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If I'm in the south of Laos and would like to go to Siem Reap, what are my options by land? (include river boat if necessary in my 'by land' definition).

I've found one which is going from Pakse to Stueng Traeng and then connecting with Siem Reap, both by bus. That means taking two buses and wasting more than 10 hours (5+5 hours + waiting time and delays) and possibly having to sleep in Stueng Traeng where there is nothing interesing.

So, is there an alternative? I mean, is there a more direct way to get to Siem Reap that makes it sure that it can be done in one day (no overnight) or a city where I could stop that is worth a visit?

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Also see Is it possible to go directly from Siem Reap to Vientiane over land? Differently phrased but it is essentially the same question. –  Ankur Banerjee Jul 9 '12 at 9:31
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Well, the difference is in that question the OP ask for a way to go and I have a way but I'm asking for an alternative because doesn't like to go south and then go north again. But, that's true, the questions are very similar. –  Ivan Jul 9 '12 at 11:31
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The point is I've heard of that way via Steung Treung too but in reality I found buses hard to find. I found getting buses for Laos easier to find in Phnom Penh rather than Siem Reap. Plus, apparently they stopped issuing visas at the land border between Cambodia-Laos (from the hostel owner of the place I stayed in Phnom Penh). –  Ankur Banerjee Jul 9 '12 at 12:04
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1 Answer

Another option would be to go through Thailand, take a bus from Pakse to Ubon Ratchathani (3 hours leaving 7:30 am).

From there take a bus to Surin running on highway 24, there may be a train (3 hours) as well.

From Surin you can take a swangthaew or minibus to the Cambodian border at Chong Jom (2-3 hours).

16 km south of the border is Along Veng but you may need to take a motorbike from the border.

There are early morning buses from Along Veng to Siem Reap (4 hours on a bad road) but you can also try a shared or private taxi.

Considering you have to cross two borders and change several times without knowing the exact connection times I don't think it feasible to do this in one day either.

Surin seems to be a good enough place to break the trip. They have an Elephant Study centre, some craft villages, temple ruins and the Surin National Museum. More importantly there have several places to spend the night.

I haven't been to any of these places myself, but it sounds rather interesting, it's a bit off the beaten track.

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