Transportation in Cambodia
Cambodia has a variety of transportation options for travellers, including:
Public transportation – Local city transportation is cheap in Cambodia. Phnom Penh is the only city with any public transportation network to speak of, with a small bus network of 17 routes. Tickets cost just $0.40 USD per ride, paid in cash each time you board the bus.
- Taxi – Taxis are normally double to triple the local transportation cost, and you often must haggle for the price. They start high, and you work towards something you are willing to pay. Shared taxis for long-distance travel are a good idea if you have a group of 3-4 people. When in doubt, ask your hotel/hostel staff for a price estimate so you know you’re not getting ripped off. Renting a driver for the day costs $15-20 USD, and most hostels can help you arrange finding one.
- Tuk-tuks can be found on every corner in the big cities, though be sure to negotiate a price in advance (usually not more than $5 USD depending on the distance).
- Bus and minibus – The easiest and cheapest way to travel around Cambodia is by bus, a network that has improved quite a bit in recent years. The backpacker trail is so worn that there is a very well-established tourist bus system to take you anywhere. Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and Sihanoukville are the main hubs.Generally, you can get a bus anywhere in the country for under $20 USD. Buses depart regularly from Siem Reap to Bangkok for $20 USD each way, a journey that takes around 9 hours. Both buses and mini-buses also make the 6-hour journey from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh daily for $10 USD per person. The 5-hour ride from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville starts from $9 USD, while Siem Reap to Sihanoukville takes 10 hours and costs $17 USD.
- Train – Trains are not common in Cambodia. There is one route that runs between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville, and one that runs from Phnom Penh to Poipet. Tickets cost $5-7 USD though departures are not very common so you’ll need to plan ahead. While improvements are being made, due to the lack of upkeep of the rail infrastructure, trains are in bad shape. I’d stick to the buses.
- Boat – You can take a boat between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap and between Siem Reap and Battambang. This isn’t the most efficient or cost-effective way to travel, but it can be a scenic and fun journey. The 6-hour ferry ride from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh costs $18-25 USD, and it’s $25 USD between Siem Reap and Battambang.
- Flying – There are only a few domestic routes in Cambodia, between the major destinations of Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville, and Siem Reap. The main airline carrier is Cambodia Angkor Air. Flights are generally quite expensive and have infrequent schedules. The one-hour flight from Sihanoukville to Siem Reap costs $140 USD, while the 45-minute flight from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh is $90 USD. These prices can increase significantly when booking last-minute.
- Car rental – Car rentals are expensive here and the roads are far from excellent. Since accidents are common, I suggest skipping the car rental here.
- Hitchhiking – Hitchhiking in Cambodia is possible, though it’s not common. Most people will think you’re waiting for a taxi though so make sure you clarify that you’re hitchhiking. Rural areas see little traffic so expect long waits outside major highways.