How to get from Bangkok to Siem Reap

If you’re coming from Bangkok to Siem Reap it’s worth doing your homework. There are several ways to travel from Bangkok to Siem Reap, and most fall into one of two categories: “fast and expensive” or “cheap and annoying.” Flying is fast and expensive and going overland is cheap and time-consuming (but offers considerable fodder for amusement). In this post, I’ll cover the best ways to get from Bangkok to Siem Reap as well as what you need to know about visas and the border.

AirAsia Bangkok to Siem Reap

AirAsia usually have the cheapest flights from Bangkok to Siem Reap, but there are strings attached.

Flying from Bangkok to Siem Reap

Gone is the longstanding Bangkok Airways monopoly, and today there are four airlines that fly from Bangkok to Siem Reap: AirAsia, Thai Smile, Cambodia Angkor Air, and Bangkok Airways. We have a more detailed rundown of all of the Bangkok to Siem Reap flights in another blog post, but here are the highlights:

Cambodia Angkor Air currently have four flights a week from Bangkok to Siem Reap (and there will be more during high season) starting around $58 one-way. They fly from the main BKK airport and offer 20 kgs of baggage. They are semi-reliable, although flights are sometimes delayed or rescheduled. Cambodia Angkor Air flights do not show up on flight aggregators like Kayak or Google Flights, so head to their website to check prices.

Bangkok Airways flights start at around $88. They fly from the main Bangkok airport to Siem Reap in smaller propeller planes. They offer a 20 kg baggage allowance, and all passengers get access to their private lounge with free WiFi, snacks, and non-alcoholic drinks.

AirAsia usually has the cheapest tickets from Bangkok to Siem Reap, starting at $48 one-way. However, baggage is not included and costs an extra 515 THB ($14.50 USD). Flights are regularly delayed by 30-90 minutes, and they fly from Don Muang Airport rather than the main Bangkok Airport.

Thai Smile is LCC owned by Thai Airways Tickets on Thai Smile are much cheaper on their website than on flight aggregators, so buy tickets directly from their site. Ticket prices start at $64 for a one-way flight from Bangkok to Siem Reap. They fly from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport and tickets include 20 kg of luggage. Thai Smile tickets are also sold by Thai Airways at inflated prices.

Nattakan Transport Co bus Bangkok to Siem Reap

Your chariot: The direct bus from Bangkok to Siem Reap.

Traveling by bus from Bangkok to Siem Reap

The best options for overland travel are the direct bus from Bangkok to Siem Reap, mini-buses, or by taxi.

If you’re on a budget and don’t want to take a taxi, the direct bus is the easiest option. The bus from Bangkok to Siem Reap costs $26 and tickets can be purchased online. There are many companies who claim to have a direct bus, but the only one that actually does is Transport Co./Nattakan, which is run by the Thai government and has permission to use the same bus for the entire trip from Thailand to Vietnam, which means you don’t have to haul your baggage over the border. (The other companies make you switch buses at the border.) They use a full-size bus with comfy seats and significantly more legroom than you’ll get in a mini-bus. The trip takes around 8 or 9 hours. For more info, read my full review of the Bangkok to Siem Reap direct bus.

The cheapest way to get from Bangkok to Siem Reap is by mini-bus, but it’s more hassle than the direct bus. Mini-buses leave from Victory Monument in Bangkok and depart every 30 to 45 minutes from early in the morning until it gets dark. Be aware that the Cambodia border closes at 10 p.m. Mini-buses take about four hours to get to the border and are usually quite crowded. The price to the border is around 400 baht ($6 USD). You’ll then need to cross the border and catch another mini-bus to Siem Reap. Head straight through to the roundabout on the Cambodia side and look for a bus that already has passengers. The cost from the Poipet border to Siem Reap is $8-10 and can involve some waiting around until the bus fills up.

Traveling by taxi

If you’d like to travel by taxi, you’ll usually need to take two taxis one from Bangkok to the Cambodia border, then another from the border to Siem Reap. A taxi from Bangkok to the border will cost between 2,100 and 2,500 Thai baht ($60-70 USD) and takes around 3.5 hours. You’ll need to cross the border on foot, and then catch another taxi to Siem Reap.The cost of a taxi from Poipet to Siem Reap is around $35, but can cost as much as $55.

On the Cambodia side the police shake down all of the taxi drivers for at least $10 of each fare, and because of this the price can be higher. The fare should be around $35, but often is as much as $55. Walk as far from the border as you can stand to, and don’t deal with middlemen if you want a lower price. Negotiate the fare before you get in the taxi, and do not pay the fare until you arrive at your final destination, no matter what the driver says.

Cambodia visa

Getting a Cambodia visa is simple as pie.

Getting your Cambodia visa

If you are flying from Bangkok to Siem Reap, you can get a visa on arrival at the airport if you qualify. Find out more details about Cambodia visas here.

If you are traveling overland, once you get to the Aranyaprathat side of the border, you will need to get stamped out of Thailand. This is a quick and painless process. You’ll also go through Thai customs, which is a formality as they never seem to check anything.

After you get stamped out of Thailand, you’ll need to enter Cambodia. If you already have an ordinary/business Cambodia visa, they will stamp you and you will be on your way. Tourists will need to get a visa in advance or on arrival check out our page about Cambodia visas if you want to know more). A tourist visa costs $30. They will ask you for 1100 or 1200 baht (~$35) or, if you insist on paying in dollars (which you should) they will ask for $30 and a 200 baht processing fee. There is no processing fee, it’s just a bribe. Arrive early and refuse to pay and eventually they will stamp you through. They’ll make you wait around for a while, but it’s just a game of chicken. Since you’ve budgeted all day to do this, might as well not pay their lame shake-down and catch up on your Kindle.

The other option is to get a Cambodia e-visa in advance, but to be on the safe side you need to order it online a week in advance, because they often don’t get it processed in their promised three-day turnaround time. The cost is $40. It saves you hassle but not money. If you’re particularly nervous about the border crossing, this might help make things easier.

Crossing the border

The Aranyaprathat/Poipet border is known for scams, delays, and confusion. I’ve got a whole blog post with what you need to know about crossing the border, but here are some important things to know.

You do not need to change money into Cambodian riel. This is a scam. You will need US dollars for your visa (although they accept Thai Baht at a rip-off rate) and they accept US dollars everywhere in Cambodia.

You do not need to pay any border crossing fees. Do not accept help from anyone who says they can help you get a visa or cross a border.

Do not get a visa before you enter the official Thai visa office. Anyone who says they will get your visa in advance is trying to scam you.

And that’s it — welcome to Siem Reap!

Bus tickets purchased through links in this post to BookMeBus generate affiliate sales for us. This does not affect our reviews for specific bus companies or routes! For more about how we deal with advertising, affiliate sales, and stuff like that, you can read more here.

How to get from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville (and vice-versa)

The trip from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville (or Sihanoukville to Phnom Penh) is relatively painless. Here’s a round-up of the best options (hint: we prefer the mini-buses) to get from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville and vice-versa. Prices vary between $5 and $100 and the journey can take between 3.5 and 6 hours. The later in the day you leave, the longer the trip will be due to traffic.

A couple of Cambodian buses parked in the bus yard, waiting to transport passengers.

Buses from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville are cheap and moderately cheerful.

Bus

There are currently two bus companies that go between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville: Capitol and Sorya. Giant Ibis and Mekong Express also go between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville but I have filed each under the Mini-bus section because they use 15 and 17-seaters for this route.

Both Capitol Tours and Sorya are typical Cambodian bus companies. Meaning: they are fine for shorter trips but aren’t particularly impressive. Sorya buses particularly have a fleet that is falling apart and often break on the side of the road. They stop several times along the way for toilet breaks and to get snacks, and stop multiple times to drop off passengers and let more on. Because of this, the trip can sometimes take as long as six hours. You’ll be treated to Cambodian karaoke videos along the way, and if you’re lucky, you’ll get to watch some Cambodian comedy shows featuring comedians with drawn-on moustaches.

You can buy tickets in advance online at BookMeBus with a credit card, and then either print out your ticket and just show it on your phone when you board. Tickets are also available at any guest house or travel agent in town on either of these companies for $7-8 and they take about 5-6 hours. You should book a day in advance, but the buses are usually not full.

While these schedules are generally correct, it’s best to give yourself some leeway as they don’t always run on time. Canby Guides generally have good, up-to-date Cambodia bus schedules.

Capitol Tours schedule:
Phnom Penh – Sihanoukville: 7:15 a.m., 8:45 a.m., 9:45 a.m., 11:15 a.m., 12:15 p.m., 2:30 p.m.
Sihanoukville – Phnom Penh: 7 a.m., 7:30 a.m., 8 a.m., 9 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.

Capitol Tours
#14AEo Street 182, Sangkat Beng Prolitt, Phnom Penh (near Orussey Market)
T: 012 404 650

Sorya Tours schedule:
Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville at: 7 a.m., 7:30 a.m., 8 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 9:45  a.m., 11 a.m., 12 p.m., 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m.
Sorya have buses from Sihanoukville to Phnom Penh at: 7 a.m., 7:30 a.m., 8 a.m., 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 12 p.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 4:45 p.m., 5:45 p.m.

Phnom Penh Sorya Tour
Corner of Street 217 and 67 (Sorya Theater), Daun Penh, Phnom Penh
T: 023 992 569
Ekareach Street, (across from CAB bank), Sihanoukville

Phnom Penh Sihanoukville mini-bus

Travel in style with a mini-bus between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville.

Mini-bus

If you’re looking for a faster, more comfortable way to go between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville, I suggest traveling by mini-bus.

Giant Ibis

Foreigner favorite bus company Giant Ibis has started running the Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville route in 17-seat mini-buses. These are a significant step up from the regular bus companies, and offer seat belts, relatively safe drivers, WiFi that works occasionally and a TV that plays English-language movies. The best part is they don’t stop dozens of times to pick up and drop off passengers and always leave on time. The bus stops once along the way for snacks and toilet and the entire trip takes around 4 hours. Tickets cost $10 and include hotel pickup.

You can book Giant Ibis at all travel agents and most guest houses, on their website or at their ticket offices. Buses drop off and pick up at the Giant Ibis office.

Giant Ibis schedule
Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville: 8 a.m, 9:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m.
Sihanoukville to Phnom Penh: 7:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m.

Giant Ibis
Street 106, Phnom Penh (near the night market)
T: 023 987 808
2 Thnou Street, Sihanoukville (near the Golden Lions Roundabout, just past Marco Polo Restaurant)
T: 089 999 818
giantibis.com

Mekong Express

Mekong Express used to run a decrepit fleet of old Japanese buses between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville, and before Giant Ibis came on the scene, they were the expat favorite. They’ve abandoned the buses and are now running “VIP Vans” decorated with decals of prancing horses. They have a good safety record and are known to drive at reasonable speeds. They have a two-tiered pricing policy;Khmers pay $10 and foreigners pay $12. You can book tickets in advance online for a $1 fee at BookMeBus.

Mekong Express schedule
Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville: 7:00 a.m., 8 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m., 5:00 p.m.
Sihanoukville to Phnom Penh: 7:00 a.m., 8 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 5:00 p.m.

Mekong Express
Booking office outside Orussey Market, Phnom Penh
T: 012 787 839; 098 833 399; 023 427 518
Sihanoukville T: 012 257 599; 017 833 399
catmekongexpress.com
Book Mekong Express tickets online

Taxi

Private taxis can be hired for anywhere between $45 and $60 to go between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville. In high season the prices can climb even higher. Taxis can seat four people, but be warned that it will be a tight squeeze and they don’t usually have enough room for a ton of luggage. Most of the taxis that go between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville are fairly new Camrys in surprisingly good condition and the drivers aren’t afraid to hit the gas. Expect to get there in around 3.5 hours or less, although we’d advise you to keep your eyes closed. Later departures will take longer due to traffic.

For an extra $30 you can book a Lexus or Highlander SUV that gives a bit more room and seats five people; the going rate is usually $90. For even more space, consider a 15-person van. This is a good option if you have a lot of luggage or people or both. Going rate is $100.

If you get a direct referral to a taxi driver (ask an expat or your guest house) you’ll get a cheaper price. Otherwise, get a quote from a travel agent or guest house in either city and bargain downwards. We also have a few taxi recommendations in our Sihanoukville City Guide, but they will need to be booked a day in advance because they are Sihanoukville based.

Shared taxi

Shared taxis are usually 5-seater Camrys that somehow manage to hold seven passengers plus the driver. You can get shared taxis from the southwest corner of Central Market (Psar Thmei) in Phnom Penh or at the old bus station in Sihanoukville. Seats cost around $7-10 per person. You can offer to pay extra to take the front seat, otherwise you’ll be squeezed in with three or four others in the backseat. The journey take between 2.5 and 3.5 hours because they drive fast.

Going from the Phnom Penh airport to Sihanoukville

If you’d like to go from the Phnom Penh airport straight to Sihanoukville, you have a few options. You can take an official airport taxi — the price we were quoted was $60. The taxis outside the airport also quoted $60, but they were also willing to negotiate; if you arrive earlier in the day you can probably get it for $50. Another option is to take the Mekong Express bus. If you book a ticket and call them, they will arrange to pick you up 50-60 minutes from the scheduled time of departure at Park Cafe directly across from the airport. 

Bus tickets purchased through links in this post to BookMeBus generate affiliate sales for us. This does not affect our reviews for specific bus companies or routes! For more about how we deal with advertising, affiliate sales, and stuff like that, you can read more here.

Bringing a cat from the UK to Siem Reap

Moving to Cambodia and traveling halfway across the world with my cat, Lionel, was certainly not a decision I took lightly. There were a lot of factors to consider when deciding to travel with my pet from the UK to Cambodia, such as: the stress of the journey for him, the heat in Cambodia, and the standard of pet healthcare in a developing country. However, one very important factor overruled them all — love. So when I moved from the UK to Siem Reap, I simply couldn’t leave Lionel behind!

Importing pet from UK to Cambodia

Bringing a pet from the UK to Siem Reap is surprisingly easy.

As there aren’t any direct flights from the UK to Siem Reap, it wasn’t easy to find an airline to transport Lionel the whole way. One of the most popular options is to fly to Bangkok and then bring your pet overland, but I really didn’t want to bring him over the border myself. So after a lot of research, the best option I found (factoring in cost, traveling time, and convenience), was Vietnam Airlines, flying from London to Siem Reap via HCMC. However, I later found some other options that may have been faster, which are listed at the end of this post.

Booking

All I had to do was contact Vietnam Airlines via email or phone after I had booked my ticket. They were very responsive to emails, and asked for the details of my flights (main flight and connecting flight) and the VN reference or ticket numbers so they could book Lionel on the flights. This had to be done at least 24 hours before the flight’s estimated time of departure. Ask for confirmation to be sent to you via email and print it off just in case there’s a problem at the airport.

A very important thing to be aware of here is that there are two separate flights coming from the UK — I just assumed the connecting flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap was with Vietnam Airlines because it had a VN flight number, but it was actually a code-share with Cambodia Angkor Air, who do not transport pets. I had to change my connecting flight to a later one with Vietnam Airlines, which wasn’t too much of a problem, but it would have been better to know this at time of booking because there ended up being a much longer layover than I originally expected. There’s nothing quite like learning by the trusted method of ‘finding out the hard way’!

Requirements for travel

It was my responsibility to make sure all the traveling requirements were met and that everything was in order when I arrived at the airport. These were the airline’s requirements; there were no specific requirements on the Cambodian side to bring my pet into the country. Once he was on the plane, nothing else was required, neither in transit nor at Siem Reap airport.

To satisfy Vietnam Airlines’ requirements, Lionel had to be micro-chipped and have a rabies shot at least 30 days before the travel date. He needed a health certificate from the vet which had to be issued within 10 days of the travel date (I got this two days before the flight, just to be on the safe side). Lastly, he needs a pet passport from the vet to document all of this information.

In addition, the pet carrier must be IATA approved. This means it must have solid edges (hard plastic) and one side must have a metal door. Also, there must be a pet pad or blanket on the floor and enough room for your pet to stand up, turn around and lie down.

Import cat to Cambodia

An IATA approved pet carrier.

Check-in

Checking in was surprisingly easy. When I arrived at London Heathrow, I simply had to take Lionel to the customer service desk at the check-in area in Zone G — this is the same place you check-in your own luggage because pets are carried as checked baggage and not as cargo. Once they confirmed that all the paperwork was in order and I paid the required costs, he was good to go. Someone from the baggage department came and took him away — I did my best not to cry, but failed miserably!

Tip: Check the label on his box to make sure it says Siem Reap (REP). Try put some ice in his water box so it will slowly melt and make sure he has some biscuits for the long journey ahead!

Cost

When they checked him in, they weighed the travel box and charged me according to the total weight. Prices are quoted in USD but you have to pay the GBP equivalent at the airport. This is the only cost involved, other than your vet costs. The price for bringing a pet on Vietnam Airlines are as follows (weights include the pet and the carrier):

Up to 9kg: $175
9kg to 16kg: $225
16kg to 32kg: $250

Arriving in Siem Reap

I honestly didn’t know what to expect when I arrived in Siem Reap, so I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. To my surprise, when I got to the luggage reclaim area, his box was sat next to the luggage carousel, and luckily, he was in it! No one checked that he was my cat and no one asked for any paperwork or payment — I simply picked him up and walked out the airport (unfortunately, anyone else could have done this too). After a few days of food bribery and an abundance of cuddles, I was forgiven.

Import cat to Siem Reap

Lionel chilling in his new Cambodian home.

Other airlines that fly from the UK to Siem Reap

Although I ended up going with Vietnam Airlines, once I found out that I couldn’t transfer to Cambodia Angkor Air the flight became a lot longer than expected, and it turns out that other airlines would have gotten me from the UK to Siem Reap in less time. There are no direct flights between the UK and Cambodia, so all airlines will require at least one flight transfer.

China Eastern has flights from London to Siem Reap via Shanghai, with a relatively short layover, and they allow pets to travel checked as baggage. Singapore Airlines accepts some breeds of cats and dogs on their flights from the UK to Siem Reap via Singapore, but have a long list of requirements and documents needed. They only allow pets to travel as checked baggage. Thai Airways also allows pets to travel checked as baggage, plus they will accept pets traveling as manifest cargo via Bangkok (ie. you don’t need to be on the plane as a passenger, so you can have your pet sent after you are settled in Cambodia). Asiana also fly between London and Siem Reap with a stopover in Seoul. They are one of the few airlines that allow pets in the cabin if they weigh less than 5 kg (11 lbs) and can fit under the seat, but their one-way flights are prohibitively expensive.

For all airlines, it is recommended that you let the pilot know that your pet is traveling so they keep the temperature in the cargo hold at a more pleasant level.

Vietnam Airlines UK

T: +44 (0) 203 263 2062
Email: vna.uk@vietnamairlines.com
vietnamairlines.com

IATA (International Air Transport Association)

iata.org

Review: Cambodia’s Bassaka Air (updated)

There’s been an influx of new domestic airlines in Cambodia in the last year. Usually domestic airlines don’t seem to last more than a few months in Cambodia, so we haven’t bothered reviewing them. In the last year I’ve flown Bassaka Air’s Phnom Penh-Siem Reap route several times — here’s everything you need to know.

Flying Bassaka Air Phnom Penh Siem Reap

Bassaka Air currently flies from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap and Siem Reap to Phnom Penh. They also have a Phnom Penh to Macau route — the airline is meant to ferry Chinese gamblers to the Kingdom of Wonder — with flights going to Macau a couple times a week. Tickets are ridiculously cheap compared to the previous route monopoly-holder Cambodia Angkor Air, with flights on Bassaka starting at just $19 each way and averaging under $50.

Bassaka Air used to be another airline you’ve never heard of, PP Air. They rebranded and have relaunched as Bassaka Air. The airline is a joint venture between NagaCorp (the casino, etc.) and the Chinese government. The airline has two planes, A320-200 Airbuses, that were formerly owned by Vietnam Airlines. The A320-200s are big planes that seat 168 passengers, and as such the trip is much shorter than Cambodia Angkor Air and Bayon Air, who both fly this route in smaller, slower propeller planes.

Bassaka Air A320

Bassaka Air flies the A320 Airbus, the biggest plane on the Phnom Penh-Siem Reap route.

This also means you can actually bring luggage onto the flight, which is difficult in the smaller prop planes that don’t have regular-sized overhead compartments. Plus, every ticket comes with a checked bag allowance of 44lbs (20kg). The larger planes are generally considered safer as well, but just because the plane is safer doesn’t necessarily mean the flight is safer. There have been concerns expressed about Bassaka Air’s safety standards, and there are (unconfirmed) rumors that most of their pilots are still in training.

On my recent flight the check-in desk closed 35 minutes before boarding (but they recommend arriving at least 45 minutes before the flight departs). Some form of ID is required to fly, but a photocopy of a passport sufficed in my case. Boarding began 30 minutes before the flight left.

The planes have 12 business class seats, which start at $94 each and offer no added service that I noticed. But you can’t put a price on face, I suppose! During the flight passengers are given a bottle of water, which is difficult to finish because the flying time is so short. We touched down just 35 minutes after leaving Siem Reap.

Cambodia Bassaka Air cabin

Inside the Y cabin on Bassaka Air’s A320 plane.

My only major complaint is that Bassaka Air has terrible customer service. I purchased a ticket from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, and when I received my confirmation it was for a Siem Reap to Phnom Penh ticket. I called immediately to change it, and a customer service agent hung up on me mid-call, and when I called back five times and no one answered, nor did I get a response to the half-dozen emails I sent. Finally, I went to the Bassaka Air office in Phnom Penh to try and resolve the issue. The staff member there told me that they had no record of my phone calls, that no one had hung up on me, and the website I had submitted an email through must have been fake, because they don’t have a ‘contact us’ form on their site. After much back and forth, I asked her to bring up the “real” website on her computer and lo and behold, there was the contact form. Trying to regain the face she had just lost, she then said that I should have contacted them through a different email address that was not listed on their website or anywhere else.

Eventually I got in touch with the foreign manager, and after much back and forth over a period of weeks where he said he would waive the rebooking fee but then charged me the rebooking fee, where he didn’t respond to emails for days or weeks at a time, he eventually issued me a new ticket going in the wrong direction. By the time he fixed it, the price of the ticket had gone up and he requested that I pay the difference (for his mistake). Usually I would think a thing like booking a ticket in the wrong direction was due to user error, but after dealing with Bassaka Air’s customer service team — who lied at every possible turn to cover their mistakes — I’m not so sure.

Cambodia Bassaka Air business class

Business class. Four times the price for an extra couple of inches.

Overall, though, flights on Bassaka Air are good value for money (as long as you don’t need to interact with their staff). But there are a few more caveats. Domestic airlines flying in Cambodia tend to fold very quickly, with more than 15 small airlines popping up and then disappearing over the last two decades. For this reason, it’s probably not a great idea to book flights more than a few weeks in advance, in case the airline goes under. Despite the popularity of the route, we’ve heard that Bassaka Air are planning to cancel their Phnom Penh to Siem Reap Route.

Also, it’s very unclear if safety standards are upheld (and Cambodia has had domestic flights go down in the past). It’s generally agreed that Cambodia Angkor Air is the safest of the airlines operating domestically, but I’d put Bassaka in second place behind them.

Bassaka Air schedule:
Phnom Penh to Siem Reap: daily, 9:20 a.m. Additional flights on Sundays, 11:20 a.m., 3 p.m.
Siem Reap to Phnom Penh: daily, 10:55 a.m. Additional flight at 4:35 p.m. on Tuesday and 7:55 a.m. on Friday.

On most days, there is just one flight per day in each direction between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, but it’s worth checking online to make sure the schedule above hasn’t changed. Flights can be booked online at the  or through most travel agents in Cambodia, and based on our experience above we’d recommend that you use a travel agent. Flight date changes cost $15 plus fare difference, and tickets can be cancelled for a $20 fee. Be warned that there are several imposter websites already, so if you book online, make sure you are at the real site.

Want to compare all of the airlines flying between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap? Read the Phnom Penh-Siem Reap flights blog post. 

Bassaka Air

335 Sihanouk Blvd (near Olympic Stadium), Phnom Penh
T: 023 217 688
bassakaair.com

Things to do in Battambang when it’s raining

Rainy season is finally upon us! When it rains it can really pour during Cambodia’s rainy season. With many of the favored activities around Battambang being outdoor affairs, this can leave you a little strapped for options during the rainiest months. Here are a few things you can in Battambang do while keeping dry during the showers:

rainy season in Battambang

Welcome to rainy season! Don’t worry, there are still things to do in Battambang.

Pub quiz at Here be Dragons

The quiz master changes week to week so there’s no real theme to the quizzes, but they usually consist of five rounds, one being musical. It’s recommended to arrive around 7:30 p.m. in order to get seats, but there is also a good menu ranging from Asian to western cuisine so you can also have dinner if you wish. There is no entry fee and the winning team gets a beer tower!

Wednesdays at 8 p.m.

Board games at Ambrosia

Ambrosia restaurant not only has delicious local and western dishes, great smoothies, and $0.50 draft beers, but also a range of board games that you can borrow including scrabble, cards and cards against humanity. For a wet afternoon sitting inside with some games could be an ideal activity for all ages.

Open every day except Saturday.

Movie night at Chenda’s

Chenda’s show a different movie every Monday at 7:30 p.m. (title posted Sunday on Battambang connect google circle). Usually these movies are kid-friendly and shown in the air-conditioned room inside. Food and drinks are also available.

Mondays at 7:30 p.m.

Phare circus Cambodia

Escape the rain and see the talented performers of the Phare circus.

Go to the circus!

The Phare Ponleu Selpak circus has performances three nights a week during rainy season.
and the shows, which are based on traditional Khmer folktales and feature skilled Cambodian performers, are a mixture of circus tricks, acrobatics, and theatrical performance. Tickets cost $14.

7 p.m., see schedule for dates or ask a local ticket vendor, such as Ambrosia, for details.

Yoga classes

Drop into Here be Dragons and head to the rooftop twice per week for yoga lessons. The rooftop is sheltered so you will miss the worst of the weather, but you may get a bit damp (cooled off?) as the walls are open. It’s a relaxing way to wind down at the end of the day and also mingle with other expats, locals, and visitors to town. Classes are $2 and mats are available to borrow.

Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:30 p.m.

Visit the Ancient House

Mrs. Bun Roeung’s Ancient House near Wat Kor is an old French Colonial era home, also formerly the home to Mr. Noun Chea, the second brother of the Pol Pot regime, that has now been turned into a museum. It is a traditional wooden home, allowing you a chance to learn about traditional architecture and learn a little about Cambodian history. The drive out there is also very beautiful and there are a lot of pagodas en route if you’re willing to brave the weather.

Open daily, from early until dusk.

Battambang cooking class

Stay dry and learn how to cook Khmer cuisine at a local cooking class.

Take a cooking class

There are a few places in town where you can learn to cook Cambodian food. Nary’s Kitchen and the Smokin’ Pot both have classes that come recommended with classes. Each half-day class includes a trip to the market, a cookbook, and a meal, all for $10. You’ll make several dishes and can able to enjoy your efforts afterwards.

Nary’s Kitchen has daily classes, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. or 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.
The Smokin’ Pot has daily classes, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. or 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Get a massage

The Beautiful Foot Spa offers a relaxing one-hour foot scrub and massage combination in their cosy spa located in the upstairs of Green Mango Restaurant. Stop in for a relaxing break, to which you can add a cheeky glass of wine for just $2. Classy hotel also offers a range of different massages including one-hour Khmer and oil massages from $8 in their spa at the back of the hotel, near the pool.

Visit a gallery

Battambang is know as an art city, and on a rainy day there’s no better time than to visit a gallery. Bric-a-Brac has an up-to-date guide to Battambang’s art galleries, including Sangker Gallery, Lotus Bar and Gallery, and Romcheik Pram Art Space. All feature local and Cambodian artists, many of them graduates of Phare Ponleu Selpak, in a variety of mediums.

If you’re looking for more activities (rain or shine) see these things to do in Battambang.

Here Be Dragons Hostel

Road 159D, Street 209, Battambang
T: 089 264 895
herebedragonsbattambang.com

Ambrosia Cafe

Open Sunday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
102/7 Street 121 (near Road 2), Battambang
T: 092 766 938

Chenda’s

Opening Hours: Sunday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
(was The Dubai Cafe, opposite Lux Guesthouse)
Street 110 at Preah Vihear Street, Battambang
T: 070 376 387

Phare Ponleu Selpak Circus

Street 507, Battambang [map]
T: 077 55 44 13
phareps.org

Mrs. Bun Roeung’s Ancient House

Street 800, Wat Kor Village, West River Bank,Battambang [map]
T: 017 818 419
mrsbunshouse.com

Nary’s Kitchen

650 Street 111 near Street 104, Battambang [map]
T: 012 763 950
narykitchen.com

The Smokin’ Pot

Street 121, Battambang [map]
T: 012 821 400
Email: vannaksmokinpot@yahoo.com

The Beautiful Foot Spa

Open 12:30 to 5 p.m. on Wednesdays and 12:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Upstairs in Green Mango, Street 159D between Streets 206 and 209, Battambang
T: 011 368 941
facebook.com/Beautiful-Foot-Spa

Classy Hotel

Spa open daily, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Street 159 D, Battambang
T: 053 952 555
classyhotelspa.com

Sangker Gallery

Open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
47-10 Street 1.5, Battambang
T: 012 309 829
facebook.com/sangker

Lotus Bar and Gallery

Open Monday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.
53 Street 2.5, Battambang [map]
T: 092 260 158
facebook.com/Lotusbattambang

Romcheik Pram Art Space

Open daily, 2 to 7 p.m.
Street 201A, Battambang
T: 095 521 432
facebook.com/horn.tomachat

The low-down on Bangkok to Siem Reap flights

Gone is the longstanding Bangkok Airways monopoly, and today there are four airlines that fly from Bangkok to Siem Reap: AirAsia, Thai Smile, Cambodia Angkor Air, and Bangkok Airways. We give you all of details so you can decide which Bangkok to Siem Reap flights suits you best.

Bangkok Airways Bangkok to Siem Reap

Long the dominant player on the Bangkok to Siem Reap route, Bangkok Airways has recently dropped their prices.

Bangkok Airways used to have a monopoly on this route, and consequently their Bangkok to Siem Reap flights were ridiculously expensive considering the distance. I suspect the execs at Bangkok Airways cry themselves to sleep at night thinking of the Bangkok to Siem Reap route, because today one-way tickets start at $88 and round-trip tickets start at $168. Tickets are more expensive on Tuesdays and Thursdays (when Thai Smile often don’t fly). Bangkok Airways has codeshare and interline agreements with many other airlines, so don’t be worried if this is the last leg of a longer journey as long as all of your flights are on the same ticket. They offer a 20kg baggage allowance for economy class flights, but be aware that they fly ATR72 propeller planes so there are smaller overhead luggage compartments.

Bangkok Airways bills itself as “Asia’s Boutique Airline.” I’m not sure what they mean by that, but they certainly have embraced a model that most other airlines have been abandoning as quickly as possible. For example, they offer a full meal on this 55 minute flight, and even more surprisingly, have a lounge for all passengers at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport that is very similar to a business class lounge with WiFi, snacks and free drinks, except that they only serve orange “drink” instead of alcohol. If you’re flying from Siem Reap to Bangkok, they have recently introduced a lounge at Siem Reap International Airport as well.

Thai Smile, the LCC owned by Thai Airways, is the newest player on the route, offering cheaper Bangkok to Siem Reap flights than their notoriously overpriced parents. Tickets on Thai Smile are much cheaper on their website than on flight aggregators or Google Flights, so just buy direct through their site. Ticket prices start at $64 for a one-way flight from Bangkok to Siem Reap and $128 for a return flight, and flights depart from the main BKK airport. Tickets include 20kg of luggage, but be aware of an optional insurance charge that is added to every ticket. The same tickets are sold through Thai Airways as a codeshare for more than twice the price ($158 one-way or $247 return), meaning your expensive Bangkok to Siem Reap ticket says Thai Airways on it, but you’ll be on the same Thai Smile plane with everyone who bought half-priced tickets.

AirAsia Bangkok to Siem Reap

AirAsia usually have the cheapest Bangkok to Siem Reap flights, but there are strings attached.

AirAsia offers the cheapest flights of the bunch, with tickets usually starting at around $48 for a one-way flight from Bangkok to Siem Reap. They fly full-size A321 planes on the route. The most important thing to note about AirAsia flights is that they fly from Don Muang Airport rather than Suvarnabhumi Airport. Don Muang Airport is technically closer to the city center but is not as well connected to public transport. Their Bangkok to Siem Reap flights are regularly delayed by 30-90 minutes, and baggage is not included in the ticket price. If you purchase baggage at the time of initial booking, the cost is 515 THB ($14.50 USD). AirAsia is usually the cheapest option — but not always — but because of that fact, it’s good to have travel insurance when you use them in case you miss your connection and end up stranded in Bangkok on your way to Siem Reap.

Cambodia Angkor Air currently have four flights from Bangkok to Siem Reap every week and have fares starting as low as $58 for a one-way ticket. Right now CAA flights are cheaper if purchased as one-way tickets (but this was not always the case; usually they are cheaper if you purchase a return ticket). So if you are planning to head back to Bangkok after Siem Reap, check if two one-way tickets is more affordable.

Despite their low prices, Cambodia Angkor Air don’t consider themselves a low-cost carrier and fly from the main Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport rather than the LCC Don Muang Airport and fly full-size A321s rather than propeller planes. They also give you a beverage on the flight and a generous 20kg luggage allowance. On the downside, Cambodia Angkor Air Bangkok to Siem Reap flights are rescheduled occasionally, and sometimes are an hour or two later than originally scheduled. One thing to note is that most flight aggregators like Kayak or Expedia don’t show Cambodia Angkor Air, so you’ll need to go directly to their website to book a ticket. Read our full review of Cambodia Angkor Air.

Bangkok Airways

bangkokair.com

Thai Smile

thaismileair.com

AirAsia

airasia.com

Cambodia Angkor Air

cambodiaangkorair.com

Phnom Penh restaurant update

After much diligence and hard work (nom nom nom) I’ve put together a bunch of new Phnom Penh restaurant reviews for you. They aren’t all new restaurants — although some of them are — but the restaurants are either new to me, or ones I’ve been meaning to review for ages. If you have suggestions of new restaurants in Phnom Penh that you’d like to see reviewed, let us know in the comments!

Providore Phnom Penh

The Providore is more than just a high-end deli, it’s also a cafe!

The Providore

The Providore is a new deli with attached cafe that serves up simple dishes meant to highlight the imported gourmet ingredients and coffee available at the deli. The breakfasts, from eggs and chorizo to chocolate French toast with maple-infused mascarpone get good reviews, as do their lunch sandwiches. But the standout on the menu are the platters, priced at just $10. There are French, Spanish, and Italian platters, each featuring charcuterie, cheese, and accompaniments from their respective countries — the Spanish one is excellent and very good value. Finish it off with a glass of draft Stella (it’s the only place in Phnom Penh you can get it) or a bottle of wine from their extensive collection.

Open daily, 7 a..m. to 8 p.m.
67 Sothearos Blvd, Tonle Bassac, Phnom Penh
T: 095 907 879
theprovidorecambodia.com

Japanese Noodle Bar O-San Ramen Phnom Penh

Tonkotsu ramen is the specialty of O-San Ramen.

Japanese Noodle Bar O-San

Japanese Noodle Bar O-San serves up several types of ramen and tsukemen ramen — the latter is cold noodles served with an intense porky gravy for dipping that is sort of ramen deconstructed, and perfect for hot days. The specialty of the place is tonkotsu ramen, that features a rich, milky pork bone broth that is the specialty of Kyushu in Japan where the chef hails from. We tried the special tonkotsu which could have been billed “heart attack in a bowl” — it was an enormous portion of the previously mentioned tsukemen pork gravy that is most certainly best enjoyed in small quantities. The small restaurant is casual but authentic and popular with Japanese expats. The service can be spotty, but if you’re a ramen fan it’s definitely worth a visit.

27B Street 294, BKK1, Phnom Penh
T: 097 9327 067
o-san.com/phnom-penh

Sura

This decidedly-not-hip Korean restaurant seems out of place on trendy Streets 29 and 308. The menu is traditional Korean fare, with (relatively) inexpensive soups and stews, braised meats and seafood, and pricier meat menu that can be grilled at the table. But the highlight is what’s not on the menu — Korean fried chicken and beer, a combination that is all the rage in Korea and served and specialty restaurants called “hofs.” At Sura you can get an entire chicken that will satisfy several people for $15. The fried chicken comes in four styles: original, spicy, soy sauce, and garlic. Served with a side of sweet marinated radish to cut through the spice, the spicy fried chicken is deliciously fiery. Pitchers of Angkor beer make the perfect accompaniment for $3.

30A Street 29, Tonle Bassac, Phnom Penh
T: 023 993 733; 077 848 707; 086 500 500

Salmon House Phnom Penh

You wouldn’t know it by this photo, but Salmon House is packed out every lunchtime.

The Salmon House

Salmon House is an amazing find for salmon lovers on a budget. The restaurant is run by a salmon importer who wanted to showcase the versatility and deliciousness of salmon. They have a $2.50 lunch menu that includes several types of salmon served with rice, and access to the all-you-can eat salad bar. There’s a more elaborate two-course $5.90 lunch option that changes daily. The ala carte menu is more expensive but still good value; a large plate of salmon sashimi is $5, and a platter of three types smoked salmon is $7 (although it’s served without bread or crackers). The preparation is clearly aimed at a Cambodian audience, and some Westerners may be offended by decisions like pairing smoked salmon with a honey mustard sauce, but whatever they are doing seems to be working, because every day the place is packed.

Open daily, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Street 266 behind Pencil, Phnom Penh
T: 012 961 662; 061 221 113

Taste of the Middle East

For a true taste of Middle-Eastern home cooking, head to I.R.F.

I.R.F. Restaurant

I.R.F. Restaurant, also called ‘Taste of the Middle East’ is a small, family-run restaurant that serves up home-style Iraqi cuisine. With the matriarch of the family in the kitchen and her teenage sons acting as waiters, it’s easy to feel like you’re getting a real Iraqi home-cooked meal! Middle Eastern favorites including falafel, shawarma, and kebabs, but also lesser-known Iraqi specialities. Maqluba is rice and eggplant casserole with lamb or chicken baked and served upside-down. Kofta are meatballs, here served in two variations, one in a thick yogurt sauce, another cooked with tomatoes. Both are delicious, and like everything at I.R.F., are relatively inexpensive — most dishes are priced between $3 and $7. Flatbread and dips, including baba ghanoush and hummus are a nice addition to the meal. Finish it off with a delicate middle eastern dessert, dripping with honey and chopped pistachio nuts.

I.R.F. Restaurant
35Eo Street 19 (near Street 118) Daun Penh, Phnom Penh
T: 098 713 443; 012 452 314
facebook.com/tasteofthemideastphnompenh