How to get from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap (and vice versa)

These days, there are a couple of easy ways to go from Phnom Penh and Siem Reap and from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh. There are options to fit every budget, but some are nicer than others. Although the road still isn’t great, it has greatly improved since last year. Still, you should be prepared for a  moderately bumpy ride for part of the trip of the trip which now takes between 5.5 and 6.5 hours.

Giant Ibis bus

Travel in style with Giant Ibis bus.

Bus

There are dozens of bus companies offering service between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. Many are old, overcrowded and make dozens of stops (but are cheap, running around $6). The most popular amongst expats was Mekong Express, who are known for their safety record albeit shabby older buses. In 2012 a new company, Giant Ibis, started running buses between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap and have quickly become the new favorite. They offer WiFi and, most recently, power outlets on board. We’ve got a detailed review of Giant Ibis buses from a recent trip, including photos. Both companies take around 7 hours and include a stop for food. You can purchase tickets for both companies at nearly any travel agent or guesthouse in both cities, and Giant Ibis also offers online reservations.

Giant Ibis also has a night bus between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap that runs in both directions at 10:30 p.m., 11 p.m., and 11:30 p.m. I have a longstanding fear of night buses, but Giant Ibis’ version is as safe and relaxed as one could hope. Read a detailed review of the Giant Ibis night bus.

Tickets cost $12 on Mekong Express for foreigners and $9 for Khmers and $15 on Giant Ibis for all passengers.

Giant Ibis Schedule:
Phnom Penh – Siem Reap: 7:45 a.m., 8:45 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 10:30 p.m., 11 p.m., 11:30 p.m.
Siem Reap – Phnom Penh: 7:45 a.m., 8:45 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 10:30 p.m., 11 p.m., 11:30 p.m.

Giant Ibis
T: 095 777 808
W: giantibis.com

Ticket offices:
Street 106, Phnom Penh
T: 023 987 808

6A Sivatha Road, Siem Reap
T: 095 777 809

Mekong Express Schedule:

Phnom Penh – Siem Reap: 7:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 14:25 p.m.
Siem Reap – Phnom Penh: 7:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 9:45 p.m., 12:30 p.m.

Mekong Express
Booking office outside Orussey Market, Phnom Penh
T: 012 78 78 39; 098 833 399; 023 427 518
Siem Reap T: : 063 963 662; 012 315 858
W: catmekongexpress.com

Cambodia Bayon Airlines

Cambodia Bayon Airlines flies Chinese MA60 turboprop planes from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap.

Plane

There are now three airlines operating flights between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh five or six times daily. This is the fastest (and most expensive) way to travel; if you’re short on time, flying is the best option because it only takes about 45 minutes.

Cambodia Angkor Air is the national carrier although is not the most reliable airline in the world; if a flight is mostly empty, they will bump you to the next flight. In high season, though, flights are usually booked solid. Flights can be booked online or through any travel agent. The cost is $100+ for a one way flight or $200+ for a round trip. Occasionally travel agents can get better deals, so it’s worth asking. Read our full review of Cambodia Angkor Air with booking tips.

There are also two new airlines flying from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap (and vice-versa) once daily with prices as low as $40 return. I’ve flown both and probably wouldn’t fly Bayon Air again due to safety concerns, but Bassaka Air seems fine to me. Read our full review of Bayon Airlines and our review of Bassaka Air for more information.

Seila Angkor Khmer Express

Seila Angkor’s Ford Transit vans can get you from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap.

Mini-bus

Expats in the know seem to travel by mini-bus, as the trip is significantly shorter than by bus. There are many, many mini bus companies covering this route, but we’ve personally vetted the ones below.

Seila Angkor is popular mini-bus company that does the Phnom Penh to Siem Reap route. The trip takes between five and six hours. With the current road conditions, in order to do the trip in five hours the drivers need to take some hair-raising liberties, and occasionally they can drive faster than I’m comfortable with. Most of the time, though, the trip takes six hours and the drivers go at a reasonable pace. Seila Angkor run 16-seat Ford Transit vans, and all seats come with a removable head/neck rest, a small bottle of water and a moist towelette. It’s good to understand the seat setup before you book, because you can reserve seats by number. Read our full review of Seila Angkor mini bus.

Mey Hong Transport (formerly Apsara) is the most popular company, with comfortable mini buses equipped with seat belts going between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap four times daily. The trip takes a hair-raising 5 hours and costs $10 for tourists and $8 for locals (including expats). The only downside is that the Phnom Penh office is located in Toul Kork, slightly outside central Phnom Penh. You’ll easily get a tuk tuk from the station into town for a couple of bucks, but you’ll save money by walking away from the Mey Hong station and getting a tuk tuk on the street rather than one of the vultures at the station who wait for unsuspecting tourists to price gouge.

Golden Bayon Express has a fleet of 15-seat Toyota HiAce, that are similar (but not as nice) to their competitor Elephant Express. These are certainly the most comfortable of all of the current mini-bus types currently on the road in Cambodia, with larger padded seats than the Ford Transits. Golden Bayon Express claims their HiAces are from 2012, and if that’s the case, they have had a long, hard two years. The interiors are dingy, with holes in the upholstery and stains on the ceilings. They drive fast so although they get to their destination quickly, it can be a hair-raising ride. Golden Bayon Express is yet another Cambodian transport company that has one price for Cambodians ($8) and one price for foreigners ($10). Read our full review of Golden Bayon Express mini bus.

Seila Angkor Schedule:

Phnom Penh to Siem Reap: 6:30 a.m., 7:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:45 p.m., 2 p.m., 3  p.m., 4 p.m., 5 p.m., and 6 p.m.

Siem Reap to Phnom Penh: 6:30 a.m., 7:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:45 p.m., 2  p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m.,  5 p.m., and 6 p.m.

Seila Angkor Khmer Express
#63 National Road 6 (across from Samaki Market), Siem Reap
T: 097 777 7393; 077 888 080

#43Eo, Street 154, Phnom Penh
T: 023 697 1888; 012 766 976; 077 697 672
seilaangkor.com

Mey Hong Transport Schedule:

Phnom Penh to Siem Reap: 7:00 a.m., 9:00 a.m., 12:15 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 11 p.m.

Siem Reap to Phnom Penh: 7:00 a.m., 9:00 a.m., 12:15 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 11 p.m

Mey Hong Transport
#213 Street 289, Toul Kork, Phnom Penh
T: 092 411 611; 023 63 72 722

0667 National Road 6, Siem Reap
T: 088 84 11 633; 063 965 979

Golden Bayon Express Schedule:

Phnom Penh to Siem Reap: 7:30 a.m., 8:15 a.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m.
Siem Reap to Phnom Penh: 7:30 a.m., (sometimes there is an 8:15 a.m. bus, but usually not), 2 p.m., 3 p.m.

Golden Bayon Express
Street 126 at Street 51, Daun Penh, Phnom Penh
T: 023 966 968; 089 221 919; 010 968 966

269 Wat Bo Village (just south of Road 6), Siem Reap
T: 063 966 968; 017 221 919; 010 966 968

Taxi

Taxis between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap cost between $65 to 85. If you are catching a taxi directly from the airport, expect to pay more. Private taxis are almost always Toyota Camrys and can fit 4 passengers as long as they don’t have a lot of luggage. The trunks are not huge, so if you’ve got more than one piece per person, it’s going to be a tight squeeze. Private taxis can be hired through any guesthouse or travel agent. Most tuk tuk drivers also have a few taxi-driving friends and relatives, so ask around and you’ll easily find one. Make sure to confirm the price before the trip, as misunderstandings are common (and frustrating). SUV taxis are also available through many travel agents. 5-6 hours.

Mini-van taxi

Mini-van taxis between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap cost between $100 and $180 and can carry up to 15 passengers. If you’ve got more than a couple people and want to give the bus a miss, this is a good option. The vans are usually new and clean, but ask to make sure the one you hire has seat belts. You can hire mini-van taxis in Phnom Penh next to the Landscape Hotel across from the Cambodiana Hotel on Sisoqwath Quay. Van drivers gather there and you can negotiate your own price. Mini-vans can also be booked through any travel agent or hotel, but you’ll get a better price if you go direct. If you aren’t in Phnom Penh, you can call Sopheap Bung. Sopheap works with several other van drivers and can organize the right size van for you. His number is 012 894 155 and the trip takes about 6 hours.

Shared taxi

Another option is a shared taxi. You can get shared taxis from the southwest corner of Central Market (Psar Thmei) in Phnom Penh. The cost is approximately $6-12 per person, and the drivers wait until they have enough customers to fill up the taxi like a sardine can. Although the cars are 5-seater Camrys, most will wait for at least seven passengers (plus the driver) before departing. 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 takes 5-6 hours.

Boat from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap

The aesthetically unappealing interior of the Phnom Penh boat to Siem Reap.

Boat

Between July and March ferries run between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap (they do not run during the dry season when the water levels are low). Travel is generally best during the wet season when water levels are high. The boats do not meet international safety standards, are run down and are known to break down fairly regularly. During high season, there are usually scores more onboard than there are seats for. That said, it’s a nice way to travel, and you can sit on top and watch the countryside go by (but be sure to wear sun protection!) Tickets cost $35 and leave from the Phnom Penh Port on Sisowath Quay near Street 104 at 7:30 a.m. Depending on the season and water levels, the trip can take between four and eight hours.

156 Responses to How to get from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap (and vice versa)

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  1. Ola Terlegård says:

    Time for some updates. We went to #5 102 Street to buy seats PP-SR at Elephant Express. On this adress there was now a travel agency called Best world Travel & Tours operating saying Elephant Express had gone bankrupt. Anyway they had great service, thoroughly looked into our requests and sold us seats in a mini-van for 9 bucks/person.

  2. Carol says:

    My husband and I have just booked a trip for next February- we are flying into Siem Reap and we are working our way to Vietnam and then flying home from Laos. Has anyone got any recommendations/ tips and which parts of this journey would be best to fly ?

    • Lina says:

      Buses in Laos are terrible, so fly that part of it. It really depends on how you prefer to travel and how much you want to spend. Siem Reap to Phnom Penh is easy by bus, but also cheap by plane. Phnom Penh to HCMC can be expensive-ish to fly, but very easy by Giant Ibis bus. From HCMC to Hanoi there is a very long train, which is fun for a while but maybe not the whole trip.

      • Carol says:

        Travelling through Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos would you recommend taking mainly USA dollars as well as some local currency?

        • Lina says:

          You only need US dollars for Cambodia, but you’ll need local currency for Vietnam and Laos. However, you can get Vietnam dong in Siem Reap, and probably Lao currency as well at any big money-changer here.

  3. SR says:

    Hi Lina,
    We are a party of 11 and would like to travel from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap on May 22. What are the best available options for us? Your suggestion/recommendation will be highly appreciated.
    Thank you so much in advance

  4. ian says:

    Hi Lina,

    I am looking at arriving in Siem Reap on the 14th May and then travelling onwards after seeing the sights there, I have less then 10 days total in Cambodia. Will there be trouble getting transport considering it is the kings birthday over the 13th 14th and 15th and will certain places be closed or overcrowded?

    Thanks.

    • Lina says:

      Hi Ian, you can book your tickets in advance online with Giant Ibis. Most things will not be closed, but the Royal Palace might be.

    • Shelley Haslett says:

      Planning a trip to Cambodia in Jan 2016 – we have time to travel by boat or bus or mini van but would perfer boat if it is safe. Would you recommomend this that time of year.
      From Phon Phen to Siem Reap
      How long would the trip take? Thank you

  5. Colleen says:

    Hi,
    We want to travel from Siem Reap to Phnom Pen on the 26th April should I book the flight before I leave or make a booking when we arrive in Siem Reap on the 22April

  6. Melissa moody says:

    hi Linda, we r trying to get to siem reap on Tuesday 14 April from phenom pen. we were planning to go by bus but have been told there is a festival and it will be bumper to bumper and not advisable. we would like to go by boat, is that possible at this time of year? thanks Melissa

    • jessica says:

      Hi melissa,
      My friend and myself are travelling to siem reap from PP tomorrow, early morning by private taxi, if you are interested in joining and splitting the cost please contact me
      Regards
      Jessica
      J.haaksma@hotmail.com

  7. CW says:

    That’s a very helpful article, thank you.

    Is it true that the boat ride provides some spectacular views and is well worth considering if time isn’t an issue? We are heading out there in August.

    Also, the info relates to phnom penh to siem reap – presumably one can go the opposite direction instead?

    Many thanks!

    • Lina says:

      Yes, the boats go in both directions. You can book them through most travel agents or guest houses in Siem Reap. When you arrive, you can ask them about the water levels.

  8. Jeff says:

    Hi Lina, Have learnt a lot from your blog so thanks for an excellent insight into life in Cambodia. My wife and I (in our 60’s) will be in Cambodia in May. Most of arrangements made accept for getting from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. We would like to go by road but note that you say they are not in good condition. Is this still the case? Also you mentioned 2 new airlines operating at the moment.

    • Lina says:

      The roads are still terrible, so if you can afford it, I would fly. New airlines are called Bayon and Bassakka, but I wouldn’t book them until closer to the date because small airlines have the tendency to fold without much notice here. Cambodia Angkor Air is okay to book in advance.

  9. Kevin Reid says:

    Hi Lina – thanks for the information in your blog. Wonder if you could advise on land transportation from Poi Pet (Paoy Paet) on the Thailand border to Phnom Phen please.

    We will be coming across on Friday 3rd April around 7am and are looking at travelling straight through to Phnom Phen. From looking at maps the most direct route looks like via Battambang (AH1 and #5 roads) but I’m struggling to find any bus / mini-bus routes as they all seem to go via Siem Reap. I see there is a train line on the maps but again I don’t believe that to be open yet.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated and helpful. Thanks, Kevin

  10. Julia Cucchi says:

    Hello Lina

    First, thank you SO much for taking the trouble to post such a comprehensive blog.
    I will be travelling in South East Asia in October – November 2015, with 3 companions. We are likely to have 4 large suitcases and 4 hold-alls/handbags. We will be doing an awful of flying and wondered whether it might be fun to go from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap another way. Is the drive interesting? Are there any reasonable stop off points for toilets, refreshments? We would want to hire a very good quality air-conditioned SUV type vehicle with driver, that would be comfortable and fit for the bumpy roads and have enough space for 4 people plus luggage. I suppose what I am really asking is – is it worth bothering with a road trip, or will it just be 6 hours of uncomfortable driving with nothing much worth seeing en route?

    • Lina says:

      Personally, I think that taking the bus is more comfortable than squeezing 4 people and luggage into an SUV. The road is bad, though, so I’d just fly.

  11. Mihajlo says:

    Hey Lisa,

    First of all, I must say this is a great blog as it provides thorough information about transportation in Cambodia. I would appreciate it if you could advise me on the transportation method I should use to get from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh in january 2016.
    In particular, I managed to find a direct flight from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh for about 110 Euros and I was wondering whether to use the plane for that amount of money or go with the cheaper option like a boat or a mini bus (minivan).

    Thanks in advance.
    Cheers

    • Lina says:

      You’re planning this way too early. There are currently two new airlines flying this route for $40-70, but they will probably be out of business by January (new airlines tend to fail here). There’s a new VIP bus company that will be starting soon. Check back in 6 months and see what the flight options are.

  12. Phoebe says:

    Hi Lina,
    I really like your blog. We are traveling to Cambodia in November. Would you recommend to take the boat or rather fly from Phnoem Penh to Siem Reap, if money is not an issue?
    Thank you so much in advance.

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