My friends and I booked a Manila – Siem Reap and then a Bangkok – Manila plane tickets for our yearly getaway.
Being the team planner (lol) that I am, I started researching for ways on how to cross the border. After 5 minutes of research, I had the impression that crossing the border is a hassle, fraudulent process.
I was able to list down three possible ways in how we can cross the Cambodia-Thailand border:
- Hire a minivan
- Book a flight via AirAsia
- Try the Direct Bus
Pros and cons of each options:
- Advantage: You can have the van all to yourself aka no sharing to strangers.
- Disadvantage: Price is $210 as quoted by Bou Savy Guesthouse. Quite pricey if shared by less than 8 people.
- Advantage: Travel time is around 2 hours aka fastest option
- Disadvantage: Expensive. By the time we have finalized the itinerary, the fare is already $80.
- Advantage: Cheapest. Priced at $29 per person.
- Disadvantage: Travel time is around 6-8 hours. You have to waste one day for land travel because sad news: THERE IS NO OVERNIGHT BUS FROM SIEM REAP TO BANGKOK
Since we can spare a day for land travel, we chose Option 3. There are a lot of bus routes options so what’s so different by using a direct bus?
- The direct bus will be the bus that you will ride from Siem Reap to Poipet (Cambodia border) and this will also be the bus that you will use to go to Bangkok from Aranyaprathet (Thailand border). Reminder: Once you arrived at Poipet, you should get ALL your baggages because you have to submit them to the xray machine once you enter the Thailand border.
- Other blogs will give you options to take a bus or hire a cab to Poipet and then look for a bus going to Bangkok. People say this is faster and cheaper. But I want to save myself from the hassle of trying to figure my mode of transportation compared to “where did the bus go?”
- They provide free food. Coffee + Juice + Snack + 7/11 Rice Meal. Tip: Crab Rice Meal is better than the Shrimp Rice Meal hehe
How to buy the Nattakan Direct Bus Ticket?
- You can go directly at their office. Just tell the tuk tuk “Nattakan” or tell them “Park Hyatt” *Photo grabbed from siemreap.net
- Online Option. I bought mine from Angkor Holiday Travel. They reply promptly and do not require any advanced payment. Mr Tin asked for our hotel and pick up time so we can get and pay for the tickets. The ticket looked like this:
REMINDER: Write neatly and there should be no erasures. According to the Conditions written at the back “Any erasures or write-over shall render the ticket invalid”
- Tip: Ask the travel agency if you could be seated in front of the bus. Other reviews said that sometimes the toilet of the bus will reek so it would be best if you are seated far from it. Another plus if you are seated in front is you can ask the conductor to keep your drinks cold by putting it in the cooler for free 😂
On the day of the trip, we arrived at 7:50 am but the bus left at 8:20 AM. The bus ride was sooooo smooth. There were no sudden stop and we never felt that the driver was in a hurry aka we definitely felt safe during the entire ride —- I slept like a baby 😂
When we were nearing Poipet, the conductor gave us a Nattakan ID and told us to wear it. This will serve as their guide to look for us as we cross the border. The duration of the bus ride will depend on how many people are crossing the border that day and how fast your “busmates” are in crossing the border.
Another good thing about the direct bus is NO ONE WILL BE LEFT AT THE CAMBODIAN BORDER. The bus will wait for everyone and will not leave unless every passenger is seated. When we were already finished crossing the border, we patiently waited, wondering what the hell are we waiting for at the parking lot? And the answer would be: the bus was waiting for the last passenger. Crossing the border can be tough since it lacked signs and there would not be enough guide to tell you where to go or what to do, so I’m definitely posting a guide one of these days heh 😂✌🏼
We finally arrived Bangkok at around 4:30 pm. Will I recommend Nattakan Bus to other travelers? OF COURSE. As i’ve said at the beginning of the post, I dreaded the border because of all the horror aka scam stories i’ve read online. What I will tell you next is just a feeling, let this be a reminder that this is not a fact. I had a feeling that the Nattakan ID served as a shield against scammers wanting to get money from travelers. Since the ID is huge to be seen by people, one will have an idea “oh they are a part of a group, they already have a vehicle going to Bangkok” as opposed to a person trying to figure out where the bus stop is. Is this the border already? What should I do next? Does this bus go to Bangkok? How much is the fare?
Or maybe we were just lucky that day, we will never know 😂
Last tip of this post hehe HAVE THAILAND BAHT BEFORE CROSSING THE BORDER. The bathroom at the parking lot charges 2 Baht. If my friend didn’t have any thailand baht, we would not be able to pee 😂 we originally planned to have our remaining USD converted to baht once we get to the last stop. But lo and behold, money changers at the bank closes at 3 pm 😭 (we arrived around 4:30). But if you have international ATMs, there are lots of atms in the area — the reason why we were able to get money for bus and train fare to get to the place where we stayed in Bangkok — then money would not be a problem.
The last stop is a bit far from the nearest BTS station so you have to take a bus going to Mo Chit. And from there, plan on how you are going to your hotel or accommodatiom hehe.
Hope this post helped you decide to go for the Nattakan Direct Bus if you have to cross the border from Cambodia – Thailand. If you have any questions not answered in the post, feel free to comment 😄
**Featured photo grabbed from movetocambodia.com**