There are a couple of easy ways to go from Phnom Penh and Siem Reap (and Siem Reap to Phnom Penh) in 2018, including bus, boat, plane, taxi, and mini-bus. There are options to fit every budget, but some are nicer than others. Right now the road is in great condition and it’s a smooth ride, unlike in years past. The journey usually takes between 5 and 6 hours, depending on your mode of transport if you go by road.
Ways to travel from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap
- Taxi: Costs $65-100. Most comfortable option. Best balance of price and convenience. About 5 hours.
- Bus: Costs $6-15. Smoothest ride and best views. About 6 hours.
- Mini-bus/van: Costs $9-12. Faster than the bus, but more cramped. About 5.5 hours.
- Plane: Costs $30-120. Fastest method, but domestic flights are unreliable. About 1 hour.
- Ferry: Costs $35. Best scenery, if you sit outside. About 8 hours, sometimes more.
Taxis from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap
Taxis between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap usually cost between $65 to $100, but are more expensive on Cambodian holidays.
Private taxis can reserved in advance online (at surprisingly reasonable rates). The trip takes between 4 and 6 hours depending on traffic and how often you need to stop. If you reserve online, you will get a large SUV taxi, usually a very comfortable Lexus 4×4. If you reserve online, you’ll pay in advance by credit card and don’t have to deal with last-minute price changes by the driver.
If you book through a guesthouse or travel agent, the cars will 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. Guesthouses and travel agents will charge a commission. Make sure to confirm the price with the drive before you set off, as misunderstandings are common (and frustrating).
Expect your taxi driver to stop multiple times to pick up and drop off packages along the way. If you are paying on the high end of the scale, it’s fair to ask (in advance) that they do not make extra stops. If you are catching a taxi directly from the airport, expect to pay slightly more. 4-6 hours.
It is also possible to get mini-vans taxis between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. They cost between $100 and $200 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. You can also book a mini-van online, which is usually less of a headache.
Buses from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap
The road between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap offers a glimpse of Cambodian country life, as it barrels past rice paddies, traditional wooden houses, and water buffalo and cows lazily grazing on the side of the road. The views are best appreciated from a full-size bus, as the mini-buses are more crowded and have smaller windows. If you get carsick, the bus is a better option as it’s a bit slower and significantly less bumpy.
There are dozens of bus companies offering service between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. Many are old, overcrowded, make dozens of stops, and break down often (but are cheap, running around $6 or $7). The more expensive ones offer a much smoother ride and extra amenities.
The most popular amongst expats is Giant Ibis, offer WiFi and power outlets on board. Read our review of Giant Ibis buses for more detailed info. Giant Ibis also has a night bus between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap that runs in both directions. Check out our detailed review of the Giant Ibis night bus. Tickets cost $15, and you can book online and select your seat in advance. The trip takes between 5 and 6 hours.
Giant Ibis bus schedule
Phnom Penh to Siem Reap: 8:45 a.m., 9:45 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 11 p.m., 11:30 p.m.
Siem Reap to Phnom Penh: 8:45 a.m., 9:45 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 11 p.m., 11:30 p.m.
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Popular Mekong Express are known for their safety record and have recently gotten a new fleet of full-size buses, although if they don’t get enough bookings you may end up on a mini-bus. Tickets cost $12 and you can book tickets and select your seat online for a small service fee. The trip takes between 5 and 6 hours.
Mekong Express bus schedule
Phnom Penh to Siem Reap: 7:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2:25 p.m. (plus 5:30 p.m. VIP van and 11:30 p.m. night bus)
Siem Reap to Phnom Penh: 7:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. (plus 2:30 p.m. VIP van and 11:30 p.m. night bus)
Buy a ticket on Mekong Express now
Mini-buses and Vans from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap
Expats in the know—at least the ones who are not prone to car sickness—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.
Cambodia Post VIP Van is my current favorite mini-bus from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. This government-owned transport company runs new (and very comfortable) Toyota HiAce vans between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. They only carry 13 passengers at a time, so it’s less claustrophobic than other companies. The trip takes about 5.5 hours with two stops and they drive cautiously—they even have a sign on the back of the van saying “How’s my driving?” with a phone number to call. Tickets cost $9. Read our full review of Cambodia Post VIP Van.
Cambodia Post VIP Van Schedule
Phnom Penh to Siem Reap: 7 a.m., 8 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 2 p.m.
Siem Reap to Phnom Penh: 7:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 2 p.m.
Buy a ticket on Cambodia Post VIP Van now
Larryta Express runs a fleet of 15-passenger Ford Transit Vans nine times a day between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. The buses are new and clean. The drivers drive fast, but not terrifyingly and trip takes a little under 5.5 hours, including two stops. Because of the regular departures, you don’t need to purchase tickets more than a day in advance. Tickets cost $9 for Cambodians and $11 for foreigners. Read our full review of Larryta Express.
Larryta Express bus schedule
Phnom Penh to Siem Reap: 6:30 a.m., 8:15 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 10 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 4 p.m., 4:30 p.m.
Siem Reap to Phnom Penh: 7 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 3 p.m., 4:30 p.m.
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Seila Angkor is popular mini-bus company that does the Phnom Penh to Siem Reap route with 18 departures every day. The drivers occasionally take some hair-raising liberties, and drive faster than I’m comfortable with, but most of the time the trip takes 5.5 hours and the drivers go at a reasonable pace. Seila Angkor run 16-seat Ford Transit vans, and you can reserve seats by number. Tickets cost $9 for Cambodians and $11 for foreigners. Read our full review of Seila Angkor mini bus.
Seila Angkor bus schedule
Phnom Penh to Siem Reap: 6:30 a.m., 7 a.m., 7:30 a.m., 8 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 10 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:45 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m., 5 p.m., 6 p.m., and 11 p.m.
Siem Reap to Phnom Penh: 6:30 a.m., 7 a.m., 7:30 a.m., 8 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 10 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:45 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m., 5 p.m., and 11 p.m.
Buy a ticket on Seila Angkor Express now
You can book tickets for Cambodia VIP Van, Larryta Express, Seila Angkor and many other mini-bus companies on BookMeBus. If you use an international credit card there’s a book fee of less than $1 and you can reserve a seat at the time of booking.
Flights from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap
There are now three airlines operating daily flights between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. 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 between 45 and 60 minutes (plus of course the hour at the airport).
Cambodia Angkor Air is the national carrier and the most expensive option. Flights can be booked online or through any travel agent. The cost varies, but is usually between $60 and $100 for a one way ticket. 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 several new airlines flying from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap (and vice-versa) once daily with prices as low as $50 return. We have a entire blog post comparing all of the Phnom Penh to Siem Reap flights if you’re thinking of flying.
Shared taxis between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap
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 and is very crowded.
Ferries between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap
Between July and March ferries run between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap (they usually do not run during the dry season when the water levels are low). Travel is best during the wet season when water levels are high. Although the boats are probably not as safe as what you’d find at home, they have started increasing the safety standards and a new company, Mekong Explore, actually has life jackets for passengers. Most passengers opt for sitting on the top of the boat (so bring sunblock) and watch the countryside go by. The boat goes through some interesting floating villages outside of Siem Reap. Boats leave from both Siem Reap and Phnom Penh at 7:30 a.m. and the trip takes about six hours. Tickets cost $35 and can be purchased online in advance (which is a good idea in high season).
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