With a direct daily flight from Phuket to Siem Reap with AirAsia travelling between the two destinations has never before been easier and faster. Over a dozen daily flights between Phuket and Bangkok and a handful of Bangkok–Siem Reap flights make it possible to connect via Thai capital, too, more or less at the same price as the direct flight. Adventurous travellers or those on a budget may want to check overland options. With great overland transport network within Thailand it is easy to get from Phuket to Siem Reap jumping from one bus to another or combining buses and trains – be ready for a day-long journey, or better plan a stop somewhere in between to make the long journey bearable.
Flights from Phuket to Siem Reap
A 1230 km overland epic journey from Phuket to Siem Reap is fortunately not the only way to get closer to the amazing temples of Angkor. From November 2016, AirAsia operates one daily flight between Phuket in Thailand and Siem Reap in Cambodia. The flight lasts one hour 25 minutes only and saves you the whole day. It takes off from Phuket airport early at 6.20am to reach Siem Reap before 8am – an ideal timing not to loose a minute from your sightseeing itinerary. Standard airfare is not too low – expect to pay about THB3000 (USD80) for a one-way ticket, luggage and check-in fees not included. But taking into consideration the time and effort spared, the deal is not too bad. Plus, AirAsia’s big sales are a great chance to grab a ticket at an astonishingly sweet price, though to do so you should be able to plan your trip some six months in advance. Good luck, anyway!
Phuket International Airport sits in the northern part of the island. It is the second largest airport in the country serving a variety of domestic and international destinations and as such can get really busy, especially during high season, when charter flights are added to the usual number of airlines flying to and from Phuket.
There are not so many ways to get from anywhere in Phuket to the airport. Phuket taxis are notorious for their high rates and for years the local authorities did not do anything to deal with the problem. At the moment, some improvements are seen. There is an official airport bus heading from Phuket Town to the airport (THB100). Unfortunately it is almost of no use if you start from any of the beaches – negotiate a taxi ride.
You can also try to fly from Phuket to Siem Reap via Bangkok on two separate flights. This can sometimes result cheaper than a direct flight and it also leaves you with much more options as both legs are served by a number of airlines to choose from. AirAsia alone has up to 20 daily flights from Phuket to Bangkok with standard airfare starting from THB1400; but promotions on this route are much easier to come across to compared to Phuket–Siem Reap route. Besides AirAsia, both Thai Smile, a subsidiary of the national flag carrier, Thai Airways, and Lion Air fly between the largest Thai island and the capital of the country, often offering low-priced tickets with airfare already including some checked luggage (from THB1000). Flying time from Phuket to Bangkok is one hour 25 minutes.
Note than out of the three airlines only Thai Smile flies to Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok; AirAsia and Thai Lion are based in Don Mueang airport.
From Bangkok, you can fly to Siem Reap with either AirAsia from Don Mueang, which has three daily flights, or with Thai Smile from Suvarnabhumi, which offers two flights. Tickets cost more or less the same and are more expensive than domestic air tickets, but again, with some flexibility it is almost always possible to get deals at about THB2000. Flying time is from one hour to one hour 20 minutes.
In Siem Reap, all flights arrive to Siem Reap International Airport. It is the second largest airport in Cambodia (after the one in Phnom Penh) located 8.5 km northwest of the Old Market. To get to the city, take a taxi – there is the official prepaid taxi booth right outside the terminal. The rate is fixed (USD7); the same prepaid tuk-tuk ride will cost you slightly less.
Tip If you have already booked your hotel in Siem Reap, check with your host whether they organize complimentary pick up from the airport. Most of the middle-range hotels do, and even some guesthouses are joining the club, too.
Getting your Cambodian visa
The best way to get your Cambodian visa is to apply online for an e-visa. It saves you time and nerves at the immigration. That said, you can also get your visa on arrival, but the usual Cambodian techniques of making you pay extra for your visa are used at the airport, too. The immigration guys are ever sober and unfriendly and asking – or rather demanding from – foreigners to pay extra for a ‘quick lane’; and ‘tips’ during festive periods are a normal practice. Generally, if you refuse to pay – politely but firmly – you will be admitted in just the same. It is your choice – to give some small notes or to insist on going through without paying extra.
From Phuket to Siem Reap overland
The easiest way to get from Phuket to Siem Reap overland is to travel via Bangkok. Direct buses take from 12 to 14 hours to reach the capital. Prices vary greatly depending on the class of the bus you choose. Express buses may cost as low as THB500 and are generally ok, though do not expect extra comfort. They have soft reclining seats and make several stops en route for lunch or dinner and more stops to pick up and let out passengers. VIP24 buses, the most comfortable way to travel around Thailand by bus, cost about THB1000 and let you spend your time on the move in comfort – seats are larger and sometimes have built-in massage, there is more leg space and less stops at the bus stations en route (if any at all).
You can also get to Bangkok by joint ticket combining a bus and a train. It will not cost you less than a direct bus ticket but if you prefer to travel by night, sleeping cars of Thai Railways are quite comfy. Trains #174 and #86 both arrive to Hua Lamphong train station in Bangkok early enough to allow you to get to Morchit Bus Terminal in time to catch the morning bus to Siem Reap.
In Bangkok, the majority of bus companies bring their passengers to the Southern Bus Terminal, but there are some private operators who proceed further on to Morchit, the Northern Bus Terminal, which is handier if you are going to take the direct bus from Bangkok to Siem Reap with Transport Co Intl, as they use Morchit as their base in Bangkok. International direct buses depart daily at 8am and/or 9am (THB900-THB1200; 9 hours), so to proceed to Siem Reap immediately after getting to Bangkok from Phuket choose those buses which arrive to Morchit before 7am or to the Southern Bus Terminal before 6am.
If you arrive to the Southern Bus Terminal, you can consider taking Bangkok–Siem Reap bus from Khao San Road with Travel Mart or Giant Ibis Transport. The former has three buses a day, at 1am, 8am and 9am, the latter – one bus at 7.45am.
For details, as well as for suggestions on how to get around, where to stay and what to do in Siem Reap, see our Bangkok–Siem Reap travel page.
Another option to split your travel from Phuket to Siem Reap is to get from Phuket to Bangkok by bus – or from Phuket to Suratthani by bus (4½ hours, THB250) and then from Suratthani to Bangkok by train (from nine to 11 hours; from THB750 for a berth is a second class fan sleeper). In Bangkok you can hop onto a bus to Aranyaprathet (5 hours, THB250) from Morchit or Ekkamai bus station or take a painfully slow but dirt-cheap third class seat in a train (THB48 only!) to the border. Cross the border and get a taxi to Siem Reap (from USD35 per vehicle) or take a bus (USD10).
Onward travel from Siem Reap
Local buses connect Siem Reap with the major destinations throughout the country. It takes four hours to get from Siem Reap to Battambang and from 6 to 7 hours – to Phnom Penh by bus or van (from USD12 to USD30 depending on the operator).
From Phnom Penh, you can further connect to Sihanoukville (4½ hours, USD12) or Kampot (two hours, USD9). There is a convenient international bus service to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, too (6 hours, USD18).
There is a direct flight from Siem Reap to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, and many other international destinations are reached by connecting flights via Bangkok or Phnom Penh.