Getting there and away, Phnom Penh
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)
You will arrive at Pochentong Airport which is 3 KM Southwest of the City. entry requires a passport, and VISA on Arrival for $20. You need a passport picture. After leaving the airport you can take a taxi, or Moto into the city.
Transport around the city is usualy done by moto. Usualy cost is a dollar or 2. You negotiate before you go. You can also hire Moto's with driver for $6 or 8 a day. Be sure and bargin, and never pay the driver in advance. Moto can take you to places like the Killing fields, and airport.
You can rent Moto's, but driving takes nerves of steel, and requires large deposits.
A hint. get several thousand Reil, and offer the driver about the equivelent of .50 US cents, around 2500 Reil.
If you are leaving the city you can either take the bus near the Central Market. There are 3 bus companies that will take you to wherever you need to go.
Fast Boat will take you to Siam Reap for $25 and take about 5 hours. This route is better than over the road which will be bumpy and takes about 8 hours. Bus will probably be cheaper though.
You can get long distance Taxi's on MV Charles De Gualle Blvd & Monoving, and the Central Market. Renting a taxi to Sihanoukville May cost about $20, if you want to just buy a seat about $3 and you will be crammed with other passengers. A taxi to Siam Reap is about $80. Cheaper to fly than a taxi. The cost of a flight is around $55. Check at your guesthouse, they might have cheaper arraingements.
There are several companies offering boat rides between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Fast Malaysian managed boats take 4-5 hours in a small, uncomfortable boat for USD 20 to 25 and 6 hours in a large, comfortable boat (compared to previously 12 or up to 24 hours.) Prices are USD 12 to 20. The Cambodian government has assigned soldiers to guard these boats. The soldiers use the time on the boat to take a snooze, but you can make interesting contacts if you hand out cigarettes to them. If you are lucky they will ask you to join them in the evening in Siem Reap when they tour the bars and shoot the moon! Other reports state that somtimes the soldiers are shooting on the boats.
There are also slow boats. They should take 2 days during the wet season, and 4 days during the dry. It is possible to get a ride in a cargo boat for as little as USD 7.
These boats are quite dangerous. There have been many accidents, boats capsizing, etc.
The ferry port in Phnom Penh is just north of the Cambodian-Japanese Friendship Bridge, a couple of kms from town center.
This has to be by far the most relaxing way to get to Phnom Penh from HCMC. This option is nice because you can combine a tour of the Mekong Delta with your transit to Cambodia. The first day will be spent exploring the Delta. The second day you'll have the option of proceeding halfway to Phnom Penh by boat and then finishing the journey by bus, which arrives around 4pm. This option costs $22 USD. I recommend the next option which will take you directly from the Delta (Chau Doc) to Phnom Penh, arriving at 1pm. This option costs $27 USD. Sinh Cafe and Saigon Tourist are offering these trips.
If you have the same problem I had on the Cambodian side of the border, you might try hiring a car. You’ll see some local Khmer arranging rides in Toyota Camrys. This is by far the fastest and most comfortable way to get to Phnom Penh. Unfortunately, the locals have made it more difficult to do cheaply these days. It used to cost $4 or $5 dollars per person. They’d fill it with 4, maybe 5 people and go. Nowadays, they’re trying to find one person willing to pay $20 dollars to sit in the front seat, and filling the rest of the car with local Khmer. They tried to tell me that the locals were paying $20 dollars as well, which is a flat-out, ridiculous lie! They’re basically using travellers to pay to transport locals. You might try getting 4 or 5 people together and give it a shot. I’d imagine the fare should be somewhere between $20 to $30 dollars for the whole car.
Whether you proceed to Phnom Penh by car or by tour bus, the drive time is normally 6 hours. However, this isn’t usually the case since your driver will inevitably stop at some place for lunch. You’ll also probably have to wait for the Neak Luong Ferry to cross the river as well. The advantage of taking a car is that you have control over the lunch an bathroom stops. If you continue with the bus, you’ll probably arrive in Phnom Penh about 8pm, so a car may save you around 2 hours travel time.
I have traveled overland from HCMC to Phnom Penh by bus 3 times, and each time I swear I’ll never do it again. But it’s cheap at only $6 dollars. You can buy a ticket from any of the tour companies on De Tham Street or Pham Ngu Lao. I recommend going with Sinh Cafe as they are the most experienced, and they are in partnership with Capital Guesthouse, which is the best tour group on the Cambodian side. I made the mistake of trying Saigon Tourist last time, only to be stuck waiting for the bus on the Cambodian side of the border for almost 4 hours.
Every tour company will tell you that it’s an 8-hour drive to Phnom Penh. While this is technically true, it’s very misleading. It is about 8 hours of driving if you were to go non-stop to Phnom Penh. However, after you include waiting time for crossing the border, waiting for your bus on the Cambodian side, lunch stops, and traffic, the drive is actually anywhere from 10-13 hours.
Expect to depart from Ho Chi Minh City around 8am. You’ll arrive at the Moc Bai border 2 ½-3 hours later. The border crossing is a bit of a mob scene. There is no queue so you’ll need to push your way to the front and shove your passport through the window. Depending on the crowd, it may take 15 or 20 minutes to get your passport back. Once it’s been stamped, you’ll need to walk down the hall to have a few more guards examine it before proceeding to the Cambodian side. It’s about a 100 yard walk to the other side. You’ll see the Cambodian immigration booths on your left. If you haven’t arranged a visa already, go to the visa service booth. I believe the visa is $20 dollars on arrival. Once you’re stamped in, you’ll need to walk a little further up the road to a small restaurant on your left. You’ll see some buses parked out front. If you’re lucky, yours will be waiting for you. Apparently something went wrong with mine, and I ended up waiting hours. You’ll probably arrive in Phnom Penh about 8pm.
From SR you have more options: bus, pick-up and boat. I actually wanted to take the old military hellicopter but this possibility doesn't exist any more. After the bad memories of the pick-up I decided to take again the boat for 20 $ starting with the bus from the hotel at 5.30h (pretty eraly in the morning)
Walk or take a motorbike, but not the ones standing in front of the GH as they chrge deffinitly to much.
Go to a travel agent and arrange the transportation at least 2 days before departure. The bus will be full if arranging it last minute. Cost: $7/pp. The trip takes 12 hours (including stops for lunch, immigration, border crossing)
A better option for tourist: If you have four passengers, arrange a private taxi at Siem Reap (only cost $30 per taxi) and it will take you to to the border. From Thai border to Bangkok: Go to the bus station (near the immigration office) and take an A/C bus (only $4/pp). This trip only take 7 hours!! (Highly recommend this option)
To arrange the taxi, go to a travel agent one block west of the market (sorry but I forgot the name of the travel agent)
No international flights from USA/Canada/Europe go into P.Penh, so you have to come from BKK/HK/SIN first in almost all cases. The flight from BKK is pretty cheap and takes about one hour. I took bangkok airways and had a different exit port(siem reap) then my entry(p.penh) and it came out to 140 USD.
Its easy to wave down anyone on a bike, they're always looking for alittle extra money taking a tourist someplace. Beware, Crossing the street at the rush time is quite a task esp. on sisowath quay, the riverfront area.
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 $, 6 hours.
To move around in PP you have to use moto-taxis, Driver have very bad reputation, but they will help you a lot and we haven’t had any problems with them. You would have to bargain hart, they always want 1$.
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.
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.