We’ve traveled the route between Sihanoukville and Phnom Penh and vice-versa several times now. Usually we’re firm fans of Giant Ibis, but, as they were fully booked this time, we thought we’d give a Sihanoukville-based travel company with a good reputation a go, CTT Transportation and Tours.
CTT operate five mini-buses every day in each direction between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville. They’re based in Sihanoukville, and with this many departures it won’t be long between they are a dominant player on this route. CTT operate from two offices in Sihanoukville, one on Ekareach Street and another on Serendipity Beach Road in the little block of stores behind Daily Mart, but tickets can be booked via local agents, we used Mottah Travel.
They operate a two-tier pricing system if you book direct at $10 for foreigners and $8 for locals, but we managed to get the local price through Mottah. Be warned, though, that sometimes drivers will not be happy once you show up and they can see that you are a foreigner and will make you pay the difference.
Tickets are also available online at BookMeBus, where you select your seat in advance, a nice perk. If you use an international credit card you pay a $1 processing fee for the total transaction, or you can make the booking using WING for free. (You can also take your chances and book a Cambodian-priced ticket this way.)
CTT have three types of vehicle for the journey, 15-seat Toyota HiAces, 14-seat Ford Transits, and a 19-seat Hyundai mini-bus similar to Giant Ibis’ although this is only used for certain journeys. Free pick up in and around the Serendipity Beach Road area is included.
Our particular journey didn’t get off to the best start as we were told to be available from 7 a.m. for a 7.30 a.m. pick up and then proceeded to take a tour of the local area to collect other passengers before finally leaving Sihanoukville at 8.20 a.m. We noticed that other passengers’ tickets had an 8 a.m. pick up on them, so we are not too sure what happened — this may have been a mistake by the travel agent we used to make our booking.
We booked seat numbers 5 and 6 as we are paranoid of being at the back. Space-wise it was a little bit cramped but it was more than acceptable. On the regular 14-seat Ford Transit, Seat 7 is probably the best if you are travelling solo, and on this trip the guy there had a ton of room. Seat 10 is another solo seat, and seats 3-4, 5-6, and 8-9 are seats for two.The back row of seats, 11-14 are best avoided if at all possible, but that’s true of all companies. Like most of mini-buses, there was very little storage space so luggage goes under seats. On our trip it wasn’t bad, but we wouldn’t want to see the bus packed with too many large suitcases (luckily most of the passengers are Cambodians who travel light).
The minivan itself was in good condition and had seat-belts and excellent air-conditioning; the advertised WiFi wasn’t working but we’ve yet to find a decent signal on a bus. The driver drove sensibly and we felt safe on the journey.
We stopped at Soreya Restaurant which is on the other side of the road from most of the other pit stop places and, to be fair, it wasn’t bad. Food was (as at all bus stops in Cambodia) overpriced, but they have a coffee shop which is actually quite reasonable; an iced cappuccino and passion fruit Italian soda were both $2 and a good size, they also had a selection of Blue Pumpkin pastries at 5,500 riel. The toilets are being renovated but the facilities available were clean and in good order. After just 15 minutes we were off again.
We got to their Phnom Penh office on the Riverfront at 12:40 p.m. making a journey time of 4 hours 20 minutes (35 minutes from the airport), which is not bad at all. All in all it was a good journey and we’d use them again in the future.
Buses run from Sihanoukville to Phnom Penh at: 7.30 a.m., 8.30 a.m., 9.30 a.m., 12.45 p.m., 1.30 p.m. and 3.30 p.m. The last service of the day is the only one that uses the 19-seater.
Buses run from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville at: 7.30 a.m., 8.30 a.m., 9.30 a.m., 12.30 p.m., 1.30 p.m. and 3.30 p.m. The last service of the day is the only one that uses the 19-seater.
CTT Transportation and Tours
Serendipity Beach Road, behind Daily Mart, Sihanoukville
Ekareach Street, opposite POS Cafe, Sihanoukville
T: 034 217 217; 016 868 600; 011 868 600
223 Sisowath Quay between Streets 136 and 144, Daun Penh, Phnom Penh
T: 023 217 217; 015 726 672
Book CTT Transportation tickets online
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