How to Travel from Thailand to Cambodia in Budget

Cambodia has emerged as a cherished destination for backpackers all around the world. The country’s natural beauty, culture, temples and cheap prices attract thousands of backpackers every year and many of them end up staying for not just days, but weeks and months. Most backpackers travelling to Cambodia often do so from neighbouring countries such as Laos, Thailand or Vietnam.

Phuket Island in Thailand
Phuket Island in Thailand

Angkor Wat in Cambodia
Angkor Wat in Cambodia


In this blog, we will focus on how to travel from Thailand to Cambodia without spending a lot of money, which happens to be the way of ninety-nine percent of backpackers.

Second Hand Vietnamese-Plated Motorbikes

Second-hand motorbikes don’t just make Thailand to Cambodia travel cheap and affordable; they also make travelling within Cambodia easy. However, not all second-hand bikes are ideal for the trip. Remember, when you travel from Thailand to Cambodia, you have to cross an international border.

International border crossings in South-East Asia are not very easy. But somehow, Vietnamese-plated vehicles manage to get a free pass almost at every border in the Cambodia-Laos-Thailand-Vietnam circuit. That is why when you do buy a second-hand bike for your journey into Cambodia, make absolutely sure that it has a Vietnamese license plate.

In terms of the type of motorbike you need, choose one which is either manual or semi-automatic. Totally automatic bikes are a strict no-no, as Cambodia has a lot of dirt roads in the mountains, where manual motorbikes will be far safer than automatic motorbikes.

Brand-wise, Honda is the safest to choose, as it is the most popular brand for motorbikes in Cambodia. As a result, you can find spare parts for Honda motorbikes and scooters at every repair workshop you come across.
Vietnamese-Plated Motorbikes
Vietnamese-Plated Motorbikes

Now comes the most important question; where do you buy these second-hand motorbikes? Luckily, there are many shops and individual sellers in Thailand that sell cheap second-hand motorbikes. There are many backpackers too, who sell their recently-purchased motorbikes to facilitate further travel.

It’s best if you purchase your motorbike from a shop that offers a buy-back scheme. While prices in such shops would be higher than what you would have to pay if you bought the bike off a backpacker, it’s worth it. This is because shops usually fine-tune vehicles before handing it over to the customer. To pay these shops for the motorbikes, you should have plenty of cash in hand.

Read More: How to Rent a Cambodia Motorcycle


Points to Remember

•    Go for a second-hand motorbike with a Vietnamese number plate
•    Make sure that you buy either a manual or a semi-automatic motorbike
•    Honda is the most popular motorbike brand in Cambodia
•    Buy from either shops or individual sellers
•    Payments for the motorbike should be made in cash

Minivans from Thailand to Cambodia from Bangkok’s Khao San Road

Khao San Road in Bangkok is one of the hubs in the Thai capital for the tourism industry. The road is home to the offices of hundreds of tour and travel operators, who can make arrangements for your Thailand to Cambodia trip and that too at a very low budget. While there is an element of scam involved when you book a trip to Cambodia through these companies, you can actually travel from Thailand to Cambodia for dirt cheap prices thanks to them.

These companies provide minivan services that start in Khao San Road and terminate in Siem Reap, home to the famous Angkor Wat temple complex in Cambodia. The cost per ticket is less than $9. Unbelievable as it may sound, it is true! The minivans are all decently equipped with air conditioners and they are quite spacious.

The vans make their first stop a few km before the Poipet border. There is a small office here where all the tourists are taken to. Inside the office, there will be people who will continuously offer to help you with your visa preparation. For their services, they will ask for $45. However, never say yes to them, as typically visa preparation at the border crossings should cost no more than $33.

Simply refuse their help politely and tell them that you will take care of your visa requirements yourself. After a while, they will lead you back to your minivans. The minivans will finally drop you off at a market that’s just near the border. From here, it’s a small walk to the border office, which you can easily reach by following the blue signs. Here, the authorities first put a stamp on your documents that confirm your exit from Thailand.

Following your Thailand exit, you need to enter a second office where they confirm your entry into Cambodia. This is a smooth process and this is where you have to part with $33 to have valid visas for travelling within Cambodia. Once you come out on the Cambodian side, you will be taken all the way to Siem Reap aboard a tourist bus.

If you want to make your Thailand to Cambodia trip inexpensive without motorbikes, then this is the way to go!

Points to Remember

•    Take Thailand to Cambodia minivans from Khao San Road in Bangkok all the way till Siem Reap for less than $9
•    Don’t fall for the $45 visa charges at the first stop 5 km before the border

More and more backpackers every year are travelling from Thailand to Cambodia using the methods mentioned in this blog. These methods ensure that you can experience both countries at their vibrant best without burning a hole in your wallet.

Read More: Cambodia Transportation