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The fare from Bangkok to Aranyaprathet on the Thai- Cambodian Border via train for is only 48 Baht ( 30 Baht= 1 dollar). It is a six hour journey.There is no need of a visa for Filipino passport holders as we are part of the ASEAN group of countries.. Passport is being stamped upon arrival which is valid for 21 days. Other nationalities can check their visa requirements here.
We woke up as early as 4AM headed towards Aranyaprathet, Thailand to catch the 5.55 AM train going to the border of Cambodia and Thailand. Our hotel called a taxi that would bring us to the train station. From the hotel it was a 30 minute ride to the station.
It was an advantage that we arrived early. The bustling streets were just starting to get busy at that moment. People were busy attending to their businesses. Some locals have occupied the local stores while waiting for their trains. It was a typical day. The 7/11 store on the right corner of the station is the best place to get a cup of coffee and some snacks for the ride. After a hearty breakfast at the local restaurant, we bought a piece of a cupcake for the next 7 hours border assault.
Before we looked for something to eat, we bought our tickets on the left side of the station at the ticketing booth. It wasn’t crowded and there was no queue.
The train was half empty when we boarded. There were a few foreigners inside too. There was room for our backpacks on the luggage rack above us so our seats are free of anything and we were able to sit comfortably. It wasn’t a new train, some of the seats are broken. At 6 in the morning, the train started to move.
Nevertheless,we had one of the best rides in our lives. Trains in Thailand are a must try experience. And in doing so while crossing the borders, will make you save a lot of travel expenses.
In the first few miles of the journey, we passed through the outskirts of Bangkok full of houses and factories. As we were heading outside the Thailand’s city, the countryside view gave us a meaningful ride as the breeze became fresh and the surroundings became green. All green, both sides of the train. The vast rice field areas, plantations of various trees like rubber and mahogany, growing in the wide open area of Thailand where fewer houses are built. After the first 3 hours of our journey, the roads became empty. The countryside was absolutely free of households until we got to the border.
For 7 hours it hasn’t been boring. I watch the green scenery and felt the fresh air
. It’s kinda relaxing moment while I listen to the soft music I have installed in my phone. Trying to read a book, and slept at intervals. Before I knew it, the train had already reached its final destination.
When we arrived in Aranyaprathet, we hired a “tuktuk” that would take us to the border. It was almost a 10-15 minute ride.
Do not let the driver take you somewhere. Go straight to the border. Visa on arrival is being issued on the immigration office only. There are some modus of the locals who are asking “money” from the tourists, for the fake visa and asks for money.
It was my first time to cross a border by land. So I was a bit amazed to see the two countries were just a few steps apart. (hehe) It was one of my firsts whirling moments which for me, it happened too fast. I didn’t know why we needed to move fast as we walked along the Cambodian corridors heading towards the immigration office. Every one was rushing, maybe because of excitement?
There’s a form that we filled out and signed and my visa on arrival was only good for 21 days. After securing a stamp on my passport, we headed to catch a cab for Siem Reap which was another 2 hours ride from the Cambodian border.
It is advisable to look for at least 4 people to share the taxi fare cost with. So gladly we found 1 German and 1 Japanese tourist. The Cambodian land seemed hotter than that of Thailand. People looked so tanned. From the border, you can realize the uniquness of a Cambodian culture still dwells by how these Immigration officers and taxi cab workers dress and carry theirselves and how they communicate. It was as well, the hospitability of Cambodian people are alot warmer than Thai’s. Plus their ability to communicate in English are so much better.
We arrived safe and sound in Siem Reap. We were the last one to get off the cab, it stopped right in front of the guest house that we had booked…….. ” Hak’s House “.