Getting there and away, Phnom Penh
There are many ways to get to and from Phnom Penh but I would have to say the most pleasant way for us was doing it by boat. We did a three day/two night trip from Saigon in Vietnam that took in many sights of the Mekong Delta before arriving in Phnom Penh. It was $55 for the two of us but included two night’s accommodations, one lunch, and numerous sightseeing trips via boat and bus en route. It was great value and a fantastic way to arrive in Phnom Penh too. Views of the river life were a definite plus.
The cheapest way to get from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap is by bus. There are a variety of busses to choose from and they run several times a day. The rates start at $5 US for the local bus. This option is the cheapest, and the best way if you want to travel with the locals. We opted to travel on this bus and there were very few other tourists among us, but we felt completely safe the entire ride. This bus makes two pit stops along the way and as there is no bathroom on this bus, the pit stops are very important as it is the only time you are able to relieve yourself on the ride. At the pit stops you will also be able to obtain food and drink. We even saw fried scorpion and tarantula for sale at the pit stops! The other bus options rise in price up to $10 US (keep in mind these prices are one way). The $10 bus is the most luxurious bus and the one most often booked by tourists featuring bathrooms, air conditioning, and even movies on some busses. Check with a travel agent to arrange tickets and times. Even on the $5 we had reserved seating. They estimate the trip from Phnom Penh to take 5.5 to 6 hours but in reality our trip only took 5 hours including two stops. It’s cheaper and faster than taking a boat up the river, by far, and a great way to see the Cambodian countryside.
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.
Several bus companies provide transportation from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. The Mekong Express Limousine Bus is one of the better ones. It is about a 6-hour trip including a 15-30 minute stop in Kompong Thom. Departure times are now 07:30, 08:30, 12:30 and 14:25 daily (the sign in the picture is slightly out of date). The office is at the corner of 102 Street and Sisowath Quay. The waiting room has a/c and there are bathrooms. The Fancy Guesthouse got my ticket for me for $12. The actual ticket was $11. Seat numbers are assigned. The fare includes a snack and a small bottle of water. There is a bathroom on the bus. This is a nice way to see the countryside.
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.
If you are travelling from Phnom Penh to Vietnam or vise versa then going by boat is a nice alternative to taking the bus which is what most people do.
The boats travel from Phnom Penh to Chau Doc in Vietnam and it's a nice trip that takes four and a half hour including the time you will spend at the border for visa stamps and so on.
The trip down the river is quite scenic and the service onboard the boat is good and they will usually give you some free food and drink while you are on the boat but I think this can vary depending on where you book the ticetk and with what company you travel.
I have taken the Blue Cruiser 3 times in the past year and I have been very happy with the trip and with the services they provide.
So if you want to travel to and from Vietnam in a both interesting and fairly comfortable way then this is a really good alternative to the other modes of transport you have on that route.
The boats usually leave around 1pm and arrive in late afternoon to the town of Chau Doc in Vietnam.
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.
I took a Phnom Penh Sorya Transport Company bus from their office near the Central Market to Sihanoukville on the Cambodian coast. The buses depart from Phnom Penh at 07:00, 08:00, 09:00, 10:00, 11:30, 12:45 and 13:45. The bus cost me $3.75 and took about 4 hours with a stop for lunch along the way. I then took another bus coming back to Phnom Penh where buses leave at 07:00, 08:00, 09:00, 12:15, 13:15 and 14:15.
There is a daily boat from Siem Reap (Angkor Temples) through the Tonle Sap lake. It takes 5 hours and costs 22 USD. It is a small boat, so if you don't arrive on time, you will do the trip on the roof (which is very pleasant BTW). If U do so, be careful with the sun, is really really very strong here...
You are supposed to put your luggage at the rear part, but as I arrived late, I put it on front, and it was much more convenient when leaving the boat, as I didn't have to wait the long queue (see pic) to pick up my rucksack.
Tickets at any guesthouse or travel agency.
price is about $18 round trip from pham ngu lao street (saigon) to bus terminal in Phnom Penh. It took 7 hours to travel including 30 minutes at the border and another 30 min lunch somewhere there also. They serve free 2 bottles mineral water and a bun vietnamese style. Taste g0od though. Bus is aircon. Bus conductor will collect your passports and m0ney for visa-on-arrival (if applicable).
Schedule i took is 6:30am. Although there are other 3 m0re schedules.
First time to go to this city required me to put extra hours to search for the info on the net.
and also I posted a question on the VT and other site to know how to get around.
Then someone replied to my email and offering his service to take me around for a day drive for USD25. (i think this is standard price in PP).
I accepted his offering and he picked me up in hotel and drive me around the city for a full day in his nice 2000 Toyota Camry....
This guy name is sovan mee you can contact him at email@example.com or sms at +85512428007. or for alternative I know another guy name Kim Heng at +85512809818
These guys speak english and know every corner of the city including the night life...
I took a bus from Ho Chi Min City to Phnom Penh City..I booked the ticket in Saigon(HCMC) and travelled with a very reputable vietnamese Company. "Mailinh Express" that is also affiliated in Cambodia..The trip was some 270 km's and the journey was reasonably comfortable..There were various stops for food etc. and also crossing the river to reach PP..The busses are reasonably fast and the roads tend to be pretty congested in many areas..The fare is a cheap one and I booked my ticket from HCMC to PP to Siem Reap and return to HCMC.. The busses were modern and clean.I beleive the HCMC return fare all up was about US$ 35.00
This was my introduction to Cambodia. I get off the plane and enter a half bombed out terminal. I then go through the chaotic Visa process and leave the airport to the sounds of rocket fire going on from the shooting range in town. Then the moto drivers all approach you at once at which point I ran back into the airport and paid a guard to figure it out for me. The only service nearby was a little family run restaurant across the dusty street.
Times have changed. The Phnom Penh International Airport now has a brand new terminal. Itis Cambodia's largest international airport and most flights into the country pass through there. There are daily flights from all major regional airports (Bangkok, Hong Kong, Saigon, Singapore) as well as from Luang Prabang in Laos. Airlines include Bangkok Airways, Lao Aviation, Shanghai Airlines, Thai Airways, Silk Air, Dragon Air, among others. Malaysian low-cost carrier Air Asia has also started flying daily flights from Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur, making Phnom Penh a cheap gateway into Cambodia.
Visas are available on arrival, and the fee is $20 - which must be paid in USD. Bring a passport-sized photo to avoid an additional $1 charge. The airport has a post office, bank (including one of the country's few ATMs), restaurants, Duty Free shop, news stand, tourist help desk, Business Center, as well as a Dairy Queen, the only western fast food franchise in the country.
Taxis from the airport run about $7 US. For visitors on a budget without a lot of luggage, it's worth catching an official moto for $2, or walking out to the main road to save even more.
If you are in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (Saigon) and you want to visit Phnom Penh you can just take the morning bus for about $10.00 USD. The bus is cheap and easy and it is the gateway to see a new country from Vietnam. The drive is quite nice also. If you want to go by boat to Phnom Penh from Ho Chi Minh City this is possible too through the canals of the Mekong Delta. There is a company that does this (contact the Kim Cafe or Shin Cafe Travel Agents) but it is more espencive than the bus and takes about the same amount of time (only a few hours 6 maybe, i forget).
To go from Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh you can take a share taxi mini van for only about $7USD. The walkabout hotel can hire the van for you or tell you where to get the share van.
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.