Recently I travelled to Bangkok and made my way into Siem Reap by train from the Hualamphong Train Station to the Aranyaprathet Train Station.
There are 2 trains each day. The first train starts at 5.55am and would arrive at around 11.40am, while the second train starts at 1.05pm and would arrive at around 5.40pm.
I arrived at the Hualamphong Station at 5.30am to purchased my tickets which cost me 48baht. After purchasing the ticket, I walked into the station and started looking for my train. The train is free seating, so make sure you head into the train and grab your seats early.
The train started its journey around 6.00am after they have moved all the goods into the train. The train is without aircon and can be a bit warm when stationary, I sat near the window with all the window panels opened allowing the wind to blow into the cabin.
While travelling, I had an early lunch on the train, having packed minced porked rice with egg, which cost me 20baht.
The train stops at Aranyaprathet station which is a distance away from the border crossing when getting down the train, you would be swamp by tuk-tuk drivers and motorbike drivers, asking to bring you to the border crossing. The tuk-tuk cost me 100 baht to the border crossing.
The Tuk Tuk has asked where I was from and had wondered if I needed a visa, when I told him that I was from Singapore, I can sense that he was a bit disappointed, as Singaporeans do not need a visa to enter Cambodia. While heading to the border crossing, we passed by a visa office, which is where the first scam is located.
He dropped me at the border crossing after knowing that I do not need a visa and left.
Take Note: Do not purchase any visa before you cross the Thai Border, there are many scams to hook you to purchase a visa and charge you exorbitant prices.
While crossing the Thai Border, I spoke with other travellers heading the same direction towards Cambodia, to get others to share the transport with me into Siem Reap. At this point of time, I had kept my camera as it was raining heavily.
After you cross the Thai border, there is a while building on the right side for you to purchase a Cambodia entry visa. Make sure you purchased the visa before going towards the Cambodia border crossing.
At Cambodia border crossing, you would need to fill in an entry form and stand in lines to get your passport stamped. After crossing the Cambodia border crossing, this is where the crazy part of the trip begins.
As I was waiting at the border crossing, I was asked by the ‘government bus attendant’ if I am going to take the free shuttle bus to the bus station, knowing that it was a kickback scheme that is being monopolised by the gangsters with the help of the local police, I was persistent to not fall into their scams.
I waited for the other travellers that I had spoken on the Thailand border to head to Siem Reap together. While waiting, I happened to speak to other travellers, and they asked me about the free bus shuttle services, I spoke briefly with them about the scam.
10 mins into the waiting, a guy in pink which claims to be from the government bus services, we shall call him pinky, came up to threaten us and ask us not to talk to other travellers, and mentioned that the bus services are from the government, he was super pissed and said that we are hurting his business.
We decided to walk out to the main road to get private cars to fetch us into Siem Reap. Mr Pinky decided to follow and continue his threats saying he would visit us at our hotels and stuff.
At the main road, we can sense that Mr Pinky was still in charge while he spoke in Khmer with the drivers, after negotiating the price, we decided to take a car for 4 at USD 38. While in the car, I was with 3 britans and had a chat with the driver, he mentioned that the place was managed by the police, and even though we had taken his private car, he would have to pay a bribe to Mr Pinky, and if he doesn’t he would not be allowed by the police to enter the area to pick up tourist. We are surprised to know that we could get a private car as cheap as USD 12 for 4 into Siem Reap.
If you decided to cross the border by train into Siem Reap from Bangkok, I would suggest that you cross the border, and head to one of the hotel /casino near the border spent about 10 mins there before heading out to grab a private car into Siem Reap. I was dropped off at my hotel area and was surprised by the beauty and the tranquillity of the hotel.