Bangkok has 2 international airports Suvarnabhumi Airport which is the main airport and Don Mueang International Airport which is the old airport and now used by Low Cost Carrier such as AirAsia. There is a free transfer service between the two airports and details can be found on in my Getting Around section.
Bangkok is a major route for most airlines so there should be plenty of options for flights from Europe, America and Australia. When flying around Asia I often fly with AirAsia as I find them a good low cost option.
Daily air-conditioned departures with amazingly cheap prices, comfortable sleeping berths, and great scenery. Taking the train is the safe, comfortable & adventurous way to travel overland between Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Penang & Bangkok. Unlike flying it's a real experience, and relaxing on a train on the traditional colonial single-track railway past palm plantations and little country stations is far more civilised than a cramped bus on an ugly modern motorway. Before 30 June 2011, you'd have left from the faded colonial grandeur of Singapore's 1932 art deco railway station, now you leave from Woodlands Train Checkout in the north of Singapore Island, rumbling slowly over the famous 1923-built causeway across the Johor Strait into Malaysia and through the palm plantations and jungle towards Kuala Lumpur. Singapore to Kuala Lumpur takes 6 hours by leisurely daytime train or 8 hours on a time-effective overnight sleeper, from just £7 or $10 one-way. Kuala Lumpur to Butterworth (the station for the ferry to Penang) is of a similar length & cost; Butterworth to Bangkok on the daily 'International Express' costs around £23 or $34 and takes less than 24 hours with a comfy sleeper & a restaurant for dinner & breakfast. The whole 1,233 mile Singapore to Bangkok journey can be done in just 48 hours including an afternoon in KL and a morning in Penang, but by all means stop off for longer in Kuala Lumpur or Penang. Or why not catch a ferry to Ko Samui or the bus to Phuket or Krabi? This page explains all you need to know, including train times, fares, what the trains are like & how to buy tickets.
Bangkok to Cambodia
Travel from Bangkok to Aranyaprathet by train, leaving Bangkok's main Hualamphong station at 05:55 every day and arriving Aranyaprathet 11:35. The fare is just 48 baht, no reservation necessary, simply turn up and buy a ticket at the station on the day (the ticket office will be open!). They may offer a combined train+bus ticket to Siem Reap, but I recommend only buying the train ticket, to stay flexible with onward transport. Bangkok to Aranyaprathet is 255 km, 159 miles. The train is 3rd class only, but it's clean, spacious and it's a pleasant and enjoyable ride, clickety clacking along with a breeze blowing through the open window.
There's also a 13:05 train from Bangkok arriving Aranyaprathet at 17:35, but this is a bit too late to move on from the border and you may have to spend the night at Poipet. However, one recent traveller (January 2014) reports that the border is now open until 22:00, making it possible to leave Bangkok on the afternoon train and reach Siem Reap around midnight.Useful tip: This train also calls at Phaya Thai station at 06:10 (next to the Phaya Thai BTS Skytrain station) and Makkasan station at 06:20 (Makkasan railway station is not the same as the Airport Rail Link's Makkasan station, make that clear to your taxi driver). Boarding at these stations can be more convenient if you're staying in northern Bangkok.
Take a tuk tuk from Aranyaprathet station to Poipet. Aranyaprathet is only 6 kilometres (3.8 miles) from the Cambodian border at Poipet, and you'll find tuk-tuks waiting for you at the station. Take a tuk-tuk from the station to Poiphet, cost 80-100 baht, journey time 10 minutes. If you haven't already bought a Cambodian e-visa, tuk-tuk drivers may try and take you to a travel agency to buy a Cambodian visa at inflated prices. This is no real problem, just say 'No' and insist that they take you direct to the border point and they will do so. They may tell you it's an 'official' visa office, and official-looking people may even ask to 'see' your passport or visa, just ignore them and repeat that you want to be taken to the official border post, and you'll be taken there. The official Cambodian visa office is after Thai exit formalities, between the Thai and Cambodian border posts. So it's really very simple: If you haven't had your passport stamped by a Thai border guard at the Thai border post and passed through the 'Angkor' arch (see the photos of these below), it ain't the official Cambodian visa office! The official visa cost is $20.
Walk across the border. The border is open 07:00-20:00, and Cambodian visas can be bought there if you haven't bought a Cambodian e-visa beforehand. First get your passport stamped at the Thai side, then walk on for 100 yards under the 'Angkor' 'Welcome to Cambodia' archway to the Cambodian border post to buy your Cambodian visa, have your fingerprints scanned and your passport stamped. Be careful with your valuables when crossing the border, just in case there are pickpockets around. The whole process should only take around 30 minutes, but at busy times it can take an hour, sometimes more.
At the exit from Poipet border post onto the big roundabout, you will see (or be guided to) an official free transit bus to the 'Poipet Tourist Passenger International Terminal' 10 minutes down the road from where all the share taxis and buses leave for Siem Reap or Battambang or Phnom Penh. This shuttle bus (and the man with the official badge who guides you to it) is legitimate.
Take a bus, minivan or share taxi from Poiphet to Siem Reap. This is 152 km (95 miles) and should take around 2½ hours by share taxi or 3 hours by bus now that the highway has been improved. Prices are posted at the ticket counter at the Poipet Tourist Passenger International Terminal. A shared taxi costs $12 for a seat or $48 for the whole car. A bus costs $9, minivan $9. You may also be approached y taxi drivers outside the border post, perhaps $40 for a taxi all the way to Siem Reap.
Onwards from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh: Spend a day or two in Siem Reap visiting the Angkor Wat temples. When you're ready to move on to PP, there are two options, bus or boat. There's a daily boat along the river from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh departing 06:30 and arriving 13:00. Distance 251km, fare $35. Alternatively, there are buses at various times throughout the day from 06:30 until about 12:30. Journey time 6 hours, fare around $10, distance 314km. Buses are run by several operators. Some buses are double-deck, some have a WC & refreshments.
Cambodia to Bangkok
Travel from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap: You can travel by bus (5 hours, $10) or more scenically and enjoyably by speedboat (6.5 hours, $35), see here for details. Spend at least 1 night in Siem Reap and maybe visit the Angkor temples.
Travel from Siem Reap to Poipet by bus or private car: In the morning take a private car, bus or share taxi from Siem Reap to Poiphet on the Thai frontier, it's around 152 km or 95 miles. A private car will cost around $25 for 1 passenger for the whole vehicle, $40 for 2 passengers, and takes around 2 hours 25 minutes so you can normally safely leave just before 09:00. An air-conditioned bus takes around 3 hours with departures from Siem Reap bus station (3 km east of the town centre) at 07:30 and 08:30, fare $9, with free hotel pick up prior to those departure times. You can buy bus tickets or arrange a private car at any of the many travel agencies around town the day before departure. At busy times of year (for example before and after Thai or Cambodian national holidays), crossing the border can take much longer, sometimes an hour or two, and you may want to leave significantly earlier than suggested here.
Walk across the border into Thailand: You'll be dropped at the entrance to the border point at Poipet. Complete the passport stamping and fingerprint scanning at the Cambodian 'departures' office at the border entrance, then walk through the border, past the casinos, under the Cambodian 'Angkor' arch to the Thai border point 100 yards ahead. Fill out a Thai arrivals card and get your passport stamped here and emerge from the border. The whole process should only take around 25 minutes, although at busy times of year it can take an hour or even two. The border is open 07:00-20:00.
Take a tuk-tuk from Poipet to Aranyaprathet station. Now you're in Thailand. Find a tuk-tuk and take it the 6 kilometres (3.8 miles) from Poipet to Aranyaprathet railway station. A tuk-tuk costs 100 baht ($3, £2) although you can bargain for a cheaper price if you're good at haggling. If you need a meal or a beer, there's a simple and cheap Vietnamese restaurant at the road junction at the foot of the station approach, and there's an ATM up the road from the restaurant, simply turn your back towards the station and walk up that road about 300 yards.
Take a train from Aranyaprathet to Bangkok. Two reliable trains a day run from Aranyaprathet to Bangkok, 255 km or 159 miles. You should be able to make the 13:55 departure from Aranyaprathet, arriving Bangkok at 19:55. The other train leaves Aranyaprathet at 06:40, arriving Bangkok at 12:05. Both trains are 3rd class only, but they are clean and it's a very pleasant ride with a breeze blowing in through the open window. The fare is only 48 baht (£1/$1.60), no reservation necessary, simply turn up and buy a ticket at the station. The train also drops off at Makkasan (19:40) and Phaya Thai (19:46) before arriving at Bangkok Hualamphong, these can be more convenient stations at which to get off if you're staying in northern Bangkok.
Minibuses Penang to Thailand
There are many minibuses that operate between Penang and Thailand with the main destination being Hat Yai, which is about 30 minutes drive from the border crossing and 4 hours away from Penang.Get dropped off at Hat Yai bus station where you can get a bus to most destinations in Southern Thailand, or at the train station where there are many trains heading north in the afternoon and evening.
You can also buy minibus / bus and boat tickets to most of the popular destinations in Thailand, including Phuket, Koh Samui, Krabi and Bangkok.
These tickets will take you by minibus to Hat Yai, then transfer you to another minibus to your final destination.
If you do plan to travel by minibus to the following places in Thailand, you are probably better off buying your tickets for the whole journey in Penang.
The reason I say this is, that at Hat Yai bus station, the agents selling onward minibus / private bus tickets around the bus station will overcharge you - I can guarantee that!
If you stay inside the bus station and use the government buses you will pay the correct amount.
Penang to Hat Yai RM35.00
Penang to Krabi RM60.00
Penang to Trang RM60.00
Penang to Surat Thani RM60.00
Penang to Pak Bara Pier RM60.00
Penang to Phuket RM80.00
Penang to Koh Lanta RM60.00
Penang to Koh Phi Phi RM105.00
Penang to Koh Phan ghan RM110.00
Penang to Koh Tao RM125.00
Penang to Bangkok RM120.00
There are various departures throughout the day starting at 05.00, which, if you are going on one of the journeys that include a boat trip, this will be the one you will have to catch.
Other departures are at 08.30, 12.00 and 15.30.