Getting there and away, Phnom Penh
The mini-van from Poipet to Bangkok. The same vehicle also from Phnom Penh to Saigon. The first thing is, you must expect the bus' lousy air-con because they are actually driving on muddy and yellow earth road ful of dust, once the dust filled up the air-con, you better start enjoying bus-sauna. The road condition is just like watching off-road dirt bike racing on tv but hey, that's what we want, enjoy.
From/to Siem Reap by boat. 25 $, 5 hours.
From/to sihanoukville by bus 3 $, 5 hours.
From/to Vietnam by Minibus and Boat, 11 $, 6 hours.
To move around in PP you have to use moto-taxis, Driver have very bad reputation, but they will help you a lot and we haven’t had any problems with them. You would have to bargain hart, they always want 1$.
Taxi fare to city centre is $9. Most of the airport taxi are OK and friendly. It happened to me once I took a taxi in the afternoon at 4pm going to Olympic area. The driver was a young guy. I was with my wife going to Salita Hotel. My wife could not walk distant since she got osteoporosis. On the way to the hotel about 500 meters, the road was full of traffic at 5 pm and the driver persuade us just to walk to the hotel. We managed to reach hotel after 15 mins. I paid $9 to him because this is what has been agreed by the airport kiosk. He asked for a dollar which I refused. He said we were stingy and since my wife cannot walk why we are coming to Phnom Penh. This is the first experience taking a taxi after I have visited 50 countries.
From Happy GuestHouse, Siem Reap to the depot of the Giant Ibis Bus (national bird) was only a 10 minutes ride in a tuk-tuk. We were there at the appointed hour of 0800 hrs for our road trip to Phnom Penh.
You report your arrival at their office, they take your luggage and give you a receipt and then you wait. Soon the sleek, ultra comfort, air-conditioned, wi-fi linked, steel-grey bus slides in. It has the logo of the company on both sides and is quite masculine to look at. As a precaution, you watch your luggage being stowed into the hold and then you get on to the bus.
We had booked out tickets online almost 60 days in advance and had secured the choicest seats by paying extra. A large windscreen before us, ample leg room, the first to get off the bus and the last to get in and a large TV – all these facilities are there in Seat Nos. 1-D and 1-E, not the ones directly behind the driver. Those are 1-A and 1-B. Only you can’t put your leg up as there is the fridge inside the bus, basically for the drinking water bottles. There are only 41 seats in the bus. All seats are reclining except, perhaps, the last row. There are two seats each on either side of the aisle. You may book the return journey also online, if you so desire.
Once everybody had settled in, we started off at 0845 hrs.
Our guide then introduced himself and gave us a short introduction of their company and of the journey we were undertaking. After he stowed his microphone away, he distributed a croissant and a bottle of drinking water. Then he and the other driver kept up a constant chatter with the driver to prevent boredom of driving along an unending straight road and falling asleep at the wheel.
Our first stop was at 1000 hrs at a place called Brey. The second one was at 1200 hrs for lunch. Thereafter, the condition of the roads deteriorates. A third one was at Bantey at 1430 hrs for a quick cup of tea from where the road condition improves considerably. We arrived Phnom Penh at 16.45 hrs after a comfortable, relaxed journey of 8 hours.
The best part of the journey is not only the green fields rolling past your window, the muted music from the TV speakers once a movie is over and the convenient stop along the way but rather the wi-fi link. It was thrilling to communicate and to stay connected while on the move!
First Written: Feb. 14, 2014
I have lived in Phnom Penh for over two years now. I have been subjected to every single bus company in this country over this time.
All expatriates here agree that Mekong is by far and away the only service of an international standard, the price is roughly the same as the others.
Mekong will NOT do these things that ALL the rest will:
- Take your passport and then charge an extra $5 for "VIP service" (that is no different to working it out yourself) - Tourist visa is $20. I have seen 90% of unsuspecting tourists on an Angkor bus get scammed this way from Saigon.
- play only Cambodian karaoke for the whole trip (it is the most appalling music in the world)
- stop at every single slum around PP dropping off motos and other little delivery jobs they have picked up on the way, thereby pushing the travel time up by 1-3 hours
- Have 'express' in the title when they regularly do the slum stops
- be unable to speak English
- not serve anything unless you insist loudly and in Khmer
- drive unroadworthy buses
- force handicap people off the bus to do the visa process
GO STRAIGHT TO THEIR OFFICE. THE VIETNAMESE WILL TELL YOU THEY ARE SELLING A SEAT ON MEKONG BUT THE CHANCES ARE THEY ARE CHARGING THE MEKONG PRICE AND GIVING YOU AN INFERIOR SERVICE AND POCKETING THE 1-2$
Taxis charge a flat rate of USD 7 (7 EUR)between the airport and the city. If you are around the city you might get it cheaper. A lot of guesthouse offer transport to the airport for around 5 USD (5 EUR)
If you book accommodiation in Phnom Penh, it is wise to ask they to come and fatch you.
I pay for USD 5 for pickup from Airport.
If pickup from peir is free.
To get to Phnom Penh from Siem Reap you can take a boat, it is the most comfotable way to travel that part, 'cause the roads are very bad.
SilkAir operates two flights per day from and to Singapore. Flight Time is only 2 hours and flights cost something around SGD 450 if you book early. Look out for their hot deals as well.
I fly from KLIA (KUL) to Phnom Penh, take about 2 hours.
Ticket from RM 150.00
Budgeted airline - Airasia.
The trip cost $6 each and the bus was big and modern with air conditioning so we settled down to enjoy the ride to Cambodia.