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How to get from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh

8 different ways to travel from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh.

320 kilometers separate the tourist hub of Siem reap from Phnom Penh, the bustling capital city of Cambodia. While many opt for the public bus or the 30-minute flight there are a number of more exciting options to choose from. For those looking for something a bit different. Here we explore some of the possibilities:

1-Bus

Bus

Hundreds of buses make this journey along national road 6 in both directions every day. With improvements to the road over the last few years, journey times are often down to 5 hours on a good day. If you are only visiting Siem Reap and Phnom Penh then the view from the window will give you a brief glimpse of rural Cambodian life along the way. You normally get a 15 minute stop midway through the journey at a service station where you can use the facilities. You can buy things like crisps and fruit at slightly inflated prices.

There is no central bus station in either Siem Reap or Phnom Penh. Each company will pick you up and drop you off at their own ticket office. If you book your tickets through your guesthouse they will often include pickup for an extra dollar.

Tickets start at just $5, it is recommended to spend a little more if you want a newer more comfortable bus though. Giant Ibis is among the best. They offer free Wi-Fi, seat belts, a snack and a drink and their fleet of buses are new and comfortable, prices are normally $12. Mekong Express is another good option, they also offer free Wi-Fi, seat belts, a snack and a drink but their buses are now a bit older.

Night buses are the popular choice for backpackers. You get to save shelling out for a night of accommodation and you will free up another day for exploring.

2-TAXIs

Taxis can be booked at all guesthouses and travel agents in town. Expect to pay around $60-$80 dollars each way. The driver will take you door to door meaning no need to arrange transport to and from the bus stations. The taxis are usually in Toyota Camrys, they can accommodate 3-4 people depending on luggage. You can now book your bus or taxi tickets in advance through the camboticket website.

3-Boats

Between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap is the Tonle Sap. South East Asia’s largest lake. Tara riverboat cruises offer perhaps the most relaxed journey to Phnom Penh on a cruise. This includes a bbq lunch and a chance to see rural life taking place on the banks of the lake.

Public ferries normally run in rainy season, July-March each year. The prices start at $35 each way for the 8 hour journey.

4-Flight

Those who are pushed for time might want to fly. The price has reduced as competition has increased of late. The trick is to book in advance when prices can be as low as $30 each way. Airlines include the national airline, Cambodia Angkor Airlines, Bassaka Air, and the newly formed JC Airlines, a new subsidiary of a Chinese conglomerate.

Getting to Siem Reap airport is relatively easy, normally a 20-minute tuk tuk or taxi journey from the city. In Phnom Penh, though it can be a different story, particularly if you arrive before rush hour. At best the journey will take 30 minutes and the worst experience we had was 2 hours from airport to hotel. On arrival at each airport there is a fixed price taxi desk to get into town. The current price is $8 in Siem Reap and $10 in Phnom Penh.

5-Via Kampong Thom

Kampong Thom

Why not break up the journey half way with a stop in Kampong Thom. Kompong Thom is home to one of Cambodia’s most beautiful temple complexes, Sambor Prei Kuk, Unlike at Angkor though you will not be sharing it with hundreds of other tour groups (for now.) at 1200 years old, the red brick temple predates Angkor and is set in a lovely tranquil setting. Sambor may soon be on the map as it has just been awarded Unesco world heritage site status. The town offers a laid back riverside park perfect for an evening stroll as well as an interesting market. Also on offer is a range of boat cruises on the peaceful and scenic Stung Sen River including a fantastic 1 hour sunset cruise.

6-Via Battambang

Battambang

An alternative option is to take a side trip via Batambang province. The charming town of Battambang is only 3 hours’ drive from Siem reap and has a much more laid back vibe and the countryside around the town is some of the most beautiful in Cambodia.

For this option you will need to stay over at least one night (2 is recommended). Fortunately there is a range of accommodation available from basic $10 a night guesthouses to $100 boutique hotels.

7-Jeep

Jeep

Another interesting idea is to charter a vintage army jeep for an adventurous 2 day journey between the 2 cities. We give you the chance to stop at floating villages, Angkorian temples and you will visit parts of the country that few tourists venture. Most of the time you will travel off the main roads on red dirt tracks through small villages. You can include a night in a homestay with a local family where you can amerce yourself in rural Cambodian village life.

Check out Cambodiajeep.com for more details.

8-Cycle

Cycling

You can also make your way to Phnom Penh by pedal power on a 3 day organized cycle trip. You would break up the journey with a stop at the jungle temples of Sambor Prei Kuk and in the laid back Mekong riverside town of Kampong Cham. The cycling is about 60km per day on mainly flat terrain and there are plenty of shady and scenic spots for rest breaks along the way, where curious locals are sure to say “Hello.”

Contact us if you would like us to help design your perfect Cambodia tour itinerary.

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