Just over 300 kilometres separate two of Cambodia’s most popular tourist cities of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. If you’re looking to travel from one to the other then you can reach each one a variety of ways. Take a bus, rent a private taxi, fly, or hop on a ferry.
With so many options, it might seem a bit overwhelming having to choose which one suits you best. There’s really no right answer, as your final mode of transportation really depends on your budget, the amount of time you have to get there, and your overall comfort level.
If this all sounds like a lot then don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are our top seven tips for how to get from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap in the cheapest, most stress-free way possible.
How To Travel From Phnom Penh To Siem Reap
1. Hire a Private Car For Ultimate Comfort
We’ll start with the most comfortable option first. Renting a private car is going to be your best option if you’re looking to enjoy a bit of comfort during your trip from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. The trip will take about five hours and while it’s a bit more expensive than other options, you’ll enjoy some luxurious advantages. Not only will your driver pick you up from wherever you are, but they most often speak English and will stop whenever you need to for a break.
2. Catch a Bus To Siem Reap
There are numerous buses that run between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. From VIP carriages to standard buses, you’ll find that taking a bus between the two cities is likely the most popular option for budget travellers. With an average price of USD $11, it’s easy to see why. Normal bus routes begin departing at early in the morning and run until late at night, making this a great option if you’re looking to leave at an odd hour.
3. Take a Minivan with Friends
If you need to get from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap and you’re with a small group of friends, then renting a minivan for your whole group is a safe, affordable option. Often, they end up being just about the same price as a standard bus ticket, but you’ve got the advantage of only being with people you know. And, the route in a minivan takes you through the scenic Cambodian countryside, further adding to the unique experience.
4. Fly With a Local Airline
As the journey by ground only takes about five to six hours, it doesn’t really make sense to go through all of the hassles of flying from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. However, it is one of the travel options available if you’re strapped for time. The flight is about 45 minutes long but can run you upwards of USD $150. Check prices from local airlines like Cambodia Angkor Air, JC Internationa Airlines, and Lanmei Airlines to see if you can snag a good deal.
5. Book Tickets Online Via Bookaway
Once you’ve decided on your mode of transportation, it’s best to buy your tickets for trains, buses, or vans online. Not only are the lines incredibly long at most transport stations, but booking online is a great way to lock in your price. It also ensures your peace of mind; you’ll know your ticket is purchased and ready for your day of travel! So, make life easier for yourself and book tickets for trains, private buses and ferries in advance via Bookaway.
6. Only Book Ferries For Sightseeing
As mentioned, booking a ferry is certainly one of the ways you can get from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. But, for the price and time, the only reason it makes sense to book a ferry would bet to enjoy the scenic Cambodian waters. A ferry trip from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap will cost you about USD $35 and it takes eight hours. However, it’s a great option if you’re a photographer, videographer, or Instagrammer looking to get unique water shots you can’t anywhere else.
7. Take a Tuk Tuk to the City Centre
Once you’ve arrived in either Phnom Penh or Siem Reap, take a tuk-tuk to get to the city centre. This is the cheapest way to reach the centre if you’ve got too many bags to fit on the back of a standard moto. All of the prices are set at the airport if you’re arriving to the airport. Or, speak with your bus company to ask them how to get to the centre if you’re arriving to a specific bus station.