You’ve got four choices when you travel overland to Siem Reap from Thailand, you can book a ticket on a tourist van that goes directly to the border and includes the bus on the Cambodian side of the border in the price. Or you can opt to travel independently and use the government bus service or the train to get to a town called Aranya Prathet, also know as Aran, and then cross the border into Cambodia on foot and continue to Siem Reap. Finally you could get a taxi to take you to the border. On the Cambodian side, there is a bus service or taxis, and you can opt to share a taxi or hire one to yourself
I recently travelled from Bangkok to Siem Reap by this route, which has been known for many years as the ‘scam bus’ due to the notorious amounts of various people along the way deceiving you out of money and generally delaying your progress. I have to say that this seems to have finally come to a stop, which is a great thing as it was giving people a terrible first impression of Cambodia and also an exhausting trip. The mini van will pick you up from Ko San Raod or Sukhumvit area of Bangkok, tickets can be bought from any travel agent, and drives directly to the border town of Aran. Here we were taken to a café where the only scam of the trip was attempted, they will offer to obtain your Cambodian visa for you and the price they asked was expensive, more than the 20 dollar official fee. I already had a visa and didn’t pay, and other people in the group refused this offer only to be told that they would have to queue up to buy a visa at the checkpoint and would risk missing the connecting bus. This turned out to be untrue, it is very quick to get a visa on th border and we all ended up on the same bus. Its possible people will tell you you must change money into Riel, this is also untrue, dollars are accepted everywhere in Cambodia.
Go to the northern bus station at Mo Chit in Bangkok (no sky train station so take a taxi) First and second class busses leave from the ground floor of the terminal for 207 or 160 baht and take about 4 hours to reach the bus station in Aran. This is about six km away from the actual border so get a tuk tuk for around 60 baht. There are also less frequent bus services from the eastern bus terminal at Ekamai and from Suvanabumi airpoert. If you plan to reach Siem Reap in one day you’ll need to be on an early bus, say around 8AM.
The train is the best opportunity for watching the scenery, people and wildlife of Thailand, and its by far the cheapest at only 48 baht one way. This is because its 3rd class only, no air-con and pretty slow. There are two triains per day form Bangkok, at 5.50am and 13.05pm arriving five and a half hours later, and if youre on the afternoon one it means spending a night in Aran or Poi Pet because itll be too late to get the whole way there. Going back to Bangkok, trains depart at 06:40 and 13:55. There’s no railway on the other side of the border, so you can’t take a train to Siem Reap.
Cross the border and you’ll see prominent signs stating Bangkok 1900 baht. If you’re coming in the other diretion, from Bangkok, there are thousands of taxis in the city, many of them will be happy to get a long distance fare and 1900 is the price to aim for.