How to get from Siem Reap to Battambang (and vice-versa)

Battambang and Siem Reap are two of the nicest spots that Northwestern Cambodia has to offer, and each is worth visiting. Battambang and Siem Reap are only 48 miles (77 km) apart, but the trip can take as long as four hours due to the fact that there’s no direct road–all of the buses route through Sisophon–and up to ten hours by boat. Here we cover how to get from Siem Reap to Battambang (and vice-versa), including boat, taxi and bus.

Heading to Battambang? Check out our expat guide to Battambang with hotels, activities, transport and more. 

things to do in Battambang

Seen Siem Reap? Now it’s time for Battambang.


Mini-bus

After a hiatus, there are again mini-bus shuttles traveling between Siem Reap and Battambang. Mekong Express are now running two buses every day in either direction. The 8 a.m. bus from Siem Reap and the 2 p.m. bus from Battambang is larger and seats 25 passengers, the other bus seats 18 passengers. Mekong Express is a long-time tourist favorite because they have a good safety record and are relatively reliable.

Tickets cost $6 for Cambodians and $7 for foreigners and can be booked at the Mekong Express ticket offices or online at BookMeBus where you can reserve a seat in advance. The trip takes about three hours.

Mekong Express schedule:
Siem Reap to Battambang: 8 a.m., 2 p.m.
Battambang to Siem Reap: 8 a.m., 2 p.m.

Mekong Express

catmekongexpress.com
Book tickets online

Ticket Offices:
14 Sivatha Blvd, Khum Svay Dangkum, Siem Reap
T: 063 963 662; 012 315 858
323 Street 3, 3 Mohatep Village, Svay Por Commune, Battambang
T: 088 576 7668; 069 88 59 59

Mekong Express Siem Reap to Battambang

Mekong Express are now running these cute little numbers between Battambang and Siem Reap.

Bus

There are several full-size bus companies doing this route, all of them of the crappy local variety. Bus tickets cost around $5, but there can be as much as 100% markup at local travel agents and guesthouses, particularly on the Siem Reap side. It’s quite easy to go directly to the bus company ticket office and purchase your ticket yourself to save a couple of bucks.

Capitol Tours is the best of the bunch. Their fleet of 42-seat buses bedecked with colorful curtains are aging but still in decent condition. You’ll be treated to Khmer karaoke videos for the duration of the journey, an excellent insight into local culture. They tend to leave 15 minutes late and the trip takes between three and three-and-a-half  hours.

Capitol Tours bus Siem Reap Battambang

The interior of a Capitol Tours bus between Siem Reap and Battambang. Karaoke not pictured.

Tickets cost 22,000 riel ($5.50) for both locals and foreigners and includes free mini-bus pickup. The bus depots in both Siem Reap and Battambang are not particularly central, so you can go to the Capitol offices in either town (we have links to maps below) and they’ll transport you to the station. Expect to add another hour to your trip with the back and forth from the stations, often making the trip more hassle than it’s worth (we prefer the mini-buses).

For full-size buses that arrive in Battambang, there will be another bus waiting that says ‘Pick up Bus’ on the side that will take you into town, or you can take a tuk tuk from the station. You can also get a tuk tuk from the Battambang bus station; the drivers offer a discounted rate of $1 for tourists, but if they know that you’re not planning on doing any day tours, they will push for the “real” rate of $2 or $3. For buses that arrive in Siem Reap, you can easily get a tuk tuk or moto to town for a couple of bucks.

Capitol Tours Schedule:
Siem Reap to Battambang: 7:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m.
Battambang to Siem Reap: 7:45 a.m., 9:45 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m.

Capitol Tours

capitolkh.com

Ticket Offices: La Hte Street (at Street 103), Battambang [map]
T:011 600 953
663 Street 10 (at corner of Street 9), Siem Reap [map]
T: 063 963 883; 092 277 311; 011 600 963

Taxi

Private taxis cost between $40 or $50 to go from Siem Reap to Battambang or vice-versa. As with most taxis in Cambodia, the preferred vehicle is the Toyota Camry which can fit four passengers, but it can be a tight squeeze and the trunk is rarely empty, so if you have more than three people, travel light. You can hire a taxi through any local guesthouse or travel agent for $40, but if you book a taxi online you’ll get an SUV taxi (usually) for around the same price. The trip takes two or two-and-a-half hours.

Boat

Boats between Siem Reap to Battambang leave at 7 a.m. each day in either direction. The trip takes between eight and ten hours, depending on the season and how high the water level is, and which direction you are going; the trip from Battambang to Siem Reap is shorter than the other way around. The views are gorgeous, passing by many small fishing villages, allowing visitors to get a sense of life on Cambodia’s riverside. If you’re considering taking the boat, know that the wet season is the best time to take it due to higher water levels, but be sure to bring both sunblock and some sort of rain protection (you can get cheap ponchos for 2,000 riel at any small shop). Also be aware that the boats do not have any sort of safety standards and wouldn’t pass any safety tests back home. The boats seat up to 14 people, but they will pack as many as 20, with luggage, onto the boat. Tickets cost between $20 and $22 per person and it’s possible to book the entire boat for private trips for around $180. These are the phone numbers listed at the dock (your mileage may vary): T: 012 689 068; 012 601 287; 010 689 068; 097 774 1333

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.

33 Responses to How to get from Siem Reap to Battambang (and vice-versa)

  1. alev says:

    Thank you for the detailed info. It helped me great. In February I will be in Siem Reap and I was wondering how I can go to Battambang. It seems mini bus is the best option. If boats would be safer and cheaper I would definitely consider it. If I can’t go to a floating village tour, I might consider it also. Thank you again!

  2. Ester says:

    Just a small an update.
    I am currently travelling from SR to BtB with Kapitol and the bus is just fine! Seems to be quite new, air con is working and the bus left on time.

  3. Willynn says:

    What is the best way to travel from Battambang to Bangkok? What it be more feasible to travel from Battambang to Poipet? I’m trying to get to Bangkok within a day.

  4. Elke says:

    Dear lina,
    We want a transfer from battambang to Siem reap, but we are by bicycle. Can you recommend us if it’s possible to hire a taxi (or van,…) whith bike-transportation?
    Thank you very much!
    Elke

    • Lina says:

      Yes, I would visit BookMeBus and ask them which bus companies will let you bring a bicycle. I am pretty sure all of the full size buses allow it.

  5. Karen says:

    I am thinking of a day trip to Battambang from Siem Reap. From what I have read, a taxi appears to be the best way to go? I would need to be back in Siem Reap no later than 530pm. Would you agree with this assumption? Appreciate any recommendations you may have.

    Regards!

  6. Zariss says:

    Hi, thanks for the information. I would like to know opinions. If I travel from Poi Pet and end at Phnom Penh, which route do you guys think will be the best view and journey?

    1. Poi Pet -> Siem Reap -> Battambang -> Phnom Penh… or

    2. Poi Pet -> Battambang -> Siem Reap -> Phnom Penh?

  7. bkkflyer says:

    1.Capitol bus leaves BUSst at 7.45 +20 ins in my case, pick up from central intown office is 7.30. This bus runs to SR via Beantay (=sisophon) where most change for Poipet.
    2.Arr in BTB we were met with a freidnly tuktukdriver charging just 2000 r/50 cts each for ride into town, he gave out his namecard for any daytours etc and it was all hasselfree.
    3.@Lee: Stayed just 1 nite in BTB and found it a lovely, quiet relaxed town with not really much else to do as gazing at the old-style French buildings. Depends what your kids want to do/see all day. there are a few minor atractions, but these are all quite far out of town via rutted roads.

  8. Lee says:

    Hi Lina,

    Thanks for the info. We are heading out to Siem Reap next week for a eight day stay. We want to take a side trip to Battambang (bus or taxi) for the bat cave – my son is a big batman fan. The riverboat sounds interesting for the return trip to Siem Reap. Is it a good idea in December for a family with an eight and a nine year old for the river tour? Is Battambang worthwhile?

    Thanks,

    • Lina says:

      I wouldn’t take the boat — I have heard reports of it taking 6-8 hours lately and it’s not very safe. Did you read my Battambang guide linked at the top of this post? I think it’s worthwhile.

  9. Greg says:

    Thanks for the info, we took the Mekong mini bus from Siem reap to Battambang this week, good service. After a night in Battambang (bats good, bamboo railway waste of time) at 9 we took a taxi to the Pailin border for $35, quick and quiet border visa processing, before boarding a very comfortable private minibus to Koh Chang booked via iamkohchang.com for $100 usd including ferry costs. At our resort by about 3pm

  10. Steve says:

    Hi, your pages have been a great help as I plan my trip to Cambodia for later this year.

    A couple of problems looking at the bus options here, wonder if you can shed any light…..

    1. Mekong Express – http://catmekongexpress.com/ does not list Siem Reap to Battambang as an option(?)

    2. Capitol Tours – Their website http://www.capitolkh.com/ directs to a page saying it’s been suspended at http://www.capitolkh.com/cgi-sys/suspendedpage.cgi “This Account Has Been Suspended, Please contact 063 6252 168 or 015 675 489 for details”

    Any pointers on these two, or is it not looking good?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Lina says:

      I wouldn’t count on any info you get from business websites in Cambodia to be accurate or up to date. For more current info you’ll need to call the bus companies directly.

  11. Todd Humphries says:

    Hello Lina,
    I love your site and your book.
    I’m moving to Cambodia in 2 months.
    Can you tell me the best way to get from Battambang to Kamreing or I’d settle for Pailin.

  12. Hannah says:

    Hello! Thank you for the great information! My husband and our 2 young children and heading to Vietnam & Cambodia later this year, we are pretty excited. Question regarding taxis…are we expected to tip?

  13. Bene says:

    Hi,
    I plan to go from Battambang to Siem Reap by boat end of March, do you know who i could get confirmation from about the water level and whether boats will still go at the period of time? I heard sometimes when the water level is too low the boat trips can be cancelled… and as end of march is the end of the dry season…
    Thanks a lot!

  14. Sara says:

    Thanks Lina, for telling it how it is. I’ve met at least one other backpacker cross referencing this site! Much more to the point than LP: Are the buses big or little death traps, is this boat covered by my insurance….likely not. Thanks.

    • Sara says:

      Actually having said that, I’ve seen Capitol Tours mentioned as on a warning list for safety on another forum. Is it a case of take the risk or don’t go?

      • Lina says:

        They aren’t the best, but they aren’t the worst. Of the Cambodian companies (ie not Giant Ibis or Mekong), they seem to be the best. The best of a bad lot.

  15. george & rotana says:

    thnx lina, we have never taken the PP – SR boat trip, maybe one day,,,hope you keep this site going, it helps dispel long held fears most foreigners who have never been to cambodia have, ive been going to the kingdom since 2009, and im amazed how many more young foreign tourists are going there each year, its snowballing…the word is out…it can only bring more money into the kingdom, unfortunately the westernisation of cambodia will inevitably follow, but im very hopeful for the future of the kingdom

  16. george & rotana says:

    we took the boat a few years ago, my wife(cambodian) always refers to that 9 hour saga as the ‘hell trip’, the scenery itself was interesting & lovely….but the boat we were in was very jam packed with people, mostly farang, the seats were facing inward…so without craning your neck to constantly look sideways outside the boat a person was left facing the people sitting adjacent to you, our necks were sore for days after from looking sideways, also it was stifling hot in june & sitting soo close only compounded the discomfort, i would recommend the trip by boat if you can get one that has forward facing seats & not jammed packed with people

    • Lina says:

      Thanks for your report, George. I felt the same way about the Phnom Penh to Siem Reap boat. It was beautiful, but long and uncomfortable. I prefer the bus. :)

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