How we travel overland from Vietnam to Cambodia to Thailand in 11 Days

Indochina overland trip from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Pehn to Siem Reap to Bangkok in 11 Days



Last November, me and my older sister embarked on an overland trip from Vietnam to Cambodia to Thailand for 11 days. I am forever grateful to my boss for this vacation.  

VISA REQUIREMENTS
ASEAN passport holders are visa free to enter Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. If you are from another country, click here.


Angkor Wat in Siem Reap Cambodia, Notre-Dame Cathedral in Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam, Grand Palace in Bangkok Thailand, National Museum in Phnom Pehn Cambodia

HO CHI MINH CITY, VIETNAM TO PHNOM PEHN, CAMBODIA BY BUS


Pho is a must try food in Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam or anywhere in Vietnam
PHO is a must try when in Ho Chi Minh City &
anywhere in Vietnam
Most major airlines have a direct flight to and from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The best place to stay in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) or Saigon is in Pham Ngu Lao Street, kind of like the central area where most travel agencies, bus ticket offices and hotels are located. Luckily for us, we got the best accommodation in HCMC, we stayed at my sister's husband's nephew's place, so for the nth time, thanks again Tata and Joy for the royal treatment when we were there. We are forever grateful. We stayed in HCMC for 2 nights. Find cheaper accommodations in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam here

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TICKET
Prior to departing from the Philippines to HCMC, I purchased a ticket online via Camboticket but unfortunately, the bus company did not honor it, thus we purchased another ticket for $10 each at the bus company's ticket office and I emailed Camboticket that the ticket I booked online thru them was declined and they replied that they will refund the ticket which they did. I think there was a miscommunication between the 2 companies. If you want to use other bus company, you can book in advance your bus ticket from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Pehn online.

BOARDING
We were fetched from the bus company's ticket office in Pham Ngu Lao St. and the driver brought us to the bus terminal. We boarded the bus and took the 7:00am Kumho Samco bus. While inside the bus, we were given moist tissue and a bottle of water. The bus steward then collected all our passports, do not panic, this is somewhat like an arrangement between the bus company and the Vietnam Immigration office to expedite the exit proceedings. Remember that you are leaving Vietnam, so if your country is not visa free to enter Cambodia, the bus steward will collect a visa fee. Travel time from HCMC to Phnom Pehn is 6 to 7 hours. Note: If you are using other bus company, please check their boarding point and drop off point.

Crossing Mocbai Border in Mocbai Vietnam
MOCBAI BORDER (Vietnam Exit) 
When we arrived at the Mocbai border (the Vietnam exit point), we disembarked from the bus to have our passport stamped. (You can choose to leave your unimportant luggages inside the bus). We then entered inside the Vietnam Immigration building (somewhat like a warehouse but I believe it's for further development), we then waited for our names to be called (remember that the passport was collected in advance by the bus steward which was then handed over to the Immigration Officer). Once our names were called, we exited the building, looked for our bus which was parked just near the exit and once all are on board, the bus left for the next border. (It is important to familiarize your co-passengers to ensure that you are embarking on the same bus again, better yet, take a picture of the bus plate number or jot it down for your reference).

Crossing Bavet Border overland in Bavet Cambodia
My sis welcomes you to Cambodia (lol)
BAVET BORDER (Cambodia Entry) | PHNOM PEHN Arrival
After exiting Mocbai border, we then embarked on the bus again going to the next border, the Bavet Border, Cambodia's entry point. We disembarked from the bus and went inside the Cambodia Immigration Office to have our passport stamped, then upon exit, we embarked on the bus again which was parked nearby.  The bus then leaves for Phnom Pehn and Kumho Samco buses' dropping point is in Preah Sihanouk Boulevard. We arrived in Phnom Pehn at past 2:00pm and since we only had an overnight stay in the city, we maximized our time. From the boulevard, we negotiated in advance for our fare and for our tuktuk driver to bring us to our guesthouse, to wait for us to check in (just to leave our things) and then we went directly to Tuol Sleng and National Museum. We still had enough time to relax at the museum. In Phnom Pehn, we stayed at Longlin House I, a backpackers area, a very nice location with a very friendly staff but we didn't have a good accommodation there, we booked a fan room (lol) and it was hot at that time. We did request to transfer to an aircon room but they were fully booked. Find other cheaper Phnom Pehn accommodations here.


Golden Galaxy Hotel & Casino near Bavet Border in Bavet Cambodia
Immediately after crossing the Bavet Border, we saw this hotel
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PHNOM PEHN, CAMBODIA TO SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA VIA CAMBODIA POST VIP VAN


We left Phnom Pehn at 5:30am and we took a 7:00am ticket Cambodia Post VIP Van which I booked in advance via Bookmebus.com for $8 each and it was a pretty neat transaction without any hassle, when we present the ticket to the driver, it was honored right away without any questions. If you are traveling from Phnom Pehn to Siem Reap via Cambodia Post VIP Van, you need to go to Cambodia Post (post office) and there is a coffee shop in front of the post office where you can have a quick breakfast. Cambodia Post also offers free pickup service which we had arranged in advance but we decided to go to the post office instead via tuktuk. There are also several atm machines at Cambodia Post. (If you want to travel by bus, your ticket will indicate the address of the bus terminal, so ask the driver to bring you to that address.) Travel time from Phnom Pehn to Siem Reap is only 5 hours 30 minutes via Cambodia Post VIP Van and I believe it is quicker and cheaper. The mini-van has 2 quick stops, the gas stop and the lunch stop then from the point where we had our lunch, we drove less than 2 hours to reach the mini van station in Siem Reap. We were then greeted with tuktuk drivers, dropped us at our guesthouse and picked us up again to purhase a next day validity ticket for an amazing Angkor Wat pass. We stayed in Siem Reap for 2 nights in Ta Som Guesthouse and 2 nights in Bou Savy Guesthouse, both have friendly staff, very nice location and just a few minutes away from the popular Pub Street and just a walking distance from the park, restos and convenience store. If I will be back, I will definitely stay at these guesthouses again. You can book in advance your bus ticket from Phnom Pehn to Siem Reap here.

SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA TO BANGKOK, THAILAND VIA NATTAKAN DIRECT BUS


Fusion Pub & Restaurant in Aranyaprathet Thailand, a place nearby where Nattakan bus pick up our lunch
Our bus stopped in a place nearby to pick up our lunch.
In Ta Som Guesthouse, we bought our Nattakan direct bus ticket that leaves from Siem Reap to Bangkok at 8:00am. At this part of the journey, I intentionally did not book a bus ticket in advance online as the accommodations I booked in Siem Reap are for 4 nights, 2 nights on each guesthouses, so I anticipated we had ample time to do the booking which we had. If you want to book in advance, I recommend you do it via Bookmebus.com. Ticket price is $28 which is way too high, almost 3x higher than the normal price but we intentionally use the direct bus for convenience especially so that it is our first time to travel from Siem Reap to Bangkok. As convenient as this bus is, there is a toilet inside and has free snacks, water, moist tissue and a free lunch (so this explains somehow why the price is quite high). We were also given an ID as a means of identification. This bus has 2 stop overs, the first is at a place near Fusion Pub & Restaurant where the bus steward picked up our lunch and just like our snacks, we had our lunch inside the bus. Travel time from Siem Reap to Bangkok is more than 8 hours, could be longer depending on the number of tourists to be processed at the Immigration Offices in Cambodia and Thailand. You can book in advance your bus ticket from Siem Reap to Bangkok here.

POIPET BORDER (Cambodia Exit)

Poipet is the last town in Cambodia and the exit point before entering Thailand. We disembarked from the bus somewhere near the Cambodia Immigration building, got our baggages and brought them with us. The drop off point was just on the side of the street, so we walked our way to the Immigration counter and had our passport stamped then exited Cambodia. 

ARANYAPRATHET BORDER (Thailand Entry)

After we exited Cambodia and had our passport stamped, we walked for a few blocks until we reached the Thailand Immigration building in Aranyaprathet (when you walk your way to the immigration office, use the left lane). When we reached the building, we approached the person who handed out the form to be filled out and to be presented to the Immigration Officer on the 2nd floor, the one with the big stairs. There was a long queue when we reached the Thailand Immigration counter. Upon exiting, we had our luggages x-rayed and the bus steward waited for us outside and brought us back to our bus. We arrived in Bangkok at Mo Chit Bus Terminal and we arrived at our guest house at past 4:00pm. We stayed there for 3 nights in At Smile House, a very nice location with a very friendly staff, just a walking distance from the famous Khaosan Road, Grand Palace and Wat Pho (Reclining Buddha). If I have to go back to Bangkok, I will definitely use At Smile House. Want to stay somewhere in Bangkok, click here


with the nice taxi driver who doesn't understand English in Bangkok Thailand
When we arrived at Mo Chit Terminal in Bangkok, we were approached by this taxi driver. When you saw him there, hire him, he's a nice guy. He doesn't understand English but you can communicate with  him with your smile (lol), just give him your hotel's address and you're good to go.
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Quite a journey, don't you think but if you are well prepared, you are just like traveling on a regular day. Tip: if you have to take this route or take a long distance overland trip, always allocate time for relaxation, that way, you have enough energy to travel to your next destination.

How about you? Have you taken this route or it was the other way around? Thailand to Cambodia to Vietnam?  

BUS TICKET: You can purchase your ticket in advance online from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Pehn, Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap, Phnom Pehn to Siem Reap, Siem Reap to Bangkok and other destinations. IMPORTANT: When booking, always double check the date and time, the destination and the bus' boarding and drop off points.

RELATED POSTS
 Angkor Wat in Siem Reap Cambodia  Cu Chi Tunnel in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Tuol Sleng in Phnom Pehn, Cambodia

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