The city of Phnom Penh stuns with its colonial architecture and wide streets. About 320 km away, Siem Reap is home to the Angkor Wat temple complex. Most tourists to Cambodia visit both these locations, but how can you get to Phnom Penh from Siem Reap? There are plenty of options, but each has its advantages and disadvantages. Let’s review those below:
The roads are pretty good right now, so it will take you about 7 hours to get to your destination. You can take this time to understand the Cambodian country life better and see what it has to offer.
You’ll enjoy the rice paddies, water buffalos grazing, and wooden houses along the road. Another advantage is that there are plenty of bus companies, so you don’t have to wait hours for your bus to arrive.
However, the low-cost, but cheap rides are over-crowded and make more stops. The more expensive tickets get you a faster, safer ride and included Wi-Fi.
If you want to get to Cambodia’s capital city faster, the mini-bus is your best option. There are a lot of mini-bus companies that cover the route between these two cities, getting you from one place to the other in about 5.5 hours.
There aren’t many stops with a mini-bus, but the tickets might be a little more expensive. Some mini-buses will only fit about 12-13 passengers. Others take more people than they should and end up over-crowded.
You can enjoy the same wonderful, pastoral settings of rural Cambodia by taking a mini-bus too. However, if the mini-bus is overcrowded, you might not focus on them as much. So make sure you book your ticket in advance at a trustworthy company.
There are three different airlines that can take you from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh. If you don’t have a lot of time, this is the fastest way to go. You can reach your destination in just 45 minutes, but it’s quite an expensive way to travel.
There’s also the problem of safety because of Cambodia’s rather lax licensing and regulations. Rumour has it that some domestic programs have trainee pilots, so be sure to choose the right plane.
For instance, Cambodia Bayon Airlines features an affordable flight. However, this company uses the Chinese MA60 plane, that has been banned in Europe, US, and New Zealand for safety reasons. Not to mention how noisy it is.
Cambodia Angkor Air is the national flight company and the most expensive, but also the safest. Bassaka Air is cheaper, but some of its flights are cancelled if there aren’t enough passengers. So don’t book seats too much in advance.
There are plenty of taxis that go from Siem Reap to Phnom Pen, but these are expensive too. They’re almost as expensive as a plane ride, and that’s especially the case if you get one straight from the airport.
Private taxis mostly Toyota Camrys, and they have room for four passengers. Unfortunately, they have rather small trunks, so you can’t fit a lot of luggage. The advantage is that they go really fast, making the trip in about 5 hours or less.
There’s always the option of a mini-van taxi at an even more expensive price. This is great for large groups of people who want to travel between these cities. You can negotiate the price with the driver, but make sure you choose one with seat belts.
The cheapest taxi is the shared taxi. It gets there fast, but be prepared to share the car with at least seven other passengers. You can pay a bit more and get the front seat, though.
All these taxis get to the destination in just the same time as a mini-bus. The only differences, except the steep price, is that you don’t have to wait for your taxi or book it in advance.
You can catch a ferry ride from July to March, during the wet season, and enjoy some scenic views. The tickets have a medium cost, although they’re more expensive than buses.
You can choose to sit on top and watch the countryside views, along with the floating villages. You’ll get to your destination in about 6 hours. The disadvantage is that some boats are not exactly safe, so choose one that features life vests.
So how can you choose? If you’re on a budget, get an affordable bus ride. If you want to enjoy the views, choose a private taxi, a mini-bus or a ferry. If you want to get there fast, planes are best.
Grand Bayon Siem Reap Hotel can arrange taxis, bus tickets, flights, and more. Please speak to our reception who will be able to give the best advice.