If you can’t decide between a beach town and a river town, why not visit both?Sihanoukville and Kampot are less than 80 miles apart (126km) and the road is in surprisingly good condition. By taxi, the trip takes less than two hours. Here are all of the ways you can get from Kampot and Sihanoukville (and vice-versa).
Taxi: private or shared
Taxis from Kampot to Sihanoukville cost $30, although you will almost always be quoted more. Try to hold out for $30. Keep in mind the trip between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, which is three times as far, can be had for $65, so $30 for a one-and-a-half to two-hour trip is more than fair. Because all transport in Sihanoukville is affected by a mafia-type situation (don’t ask me) taxi prices from Sihanoukville to Kampot are usually $35 to $40, but the $30 trips are still available.
Taxis are usually Toyota Camrys, that can seat four passengers. However, the trunk almost always have a propane, so it will only hold one or two bags. If you have a lot of luggage, you’ll need to keep it in the car so only plan for three passengers.
If you book through your hotel or a travel agent, you will probably pay a surcharge of $5. SUV taxis are also sometimes available for an extra charge. The best way to find a taxi between Kampot and Sihanoukville is to ask a tuk tuk driver, because they invariably have a taxi driver brother or friend. We’ve used a Sihanoukville-based driver named Try, his phone number is 097 666 6051. He does this route often for $30 each way.
Sihanoukville-based taxi driver Mr. Dara does the trip between Kampot and Sihanoukville in either direction for $30. He is very friendly and speaks English and we had a good trip with him recently. He drives a Toyota Camry but has plans to upgrade to a Lexus. His numbers are 016 266 393 and 097 591 8043.
Move to Cambodia reader Kayla recommends Mr. Rany, a Kampot tuk tuk driver whose business card bills him as “the man who connects you with the local.” Rany speaks English and can organize a taxi for $30. His phone number is 092 739 695 and his email address is email@example.com.
You can also head to Psar Leu [map] in Sihanoukville or at the Kampot bus station [map]. There, you can hire a private taxi directly or wait around for a shared taxi. Shared taxis cost $5 per person, and usually carry six or seven passengers. If you want the front seat, you’ll have to have a seatmate or pay for two seats. Shared taxis offer little in the value or comfort categories, but offer an “authentic Cambodia experience.”
While there are no proper buses currently, there are several van companies that go between Sihanoukville and Kampot. Kampot Tours and Champa Mekong Tours are the most popular with expats.
Kampot Tours and Travel is a Kampot and Vietnam-based travel agency that has a mini-bus service that runs between Kampot and Sihanoukville. The cost is $5 and they run twice daily between Kampot to Sihanoukville. The current times are 8:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. from Kampot to Sihanoukville and at 7:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. from Sihanoukville to Kampot. As usual it’s best to check the times to make sure they haven’t changed. The trip takes two hours and they offer free pickup. Tickets can be booked at the Kampot Tours office, your hotel or guesthouse or any local travel agent.
Kampot Tours and Travel
One block off the riverside, near Kronat Park, Kampot
T: 092 125 556; 097 982 8756
Tickets on Champa Mekong from Kampot to Sihanoukville cost $5 per person, and includes pickup from your hotel or guesthouse. From Sihanoukville to Kampot the price rises mysteriously to $6, and they will pick you up from the travel agent where you booked the ticket. The vans run at 8:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 3:30 p.m. in both directions. Schedules change regularly, so it’s worth checking.
Champa Mekong Tours
Ek Reach Street (also called Old Market Street. Next to the park, one block in from the riverside), Kampot
T: 023 696 8000