How it all started – our trip to Cambodia was a life changing experience which is the root cause for this blog to become reality. Now let me share some information on how to reach Cambodia and Angkor as this is the most difficult part of the journey. The easiest way for us was to travel from Bulgaria to Thailand – the tickets are moderately cheap compared to any other destination in the region. I bought flight tickets to Bangkok from where we (my boyfriend and me) planned to cross the border with Cambodia by land.
BANGKOK TO ARANYAPRATHET
We arrived in Bangkok late in the evening, took a taxi to our hotel and on the next day went to the Mo Chit bus station where we bought bus tickets to Aranyaprathet, the town close to the border. There is a Mo Chit BTS skytrain station there which makes the place easy to reach from all parts of the city. The buses to Aranyaprathet leave every half hour and my suggestion would be to take an early one if you plan to travel with a bus. This will allow you to arrive at Aranyaprathet around noon. It took us about 4:30h to reach it from Bangkok. If you are travelling on a budget and are limited in time bus will be the best option as it is much faster than the train and much cheaper than the plane.
CROSSING THE BORDER
Once we arrived at Aranyaprathet we took a tuk-tuk to the border. We got our passports stamped at the Thai border and then walked about 100m until we walked under a Welcome to Cambodia archway. The interesting thing which happened to us is that a Cambodian guy came to us and started walking with us and giving us directions. At first I started thinking he might try to deceive us in some way as I was aware of all the scams and pickpockets. It turned out he was just trying to earn a dollar or two by helping us out which he really did. He showed us where we need to go after crossing the border in order to get our visas (we didn’t have those in advance because this is a relatively fast and easy procedure at the border). After we got our visas our Cambodian helper showed us the way to a free bus we took to ‘Poipet Tourist Passenger International Terminal’. From there we took a bus to SIem Reap (the town where you need to find accommodation for visiting the Angkor temple complex). Be very careful in Poipet (this is the town at the Cambodian side of the border) as it is famous among tourists for its scams and its overall safety is not particularly high.This is why I advised to take an early bus from Bangkok and be on time at the border and leave Poipet during daytime. It took us about 4h to reach Siem Reap.
FROM SIEM REAP BUS STATION TO HOTEL
When we arrived at the so called bus station or whatever that was at Siem Reap it was already dark. It was really hard to understand where exactly we were – the place looked like the back yard of a local house where they keep all the animals – yes, there were goats if I recall correctly. After the shock in the first minute we then turned out to be surrounded by a crowd of tuk-tuk drivers who were all talking to us and the rest of the guys who traveled in our bus. They all desperately wanted to win us as their clients which gave us a good ground for bargaining. As my boyfriend is really good at that it didn’t take long until we hopped on one tuk-tuk which took us to our hotel.
WHAT TO HAVE IN MIND FOR YOUR TRIP TO CAMBODIA
Since we were travelling on a budget, what we actually always do :), we picked a hotel which was moderately cheap, had air-conditioning and was close to the road to Angkor entrance. Our trip we made in March when the temperatures start reaching some extremes for European guys like us, that is why it was really important to always have plenty of bottled water with us, a hat or scarf to put on our heads and comfy bright clothes which not to additionally attract the sun.