Getting from Bangkok to Cambodia is pretty simple, you just have to be aware of scams along the way. At the Northern Bus Terminal in Bangkok you catch a bus heading to Aranya Prathet and about 4 hours later you arrive at the Cambodian border. Here you will probably be dropped off at a place claiming to be the Cambodian Consulate – it is not. It looks really professional, but don’t be fooled! You just end up having to pay way more than if you just walked through the border yourself. Basically you stamp out of Thailand and then walk across to Cambodia, it all involves a lot of queueing so it does take a bit of time. There are a lot of Cambodians trying to help you and guide you through the process – if you take their help you will have to tip them afterwards. There are a lot of other foreigners passing through the border so it’s easy enough to find out where you’re going and navigate the process. Once you’re through the border its then time to hop on a bus headed to Siem Reap. There are a lot of buses doing this journey so it is easy to find one, the trip takes about 3 hours. Definitely a long day so allow a full day for this. Siem Reap itself is not just a launching point for visiting Angkor Wat but is a neat city to hang out in. The food is fantastic and the night life is great!
The main activity to do while in this area is to visit the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat. Most people like to get there early in the morning to watch the sun rise over the ruins. So the night before, we organised a tuk tuk driver to pick us up and take us out there (he would also be our guide for the day). We paid him about US$20 for this service. Even though there were a lot of people up early, the sunrise was still beautiful and definitely worth the early start.
I really enjoyed my time exploring Angkor Wat. The site is extensive and the ruined temples and buildings are from as early as the 10th century. The ruins are right in the middle of the jungle which definitely gives it a tomb raider vibe. I particularly enjoyed seeing how trees had grown on, and through, the ruins, it was both eerie and majestic. If you love history (and just looking at beautiful things) then definitely visit, this place is famous for a reason.
When Andrew and a few of his friends visited this area in 2015, he particularly enjoyed the city of Siem Reap over visiting the Angkor Wat ruins. He loved the food and general vibe and culture of the city, so it is definitely worth spending a couple of days here.
Our time in Siem Reap and Angkor Wat was interesting and also a lot of fun. Cost wise, you’re looking at around NZ$50 (US$35) per day, but then add US$30 to get into the ruins.
Editor’s Note: Visited Cambodia in 2012, updated in 2017.