Getting around Cambodia can be a challenging task, but once you learn how to maneuver yourself around, it gets much simpler. The busy streets of the big cities, the treks between attractions or simply getting from one city to the next can be complex if you don’t organize well.
Although the towns and cities are generally pretty walkable, neither Angkor Wat nor the Khmer Rouge Killing Fields can be done entirely on foot, and the latter is on the outskirts of the city. That being said, if you wish to get the most out of your trip, these are the modes of transportation to keep in mind in order to assist you through Cambodia’s emblematic organized chaos.
If you want to get across the country a bit quicker than it would take by bus, and if you are willing to shell out the extra cash it would cost, you have a few flight options.
|Phnom Penh||Siem Reap||Bassaka Air, Cambodia Angkor Air, Cambodia Bayon Airlines and JC International Airlines||Each offers at least one flight a day between the two cities.|
|Siem Reap||Sihanoukville||Bassaka Air, Cambodia Angkor Air, Cambodia Bayon Airlines and Sky Angkor Airlines||Multiple flights per week|
Taking a bus from one city to another in Cambodia is a pretty simple task. You have the option of booking a seat on either a charter bus or a minivan. All buses have AC on board, as well as blankets and bathrooms. Some, not all, also have outlets on board, WiFi and English speaking staff members.
|From – To||Frequency||Cost|
|Phnom Penh – Siem Reap||Up to 5/day||Starts at $10|
|Ho Chi Minh City – Phnom Penh||Up to 22/day||Starts at $12|
|Phnom Penh – Sihanoukville||Up to 3/day||Starts at $14|
|Kampot – Sihanoukville||2/day||Starts at $8|
|Siem Reap – Sihanoukville||Up to 2/day||Starts at $16|
After a 17 year hiatus as a result of damage and neglect the rail network saw during the civil war, the Cambodian government re-established some passenger train services in 2016. By 2018, the rest of the routes were opened. Currently, the train only runs on Friday, Saturday and Sunday between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville, via Kampot, but by the end of 2019, a Thai-Cambodian line is expected to open. Despite the hiatus, the train is perfectly modern and comfortable, but does tend to leave a bit late on occasion.
Pro tip: If you have a motorbike or a bicycle that you have rented, you can take these with you on the train for an additional $5.
Private or shared taxi/transfers
Although the pricier option, a private taxi or transfer is the quicker transport option, especially if you prefer securing your ride in advance. Booking a shared taxi or transfer will of course cost you less money, but you also run the risk of sharing your ride with large families or containers of chickens (welcome to Southeast Asia! At least it will make a good story, that’s for sure). It ultimately comes down to what you prefer. As with everything in life, both have their pros and cons.
Getting to the islands
Cambodia has many hugely diverse islands with turquoise waters that can’t be missed when on this side of the world. Whether you fancy isolated beaches, luxury resorts (budget-friendly and not), all-night parties or all of the above, Cambodia presents to you 458 km (284.6 mi) of coastline and 52 islands to fulfill all of your beach-bum dreams. For example, getting from Sihanoukville to Koh Rong, the country’s most popular jungle-covered island, is seamless, takes an hour or less and will only cost you around $11.
Transportation within each city
Surprisingly enough, within the Cambodian cities themselves, there are no bus services unless you are in or around Phnom Penh. If you download the Stops Near Me app, you can see the various routes and timetables that are available. There are no bus cards that you can purchase, so be ready to pay for your tickets with cash (Cambodian Riel and USD are both accepted).
The most popular means of transportation in Cambodia (and other parts of Southeast Asia as well), tuk tuks are two-wheeled carriages that fit two to four people, depending on their size, and are pulled by motorbikes. You will have no trouble finding these, especially in more touristy areas, but also even in some more rural areas. However, the amount of tuk tuks available typically drastically decreases after 10 p.m. Tuk tuks are handy for rides from one attraction to another or to hire for a full day.
Pro tip: You can order a tuk tuk from local ride-sharing apps! Scroll down or click here for more info.
Probably the cheapest and quickest mode of transportation, motodops are basically motorcycle taxis and are ideal for transport within cities and towns. An important point to remember: these drivers often don’t have spare helmets with them, so you’ll want to bring your own, especially when weaving in and out of traffic on the busy, Cambodian streets.
If you want to rent a car while in Cambodia… think again. Although you are technically able to rent the car itself, foreigners are not allowed to drive in Cambodia unless they have a local driver’s license. That being said, if you are renting a car, you must rent a driver along with it.
Local ride-sharing apps
Uber is no longer available in Cambodia! Use an app called Grab instead; it’s the Southeast Asian version of Uber and also works in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, The Philippines and Myanmar. You can also use PassApp book a taxi or, believe it or not, a tuk tuk!
Good to know: Grab works at the airport!
Getting from point A to point B in Cambodia is half the fun of visiting the country. Part of that fun is making the transportation simpler by booking it all online, avoiding chaotic bus stations run in a language you likely don’t know! Take advantage of the adventure at your fingertips and see if you can conquer the roads of the “Land of Peace and Prosperity”.