Angkor Wat or Chiang mai?

"Angkor Wat or Chiang Mai City in the North of Thailand?"

It is a tough decision to make. The time it takes to travel all the way up North to Chiang Mai is about equal to the time you could use to visit the world famous Temples of Angkor Wat.

Lin and I in Front of a Ruined Temple

I made my first trip to Angkor Wat in 2001 with a friend. We had to decide between Angkor Wat and Chiang Mai.

We decided to make the trek to see the Temples at Angkor Wat.

We could have got on one of the mini-buses to the Cambodian border with one of the million places offering a ticket on Khao San Road in Bangkok.

We feel blessed that we decided to take the train from the train station instead.

Get all the information about Thailand and its transportation options from Bangkok to Cambodia and Angkor Wat on the Thailand to Cambodia Travel page.

Angkor Wat or Chiang Mai? It was Bangkok to Angkor Wat For Us

It’s 465km from Bangkok to Siem Reap or 9-12 hours on the bus or train. 4-5 hours of that just gets you to the Aranyaprathet - Poipet border crossing.

The other 5-6 hours are taken up by the ride to Siem Reap from there.

You may have a long wait getting through the border. It all depends on how many other backpackers joined you along the way. And how many of those massive tourist buses arrived while you were waiting patiently in line!

The many people by-passing you while you wait patiently in line can quickly frustrate you. Especially those Men dressed in blue from the tour companies.

They'll walk right past you with a stack of 60 passports and a dollar bill slid in each. All of the 60 will get priority over you.

If you have decided the Angkor Wat or Chiang Mai question and decide on Angkor, you'll want to get through the border quickly, then grease the Border Guards.

Just tuck a single US Dollar inside the front page of your passport.

Get to the front of the line and politely rest your passport on the counter. As soon as the immigration officer sees the little patch of greenback sticking out, he’ll take it under his wing.

Yes, I know I am part of the problem. But I roll with the water and it serves me well.

If you are coming from Bangkok (A very popular route) and you decide to go by mini-bus through one of the tourist agencies on Khoa San road, you will be amongst throngs of other backpackers that will bottle-neck the border crossing.

That’s why I love the train. Get all the details and time-tables for the train leaving twice daily from Bangkok to Aranyaprathet on the Cambodia Travel Page.

Once you get through the border you can get a minibus the rest of the way on the Cambodian highway to Siem Reap.

You could also fly right into Siem Reap. You can use the airline of your choice matching your schedule and budget.

Just remember that Siem Reap is one of the most expensive places to fly into. Bangkok to Siem Reap hovers around ($400USD) one way but Bangkok to Phnom Penh (Capital City of Cambodia) hovers around $180USD one way.

Always check Air Asia for their very regular price specials from Bangkok to Phnom Penh at under $100USD.

We always recommend that you look over what other travelers have to say about Air Asia and flights to Siem Reap over at TripAdvisor.

The best place to search for cheap flight tickets to and from anywhere in the world is the Air Ticket Provider

that we have used for years and have yet reason to change.

You could stay at a Grand Luxury Hotel virtually on the doorstep of the Angkor Temples.

But I don’t have the cash to do that because room prices range up to $100USD a night. If you only use your room to sleep then paying $100USD for a place to sleep might not be for you.

Did you choose the wrong answer to Angkor Wat or Chiang Mai?

You have not. There are other hotel choices and some of them are really nice.

You can get a fantastic room for under $5USD a night.

Have a look at all the best budget Siem Reap Hotels for prices lower than you can imagine.

Contact the Airways directly to see exactly how much you can save if you do your research.

Here are the locations of some of the major airlines' booking offices in Bangkok Thailand.

  • Bangkok, Thailand

Vietnam Airlines Branch office in Thailand.
10th Floor, Waveplace Building, 55 Wireless Rd.,
Lumpinee Patumwan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand.

  • Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Vietnam Airlines Branch office in Phnom Penh
Street No 41, 214 Samdechpan Str.,
Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
9h00 to 17h00 (local time) Mon-Fri.

Now you just have to decide. Is it Angkor Wat or Chiang Mai?


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