewhere around Khao San Road in Bangkok. From here you can book many tours to Cambodia, but be carefull with this. A lot of these tours are scams, so don’t just book something!
From victory monument a lot of minivans depart to a lot of destinations. To get to the border take the minivan to Aranyaprathet. You can also catch a bus at Ekkamai station and Mo Chit terminal.
Make sure you check if your bus stops at Rong Kleu Market, this is where the border is. Otherwise you might end up somewhere else in Aranyaprathet.
At Rong Kleu Market you leave the bus (my bus dropped me even closer to the border). From the market it’s about a one-kilometre walk to the border. If you don’t want to walk there is the opportunity to get a moto tuc tuc at the market.
Be aware: Before you even got stamped out of Thailand people will approach you wanting to let you buy a Cambodian visa. They’ll tell you it’s not possible to do this at a later moment and you’ll be stuck between borders. Bullshit!
Never buy a Cambodian visa before you’ve been officially stamped out of Thailand. Saying you already have a visa works best to get rid of those people.
Get stamped out of Thailand
You’ll spot signs on the left side of the road showing you where to go to get stamped out of Thailand. It’s basically standing in line, waiting to get stamps in your passport so you officially left the country.
A lot of people might already have their forms to apply for a Cambodian visa before they left Thailand. Don’t worry if you haven’t, you’ll get this form at the next office you have to pass.
Obtain your Cambodian Visa
Your next step is to get your Cambodian visa. After you got stamped out of Thailand and are outside again, you’ll find the visa office for Cambodia on the right side. You just need to fill in a simple form and if it’s not that busy you get your visa pretty quick!
For this visa you need 20 us dollar and one passport picture. Make sure you already got your dollars in advance.
Be aware: When I got my visa the people working there told me I had to pay another 200 Thai Baht. I asked them what for and they couldn’t give me a clear answer, they most certain took it home as their tip for the day. I didn’t feel like arguing about it, but make sure you have some thai Baht left!
After you obtained your visa, the last step is to get it stamped. To do this you go outside again and walk straight ahead, on the right side you’ll see an other office. You fill in another form, they’ll get your fingerprints and you get the stamps in your passport, you’re now officially in Cambodia!
From here you can take a free bus to the busstation. Here you can buy a ticket for about $10 to Siem Reap. You can also catch a bus to Phnom Penh and other parts of Cambodia.
All together it’s pretty doable to cross the Aranyaprathet – Poipet Border! Just pay attention to the signs and don’t get fooled by people telling you something else. Ignore all the beggars and stick to your plan!
Did you ever cross this border? What was your experience?