Getting there and away, Phnom Penh
It’s an easy, and relatively inexpensive flight from Bangkok to Phnom Penh. We didn’t even have tickets into Cambodia when we arrived into Thailand. We researched flights prior to leaving the States and Air Asia seemed to have the most reasonable prices. We tried to book online but had difficulties so we flew to Asia and decided to try our luck at the airport. Our flight landed in Bangkok after the ticket counters had closed for the evening so we waited overnight in the airport for the counter to reopen in the morning. Other people gradually arrived too, so when the first agents arrived at the break of dawn there was already a bit of a line that had formed. But we had no problem getting onto the first flight of the day. A one-way ticket from Bangkok to Phnom Penh cost $112 US. Tickets were listed a little cheaper online so if you are able to book in advance or online you’ll save a little money. We also heard that it’s also cheaper to book through a travel agent versus at the airport, but for a last minute ticket, bought at the airport for a flight that was departing a mere two hours later that’s a pretty good deal.
The other advantage to crossing into Cambodia via air rather than over a land border is the ease of passing through customs. Talking to other travelers we heard horror stories of problems at land border crossings with customs agents. We had no problem at the airports. And the flying was considerably faster than any other mode of transportation into the country.
This leg of trip was fantastic, couldnt have been better. Small boat, held 15 people inluding captain and his mate, up the Mekong river, nice and breezy when underway, boat enclosed but lots of windows, left at 8:30 arrived before 12:30. Seats MUCH more comfortable than wooden benches on the slow boats. Border crosssing reminescent of going to Bocas, rugged but nice. Cost was $10 extra over Sinh Cafe's standard $22, two day/one night package but well worth the extra cost. much better than the slow boat which would have taken another 3-4 hours to get here.
Mekong Limousine Express bus. This is the second time that I have travelled with them and they are the best (better than the buses in the UK). The buses are really comfortable, just try to avoid the front seats. Water and snack are provided and there is a toilet on board. Air con certainly works. As you pass points of interest, a commentry is given. From sihanoukville it cost $6 a person as opposed to $4 with the other comapanies.
A month-long tourist visa to Cambodia costs $20 US and you’ll need to have an extra passport photo handy. The easiest method of payment is to have US cash handy at the border crossing. When entering Cambodia via AIR the entry process is relatively easy. At the airport head directly to the visa desk and be aware that people don’t queue up so it’s first come first serve, you may have to fight your way up to the desk. At the first desk you will have to hand over your passport and the $20US to a customs agent, then wait with the crowd surrounding the adjacent desk. Here it’s a waiting game until they process your visa. When they are finished they will hold passports to the crowd and if the picture matches claim your passport and head to baggage claim!
IF YOU ARE CROSSING THE BORDER OVERLAND: I heard several horror stories from fellow travelers about the visa process at land crossings. The customs officials will demand more than the $20US fee and you will have to pay in either Thai Baht or US Dollars. I’ve heard stories of extorted fees from an extra $20US on up. If crossing into Cambodia overland I recommend procuring your visa beforehand to avoid the corruption at the border or be prepared to shell out some extra cash.
Most people these days go to Phnom Penh from Siem Reap by air-conditioned bus, seeing it’s so much cheaper which is only USD $4!
I opted to go by boat anyway as earlier on I’d experienced too much traveling by land. I bought my ticket at a guesthouse the day before my trip in Siem Reap town for USD $22. Note: Most guesthouses in Siem Reap sell this boat ticket. Just ask around.
On your day of departure, go to the ‘port’. It is the floating village of Chong Kneas near Phnom Krom, 11km south of Siem Reap. The journey will take about 5.5 hours, from 7.30 am to 1 pm.
It is a pleasant ride on the Tonle Sap lake, with fantastic landscape views under the sun. You can sit outside or inside the boat, your choice. You can also sit on the roof if you like the sun ;)
Although pricey, this experience was worth it for me. Check out my travelogue for more journey pics.
From Singapore, there are two regional airlines that fly into Phnom Penh's Pochentong International Airport. They are Silk Air and Jetstar Asia departing from Changi International Airport.
From Malaysia, you can take Air Asia departing from Kuala Lumpur Low-Cost Carriers Terminal which is near the F1 Sepang Racing Circuit. So travellers must factor in the time for transit from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).
A taxi ride to/from the airport to/from central Phnom Penh takes about 30-40 minutes depending on traffic. Fixed rate at 7USD from the airport. Some told us you can get a taxi from the town center to the airport for around USD5, but we didn't find anyone charging less than USD7. The airport is som 14 km outside Phnom Penh.
Like everywhere else: Do agree on the price before you go.
There are several ways getting from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville (or the other way around).
A taxi is most convenient as you get directly to your destination without changing vehicles or taking your luggage of a bus and then find and store it all into another bus, taxi or tuk tuk.
A taxi trip takes about 3,5 hours. It should cost from USD30-35. We paid USD35 from Sihanoukville to Phnom Penh.
Hotels also offer taxi service, but all they do is to rent from the travel agent, so why not go directly to the source? Hotel cabs are usually at least USD10 more expensive than the travel agent even though it's the same service as if you buy/order directly from the agent.
The roads are mostly fine.
There are a bunch of travel agents in Phnom Penh. If you don't see any, ask on the street, but don't necessarily go for the friend of the person you ask for advice...
Like everywhere else: Do agree on the price before you go.
price is about $18 round trip from pham ngu lao street (saigon) to bus terminal in Phnom Penh. It took 7 hours to travel including 30 minutes at the border and another 30 min lunch somewhere there also. They serve free 2 bottles mineral water and a bun vietnamese style. Taste g0od though. Bus is aircon. Bus conductor will collect your passports and m0ney for visa-on-arrival (if applicable).
Schedule i took is 6:30am. Although there are other 3 m0re schedules.
After the "developing" nature of Phnom Penh, and the arrival process, by boat from Siem Reap, we were quite surprised by the clean, modern, if not somewhat deserted nature of the airport when we arrived for our early afternoon flight!
The check-in desks are completely abaondoned, and the shops also reflect the general disuse of the airport in March 2006. I guess they believe "if you build it.....they will come"!
( last date took the bus - Dec. 30, 2004)
Phnom Pehn to Bangkok, Thailand
Bus fare : 14 US $
Scheduled departure time - 6:30 a.m.
Actual departure time - 7:00 a.m.
Stop-over - for Lunch (10:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.)
Stop-over - Battambang (11:45 - 12:00 noon)
Poipet Border (Cambodia)
Arrived in Poipet Border - 3:00 p.m.
Immigration - 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Arayanprathet Border (waiting time - 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.)
Arrived at 10:00 p.m. (Khaosan Road, Bangkok)
La forma mas practica de desplazarse en Phnom Penh es en Tuk Tuk y en moto , es facil negociar con ellos pero trata de buscar uno con el que te puedas comunicar en ingles
En cuanto te paras en una esquina se pueden ver formas de transporte de lo mas interesante
The most practical way to movein Phnom Penh is in Tuk Tuk and in moto. It is easy negotiate with them , but try to find one with whom you may comunicate in English
As soon as you stop in a corner you may see different ways of transport that are very interesting
You get from Phnom Penh to Siam Reap by bus or by ferry.
Bus USD 9 - Mekong Express / Others bus USD 5
Appx 4 hours
Ferry USD 35 - Mekong Express
Appx 5 hours
Mekong Express will come and pick you up from you hotel or guest house, it the morning, just make sure you tell them where you stay :-)
Loacated need the river site, up stream. a few building from Happy Pizza.
First time to go to this city required me to put extra hours to search for the info on the net.
and also I posted a question on the VT and other site to know how to get around.
Then someone replied to my email and offering his service to take me around for a day drive for USD25. (i think this is standard price in PP).
I accepted his offering and he picked me up in hotel and drive me around the city for a full day in his nice 2000 Toyota Camry....
This guy name is sovan mee you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or sms at +85512428007. or for alternative I know another guy name Kim Heng at +85512809818
These guys speak english and know every corner of the city including the night life...
You can book it at any travel office. I paid USD 15 from Phnom Penh to HCMC with a change at the border, although the official price from HCMC to PP was published at USD 5 only (well, they all have to live). The picture shows the Cambodian bus at the border. But careful, inisist to carry your own luggage from the Cambodian coach to the Vietnamese side. Our driver said that it will be transfered to the other bus, but we had to release it against one or two bucks from "middlemen" before crossing into Vietnam. Lucky it was not stolen.