Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Bangkok - Siem Reap - Phnom Penh - Bangkok - Overland Simplified

After a lot of research online, reading numerous blogs, travel forums I concluded that making the overland trip would be, to quote an unknown source, 'a journey to be undertaken only if you are a masochist'. Numerous reports of touts, cartels of taxi & bus drivers, corrupts officers at checkpoints more so on the Cambodian side, made me expect the worst. At some point I was even confused whether I would make it all, whether I should just book an expensive direct flight to Siem Reap.

I'm listing down my experience to help future travellers understand how easy it is & not believe the outdated reports on many travel forums.

Bangkok to Siem Reap via Aranyaprathet (Thai border town) & Poi Pet (Khmer border town)

Bangkok - Aranyaprathet
There were multiple ways to reach Aranyprathet from Bangkok, cheapest being a direct train for THB 48 that takes 8 hours leaves twice a day once in morning and then again in afternoon. Accounts of multiple travellers I met at border confirmed it was comfortable & not prone to delays. Morning train is advisable as immigration offices close at 8:00 pm and you might have to spend the night in a hotel at Aranyaprathet.

Another option was a bus to Aranyaprathet which is what I took. They start leaving from Mo Chit Bus Terminal every 30 minutes from 3:30 am at cost about THB 209. Duration of journey is 5 hours.

Joint - Combine - Multiple Country Visas

As someone who cherishes solo travelling, I keep looking for information that can be helpful for my future travel plans. One of the most daunting task for any traveler is getting the Visa. If you have planned a multi-country trip on your own, you would have spent hours reading about all the requirements/documents for obtaining the Visa for various countries in the itinerary. It is a major hassle.

But there are these joint or combined Visas that can really reduce this headache. Knowing about them and utilizing them can save a lot of time and help you have the peace of mind while travelling. I googled multiple times to get an exhaustive list of such joint offerings but couldn't find one. So I decided to create one myself. Do send me any information that you've come across in your own research.