Backpacking Southeast Asia
My first travel abroad was when I was 23 years old. Vigorous research was done since I had no idea how traveling to a foreign land was like. There were lots of whats if. My main goal was to ensure a smooth travel. Everything from our itinerary down to the budget was extensively planned. When it was all arranged and ready, I started my Thailand -Cambodia-Vietnam Overland journey from Clark Airport,which is located in Pampanga, 2 – hour drive by bus from Metro Manila.
Clark Airport > Suvarnabhumi Airport
Hualamphong Station >Aranyaprathet
The closest station from our hotel in Bangkok is the Hualamphong station. I didn’t find any bus going to this station, so it was made possible by a taxi.
The train schedule from Bangkok to Aranyaprathet is as follows:
Morning: 05:55 to 11:35
Afternoon: 13:05 to 17:35
I took the afternoon schedule. They say to just pay at the station. However, the counter seemed close and I didn’t get the chance to pay the fare. huhu. But I boarded the train anyway, thinking perhaps I can pay it here later. The fare should have been just 48 baht (about £1 or $1.60).
This was indeed a 6-hour train journey where you can have a great view of how Thai people are, and how simple is their rural scenery is as how splendid their temples are in the city.
The extensive green rice field and verdant forests were so invigorating to cool a bit my tiring eyes. The lush landscape reminded me of the usual vista I used to lay my eyes on when I was travelling from the city center to my hometown.
The 3rd class train was slow but it was spacious and clean inside. During the half-day ride, I got to witness how Thai people engaged among themselves.The scene inside the train was like a bus scene in Manila where vendors selling food, snacks or drinks for the passengers. The only difference is that the vendors in this train did it discreetly. There was to need for them to shout what they were selling, simply approaching every passenger who showed interests or asked about it.
Past 3 hours already and I still didn’t have any clue how I was going to pay my fare. A deep sense of guilt I must say still followed me. As train was approaching near Aranyaphratet, the inspector or collector, I guess , went over checking out tickets from passenger to passenger but for some reasons they just looked at me w/out asking for the ticket.
Perhaps they saw a nun in me and just treated me like the orange-dressed monks, who enjoy public transport ride for free.lol
Aranyaprathet Station > Poipet
I arrived almost 6pm at the Aranyaprathet Station and rode a tuk-tuk to bring me to the Cambodian border at Poipet. It was easy to find a tuk-tuk ( their tricycle version) as you can find plenty of them at the station. I paid 80 baht to the driver after the 10-minute ride. It was supposed to pay it at 100 baht but since bargaining is part of my travel skills, the driver agreed to my negotiating price.
Poipet> Kingdom of Cambodia
At Poipet, I simply walked across the border in Cambodia. But first I had my passport stamped at the Thai side then walked few minutes until I reached the Welcome to Cambodia archway. I followed the long queue where you will need to have your fingerprints scanned , then your passport stamped. No need to get e-visa since Filipinos are exempted from this.
Kingdom of Cambodia > Siem Reap
10 minutes from the Cambodian immigration office (once you get cleared), you will get to the Poipet Tourist Passenger International Terminal. I shared a taxi with other foreigners which costed me $10, to travel from Poipet to Siem Riep for 3-4 hours. Then the taxi dropped us at the Siem Reap terminal. From there, I took a tuk-tuk to take me to my hotel for $3.
Siem Reap > Phnom Penh > Saigon
Just few minutes walk from our hotel to the highway, a bus usually stop early morning around 6 am that will take you all the way to Siem reap for 10 hours more or less. Anyway, there are a par of bus ticket offices near my hotel in Siem reap.
Read: Cambodia Travel Guide
Tan Son Nhat > NAIA airport
From the city center, I rode a taxi to bring me to Tan son Nhat Airport. As far as I remember I paid around 200K dong for the fare. Then, stayed for a while at the said airport until my flight. From Saigon airport to NAIA , it was a 3-hour flight. Again, it was a red-eye one.