Until recently, there was only one flight from Siem Reap to Sihanoukville, and it wasn’t cheap. Last year a new airline has started offering flights between Sihanoukville and Siem Reap several times a week. It’s an all-around winner: Sky Angkor Air’s planes are new, the prices are incredibly low, and I didn’t crash on my recent flight.
Sky Angkor Airlines, formerly SkyWings Asia Airlines, is a joint Korean and Cambodian venture and is flying the first international flights in and out of Sihanoukville Airport, to Korea, Japan, and China. Their fleet consists of three full-size Airbus A320-200s, which is reassuring to the passenger who might be skittish about flying domestic flights in Cambodia on smaller propeller planes.
The Siem Reap to Sihanoukville flight is part of a triangle route to allow Korean passengers to hit the temples of Angkor and the beach. As such, it hasn’t been advertised at all, and on both of my flights last week fewer than 20 of the 200 seats had passengers. That might be why the tickets are between $112 and $160 for a round-trip flight, which is incredibly low compared to the dominant player on the route, Cambodia Angkor Air, who charges between $230 and $300 for a return flight.
On my flights, because there were so few passengers and they were all already at the airport, the flights began boarding 45 minutes before the scheduled departure and took off 30 minutes early. They say that check-in closes 30 minutes before boarding, but it might be worth showing up 45 minutes early so they can leave early. The planes have 180 economy class seats, and no business class. On my flights, the flight attendants were Korean and Cambodian, and the pilots were Cambodian and Ukrainian.
Sky Angkor Air schedule:
Siem Reap to Sihanoukville: Tuesday, Thursdays Saturdays, and Sundays, 10:30 a.m.
Sihanoukville to Siem Reap: Monday Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, 10:30 p.m.
Flights cost between $56 and $80 each way, Like most local airlines, Sky Angkor Airlines has one price for Cambodians and a much higher price for foreigners. It used to be on their website everyone got the local price regardless of nationality, but we are not longer sure if that’s the case.
Despite being such a technologically advanced country, Korean airline websites seem to be some of the most complicated and hard to navigate in the world, and Sky Angkor Airlines’s site is no exception. You’ll need to go to their sister site to make a booking, pay in Korean won, and in my case, I had no idea if the ticket was booked until we called to confirm. If it’s too much of a headwreck for you, you can use a local travel agent, which adds about $25 in either direction that includes the “foreigner tax” and agent surcharge (usually $5 each way). Mingliang Group in Phnom Penh, Sopheak Na Travel in Siem Reap, and Ana Travel in Sihanoukville (no website, T: 012 915 301) are all travel agents that we have used.
It’s worth noting that many airlines based elsewhere in Asia start a domestic flight in Cambodia so they can get their Airline Operating Certificate (AOC) in Cambodia, which unsurprisingly has laxer standards than many of its neighbors. Then, once licensed later down the down, they stop the domestic routes. For this reason, don’t book too far in advance on Sky Angkor Air. They only allow bookings for two months in advance anyway, and because this is part of a package from Korea that goes to both Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville, I think that it will actually stick around for a while.
Sky Angkor Airlines
T: 027 522 633 (reservations)
Road 6, Angkor Shopping Arcade E41&E43, Khros Village, Svay Dangkum Commune, Siem Reap
T: 063 967 300; 063 967 400
→ Want to know the other options for getting from Sihanoukville to Siem Reap? We’ve got you covered.