How to Cross the Thailand Cambodia Border and Avoid Scams

How to Cross the Thailand Cambodia Border and Avoid Scams

Crossing the Thailand Cambodia border at Aranyapraphet Poipet doesn’t have to be stressful. Here I’m going to tell you the easiest way to do it and how to avoid the rampant scams. This information will save you a lot of money!

Before crossing the Thailand Cambodia border I did my research to ensure I knew how to avoid scams. I’ve now put everything in to the only Aranyapraphet Poipet border crossing guide you’ll need. Read on…

Much is written about the Aranyapraphet Poipet Thailand Cambodia border crossing. It’s all horror stories. People getting overcharged for visas, expensive buses, unnecessary fees, dealing with shady characters. Screw that. I decided that no border cowboy or corrupt bus driver was going to get the better of me. So guess what? I didn’t get scammed and sailed through the immigration process with ease.

Cambodia Immigration Card
Cambodia Immigration Card

To help you cross from Thailand in to Cambodia, I’ll tell you the available options and respective cots.

I then talk you through the process of what to do at the Thailand Cambodia border, based on whether you need a visa on entry, or already have a Cambodia e-visa. Chances are you want to reach Siem Reap and experience the incredible Angkor Wat. Therefore I’ll explain everything with Siem Reap as the end destination.


Getting from Bangkok to the Thailand Cambodia Border at Aranyapraphet Poipet

The Cheapest Way to get to the Thailand Cambodia Border

In Bangkok, get an air conditioned mini bus from either Ekkamai (east) or Mo Chit (north) bus terminal. My personal preference is Ekkamai as it’s on the BRT Skyline and so easier to access.

Buses to the Thailand Cambodia border start running at 6:30AM and usually leave every hour until 16:30. The earlier you set off the better, as the journey takes four to four and a half hours.

The cost is 220 Thai Bhatt ($7 USD). Ask for a ticket to Ronkleu Market as this is on the Thailand Cambodia border. Aranyapraphet itself is actually 4km away from the Thailand Cambodia border. If the bus terminates in Aranyapraphet, you’ll need to pay an extra 60 Bhatt ($2 USD) for a taxi to the border crossing. So remember; ask for a ticket to Ronkleu Market.

Once you have passed through the Aranyapraphet Thailand border in to Poipet Cambodia, there’s a 10 minute walk to where local buses depart. Onward transport to Siem Reap will cost $6.5 (26,500 Cambodia Riel or 200 Thai Bhatt). Therefore the total cost of to journey from Bangkok all the way to Siem Reap is $13.5 USD. A huge saving on any other option.

Cambodia Border Casinos
The walkway through the border

The most convenient way to cross the Thailand Cambodia border

Great Ibis offer buses from Khao Son Road in Bangkok to Siem Reap for $32USD. This is very convenient, but much more expensive than the above local transport option.

Great Ibis will also help you with the Visa process at the Thailand Cambodia border. However, I’ve also heard they may ask you for another $5 USD for this ‘VIP Service’ and it’s unavoidable as the driver takes everyone’s passports. Many people have ended up paying this charge, whether they wanted the VIP Service or not.

The VIP Service is supposed to make crossing the Thailand Cambodia border easier. Yet all you’re doing is paying someone money to hold your passport.

Factor that in to your costs; the total cost to cross the Thailand Cambodia border will be $32-37 USD.

Aside from the high cost, a downside of the Great Ibis tourist bus is that you will have to wait for all other passengers to clear immigration. You might be stood around waiting for a long time, so factor in one or two hours of standing in the hot sun.

Overall, Great Ibis are renowned for being free of scams, which is why I’m telling you about them here. If you aren’t trying to save money, Great Ibis are a good option.

Other bus services to cross the border

A company called MRT depart from Khao Son Road at 08:30AM and take you all the way through to Siem Reap. The base cost it 750 Bhatt ($24USD). I say ‘base cost’ because there’s a strong chance the driver will ask for an extra $5-10 USD or more to sort out the visa for you. I read enough reviews that said drivers are in on scams and the promised air con bus had no air con. One unlucky traveller even uploaded a picture of a hole in the bus floor. Yes you did read that correctly. I felt it best to avoid MRT.

Entering Cambodia
Entering Cambodia

How to get a Cambodia Visa

Check your country’s visa requirements here as you’ll likely need a visa to enter Cambodia. The cost is $30 USD and you can get a Cambodia visa at the Poipet border, or an e-visa online in advance.

Cambodia e-visa

The cost of a Cambodia e-visa is $30 USD with an extra $6 USD processing fee, all paid for online. You should order the Cambodia e-visa at least a week in advance. Although the terms say it will take up to three days, ours took one week to process! Do note that although you specify an entry date online, it doesn’t matter if you enter Cambodia at a later date.

Once you have the Cambodia e-visa, print two copies. It will be valid for three months from the date of issue.

I personally recommend getting the Cambodia e-visa. It saves dealing with queues and scams at the Thailand Cambodia border. Whilst people stand in the heat getting heckled by fraudsters, you can walk on through to Poipet. Happy days!

Getting a Cambodia Visa on Arrival at the Thailand Cambodia Border

If you don’t want to spend the extra $6 USD (180 Thai Bhatt) for the Cambodia e-visa, you might end up standing in a hot queue with a corrupt border guard demanding extra cash to process your visa. The Cambodia visa at the Poipet border should be $30 USD, but if you get scammed you might end up paying a lot more.

If you do encounter scams at the Thailand Cambodia border such as a border guard asking for extra money, I’ve read that being stubborn, telling people in the queue that the border guard is corrupt, making a scene and then sitting it out until they return your passport works. That is of course up to you to try!

How to Cross the Thailand Cambodia Border

Crossing the Border with a Cambodia e-visa

This map is from Wiki Travel and clearly shows the buildings you pass at immigration. You will need a little guidance through it though as the numbers don’t go in sequence. I refer to it and explain the process in the thread below.

Poipet Border Thailand Cambodia Instructions
Poipet Border Thailand Cambodia Instructions – (used with Creative Commons license)

Exit the bus at Ronkleu Market (bus symbol and number 1 on the map) and some refreshments from the 7-11. After this, walk behind the shop and through a marked tunnel style walkway. Here people asking where you’re going or try to show you the way (aka, ‘their’ way). Ignore anyone, or tell them you’ve crossed before and know what you’re doing (even if you haven’t crossed, you still know what you’re doing from reading this helpful guide!).

Thailand Cambodia Border Crossing
Enter this tunnel to exit Thailand

Foreigners are required to go up the stairs or escalator to leave Thailand and get their exit stamp. This is the ‘Orange Box Number 1’ on the map. It’s a mid sized room and there may or may not be anyone else in there waiting to exit. It was empty when passed through.

There’s no fees to pay and it’s unlikely a Thailand Border Guard will ask for one. If that were to happen, ask for a receipt and they’ll quickly change their mind about charging you fees.

Now you have a Thailand exit stamp, go down the stairs and walk to the right hand side of the street. At this point scammers will approach and say where to get the Siem Reap bus, which building to enter for a visa and so on. Remember to ignore them and follow this guide.

Thailand Immigration Exit
Thailand Immigration Exit

The building for people with a Cambodia e-visa is around 100 metres ahead on the right hand side. It looks like this and is ‘Orange Box Number 4’ on the map. Yes, you are going from building 1 straight to building 4. This is because you already have a Cambodia e-visa. There’s no need to enter the visa office, so go straight to the Cambodia Arrivals (Immigration) building.

There will be a small queue and you have to complete an arrival card. These cards are free and will be given to you. If anyone wants money for the card, you know what to do. Perform a karate chop on them and move on.

Don’t karate chop them. I’m just making sure you’re still paying attention. Just take a card and don’t pay anyone.

When it’s your turn at the counter hand over your printed Cambodia e-visa and passport. There are no additional fees to pay. Once again, if anyone asks for a fee, you ask for a receipt. They back down!

The arrival card will be stapled in to your passport and an entry stamp issued on an adjacent page.

That’s it. You’re officially in Cambodia!

Getting a Cambodia Visa on Arrival at the Aranyapraphet Poipet Thailand Cambodia Border

Follow the steps above to leave Thailand, as this is the irrespective of whether you have an e-visa or are getting a Visa on Arrival.

As you exit the Thailand immigration hall, go to the right hand side of the road and in to the Cambodia Visa Office (Orange Box Number 5 on the image). This is where to get your Cambodia visa on arrival. Do not and I shall repeat, DO NOT go to the Cambodia Consulate Office, which is also on the right hand side, but further back (Red boxes 1 and 2). That’s an official border scam office. They overcharge for visas and nobody stops them. Someone is likely to tell you to go in here. You DO NOT go in here under any circumstances.

Cambodia Visa on Arrival
Cambodia Visa on Arrival

Inside the Cambodia Visa Office, a visa on arrival will cost you $30 USD. Pay with the exact money in clean un-creased US bills. They also accept Thai Bhatt, but round up the price considerably to 1500 Thai Bhatt. The fact you’re reading this guide means you’re smart and have probably already realised 1500 Thai Bhatt is $46 USD. So, pay the visa fee in USD.

Even though this is the official building, you may well get asked for an extra $5-10. The person on the counter will tell you it’s part of the fee. It’s not. Once again, ask for a receipt or even tell them to contact your Embassy. You can even say that you’re writing their name and badge number down and calling the Embassy yourself. It’s a bold move and will likely make the border guard feel intimidated. They don’t have the power to stop you entering Cambodia. As they are acting in a corrupt manner, they have no jurisdiction. They’ll back down in no time and return your passport.

With a Cambodia visa issued, you need to go to the Cambodia Immigration Office (Orange Box Number 4 on the image). This is up the road on the right hand side and the same building people with a Cambodia e-visa enter. (Holders of an e-visa get to skip the Cambodia Visa Office step, as they already have one).

Onward Travel from Poipet to Siem Reap Using Public Transport

If you wish to travel from Poipet to Siem Reap on public transport, cross the roundabout and walk for approximately 10 minutes to a local bus station. Box Number 2 with the symbol of a bus identifies the area. I’ve also marked it on a Google Map below. You’ll see plenty of bus companies, so ask for your destination (i.e. Siem Reap, Phnom Penh etc) and they’ll sell you a ticket. A bus ticket from Poipet to Siem Reap will cost $6.5 USD (910 Thai Bhatt or 26,500 Cambodia Riel).

Bus to Siem Reap from Poipet
The bus to Siem Reap from Poipet

A final word of caution. There will be scammers outside the Cambodia Immigration Office who tell you to board a free shuttle to the bus station. There IS a free shuttle from the Poipet Cambodia border to a bus station. This leaves next to the the Cambodia Immigration Office (Red Box Number 3 on the image). However, the shuttle takes you to a bus station where the cost of travel to Siem Reap is at least double (yes, DOUBLE) that of the local bus. Don’t be fooled, this is a tourist scam. Stick to your guns and walk on to the public buses. Your wallet will thank you for it.

Crossing the Cambodia Border
Crossing the Cambodia Border

Thanks for reading this guide. I really hope it helps you to cross the Thailand Cambodia border at Aranyapraphet Poipet without scams. If you’ve done it, please leave a comment below and let me know how you got on.

Essential Items for Your Trip to Thailand and Cambodia

It’s always useful to have a guide that helps you plan your travels. The Lonely Planet Guide to Cambodia, Laos and Northern Thailand is ideal. Also available as Kindle.

The Lonely Planet Southeast Asia on a Shoestring is ideal if you’re exploring the region further. Also available as Kindle.

I have taken one of these across the world. This power strip is essential for international travel. It charges multiple items at once and takes any kind of international plug. Perfect if you’re in a hostel dorm with limited plug sockets or have a lot of tech to charge.

You’ll need sun cream to fight against Laos’ scorching sun. I recommend an eco friendly reef sun cream. This means if you also use it to go swimming, you won’t be harming the underwater environment and animals. You won’t get burned either!

Save the environment and stay hydrated with a bottle that filters your water. This is ideal for travelling overseas where people don’t have the luxury of potable tap water. It will mean you don’t get sick or use a lot of non-recyclable plastic.

Get the best value accommodation in Thailand and Cambodia here:


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