There are many ways of getting from Bangkok to Siem Reap. As it's not far away you can even go there by bus, minibus or taxi but why to take a bus if you can fly? The other thing is that despite the distance being quite small, the journey lasts not less than 8 hours and if you add 2 hours usually spent on the border, you spend a whole day on the bus. No, thanks. Later in Vietnam we met a guy from Sweden that assured us flying was the best choice as he once made this bus trip and it was one of the worst experiences in his life. Once we decided to fly, there were several options to choose from: Bangkok Airways, Thai or Thai Smile from BKK or Air Asia from DMK. While Air Asia and Thai Smile offered almost the same price, Thai and Bangkok Airways were far too expensive for such a short hop. For me the choice was easy then: if there are two airlines that offer a ticket at the same price and one of them is LCC and the other one offers meal, checked luggage and operates from the main airport, there is nothing to think about. We fly Thai Smile :)
Before I take you to the airport and onboard, let me share with you some bonus pictures from my 2-days stay in Bangkok.
It was my second stay in Bangkok and even if some people complain it's too crowded, too noisy and more and more distant from what is true Thailand, I really like this city, its temples, streetfood, markets and massage.
When I came here first time 4 years ago, the old king Bhumibol was still in charge. Since his death, his son Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun (!!!) is the new king of Thailand.
Before we head to the temples (to do something for our souls), we need to do something for our bodies ;) I recommend this place for the tom yum soup - the best I've ever had.
The Grand Palace ad the Temple of Emerald Buddha were definitely more crowded than 4 years ago but this place is a must when in Bangkok.
My favourite temple is Wat Pho complex and the temple of Reclining Buddha
On the other side of the Chao Praya river, when you can get by a very cheap ferry, there's another fameous temple Wat Arun (the Temple of Dawn). It has recently been renovated and looks very bright and fresh.
We went to the fameous backpackers Khao San road but left quickly as it was terribly crowded and tiring
AT THE AIRPORT
Our flight was supposed to depart very early (7:25 a.m.) so getting to the airport by skytrain wasn't possible, we needed to take a taxi. I couldn't spot Thai Smile on any entrance so we decided to get inside and search for the check-in desks.
BKK has this feeling of being big and overwhelming
As online check in wan't possible for this flight, I wanted to try the self check-in kiosk but it sent us to the traditional check-in desk as the other options work only for domestic flights.
The check-in area is very well marked and the staff is very helpful. There was no queue so it took not more than a couple of minutes.
Copies of deamons from The Emerald Buddha temple. I don't find them scary at all but as I read in one of Marathon's reports they were accused of bringing bad luck to the staff in the arrivals area and that's how they moved to departures.
Even if departing from BKK means going up (for the security check) and then down (for the passport control) and passing many different levels and corridors, this morning it doesn't take much time and within 30 minutes from check-in we enter the airside part of the terminal and head to our gate E1.
The passage to our concourse looks like a shopping mall
Churning of the sea of milk - a scene from Hindu mythology. Too long for one photo.
Spotting in BKK is always difficult due to the terminal construction, so taking a good photo of this Thai A380 or 747 is quite impossible
But if you have a bus boarding here, as it was in our case, it means you will be able to see something more.
Our bus ride isn't long this time and soon we notice our A320 in this beautiful Thai Smile livery
Bankok Airways ATR 72-500 and some Thai widebodies
Smile Plus class seats as we pass to the economy section. I must admit I like this cabin from the very first moment. The aircraft is very clean and looks new.
Economy class and view from my seat
Cabin crew consists of young female FAs only, they are all very friendly and helpful from the very beginning, soon we will also learn they are very fast. Immigration forms are being distributed during boarding and as the boarding is long cause we wait for the second bus to come, I have enough time for all the paperwork.
The seat is thin but comfortable. I would describe the amount of legroom as very good too (sorry for the pic that refused to cooperate and stayed this way despite numerous attempts to make it horizontal)
The upper seat pocket and safety card
The lower seat pocket content together with Thai Smile route map on the following photo
Time to go back to normal position… View from my window, Bangkok Airways A319 is visible
When all pax are on board we begin a long taxi to the runway
Thai 787 and A350
Safety demo is dispalyed on the screens
Time to go up
We shorty pass through the clouds and as the fasten seat belts sing is off the FAs rush with the service. We can't believe our eyes when we receive a warm tortilla and a box wrapped in cloth with fresh fruit, juice, water, refreshing towel and plastic cuttlery. Then a rapid service with cold and hot beverages begins. The flight lasts only 40 minutes!
A short stay over the clouds
Shortly we begin our descent over Cambodia with Tonle Sap lake visible in the distance and rice fields full of water
It seems that at this time of the day Air Asia roules here, but a Bassaka Air aircraft can be visible too and something that looks very familiar - Small Planet A320 that must have been leased for the winter season.
Cabin seen during deboarding
Cambodia Angkor Air A320
And our A320 as we walk to the terminal
Very odd looking terminal buildings
What looks very classic outside is very modern inside and the whole immigration process with visas upon arrival is surprisingly fast and in very nice atmosphere (for the first time in my life immigration officers smile, ask how I am and wish me a nice stay in Cambodia - a positive shock!). Visa costs 30 USD, you just need a photo and one of the forms that were distributed onboard.
Most of the hotels here offer a free ride from the airport. Our driver, Mr Siem, waited for us in the arrivals hall. The tuk tuk ride to the hotel was an unforgettable experience…. I loved Cambodia from the very first moment here.
To be continued soon :) Thanks for reading!
Bangkok - BKK
Siem Reap - REP
Sometimes a great short flight can be worth more than a million long ones. This flight with Thai Smile was my best flight lasting less than one hour. The cabin, the crew, exceptional service for such a short flight made it a great experience. REP has a very modern, clean and nice arrivals terminal and the immigration officers are exceptionally polite.
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