Chong Sa Ngam lies about 40 minutes from Sisaket in Thailand and the road is completely sealed on both the Thai and Cambodia sides. Chong Sa Ngam is the town on the Thai Side of the border on the Cambodia side the border is known as Along Veng. Once you have completed Visa formalities it takes only about 1 and a 1/2 hours to reach Siem Reap or 120 Km!!
What does this all mean well certainly if you are travelling from towns in Isaan such as Ubon, Surin or Sisaket you would be looking at only about a 3 hour drive to Siem Reap isn’t that great!!. If you are coming from Pakse you are looking at a travel time of about 6 hours. Well this is the route from Pakse for those interested in travelling overland.
Leaving Pakse at about 8am travel 44 Km to the Thai border at Chong Mek this only takes about 40mins but probably 1 hour to complete Visa formalities (Thai Visas are Issued free and on arrival). Next travel via Det Udon to Chong Sa Ngam there is actually no need to go to Ubon there is a sealed road that goes directly to the border and it is only 200km and takes just under 3 hours including a toilet stop or two.
Now you have to cross the border into Cambodia again Visas are issued on arrival but there is a fee of around $25 US. Once across the border you can stop to see the cremation site of Pol Pot just a few metres away down a small path. This way his last stand during the Khmer Rouge Reign. You are now in Along Veng and from here it is only another 1 and a 1/2 hours to Siem Reap or about 120km passing Banteay Srei temple along the way. This is a great alternative to traveling the route via Kampong Cham which will take over 15 hours!
This is great news for travellers or tours who are looking for alternatives to the flight from Pakse to Siem Reap. Or for those who would like to include a little of Isan in there tour program! Isan Northeastern Thailand is stunning and the people are extremely friendly and hospitable, eco-resorts like Kong Jiam are a perfect hideaway, and there are also some great temples to visit as an introduction to the Khmer Empire.
On another note the actual route the Khmer Empire travelled from Wat Phu Champasak in Laos to Siem Reap in Cambodia is actually only 240km and plans are underway to complete this road so in a few years the route from Pakse to Siem Reap may only take about 3 hours watch this space!!!