Angkor Wat, Cambodia
 

Angkor Wat, Cambodia's premier visitor attraction...

 

Cambodia bus & train route map

Click for an interactive bus, train, ferry route map of SE Asia

Visiting Cambodia....

Cambodia currently has no train service, but there are bus links to neighbouring countries.  As always, overland travel will be far more interesting than flying, as well as better for the environment, and the journeys will be as much part of your travel experience as the destination cities and sights.  This page will help you plan and make overland journeys by bus and train to, from and within Cambodia.

International travel to Cambodia

  Bangkok - Saigon across Cambodia by train & bus

  Bangkok - Siem Reap - Phnom Penh by train & bus

  Saigon - Phnom Penh by bus

  Europe to Cambodia by Trans-Siberian railway

Domestic travel in Cambodia

  Phnom Penh - Siem Reap by speedboat

  Phnom Penh - Siem Reap by bus

  Phnom Penh - Battambang by bus

  Phnom Penh - Sihanoukville by bus

  Phnom Penh - Kampot by bus

Other information...

  Visiting the Angkor temples

  Useful country information - currency, visas, etc.

  Hotels in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap & Cambodia

  Train service in Cambodia  Making a come-back?

  Train travel in Thailand

  Train travel in Vietnam

  Train travel in Singapore & Malaysia

Sponsored links...

 

Useful country information

Train operator in Cambodia:

Chemin de fer du Cambodge (CFC).  No known website.

For bus information in Cambodia, try www.canbypublications.com/cambodia/buses.htm

Time zone:

GMT+7.

Dialling code:

 

+855.

Currency:

1 = 6,416 Riel.  $1 = 4,165 Riel.  Currency converter

Tourist information:

Tripadvisor Cambodia    Map of train routes in Southeast Asia

Hotels:

 

Hotels in Phnom Penh & Cambodia

Visas:

Visas are required by UK, EU, US, Australian and most other western nationals.  Visas can be bought at the border points at Poiphet and Bavet, cost about 15/$25.  However, it can save hassle at the frontier if you buy an e-visa in advance online at www.mfaic.gov.kh/evisa for $25.  Cambodian embassy, London.

Page last updated:

5 March 2014


Bangkok to Saigon

Overview of travel between Thailand & Vietnam, across Cambodia...

It's easy to travel between Bangkok in Thailand and Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) in Vietnam overland across Cambodia.  It's cheap, and there's a lot to see on the way.  There are several ways to break up the journey, so here is a summary of the options.  Most travellers will want to go via Siem Reap to see the world-famous temples at Angkor nearby, and Phnom Penh is undoubtedly worth a stop as well.

Bangkok ► Saigon

Saigon ► Bangkok


Bangkok to Siem Reap & Phnom Penh

Since the war in Cambodia, the railway line between Bangkok and Phnom Penh has only been running between Bangkok and Aranyaprathet on the Thai side of the Thai/Cambodian border, and (at least until 2009) between Battambang and Phnom Penh within Cambodia.  Train service across the border between Aranyaprathet and Battambang has been suspended for some years, although there is talk of restoring the complete Phnom Penh-Bangkok rail link in the next few years when Cambodia's railways are rehabilitated.  Although there are direct buses between Phnom Penh and Bangkok, this means a nightmare 15 hour bus journey.  Instead, a trip from Bangkok to Phnom Penh can be made in relative comfort over 2 days as follows, with a pleasant train ride instead of a bus for the part of the journey within Thailand:

Bangkok ► Siem Reap (Angkor) & Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh & Siem Reap (Angkor) ► Bangkok

Bangkok to Siem Reap & Angkor Wat, in pictures...

Bangkok Hualamphong station   Bangkok-Aranyaprathet train

Bangkok's magnificent Hualamphong station.  Designed by an Italian architect and opened in 1916, your journey to Cambodia starts here, in the heart of central Bangkok...

 

The Cambodia Express. It may not officially carry that name, but the morning train to Aranyaprathet takes you to within 6km (3.8 miles) of the Cambodian border.

3rd class car   The train from Bangkok arrived at Aranyaprathet

The Bangkok to Aranyaprathet train is 3rd class only, but it's cheap, clean and pretty comfortable with a pleasant breeze blowing through the open windows. Vendors sell food and drink, and there are toilets at the end of each car.

Aranyaprathet railway station   Tuk tuks outside Aranyaprathet station

At Aranyaprathet railway station, you'll find tuk-tuks waiting for you outside...

Tuk tuk between Poipet and Aranyaprathet   Thai side of the Thai-Cambodian border

It's just 10 minutes by tuk-tuk to the border...

 

This is the Thai border post, you start procedures here...

'Welcome to Cambodia' archway at the Poipet border point   On the road between Siem Reap and Poipet

Welcome to Cambodia!  After passing through Thai exit checks, you walk under this 'Welcome to Cambodia' archway to the Cambodia border checks.

 

The road between Poipet and Siem Reap (for Angkor Wat) has been improved, and it's now a good road taking 2.5 hours by car or around 3 hours by bus...

Travellers' reports...

Traveller Ruth Klaase reports (2013):  "I stayed at the great Hua Lamphong hostel, located a very convenient 5-minute walk from the station, handy when you have to get up early. The little shops at the station are open, so don't worry about bringing supplies or even having breakfast, it's available. I was at the station at 5 past 5, which meant no line for a ticket, a relaxed breakfast and plenty of seats to choose from. The train fills up at later stations with people standing in the aisles between some stations, so plan your bathroom breaks carefully. You can buy water from people who come by every half an hour. They also sell food:  fishcakes, rice with fried egg, and other stuff. My stomach was fine after the fishcakes. The 6-hour ride (it can take slightly longer) is relatively comfortable. You should definitely bring a pillow or something to rest your head against. The scenery is not spectacular, but the countryside is nice to watch from the window. When you arrive at the Aranyaprathet station, tuktuk drivers will immediately offer their service. I walked past some of them, then picked someone who wasn't nagging me, and asked "how much?" He said "80 Baht", which was already less than what I had been told, and other travellers paid a lot more. Also, my tuktuk driver did not try to drop me off in the tout zone, but kindly stopped right around the corner from Thai immigration. If you ask for that straight away I think they will not try to scam you. Thai departure (step 1 of the visa procedure) was a breeze (took 5 minutes). Make sure you get an idea of where the buildings are located (Wikitravel has a handy map, and seat61.com shows pictures of the buildings) so you don't end up in one of the tout zones. Because I did my homework I did not get scammed, and no-one tried either. Other travellers were hassled quite a lot, so know what you need to say: "no thank you, I already have a visa", etc. The guys that give you your Cambodian visa sticker (step 2) are very friendly and helpful, but they did try to get 100 Baht from someone who had already indicated that she had a photo. Bring 20USD for the tourist visa and 100THB extra if you don't have a passport photo for the visa. Then comes step 3: getting your visa sticker stamped. This takes a long time (unless you manage to rush through the other steps ahead of everyone else) because they take everyone's finger prints. Bring water inside as it can get very hot and sticky, and it can easily take 45 minutes before it's your turn. When you come out with your visa, the infamous transportation 'free shuttle bus' nonsense is clearly visible, and many people will try to persuade you to get onto the buses. They don't get too annoying, though, and if you say that you are waiting for someone or are staying in town, they usually leave you alone. Poipet is not an attractive place to hang around in, unless you are a gambler, so why anyone would want to stay there is beyond me. I walked a bit after passing the roundabout (as is recommended) to avoid taking a cartel-owned taxi, but ironically still ended up in one. It was $10 each for me and two others, so in terms of price it doesn't make a big difference, but it's still annoying. They try to drop you off at the 'bus station', but don't fall for this. They were very persistent, telling us that cars can't go into Siem Reap (they can), they didn't know the hotel, etc., but we simply said we wouldn't pay until we were at our hotel. Then it suddenly wasn't a problem and we were dropped off at our hotels. So remember: they don't get aggressive, and when you know what you're doing you won't get ripped off, but it's worth planning this trip carefully to avoid getting ripped off. It's an interesting adventure, but a shame that this is one's first impression of a beautiful and friendly country."

Traveller Cynthia O'Brien travelled from Bangkok to Siem Reap:  "Travelling from Bangkok to Siem Reap this way was much easier than I expected, after reading many older stories about this route.  I took the 05:55 train from Bangkok to Aranyaprathet, for 48 baht.  From the station at Aranyaprathet, I took a tuk-tuk for 60 baht to the border at Poiphet.  However, the driver made a detour to a travel agency, which is one of the visa scam places.  I already had an e-visa, which I would recommend to avoid the hassle at the border.  The salesman at the travel agency wanted me to go into his office to talk to him and asked to see my passport.  I refused to hand him my passport and the tuk-tuk driver drove me away quickly when I told other travellers not to get their visa at that place, but to get it from Cambodian immigration at the border, where it will cost less.  The biggest change from the older accounts is transportation to Siem Reap from the border. As soon as you cross into Cambodia, there is a stop for a free shuttle bus. Do not hesitate to take this free bus to their nearby travel centre. It is operated by a company that arranges legitimate, hassle free transportation to Siem Reap. The two best choices are a mini-van for $9 per passenger, which leaves as soon as it has nine passengers, or a share taxi for $12 per passenger, which leaves when it has four passengers. The prices are non-negotiable, and you buy your ticket for either option at a ticket window, rather than haggling with a driver. The third option is a public bus that leaves at 2:30pm, also for $9. However, I do not know how long the journey takes by bus. Since I was travelling alone, I took the mini-van, which only took about an hour to get nine passengers. The highway is now complete, so the ride only took 2 hours and 20 minutes, which included a 30 minute break at a restaurant. When we arrived in Siem Reap, they brought us to a guest house and asked us if we wanted to look, but there was no pressure. There was nothing wrong with the guest house and it was in a good location, but I already paid for another. Included in the ticket price was a tuk tuk ride to your guesthouse. And if you do not have a guest house, the driver will take you around until you find one that you like."

Traveller Andreas Klein also travelled this way:  "We caught the 05:55 train from Bangkok to Aranyaprathet. Tickets are still 48 Baht and are easy to book.  I'd recommend getting to the station at around 5 o'clock to get this done.  Although only 3rd class is available, the train is really good.  It was reasonably clean, the seats are comfortable and there are small fans for every compartment.  Additionally, you can open the windows which gives you a nice breath of air.  The train ride was very interesting due to the landscape and cities you travel through and the (very friendly) people you meet in the train.  Every now and then people come to sell food and drinks.  We found it also possible to get some hours of sleep in the train.  The way to the border is exactly as you describe on your website:  We took a tuk-tuk.  I can only recommend getting an e-visa.  It was very helpful to avoid getting in contact with all the scams offering other types of visa shortly before you cross the border.  The signs to the visa entry point are not the best and hence you might fall for one of the help offers from the scams. To cross the border, just walk along the main road through the entry gate and you will find the visa-checkpoint right at the end on the right side.  The entry-process is very easy.  Finding a reasonable transportation to Siem Reap cost us about 1.5 hours in the sun and lots of negotiation.  Some scammers claimed to be from a governmental organisation and tried to sell far too expensive transportation (US$60 to Siem Reap).  Avoid getting caught by them and their "official / governmental" bus and organisation (they all wear nice shirts with a Cambodia emblem, but we are still not sure whether this is real), which will only bring you to their taxi stand.  Like you say on your website, reasonable transport by taxi to Siem Reap should be $25, which we managed to achieve by walking along the main road, followed by several taxi drivers, who reduced their fares steadily the closer we came to the bus station.  It is about 140km."

Further feedback from travellers who have used this route between Bangkok and Phnom Penh or Siem Reap would be appreciated, as information is difficult to come by.


Saigon to Phnom Penh & Siem Reap

Saigon (HCMC) to Phnom Penh by bus...

There is no railway (at least, not yet) between Saigon & Phnom Penh.  However, a number of bus companies each operate a range of daily air-conditioned buses in each direction, taking about 6 hours (they usually quote 5-6 hours, but assuming 6.5 hours is more realistic).  There's no point in flying for such a short trip, as flights on this route are expensive, and they save little time.  Flying will take up to 4 hours once travel to and from airports, check-in & baggage reclaim are included.  The bus costs less than a tenth of the flight price, and even includes a short crossing of the Mekong by ferry.

 Saigon ► Phnom Penh & Siem Reap  (bus service)  

 Bus operator:

Sapaco

Mekong Express

Kumho Samco

 Depart Saigon (Pham Ngu Lao)

06:00

07:00

08:00

09:00

10:00

11:30

13:00

14:00

15:00

07:00

08:30

13:00

15:00

07:30

10:30

12:30

15:00

 Arrive Phnom Penh:

12:30

13:30

14:30

15:30

16:30

17:30

19:30

20:30

21:30

13:30

15:00

19:30

21:30

14:00

17:00

19:00

21:30

 Arrive Siem Reap (bus station):

18:30

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

19:30

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

 Phnom Penh & Siem Reap ► Saigon  (bus service)  

 Bus operator:  

Kumho Samco

Mekong Express

Sapaco

 Depart Siem Reap (bus station):

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

07:30

-

-

-

-

-

-

06:00

-

-

 Depart Phnom Penh:

07:30

10:30

12:30

15:00

06:30

07:00

08:30

14:00

06:00

07:00

08:00

09:00

10:00

11:30

13:00

14:00

15:00

 Arrive Saigon (Pham Ngu Lao):

14:00

17:00

19:00

21:30

13:00

13:30

15:00

20:30

12:30

13:30

14:30

15:30

16:30

18:00

19:30

20:30

21:30

Saigon to Phnom Penh is 240km, 150 miles. 

Use these times as a rough guide as you're often quoted different times in different places!  Just 3 operators are shown here, but there are several others.  You can check Mekong Express bus times & book online at their website, www.catmekongexpress.com.

The buses operate via Moc Bai (Vietnamese border point) and Bavet (Cambodian border point).  Cambodian visas can be bought at the frontier or you can buy an e-visa online in advance.

In Saigon, Kumho Samco, Mekong Express Limousine & Mai Linh buses leave from the bus station at 237 Pham Ngu Lao Street, Ben Nghe Ward, 1Dist, HCMC.

In Phnom Penh, there is no centralised bus station.  Mekong Express Limousine leaves from a terminal just out of town, a minibus transfer can be provided from most hotels (it's reported that they no longer have their office at 87 Sisowath Quay at the corner of Street 102 on the riverfront).  MaiLinh buses leave from the Olympic stadium.  However, some of these bus companies offer a free transfer from your hotel, just ask.

 How much does it cost?

Saigon to Phnom Penh

$13

Saigon to Siem Reap

$24

Which bus operator?

Reliable companies operating modern direct buses between Saigon & Phnom Penh include (1) Mekong Express Limousine Bus (www.catmekongexpress.com), (2) Sapaco Tourist, (3) Kumho Samco, and (4) Mai Linh.  This Tripadvisor link is useful in giving the low-down on each bus company.  It's best to avoid the 'budget' operators such as Narin or King who charge $4-$6, use older buses and make you switch buses at the border, taking 7 hours.

How to buy tickets...

Mekong Express has a website at www.catmekongexpress.com, and now offers online booking.  However, many of the other bus companies don't even have a website.  You can easily buy a ticket when you're there, simply by walking into any local travel agency when you get to Phnom Penh or Saigon and asking for a bus ticket.  Or ask at your hotel or guest house to arrange a ticket for you.  In Saigon you can also try buying tickets from the Sinh Cafe, www.sinhcafe.com or www.deltaadventuretours.com.  In Phnom Penh, try www.asiavipa.com.  There are so many companies and buses, you'll always find a bus with tickets available, even booking the day before you travel.  Email addresses for the operators either don't exist or typically don't work.

About the journey...

The Mekong Express bus from Saigon typically starts boarding around 20 minutes before departure, across the road from the Mekong Express office on Pham Ngu Lao in central Saigon.  Baggage is tagged and loaded under the bus and you're given a luggage receipt.  The bus is air-conditioned and there's a clean toilet at the rear.  The bus normally leaves promptly, refreshment towels are handed out and then mineral water and a snack.  The bus staff collect passports, along with $25 if you haven't got a Cambodian visa.  The bus reaches the Vietnamese border at Moc Bai in around 1 hour 55 minutes.  Here, everyone leaves the bus, enters the terminal and files towards the passport check where the collected passports are already being stamped.  Names are called out, you collect your passport when called, and you leave the building at the far door and rejoin the bus, which by now has pulled forward.  When everyone is back on board, the bus drives on 200 yards to the Cambodian border post at Bavet.  Everyone gets off the bus again and enters the building.  If you've an e-visa you'll be shown to the e-visa desk to have it checked, then you get fingerprint scanned and passport stamped at the passport desks.  The bus leaves when everyone is back on board, around 2 hours 55 minutes into the journey, driving on for 5 minutes past the casinos to a lunch stop at a simple cheap restaurant for around 40 minutes.  US dollars, riel and Vietnamese dong are accepted here, and neither the food nor the beer is expensive.  Once in Cambodia the landscape changes significantly, from urban ribbon development which has stretched almost all the way from Saigon to the border,  to far more rural scenes with rice fields and water buffalo.  The architecture also changes, from the Chinese-inspired buildings in Vietnam to temples and shrines more akin to those in Thailand. Around 5 hours 20 minutes into the journey, the bus queues up to go on the 10-minute ferry crossing over the Mekong at Neak Loeung.  Expect an arrival in Phnom Penh around 6 hours 30 minutes from Saigon.

Mekong Express bus from HCMC to Phnom Penh, at the border   Interior of Mekong Express bus from HCMC to Phnom penh

The 08:30 Mekong Express bus from Saigon to Phnom Penh, at Moc Bai, the Vietnamese border post...

 

Seating on the Mekong Express bus.  Mineral water & snacks were handed out. Toilet at the back.

  Sapaco bus to Phnom Penh at Saigon

Mekong Express bus...

 

Sapaco bus, in Saigon...

Travellers' reports...

Traveller Jon Feltham took the bus from Saigon to Phnom Penh:  "The bus trip from Saigon to PP (about 6 hours ) was with Kumho Samco Buslines.  We bought our tickets from a travel agent close to our hotel, but the bus company's offices in Ho Chi Minh city are at 237 Pham Ngu Lao Street, District 1, HCMC.  We took a taxi from our hotel to their booking office/travel agent/pick up point, where the coach picked us up.  They took our passports and filled the immigration form in to allow us to enter Cambodia, which was a pretty nice touch I thought and saved us routing about for pens and stuff.  After the border control formalities, the driver stopped for a spot of lunch 30-45 mins.  Then on to PP which included a river crossing by ferry which came as a surprise to us. The bus company runs a daily service from, Ho Chi Minh City to PP at 07:30 10:30 and 15:00. Ticket prices are $10 US. The busses are pretty modern with air con and have a conductor who rounds everyone up when the bus is ready to move on."

Traveller Kevin Nathan took the bus from Phnom Penh to Saigon:  "I bought a ticket from Capital tours below the Capital Guest House, inside the restaurant.  The fare from PP to HCMC was US$ 9 for an air conditioned bus.  I took a bus which left PP at 06:45 and arrived in HCMC at 13.30.  It was a good bus with good service, especially when crossing the immigration.  They gave free water, wet face tissue & face mask.  We also stopped for lunch before the border.  The bus arrived at De Tham Street (a backpacker area) in HCMC."

Saigon to Phnom Penh by river boat...

Alternatively, a number of local tour operators run a river boat + bus service from Saigon to Phnom Penh, a very enjoyable way to travel between the two cities.  Try www.bigpond.com.kh/users/capitol/opentour.htm.


 


Phnom Penh to Siem Reap

By bus or speedboat?

There are two ways to travel between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, for the temples at Angkor.

Option 1, Phnom Penh to Siem Reap by speedboat...

The Phnom Penh to Siem Reap speedboat costs more than the bus, takes a bit longer (but not much) and can be cancelled if water levels are too low or if there aren't enough tourists to support it.  But seeing rural life on the river from the sun-drenched deck of a speeding riverboat is amazing, it can be one of the highlights of visiting Cambodia, highly recommended.  On the other hand, if you have mobility problems, so would need to stay in your seat inside the boat for the whole trip, you may prefer the bus, the photos and video below will help make your decision.  The boat journey is approximately 251 kilometres (157 miles).

 Phnom Penh ► Siem Reap

 

 

 Siem Reap ► Phnom Penh

 By speedboat...

Every day

By speedboat...

Every day

 Phnom Penh (Sisowath Quay boat dock) depart:

07:30

 Siem Reap (Chong Kneas boat dock) depart:

06:30

 Siem Reap (Chong Kneas boat dock) arrive:

14:00

 Phnom Penh (Sisowath Quay boat dock) arrive:

13:00

In Phnom Penh, the speedboat leaves from the river boat dock at the northern end of Sisowath Quay, in central Phnom Penh.

In Siem Reap, the ferry arrives/departs from the boat dock at the Chong Kneas floating village, some 11 km (6.8 miles) south of Siem Reap itself.

Transfer from Chong Kneas to central Siem Reap:  When you arrive to catch the boat at Phnom Penh boat dock, you'll be asked if you want a tuk-tuk into Siem Reap, for $1 per person.  Your name will be taken.  On arrival at the Chong Kneas boat dock, a tuk tuk driver will be holding a card with your name on, and will take you into central Siem Reap in about 15-20 minutes.

 How much does it cost?

Phnom Penh to Siem Reap by speedboat

  $35     

What's the journey like?

Speedboat from Phnom penh to Siem Reap, at PP.   Inside the speedboat to Siem Reap

The 07:30 speedboat to Siem Reap, boarding at Phnom Penh...  Inside are bus-like seats.  However, most passengers spend the journey outside on the roof or deck, even speeding along at 25 knots...

 

Perched on the roof or on the deck around the wheelhouse, it's the perfect viewpoint to watch Cambodian river life.  Remember the sun cream!  The final part of the journey is over the huge Tonle Sap lake to the floating village of Chong Kneas, 11km south of Siem Reap itself...

 

Houses on stilts...

 

A Cambodian tuk tuk or 'remork' takes you from Chong Kneas into central Siem Reap...

Watch the video:  Phnom Penh to Siem Reap by speedboat...

Traveller's reports...

Traveller Lenny Hartley travelled from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap by river boat:  "Most hotels and travel agents in Phnom Penh will book you a ticket which includes pickup by Tuk Tuk driver to the embarkation port just a short distance away from the main tourist riverside area of Phnom Penh.  Stalls at the embarkation point will sell you food and water although possibly better quality can be purchased elsewhere!  The boat itself is more like a river bus and travels at approx 45kph (according to a sat nav I saw), best to get their early and get a seat on the bow so you can dangle your legs over the side whilst using the rail to keep you safe.  The roof is curved and although there is a small rail its easy for your baggage to roll over the side and into the water never to be seen again if you encounter waves or swell in the Tonie Sap.  The passageway on the deck between the seating area and the roof is about 18 inches wide with no handrails for the first couple of metres so to begin with its a bit scary moving about between seating and roof but after a while you get used to it. Its a great way to see the countryside and riverside so the six hours or so pass far faster than a bus or plane journey. The landing area at Siem Reap is some distance from town, and you will be swamped by people trying to carry your bags up the steep gangways or to take a tut tut into town, best to get your hotel to organise a Tut Tut, if your lucky and get a good driver try and hold onto him for the duration of your visit."

Traveller Geoff Holman travelled PP to Siem Reap:  "I booked this trip the day before at Capital No.1 Guesthouse in PP. Picked up by a minivan from guesthouse at 06.30 and transported to wharf.  Boat was about 75% full.  Weather was OK for travelling on the roof, bit hard on the back after a while.  Most of the backpackers/international travellers were up top to take in the views. Take refreshment as none available.  Air conditioning in cabin was a little cool, but all in all a comfortable and pleasant trip.  Chaos at the landing at Siem Reap. Host of small boys trying to grab your luggage for a fee.  Local police on hand but made no attempt to intervene.  Apparently the journey can be less enjoyable in the dry season as the lake is quite shallow and groundings are common."

Traveller Justin Kilby reports:  "The fast boat from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap is fairly comfortable and quite an interesting journey up the Tonle Sap river and across Tonle Sap Lake, but make sure you take food and water as there is none available on the boat.  Also make sure you buy your ticket from a reputable source, for example your hotel or legitimate travel agent as there are reports of travellers buying tickets for non existent boats."

Option 2, Phnom Penh to Siem Reap by bus.

The bus is faster, cheaper and more frequent then the river boat, although not nearly as much fun...

  Cambodian bus from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh

A double-decker bus from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh.  Courtesy of Michelle Moret van der Spek.

 Phnom Penh ► Siem Reap  (bus service)  

 Bus operator:

Mekong Express

Paramount Angkor Express

 Depart Phnom Penh

07:30

08:30

12:30

14:25

07:30

08:30

10:00

11:00

12:30

14:00

 Arrive Siem Reap bus station

13:30

14:30

18:30

20:25

13:30

14:30

16:00

17:00

18:30

20:00

 Siem Reap ► Phnom Penh  (bus service)  

 Bus operator:  

Mekong Express

Paramount Angkor Express

 Depart Siem Reap bus station

07:30

08:30

09:45

12:30

07:00

07:30

08:30

09:30

12:30

13:30

 Arrive Phnom Penh

13:30

14:30

15:45

18:30

13:00

13:30

14:30

15:30

18:30

19:30

In Phnom Penh, there is no centralised bus station.  Mekong Express Limousine leaves from a terminal just out of town, with a free minibus transfer from most hotels (it seems they have moved from their office at 87 Sisowath Quay at the corner of Street 102 on the riverfront).  Bus companies often offer a free transfer from your hotel.

In Siem Reap, the bus station is 3km east of town.  Bus companies often offer a free transfer from your hotel.

There are several other companies operating this route, including some offering a night sleeper bus, and slightly faster minibuses.

To buy tickets, ask at your hotel or go to any local travel agency.  Mekong Express can now be booked online at www.catmekongexpress.com.

The road distance is approximately 314 kilometres (196 miles).

 How much does it cost?

Phnom Penh to Siem Reap

Mekong Express = $12

Paramount Angkor = $7


Phnom Penh to Battambang by bus

 Phnom Penh ► Battambang (bus service)  

 Bus operator:

Capitol Bus

Phnom Penh Sorya

 Depart Phnom Penh

06:45

07:00

08:00

09:00

10:00

11:30

12:30

06:30

07:45

08:45

10:45

11:45

12:45

13:00

13:45

15:15

 Arrive Battambang

12:45

13:00

14:00

15:00

16:00

17:30

18:30

11:45

13:45

16:45

18:30

20:30

18:45

19:00

19:45

21:15

 Battambang ► Phnom Penh (bus service)  

 Bus operator:

Capitol Bus

Phnom Penh Sorya

 Depart Battambang

06:45

07:00

08:00

09:00

10:00

11:30

12:30

06:30

07:45

08:45

10:45

11:45

12:45

13:00

13:45

15:15

 Arrive Phnom Penh

12:45

13:00

14:00

15:00

16:00

17:30

18:30

11:45

13:45

16:45

18:30

20:30

18:45

19:00

19:45

21:15

In Phnom Penh, there is no centralised bus station.  Mekong Express Limousine leaves from a terminal just out of town, with a free minibus transfer from most hotels (it seems they have moved from their office at 87 Sisowath Quay at the corner of Street 102 on the riverfront).  Bus companies often offer a free transfer from your hotel.

To buy tickets, ask at your hotel or go to any local travel agency.

 How much does it cost?

Phnom Penh to Battambang

Capitol Bus = $6

Phnom Penh Sorya= $5


Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville by bus

  Paramount Angkor bus, Cambodia

An Angkor Paramount Express air-conditioned bus...

 Phnom Penh ► Sihanoukville (bus service)  

 Bus operator:

Mekong Express

Paramount Angkor Express

 Depart Phnom Penh

07:45

14:30

07:45

09:45

12:45

14:30

16:30

 Arrive Sihanoukville

11:45

18:30

11:45

13:45

16:45

18:30

20:30

 Sihanoukville ► Phnom Penh  (bus service)  

 Bus operator:  

Mekong Express

Paramount Angkor Express

 Depart Sihanoukville

07:45

14:30

07:45

08:45

12:45

14:45

 Arrive Phnom Penh:

11:45

18:30

11:45

12:45

16:45

18:45

In Phnom Penh, there is no centralised bus station.  Mekong Express Limousine leaves from a terminal just out of town, with a free minibus transfer from most hotels (it seems they have moved from their office at 87 Sisowath Quay at the corner of Street 102 on the riverfront).  Bus companies often offer a free transfer from your hotel.

To buy tickets, ask at your hotel or go to any local travel agency.

 How much does it cost?

Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville

Mekong Express = $7

Paramount Angkor = $6


Phnom Penh to Kampot by bus

 Phnom Penh ► Kampot (bus service)  

 Bus operator:

Capitol Bus

Phnom Penh Sorya

 Depart Phnom Penh

07:45

14:30

07:30

09:30

12:30

14:15

 Arrive Kampot

11:45

18:30

11:45

13:30

16:30

18:15

 Kampot ► Phnom Penh  (bus service)  

 Bus operator:  

Capitol Bus

Paramount Angkor Express

 Depart Kampot

??:??

??:??

06:45

07:45

12:30

13:30

 Arrive Phnom Penh:

??:??

??:??

10:45

11:45

16:30

17:30

In Phnom Penh, there is no centralised bus station.  Bus companies often offer a free transfer from your hotel.

To buy tickets, ask at your hotel or go to any local travel agency.

 How much does it cost?

Phnom Penh to Kampot

Capitol Bus = $5

Phnom Penh Sorya = $4.50


 


Visiting the Angkor temples...

Cambodia's premier tourist attraction is the temple complex at Angkor, north of Siem Reap.  Angkor Wat is the biggest and best-known temple, though there are many others.  You really need a whole day to see the main ones, and several days to do the whole complex justice.

The temples at Angkor are around 3km (2 miles) north of Siem Reap, you can hire a tuk-tuk or bicycles to take you there are around.  You need to stop on the way at the ticket office.  A one-day ticket for the whole Angor temple complex costs $20.  To visit Angkor Wat, make sure you wear 'respectful' clothing, meaning your shoulders are covered with a top with sleeves, and no shorts.

Crossing the moat to Angkor Wat   Approaching Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat.  You first cross the moat to the gatehouse...

 

And past the gatehouse, a long raised walkway leads to the temple itself.

Angkor Wat   Tuk tuk approaching the gate into Angkor Thom

Another view of Angkor Wat...

 

Approaching the south gate of Angor Thom on a traditional Cambodian tuk-tuk (remork)

South gate to Angkor Thom   Angkor Thom   Face carving on Angkor Thom

The South Gate to Angkor Thom...

 

Angor Thom.  Located in a clearing in the woods with fewer tourists & less restoration, Angor Thom is in many ways more romantic than the more famous Angkor Wat...



Train service in Cambodia...

Until recently just one train service remained in Cambodia, from Battambang to Phnom Penh.  Previously running every second day, in 2006 it went down to once a week, and in early 2009 it stopped running altogether.  There are now no regular passenger trains in Cambodia, only buses.  Map of train routes in Southeast Asia.

Train service to be revived in 2014?

But Cambodian & foreign backers plan to bring back Cambodia's railways from the dead.  Although there have been a few problems recently, a company called Toll Royal Railway (www.tollroyalrailway.com) has been given a 30 year concession to repair and operate the railway, and in 2013 it's planned to reopen both the Southern Line from Phnom Penh to Kampot & Sihanoukville (254 km) and the Northern Line from Phnom Penh to Battambang, Sisophon & Poiphet on the Thai border (388 km).  Indeed, I have witnessed the new ballast and sleepers being laid between Sisophon and Poipet myself in late 2011.  Thai and Cambodian governments have agreed to link their rail systems again for the first time since 1946, and we could see Bangkok to Phnom Penh passenger trains in 2014.  One freight service is already back up & running, and the rehabilitation of Phnom Penh's historic main station is already under way.  See the official Toll site, www.tollroyalrailway.com.

Inside Phnom Penh railway station   Phnom Penh railway station

Phnom Penh railway station, freshly repainted.  It could well see passenger trains again from 2013...


Europe to Cambodia overland...

Europe to Cambodia via the Trans-Siberian Railway...

If you have the time, meaning 2-3 weeks in total, you can reach Cambodia overland all the way from London.  You'd take Eurostar and a sleeper train to Moscow (2 nights), one of the two weekly Moscow-Beijing Trans-Siberian expresses (6 nights), the twice-weekly Beijing to Hanoi sleeper train (2 nights) and a Vietnamese domestic sleeper train to Saigon (2 nights), and finally a bus from Saigon to Phnom Penh.  See the London-Russia page for London-Moscow, the Trans-Siberian page for Moscow-Beijing, the Vietnam page for Beijing-Hanoi and Hanoi-Saigon, and see above for details of the bus service between Saigon and Phnom Penh.


Recommended guidebooks...

Lonely Planet Cambodia - click to buy at AmazonLonely Planet Guides...

To get the most out of a trip to SE Asia, you'll need a good guidebook - and I have always thought that the Lonely Planet or Rough Guides are the best ones out there.

Buy in the UK at Amazon.co.uk...

Buy in the USA at Amazon.com...

Alternatively, you can download just the chapters or areas you need in .PDF format from the Lonely Planet Website, from around 2.99 or US$4.95 a chapter.


Hotels & accommodation in Cambodia...

Find a hotel in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap or elsewhere in Cambodia...

 

◄◄ Hotel search & price comparison.

www.hotelscombined.com checks all the main hotel booking sites at once to find the widest choice of hotels & the cheapest seller.  It was named as the World's Leading Hotel Comparison Site at the World Travel Awards 2013 and I highly recommend it, both to find hotels in even the smallest places and to check that another retailer isn't selling your hotel for less!

www.booking.com is my favourite booking site.  It's really clear and you can usually book with free cancellation and so confirm your accommodation at no risk months before train booking opens.

Tripadvisor hotel reviews...

www.tripadvisor.com is a good place to find independent travellers' reviews of the main hotels.  It also has the low-down on all the sights & attractions too.

Personal recommendation:  The Foreign Correspondents Club (FCC), Phnom Penh...

This is a celebrated bar facing the river on Sisowath Quay, well known on the ex-pats circuit.  But it's also a small hotel with nine rooms on the 1st floor, including a deluxe room at the front on the corner facing the river, and others at the back.  It's a vibrant and well-located place to stay, maybe a bit noisy until they turn off the music around 10pm.  With an excellent restaurant (try their Fish Ashok, a traditional Cambodian fish curry) and a great breakfast included in the room rate, this is a wonderful place to stay.

Foreign Correspondents Club (FCC) Phnom Penh   Breakfast at the FCC

The Foreign Correspondents Club (FCC), Phnom Penh, right on the river front.

 

Breakfast on the 2nd floor terrace.


Travel insurance

 

 

Columbus direct travel insurance

Get travel insurance, it's essential...

Never travel overseas without travel insurance from a reliable insurer, with at least 1m or preferably 5m medical cover.  It should also cover cancellation and loss of cash (up to a limit) and belongings.  An annual multi-trip policy is usually cheaper than several single-trip policies even for just 2 or 3 trips a year (I have an annual policy myself).  Here are some suggested insurers.  Seat61 gets a small commission if you buy through these links.

In the UK, try Columbus Direct or use Confused.com to compare prices & policies from many different insurers.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over 65 (no age limit), see www.JustTravelCover.com.

        If you're resident in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland or the EU, try Columbus Direct's other websites.

  If you're resident in the USA try Travel Guard USA.

Get a spare credit card, designed for foreign travel with no currency exchange loading & low or no ATM fees...

It costs nothing to take out an extra credit card.  If you keep it in a different part of your luggage so you're not left stranded if your wallet gets stolen, this is a form of extra travel insurance in itself.  In addition, some credit cards are significantly better for overseas travel than others.  Martin Lewis's www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/cheap-travel-money explains which UK credit cards have the lowest currency exchange commission loadings when you buy something overseas, and the lowest cash withdrawal fees when you use an ATM abroad.  Taking this advice can save you quite a lot on each trip compared to using your normal high-street bank credit card!

You can avoid ATM charges and expensive exchange rates with a Caxton FX euro currency Visa Card, or their multi-currency 'Global Traveller' Visa Card, see www.caxtonfx.com for info.

Get an international SIM card...

Mobile phones can cost a fortune to use abroad, and if you're not careful you can return home to find some huge bills waiting for you.  I've known people run up a 1,000 bill in data charges just by leaving their iPhone connected during a simple trip to Europe.  However, if you buy a global SIM card for your mobile phone from a company such as www.Go-Sim.com you can slash the cost by up to 85% and limit any damage to the amount you have pre-paid.  It cuts call costs in 175 countries worldwide, and you can receive incoming calls and texts for free in 75 countries.  It's pay-as-you-go, so no nasty bills when you get home.  It also works for laptop or PDA data access.  A Go-Sim account and any credit on it doesn't expire if it's not between trips, unlike some others, so a Go-Sim phone number becomes your 'global phone number' for life.

 


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