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Bangkok to Angkor Wat & Phnom Penh, HCMC to Phnom Penh

Siem Reap & Phnom Penh overland…

Cambodia now has one domestic train service,
see the info here, and 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.

Travel to & from
Cambodia

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Bangkok – Saigon
via Cambodia by train & bus

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Bangkok
– Siem Reap – Phnom Penh
by train & bus

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Saigon – Phnom Penh by bus

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Europe
to Cambodia by Trans-Siberian railway

Travel within Cambodia

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Phnom Penh – Battambang – Poipet by train

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Phnom Penh – Kampot – Sihanoukville by train

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Phnom Penh – Siem Reap by speedboat

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Phnom Penh – Siem Reap by bus

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Phnom Penh – Battambang by bus

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Phnom Penh – Sihanoukville by bus

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Phnom Penh – Kampot by bus

Other useful information…

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Visiting the Angkor temples

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Useful country information
currency, visas, etc.

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Hotels in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap & Cambodia

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Train
travel in Thailand

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Train & bus in Cambodia

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Train
travel in Vietnam

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Train
travel Bangkok – Kuala Lumpur – Singapore

Train service in Cambodia…

Train service revived since
2016…

Until 2009 just one train service remained in Cambodia, from Battambang to
Phnom Penh.  It ran every second day  until 2006 when it was cut back to once a week, and in 2009 it stopped running altogether. 
From 2009 until 2016 there were no regular passenger trains in Cambodia, only buses.

However, Cambodian & foreign
backers have worked to bring Cambodia’s railways back from the dead. 
A company called Toll Royal Railway
was originally given a 30 year concession to repair and operate the railway, and
in 2013 it was 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 witnessed
the new ballast and sleepers being laid between Sisophon and Poipet in
late 2011.  Problems arose, Toll pulled (or was pushed) out, and a new
concession was let.  The rehabilitation of
Phnom Penh’s historic main station has already taken place.  See the official site,
http://royal-railway.com.

Phnom Penh – Battambang –
Poipet
train 

Train service on the western
line resumed between Phnom Penh, Pursat, Battambang, Sisophon and Poipet on
the Thai border in July 2018.  You can check
this information at royal-railway.com
Feedback & photos would be appreciated!

 Phnom Penh ►
Poipet

 

 Poipet ►
Phnom Penh 

km

 Days of running:

Saturdays

 Days of running:

Sundays

 Phnom Penh depart:

07:30

 Poipet depart:

07:00

166

 Pursat

13:10

 Battambang

09:50

273

 Battambang

15:10

 Pursat

12:50

384

 Poipet arrive::

18:05

 Phnom Penh arrive:

17:50

This train has changed its frequency and days of running several times this
year as they can’t make up their minds.  Check current status at
royal-railway.com or

www.facebook.com/TRRCambodia
or

www.facebook.com/groups/TrainCambodia.RR
.

 

How much does it cost?

 Phnom Penh to Poipet

$ 7

 Phnom Penh to Battambang

$ 5

 Phnom Penh to Pursat

$ 4

How to buy tickets…

Buy at the station or by phone on +855 78 888 582-83. 

In Phnom Penh, the station ticket office
is open 08:00-16:30 weekdays, 06:00-16:00 weekends.

What’s the train like?

The Phnom Penh-Poipet train is
air-conditioned and allegedly has free WiFi.

The Phnom Penh to Poipet train

 

Inside the Phnom Penh to Poipet train

Phnom Penh to Poipet
train in October 2019.  .

On board the train to Poipet.  .

Inside Phnom Penh railway station
 

Phnom Penh railway station

Phnom Penh railway station, freshly repainted.  It now has passenger
trains again! 

A successful trial passenger
service ran during a holiday week between Phnom Penh & Sihanoukville from 9 to
17 April 2016, and a
permanent service on this route now runs four times per week as shown below.  Please
double-check times locally. 

For more info see

http://royal-railway.com/?page=detail&article=82&lg=en
.  Their
site appears to have a booking facility, but reports suggest this may not result
in tickets, it’s better to use
www.baolau.com
which is reliable.

 Phnom Penh ►
Sihanoukville  

km

 New train service…

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Sunday

 Phnom Penh station depart:

07:00

07:00

07:00

16:00

75

 Takeo station

09:00

09:00

09:00

18:00

166

 Kampot station

11:30

11:30

11:30

20:30

263

 Sihanoukville station arrive:

13:30

13:30

13:30

22:30

 Sihanoukville ►
Phnom Penh  

 New train service…

Monday

Saturday

Sunday

Sunday

 Sihanoukville station depart:

07:00

07:00

07:00

16:00

 Kampot station

09:00

09:00

09:00

17:40

 Takeo station

11:30

11:30

11:30

20:30

 Phnom Penh station arrive:

13:30

13:30

13:30

22:30

Sometimes the trains consists of 1 or 2 air-conditioned
cars hauled by a locomotive with car & motorcycle carriers attached, car
transport $10.  Other departures consist of a single-car diesel railcar
newly built in  Mexico.  There seems to be little consistency now.

 

How much does it cost?

 Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville

$8

 Phnom Penh to Kampot

$7

 Kampot to Sihanoukville

$5

How to buy tickets…

You can buy tickets online from
reliable ticketing agency
www.baolau.com.

Or buy at the station or by phone on +855 78 888 582-83. 

In Phnom Penh, the station ticket office
is open 08:00-16:30 weekdays, 06:00-16:00 weekends.

In Kampot, the station ticket office
is open 08:00-16:00 Wed, Thur, Fri, Sat, Sun, Mon.  Closed Tuesdays.

In Sihanoukville, the station ticket office
is open 06:00-16:00 Sat & Sun, 08:00-16:30 Mon, Wed, Thurs, Fri, closed
Tuesdays.

  Tickets only go on sale at the ticket office one week before
departure, all tickets include a numbered seat so places often sell out by the
time departure day arrives.  In this honeymoon period with the train recently
reinstated, it’s reported that all seats are sold out by the Wednesday or
Thursday for the following Saturday & Sunday.

What’s the train like?

Cambodian train
 


Cambodian train

The Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville train at
Kampot.  This is an air-conditioned train, hauled by a locomotive
and with car carrying wagons.  …

Cambodian train seats

 

Cambodian passenger train with car transporters

Seating.

 

The train also carries
cars! 

Phnom Penh - Sihanoukville train at Takeo station

The Phnom Penh –
Sihanoukville train using slightly different rolling stock at Takeo
station.  These cars had air-con, flush toilets and power sockets. 

Cambodia's new trains, made in Mexico

 

Seats in the Mexican train

Sometimes the train is now composed
of one of these new single-unit railcars built in Mexico in 2017.

 

Inside one of the single-car
trains built in Mexico.  .

Traveller’s report…

  “We took the train from Kampot to Phnom Penh. 
The ticket does specify a seat number but when we got on the train, the
conductor said those seat numbers did not exist and in any case everyone was
just sitting wherever.  The conductor spoke very good English.  The
two carriages were about 40% occupied.  They showed silent Charlie Chaplin
films on two flat-screen TVs in each carriage (this was the air-con train). The
train rattles along nicely and rarely stops. We enjoyed the trip greatly, the
views are so nice compared to the roadside scenery.  The seats were quite
comfortable, nicely padded. The rolling stock was French.  Good food was
available at each station where everyone seems to get out and stretch their
legs.  One problem with the new service has been a fair few collisions with
road traffic.  Cambodian rules of the road permit anyone driving a large
truck or expensive SUV to consider themselves deserving of priority over other
traffic.  It’s taking them a while to understand this does not work with
trains that cannot stop easily!  So far, however, no rail passengers or
staff have been injured. The main source of casualties on the new line seems to
involve people who get drunk and consider the line to be a good place to take a
nap.”



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Bangkok

Saigon

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

Option 1: 
The fastest journey from Bangkok to Saigon taking 2 days, 1
night.  Cost around $40 excluding hotels. 

  • Day 1, take the morning train from Bangkok to
    Ban Klong Luk, walk across the border into Poipet and take a bus or taxi to Siem
    Reap as shown in detail below.

  • Stay overnight in Siem Reap.

  • Day
    2, take a morning bus from Siem Reap to Saigon, arriving in the
    early evening, see here for details

  • However, doing this
    route in just 2 days won’t give you any time to see the
    Angkor
    temples
    , so I’d suggest extending the journey to 3 days to give
    2 nights and one full day in Siem Reap to visit Angkor.

Option 2: 
A less hectic option taking 3 days, 2 nights.  I highly recommend the
speedboat ride!  Cost around
$65 excluding hotels.

  • Day  1, take the morning
    train from Bangkok to Ban Klong Luk, walk across the border into Poipet and take
    a bus or taxi to Siem Reap as shown in detail below.

  • Spend the afternoon in Siem Reap and stop overnight. 
    There’s time for a quick tour of the Angkor
    temples
    , but I’d recommend stretching the trip to 4 days and spending 2 nights and
    one full day in Siem Reap.

  • Day 2, take a bus (6.5 hours,
    details here) or
    better, the river speedboat (6.5 hours,
    details here) from Siem Reap
    to Phnom Penh.

  • Afternoon & overnight stay in Phnom Penh
    – I recommend staying at the Foreign Correspondents Club.

  • Day 3,
    take a bus from Phnom Penh to Saigon,
    see here for details.

Saigon ► Bangkok

Option 1:  The fastest
journey from Saigon to Bangkok taking 2 days, 1 night.  Cost around $40
excluding hotels.

  • Day 1, travel from Saigon to Siem Reap on a direct
    morning bus, see here for details.

  • Stay the night in Siem Reap.

  • Day 2, take road transport to the border at Poipet,
    walk across the border then take the afternoon train from Ban Klong Luk to Bangkok,
    as shown in detail below.

  • This won’t give you any time to see the
    Angkor
    temples
    , so I’d suggest extending the journey to 3 days to give
    2 nights and one full day in Siem Reap to visit Angkor.

Option 2: 
Here is a less hectic option, taking 3 days, 2 nights.  I highly recommend the
speedboat ride! 
Cost around $65 excluding hotels.

  • Day  1, travel from Saigon to Phnom Penh on a direct
    morning bus (6.5 hours), see here for details.

  • Afternoon and overnight stop in
    Phnom Penh – I recommend staying at the Foreign Correspondents
    Club
    .

  • Day 2, take a bus (5
    hours, details here) or ideally the river speedboat (6.5 hours,
    details here) from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. 

  • Spend the afternoon in Siem Reap and stop overnight. 
    There’s time for a quick tour of the Angkor
    temples
    , but I’d recommend stretching the trip to 4 days and spending 2 nights and
    one full day in Siem Reap.

  • Day 3, in the morning take bus or
    taxi to
    the border at Poipet, walk across the border then take the afternoon train from
    Ban Klong Luk to Bangkok as shown in detail below.



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Bangkok
Siem Reap & PP.

You can travel by train & bus from Bangkok to Siem Reap for the famous
Angkor temples for as little as
$13, no prior reservation needed, just turn up any day you like, buy a train
ticket and off you go.  And the journey itself is an adventure…

Once in Siem Reap there are buses
or an exhilarating speedboat to Phnom Penh.  Bangkok to Phnom Penh from $26
(bus) or $48 (speedboat).

Although there are direct buses
from Bangkok to both Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, this
train-bus-speedboat combo is a much nicer way to go than spending whole days in a
cramped bus seat. 
There used to be a railway between Bangkok and Phnom Penh, but since the war in
Cambodia it’s only been running between
Bangkok and Aranyaprathet on the Thai side of the Cambodian
border, although until 2009 a train service of sorts also ran between Battambang and Phnom Penh within Cambodia. 

Bangkok ► Siem Reap
(Angkor) ► Phnom Penh

  • The fare is just 49
    baht (about £1 or $1.60), no reservation necessary, simply turn up and buy a
    ticket at the station on the day – yes, the ticket office will be open, no, it
    can’t sell out!

    They may offer you a combined train+bus ticket
    to Siem Reap, but just buy the train ticket to
    stay flexible with onward transport. 

    Bangkok to Ban Klong Luk is 260
    km, 161 miles.  The train is 3rd class only, but it’s clean, spacious and
    it’s a really pleasant and enjoyable ride, clickety clacking along with a breeze
    blowing through the open window. 

    Useful tip:  The train also calls at Phaya Thai station at 06:10 (next to the Phaya Thai BTS Skytrain
    station) and Makkasan station at 06:20 (Makkasan railway station
    is not the same as the Airport Rail Link’s Makkasan
    station, make that clear to your taxi driver).  Boarding at
    these stations can be more convenient if you’re staying in
    northern Bangkok.

  • Ban Klong Luk station is just a
    short 200 metres walk from the Thai border checkpoint.  The border is open 07:00-20:00, and
    Cambodian visas can be bought there
    for around $30 if you haven’t bought a Cambodian e-visa
    beforehand.  First get your passport stamped at the Thai side, then walk on
    for 100 yards under the archway to the
    Cambodian border post to buy your Cambodian
    visa, have your fingerprints scanned and your passport stamped.  Be careful with your
    valuables when crossing the border, just in case there are pickpockets
    around.  The whole process should only take around 30
    minutes, but at busy times it can take an hour, sometimes more.

    At the exit from Poipet border post onto the big
    roundabout, you will see (or be guided to) an official free transit bus
    to the ‘Poipet Tourist Passenger International Terminal’ 10 minutes
    down the road from where all the share taxis and buses leave for
    Siem Reap or Battambang or Phnom Penh.  This shuttle bus
    (and the man with the official badge who guides you to it) is
    legitimate.

  • The 152 km (95 miles) from Poipet to Siem Reap should take 2½ hours by share
    taxi or 3 hours by bus now that the highway has been improved.  Prices are posted at the ticket counter at the Poipet Tourist
    Passenger International Terminal.  A shared taxi costs $12 for
    a seat or $48 for the whole car.  A bus costs $9, minivan $10.  You may
    also be approached by taxi drivers outside the border post, perhaps $40 for a
    taxi all the way to Siem Reap.

    If you left Bangkok at 05:55, you should reach Siem Reap around 14:30-15:30. 
    If you left Bangkok at 13:05, you should reach Siem Reap around 21:30-22:30. 

    Spend some time in Siem Reap to visit the famous
    Angkor
    temples
    .

  • When you’re ready to
    move on to PP, there are two options, bus or boat.  There’s a daily speedboat along the river from Siem Reap to Phnom
    Penh departing 06:30 and arriving 13:00.  Distance 251km, fare
    $35, see below for details.  Alternatively, there are buses at various
    times throughout the day from 06:30 until about 12:30.  Journey
    time 6.5 hours, fare $13-$15, distance 314 km,
    see below for details.  Buses are run
    by several operators.  Some buses are double-deck, some
    have a WC & refreshments.

  • Alternatively, you could stay
    overnight in Poipet and take the weekly train to Phnom Penh, but this only runs
    once a week at present, see the train
    information above
    .

Phnom Penh ► Siem Reap
(Angkor) ► Bangkok

  • Spend at least 1
    night in Siem Reap and maybe visit the Angkor temples.

    Alternatively, you could take the weekly train from Phnom Penh to Poipet and
    stay overnight there, but this only runs once a week at present,
    see the train information above.

  • In the morning take a
    private car, bus or share taxi from Siem Reap to Poiphet on the
    Thai frontier, it’s around 152 km or 95 miles. 

    A private
    car will cost around $25 for 1 passenger for the whole vehicle,
    $40 for 2 passengers, and takes around 2 hours 25 minutes so you
    can normally safely leave just before 09:00. 

    An
    air-conditioned bus takes around 3 hours with departures from
    Siem Reap bus station (3 km east of the town centre) at 07:30
    and 08:30, fare $9, with free hotel pick up prior to those
    departure times. 

    You can buy bus tickets or arrange a
    private car at any of the many travel agencies around town the
    day before departure.  At busy times of year (for example before and after
    Thai or Cambodian national holidays), crossing the border can
    take much longer, sometimes an hour or two, and you may want to leave
    significantly earlier than suggested here.

  • You’ll be dropped at the entrance to the border point at Poipet.  Complete
    the passport stamping and fingerprint scanning at the Cambodian departures
    office at the border entrance, then walk through the border, past the casinos,
    under the Cambodian arch
    to the Thai border point 100 yards ahead.  Fill out a Thai
    arrivals card and get your passport stamped here and emerge from
    the border.  The whole process should only take around 25
    minutes, although at busy times of year it can take an hour or even two.  The border is open 07:00-20:00.

    Once through, Ban Klong Luk station is a short 200 metre walk from the Thai
    border checkpoint.  In fact, it’s literally on the other side of the road
    from the Thai border office, but not very well signed, so look closely!

  • Two reliable trains a
    day run from Ban Klong Luk to Bangkok, 260 km or 161 miles.  You should be able to
    make the 13:53 departure from Ban Klong Luk arriving Bangkok at
    19:40.  The other train leaves Ban Klong Luk at 06:58,
    arriving Bangkok at 12:05. 

    The fare is only 49 baht (£1 or
    $1.60), no reservation necessary, simply turn up and buy a ticket at the
    station, it cannot sell out. 

    Both trains are 3rd class only,
    but they are clean and it’s a really pleasant ride with a breeze
    blowing in through the open window.  The train also
    drops off at Makkasan (19:40) and Phaya Thai (19:46) before
    arriving at Bangkok Hualamphong, these can be more convenient
    stations at which to get off if you’re staying in northern
    Bangkok. 

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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 Ban Klong Luk now
takes you to right to the
Cambodian border.

The train from Bangkok arrived at Ban Kloing Luk
 

3rd class car

The train from Bangkok to Ban Klong Luk 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.  . 

The train from Bangkok arrived at Ban Kloing Luk

The morning train from Bangkok, arrived at Ban Klong Luk. 

Ban Klong Luk station
 

Thai side of the Thai-Cambodian border

The new border station at Ban
Klong Luk, 200m from the border post.  .

 

This is the Thai border post, 200m
from Ban Klong Luk station.  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…



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Travellers’
reports…

  “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 30USD 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.”

  “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 $10 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, 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.”

  “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.


Back to top

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 6½ 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 is an
insight into Vietnam & Cambodia in a way a globalised flight just isn’t.

 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

Xem thêm :  mix cho cà phê mê trang của công ty cổ phần cà phê mê trang tại tp. nha trang, tỉnh khánh hòa.pdf

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
times for multiple operators (including all three shown above) at
www.camboticket.com.

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

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 (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 7½
hours.

How to buy
tickets…

You can buy tickets online (and
compare prices & times) for multiple operators at either 12go.asia,
www.baolau.com
or
www.camboticket.com

All these agencies are reliable and offer print-your-own online tickets.

Alternatively, you can 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.  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 $30 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.  The bus
used to cross the Mekong on ferry at

Neak Loeung
, but now uses a modern bridge.  Expect an arrival in Phnom Penh around 6
hours 30 minutes from Saigon.  You may find free WiFi available once the
bus enters Cambodia. 

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.

On board a Mekong Express bus Saigon to Phnom Penh
 

Sapaco bus to Phnom Penh at Saigon

Mekong Express bus…

 

Sapaco bus, in
Saigon…

Travellers’ reports…

  “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 ferry has
now been replaced by a modern bridge].
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.”

  “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.



Back to top

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

  • Option 1, by speedboat along the
    river
    .  $35, easily the most fun though can be cancelled due to
    low water levels, not much slower than the bus.

  • Option 2, by bus
    $13-$15, cheapest, most frequent, slightly faster than the boat.

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 (for example, between March & August) 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…


Sitting on deck on the speedboat to Siem Reap

 


Floating houses seen from the speedboat to Siem Reap

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…

Scenery from the speedboat to Siem Reap
 

Remork taxi from the boat into town

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…

  “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.”

 “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.”

  “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.”



Back to top

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…

 Phnom Penh ► Siem Reap 
(bus service)

 Bus
operator
:

Mekong Express

PSD Express

Giant Ibis

 Depart Phnom Penh

07:30

08:30

12:30

14:25

09:30

14:15

07:45

08:45

12:30

22:30

23:00

23:30

 Arrive
Siem Reap bus station

14:00

15:00

19:00

20:55

16:00

20:45

14:15

15:15

19:00

05:00

05:30

06:00

 Siem Reap ► Phnom Penh 
(bus service)

 Bus
operator
:  

Mekong Express

PSD Express

Giant Ibis

 Depart
Siem Reap bus station

07:30

08:30

09:45

12:30

08:00

10:30

07:45

07:30

08:45

12:30

22:30

23:30

 Arrive
Phnom Penh

14:00

15:00

16:15

19:00

14:30

17:00

13:00

14:14

15:15

19:00

05:00

06:00

Giant Ibis,
www.giantibis.com
Mekong Express,
catmekongexpress.com.  PSD Express,
www.psdxpress.com.

= sleeper buses with almost-flat bunks.

A third company also operates on this route, Angkor Paramount Express.

Feedback from booking & taking these
buses appreciated!

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

 How much does it cost?

 Phnom Penh to Siem Reap

 Mekong Express = $13

 PSD Express = $13

 Giant Ibis = $15

Phnom Penh has no
centralised bus station.  Mekong Express leaves from a terminal
just out of town with a free minibus transfer from most hotels.  Bus companies often offer a free
transfer from your hotel.

Xem thêm :  Tư vấn thủ tục xin visa du lịch Úc

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

How to buy tickets… 

  • can be
    booked online at reliable agency
    www.baolau.com
    which accepts international credit cards & issues e-tickets.

  • can be booked
    online at reliable agency
    12go.asia
    which accepts international credit cards & issues
    e-tickets.

  • can be booked
    online at reliable agencies
    12go.asia
    or www.baolau.com.  Both accept international credit cards & issue
    e-tickets.

  • Or you can ask at your hotel or go
    to any local travel agency.

Bus in Cambodia
 

Giant Ibis bus from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap

A double-decker bus from Siem Reap to
Phnom Penh.  .

 

Giant Ibis bus from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap…  .



Back to top

 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.

For train service Phnom Penh – Battambang,
see above.

 How much does it cost?

 Phnom Penh to Battambang

 Capitol Bus
= $6

 Phnom Penh Sorya=
$5

How to buy tickets

  • Ask at your hotel
    or go to any local travel agency.  Alternatively, try Cambodian
    bus ticket reseller website
    www.camboticket.com
    They sell tickets easily for a variety of bus operators with payment by international credit card and for some departures from Phnom Penh,
    cash on delivery.  Feedback if you use
    them would be appreciated
    .



Back to top

Also see the new train service above.  Here is the bus
service…

 

Paramount Angkor bus, Cambodia

 

Angkor Paramount Express air-con bus…

 

Giant Ibis minbus from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville

 

Giant Ibis minibus from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville…  .

 Phnom Penh ► Sihanoukville (bus service)  

 Bus operator:

Mekong Express

Giant Ibis

 Depart Phnom Penh

07:00

08:00

08:30

13:30

14:30

17:00

08:00

09:30

12:30

 Arrive Sihanoukville

10:00

11:00

11:30

16:30

17:30

20:00

12:30

14:00

17:00

PSD Express also run air-con
buses at 08:30 & 14:30.

 Sihanoukville ► Phnom Penh 
(bus service)  

 Bus operator:  

Mekong Express

Giant Ibis

 Depart Sihanoukville

07:00

08:30

09:30

13:30

14:30

17:00

07:30

09:30

13:30

 Arrive Phnom Penh:

10:00

11:30

12:30

16:30

17:30

20:00

12:00

14:00

18:00

PSD Express also run air-con
buses at 08:30 & 15:30.

 

How much does it cost?

 Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville

 Mekong
Express = $12

 PSD Express = $9

 Giant Ibis = $11

In Phnom Penh, there is no
centralised bus station.  Mekong Express leaves from a terminal
just out of town with a free minibus transfer from most hotels.  Bus companies often offer a free
transfer from your hotel.

The road distance is
approximately 220 kilometres (137 miles).

A third company also operates on
this route, Angkor Paramount Express. 

Feedback from booking & taking these
buses appreciated!

How to buy tickets… 

  • can be
    booked online at reliable agency
    www.baolau.com
    which accepts international credit cards & issues e-tickets.

  • can be booked
    online at reliable agency
    12go.asia
    which accepts international credit cards & issues
    e-tickets.

  • can be booked
    online at reliable agencies
    12go.asia
    or www.baolau.com.  Both accept international credit cards & issue
    e-tickets.

  • Or you
    can ask at your hotel
    or go to any local travel agency. 



Back to top

Also see the new train service above.

 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.  Alternatively, try new Cambodian
bus ticket reseller website
www.camboticket.com
They sell tickets easily for a variety of bus operators with payment by international credit card and for some departures from Phnom Penh,
cash on delivery.  Feedback if you use
them would be appreciated
.

 

How much does it cost?

 Phnom Penh to Kampot

 Capitol
Bus = $5

 Phnom Penh Sorya = $4.50



Back to top

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 Angkor temple
complex costs $37 as from 2017.  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…



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Europe
to Cambodia overland

If you have the time (we’re
talking around 3

weeks one-way), you can travel from London to Phnom Penh overland,
see the
route map here

The links below cover travel in either direction, eastbound from London or
westbound from Cambodia.

  • Step 1,
    London to Moscow by train.  There are daily
    departures via Brussels, Berlin & Warsaw, but the best option is to take the
    excellent

    Paris-Moscow Express
    which runs once a week.  The journey takes 2 nights, from around £250 one-way with sleeper.  Spend
    at least 1 night in Moscow.

  • Step 2,
    Moscow to Beijing by Trans-Siberian
    Railway
    .  Two direct trains every week all year round, 6 nights. 
    Fares from around £500 one-way with a bed
    in a 4-bed sleeper.  Spend at least 1 night in Beijing.

  • Step 3,
    Beijing to Hanoi by train.  There are two direct trains a week, 2
    nights, about $320 or £220 one-way in soft sleeper.  Alternatively, there
    are daily trains with a change in Nanning.  Spend at least
    1 night in Hanoi.

  • Step 4,
    Hanoi to Saigon by train.  There are several
    comfortable air-conditioned trains
    every day over the Reunification Railway taking 2 nights.  Why not stop off to see Hue or Hoi An? 
    About $90 or £50 one-way in soft sleeper.

  • Step 5,
    Saigon-Phnom Penh by bus.  There are lots of
    buses every day, journey time 6 hours, $12.

How to arrange this trip…

  • There aren’t any travel agencies
    who can arrange the whole trip, so you will need to plan
    it out and arrange each stage of the journey yourself.  It’s an exercise in project
    management!  Unless time is absolutely no object, you should book
    the key sections in advance through various travel agencies.

  • Book London-Moscow through a UK European train ticketing agency
    such as DB’s English-speaking line or europeanrail.com
    as shown on the London to Russia page;

  • Book Moscow-Beijing &
    Beijing-Hanoi through a local Russian agency such as Svezhy Veter or Real Russia
    as shown on the
    Trans-Siberian page
    &
    Vietnam page.

  • Tickets for other parts of the trip, for
    example, Hanoi-Saigon-Phnom Penh-Bangkok can all be bought locally, as
    you go along.  You’ll need to pre-arrange visas for Belarus,
    Russia, possibly Mongolia, China & Vietnam, and in many ways complying
    with the various visa requirements (which sometimes require confirmed onward
    tickets to be held) is actually the biggest challenge, not
    buying the tickets, so check this out carefully using the
    relevant embassy websites.

  • Where do you start? 
    First, read through the seat61
    pages linked above.  Then sketch out your
    itinerary using a simple spreadsheet like this
    , deciding where and
    for how long you want to stop off.  Next, check out the visa
    situation for each country.  Finally, follow the advice on each
    seat61 page to buy tickets for each train journey that you want to
    pre-book.

Some inspiration…

You won’t be the first to travel
between Europe and Southeast Asia overland this way, far from it.  Check out
this excellent blog from Tom Woods, “Woodlands to Woking”, 

woodlandstowoking.wordpress.com
, and Matthew Woodward’s equally excellent
blog from Edinburgh to Singapore

www.matthew-woodward.com/edinburgh-to-singapore
.


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Recommended
guidebooks


Lonely Planet Southeast Asia on a Shoestring guidebook
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.



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Hotels
in Cambodia

Top recommendation: 

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.


Find hotels at Booking.com
My favourite hotel search site: 

www.booking.com
is my favourite hotel booking site and I generally prefer booking my hotels all in one place here.  You can usually book with free
cancellation – this allows you to confirm your accommodation at no risk before train
booking opens.  It also means you can hold accommodation while you finalise
your itinerary, and alter your plans as they evolve – a feature I use all
the time when putting a trip together.  I never book hotels non-refundably. 
I have also come to trust their review scores – you won’t be disappointed with
anything over 8.0.

Tip:  It can pay to compare prices across multiple hotel sites: 
HotelsCombined.com is a price comparison site which compares hotel prices on
Booking.com, Hotels.com, Expedia, Accor, Agoda and many others.  Though if
there’s not much in it, I prefer keeping all my bookings together in one place
at
www.booking.com.

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.



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Always take out travel insurance…

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 and belongings, up to a sensible
limit. 
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.

UK flagIn
the UK, reliable insurers include

Columbus Direct
.

UK flagIf you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over 65, see
www.JustTravelCover.com
– 10% discount with code .

UK flagYou
can use

Confused.com
to compare prices & policies from many
different insurers.

 
Australian flag
New Zealand flag 
Irish flag   
If
you live in
Australia, New Zealand, Ireland or the EU, try

Columbus Direct’s other websites
.

 
US flag
If you live in the USA try

Travel Guard USA
.

A Curve card
saves on foreign transaction fees…

Most banks give you a poor
exchange rate, then charge you a currency conversion fee.  A Curve
MasterCard means no foreign transaction fees and gives you the mid-market
exchange rate, at least up to a certain limit, £500 per month at time of
writing.  The balance goes straight onto one of your existing debit or
credit cards.

  1.
Download the app for
iPhone or Android
.  2. Enter your details & they’ll send you a Curve
MasterCard – they send to most European addresses including the UK.  3.
Link your existing credit & debit cards to the app.  4. Now use the Curve
MasterCard to buy things online or in person or take cash from ATMs, just like a
normal MasterCard. Curve does the currency conversion and puts the balance onto
whichever of your debit or credit cards you choose.  You can even change
your mind about which card it goes onto, within 14 days of the transaction.

I have a Curve Blue card myself
– I get some commission if you sign up to Curve, but I’m recommending it here
because it’s great. 
See details, download
the app and get a Curve card
– they’ll give you £5 cashback through that
link, too.

When you’re travelling you often use free WiFi in public places which may not be
secure.  A VPN means your connection to the internet is encrypted & always
secure, even using unsecured WiFi.  In countries such as China where access
to Twitter & Facebook is restricted, a VPN gets around these restrictions. 
And lastly, you can select the geographic location of the IP address you browse
with, to get around geographic restrictions which some websites apply – for
example one booking site charges a booking fee to non-European visitors but none
to European visitors, so if you’re not located in Europe you can avoid this fee
by browsing with a UK IP address using a VPN. 
VPNs & why you need one explained
ExpressVPN
is a best buy and I use it myself – I’ve signed up as an ExpressVPN affiliate,
and if you go with
expressvpn.com using the links on this page, you should see a special deal,
3 months free with an annual subscription, and I get a small commission to help
support this site.

 

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