A very budget friendly way to get from Sihanoukville, Cambodia to Bangkok, Thailand is to book a bus for a land crossing.
You have two options: a night bus or a day bus.
The night bus is more comfortable (you actually have a double bed instead of standard bus seats) but it takes several hours longer as it takes a route north to Phnom Penh before driving to the Thai border. The day bus takes a more direct route along the coast.
Both times are the same price, about $17 per person.
We chose the day bus. We were picked up at our hotel at 7:00am and arrived in Bangkok at about 7pm.
The bus on the Cambodia side was fairly comfortable, decent seats and working air conditioning.
Halfway through the day we arrived at the Thai border. Here you have to take everything off the bus (it will turn around and leave again so do not leave anything on the bus).
You then carry your baggage across the border to the customs offices and wait in line for your visa or passport stamp.
Being from USA and Denmark neither Glenn nor I needed a visa to enter Thailand. We simply had to fill out an arrivals form and wait in line for a passport stamp.
Typically you are only given 2 weeks visa when you do a land crossing. This is the amount of time Glenn received. However, for seemingly no reason I was given 30 days. It seems like it depends on both what country you come from and on which customs officer you get.
Either way the process was relatively easy.
Once you have your passport stamp/visa you continuer across the border to an area where the streets are lined with shops and food stands. This is where you will struggle to fine your next bus.
The staff from your first bus in Cambodia have left and there are no signs directing you to any buses on the Thai side. The only option is to find people who look like they might be drivers and show them your ticket until you find the right one. I found this process incredibly stressful and difficult.
Once we finally found our bus we discovered it was actually a minivan, 11 people crammed into a Minivan for a 6 hour drive on bumpy mountain roads.
My only recommendation is don’t look out the window. The drivers drive like maniacs and the less you look out the window the less sick you will feel (at least in theory).
The only lucky thing about this
Art of the trip was that there were some really nice people in our van that we talked with during the trip. This made the trip feel a bit shorter and was basically the only thing we could do on the drive because it was so bumpy (reading and using a tablet was impossible).
When we finally arrived in Bangkok we were dropped off at Khao San Road, the main backpacker area.
From there Glenn and I hailed a taxi to take us to our hotel.
Overall we made out ok with the land crossing and it did save us a lot of money but I really did not enjoy the experience. If you can afford to fly I recommend it because it is faster and so much less stressful.
Hotel: Don Mueng Hostel:
We had only one night layover in Bangkok before our morning flight to Myanmar the next day so we booked a small hotel near Don Mueng Airport.
The hotel we booked was a bit challenging for the taxi driver to find (they do not use gps) so be sure you have a map to help them.
Here is what the outside looks like to help you find it.
Once we found it the hotel was great. Lovely staff (though they don’t speak much English so be prepared to act out some things).
The rooms and bathrooms are small and basic but impeccably clean and air conditioned.
It is really a perfect hotel for a layover.
It is a 15 minute walk to the airport and a very good price. We paid $25 for one night.
Here are some photos of the hotel
The other great thing about this hostel is that there is a 7-11 just around the corner and it is open 24 hours.
I highly recommend this hostel if you have a layover in Bangkok or if you have an early morning flight from Don Mueng airport.