Review: Giant Ibis night bus, Phnom Penh-Siem Reap

Over the last year, I’ve taken more Giant Ibis night bus journeys than I care to admit. When I first moved to Cambodia, I vowed I would never take a night bus in Cambodia.  Since then, I’ve made an exception for Giant Ibis because of their safety record and the many precautions they take to make sure each trip is a safe one. I’m now a regular on the Giant Ibis night bus from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. In this post, I’ll share some details about the company and the trip from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap (and vice-versa).

Giant Ibis night bus Siem Reap Phnom Penh

All aboard! Loading baggage onto the Giant Ibis to Siem Reap.

What makes Giant Ibis different from other night buses in Cambodia is that they make safety a priority. The  buses go slowly, with a maximum speed of 60km (37 miles) per hour. They enforce this by transmitting the speed via GPS to the Giant Ibis office so that management knows if a driver breaks the rules and go faster. Going slowly is not only safer, but allows for a better night’s sleep, because even at at these speeds the bus usually arrives in six or six-and-a-half hours. Another safety precaution Giant Ibis takes is to always have two drivers on each bus, and they switch half-way through the journey. If one driver feels fatigued he can switch out and take a nap.

In addition to offering a safe ride, each seat is equipped with a power socket that accept standard American, Euro, and UK plugs, and most of them usually work. The bus has WiFi (password: giantibis) that is provided by 3G. This means the connection works as long as there’s 3G coverage, which is for true for about 60% of the journey. Be aware that they do turn out the lights soon after the journey begins, so if you do want to read you will need to bring your own lighting.

The buses are air-conditioned and have a toilet on board. Overly cautious types such as myself bring a sweater for the former and tissues for the latter. Passengers are all given a bottle of water, and each bed comes with a pillow and blanket. When you board the bus you’ll be given a bag to keep your shoes in, so as not to get the beds dirty.

night bus phnom penh siem reap

Snoozing on the Giant Ibis. Beds on the 10:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. bus are flat.

Nowadays, there are three Giant Ibis night buses going each way between between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, with slightly different seat configurations. At 10:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. the bus have 30 lie-flat seats, with 14 on the bottom and 16 on the top. The only downside of this is because there are two fewer seats, there isn’t always a bed for the driver who may end up sleeping next to you in the aisle. On these buses, there are eight single beds and 11 seats of double beds.

Giant Ibis Night Bus

The seating plan for the 10:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. Giant Ibis night buses.

The 11 p.m. Giant Ibis night buses have 32 beds, with 15 on the bottom bunk and 17 on the top. The beds do not fully lie flat, but offer a 45 degree angle that’s pretty decent, and some taller people seem to find the angled seat more comfortable than the lie-flat ones. Seat 6-F is right next to the toilet, and as such, is probably the least optimal seat on the bus. Each bed has a cubby at the bottom to keep your shoes (and feet) in.

Giant Ibis night bus

The 11 p.m. Giant Ibis night bus seating chart.

The buses do not have two levels, rather, the seats are designed like bunk beds with one on the top and one on the bottom. All of the Giant Ibis night buses are arranged with one row of two beds next to each other, and a row of single bunks with an aisle in the middle. If you are traveling alone, try to get one of the single beds because although the row of two has two separate beds on the 11 p.m. bus, they are still right next to each other. The 10:30 and 11:30 buses have no divider for the double beds, so are probably not ideal if you are traveling solo.

Giant Ibis night bus interior

Off to dreamland on the Giant Ibis night bus beds. This is the interior of the 11 p.m. bus.

The night bus buses are not new, but they are fully refurbished. As on all buses, the toilets are not the nicest in the world (if you are a larger person you’ll have a hard time squeezing in) but at least these ones are usually clean. The road between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap is still bumpy — although better than a year ago — and if you aren’t a sound sleeper, it can be a challenge to get a good night’s sleep. Luckily, that challenge is usually alleviated for me by bringing an eye mask, ear plugs, and a sleeping pill.

I travel between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap regularly, and the trip can be excruciatingly long. Because I save so much time by sleeping through the journey, I’ve become a regular on the Giant Ibis night bus. Despite being pretty highly strung about road safety in Cambodia, overall, I think the Giant Ibis night bus is a safe way to get across the country (here are the other options for this route).

In Phnom Penh, the buses boards on time at the Giant Ibis office on Street 106 across from Phnom Penh’s night market. For the daily night bus to Siem Reap they do not offer hotel pick up, but the office is centrally located and walking distance from the riverside. Once you arrive in Siem Reap the bus drops off at the more centrally located Giant Ibis ticket office near Old Market (rather than the Giant Ibis bus station).

In Siem Reap, the night bus leaves from the Giant Ibis ticket office near the Old Market. If you’re arriving in Phnom Penh, the bus drops off at the Giant Ibis office on Street 106 in Phnom Penh. You can find maps for both stations at the end of this post.

Giant Ibis night bus schedule:
Phnom Penh – Siem Reap: 10:30 p.m., 11 p.m., 11:30 p.m.
Siem Reap – Phnom Penh: 10:30 p.m., 11 p.m., 11:30 p.m.

Tickets on the Giant Ibis Phnom Penh to Siem Reap route cost $15, and prices are the same for locals and foreigners. You can buy tickets online and choose your seats in advance.

Giant Ibis

T: 095 777 808
giantibis.com
Buy tickets online

Ticket offices:

Street 106 (across from the Night Market), Phnom Penh [map]
T: 023 987 808

6A Sivatha Road, Siem Reap [map]
T: 095 777 809

152 Responses to Review: Giant Ibis night bus, Phnom Penh-Siem Reap

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  1. Arlene says:

    I would like to know if the night bus goes from Siem Reap to Bangkok? If so what row or sleeper bunks would you suggest for my husband and myself. Not near the washrooms if possible Also is it best to book online or when leaving your last hotel? Thank You.

  2. Ivan says:

    Hi, I want to confirm with you about the night bus departure from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh. You mentioned above that the bus depart from Giant Ibis ticket office near Old Market, but the Giant Ibis website said that the departure is from their Main Terminal. Is the website is outdated? Little bit confusing for me, this will be my first time trip to Cambodia. Thanks.

  3. Uno_OFW says:

    Hi Lina, Thanks for your review as i am really undecided whether to take the sleeper bus or the VIP MiniVan. But I have decided that I will take the Sleeper Bus is it will only be 6-6.5 travel time. But I am wondering if I can avail the ticket pass in Angkor in the morning if I am arriving at 5 AM in Siem Reap? I heard that the ticket office are no longer selling tickets early in the morning.As I want to witness sunrise. Or which one you recommend, Sunrise or Sunset? Thank a million :)

  4. Tom says:

    Lina, have you heard something about the bed bug situation on the night buses? I’ve read some recent TA reviews about them. Have you met any?

    • Lina says:

      I have not seen any. I talked to Giant Ibis and they said that they took those buses out of circulation and have removed all mattresses and bedding and replacing them with all new materials, so it sounds like they dealt with it quickly and thoroughly. Unfortunately this can happen at even the best hotels, because if someone stays on Koh Rong, where bedbugs are everywhere, it’s very easy for them to introduce them everywhere that they sleep after that. I think Giant Ibis should be fine now and I haven’t heard any more recent reports.

  5. julia says:

    hey :)
    thank you very much for your gorgeous and helpful blog! because of you we saved the 100-200thb bribe at the border and we decided against the 13$ night bus with virak buntham and pro 26$ night bus of giant ibis. so we felt safe on the bus ride, thank you so much! ❤️
    if i wouldn’t have had my bed right in front of the (broken) toilet door, i’m sure i would’ve slept all night.
    due to a broken flush the smell of the urine of all pessengers softly waved into my face, which is why i couldn’t sleep at all.
    that is why i noticed that the bus stood next to the street again and again, engine going, for 1,5 hours after driving 2 hours out if siem reap. later, we stood again for 45mins, then twice for about 20mins.
    we finally arrived in pnom penh around 5am.
    i really wonder why they sell the trip as a whole-night-trip if it would be possible to do it within 3-4 hours. (maybe because they can sell it for more money then?)
    the staff on the bus couldn’t tell me.

    • Lina says:

      I have a guess about this. When they started this route it was a 6-7 hour trip because the roads were bad. Sometimes it would take as long as 8 hours. Now the roads are paved again and the trip can be done in 4 hours (if they drive fast). But when people take a night bus they don’t want to arrive at 3 a.m. when it’s still dark. So they hold the buses for a while (assuming that the passengers are asleep anyway) so that people arrive at a more reasonable time. That’s just a guess, I don’t know for sure. Also, the night bus is $15, not $26.

      • julia says:

        you’re right, sorry. the 26$ was the price for the whole tour to sihanoukville via pnom penh!
        thanks for your guess, i think, that could make sense.

  6. Lonix says:

    Thanks for this blog. Because of this, it made me decide to take the 10:30pm bus from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. It was a breeze. Slept all the way. Took the bottom bunk 2nd row from the driver. Sharing info that may help other travelers:
    – Blanket, pillow and bottle of water are provided. Pillow is small and thin though. Other folks who may need to add “toppers” (like jackets, clothes,..) to elevate pillow.
    – Arrives in Siem Reap at about 5:30am-ish. It was chilly in January. Did not expect that so had to open suitcase at the arrival terminal to take out jacket.
    – 5:30am is too late to attempt a sunrise watch at Angkor Wat. Tuktuk drivers advised not enough time to get temple permit, travel to Angkor wat, and brace the traffic/crowd.

  7. D.K.Verma says:

    In night service bus from Phnom Penhvto Siem Reap, the toilet in the last is useless, no one can easily use.

    And only flat beds bus is advisable to travel.

  8. Shi Yan Ng says:

    Hello. May I ask how does one get to town from Giant Ibis bus terminal (in Phnom Penh)? I will be taking the overnight bus and arrive at 6am. Do you have any advise? Thank you.

  9. Menno says:

    We had a bottom level sleeper doube bunk just behind the driver. This was fine as bus was not full & the attendant slept in an empty bunk, not in the isle next to us, although even that would have been no problem. It was nice to be able to see the road in front, although we had a great night’s sleep, so did’nt do much sight seeing. Giant Ibis was the right choice for sure.

    • Ryan says:

      Hi Menno,

      My partner and I are thinking about taking this night bus too. I was just wondering which seat you would recommend? Our choice is between top bunks or bottom bunks at the front of the bus (and as I understood it, you had the bottom bunks at the front?). Which seats do you think would provide a better view, and which seats do you think would be more comfortable/convenient/better for sleeping… etc?

      Thanks very much :)

      • Lina says:

        There is no view because it’s dark out the entire time. The top bunks are cooler (more air-conditioning), so if you prefer that, go on top. I hate A/C so I choose bottom seats. Closer to the front is usually better but the seats are pretty much all the same, although I wouldn’t want the very back one as it’s next to the toilet.

  10. Tammy says:

    Hi, wondering if you would know if it’s better to get the seats at the front rows, right behind the driver? We’re a couple travelling. Thanks

    • Lina says:

      I prefer one row back, actually. Sometimes the backup driver will sleep in the aisle if the bus is full, which means you’ll be lying right next to him if you’re on the bottom.

      • Tammy says:

        Hi, I read somewhere that we have to be there an hour in advance to check in. Is that right? If not what is the recommended time to be there before departure time? Also, do they not offer pickup for night bus?

  11. Johaana says:

    Hi there. If I am catching the night bus and want to be in Angkor Temples for sunrise. Is there anywhere to leave your luggage safely near where the bus drops you of?

  12. Alex Gill says:

    Hi, Thank you so much this has been really helpful and stopped us booking with another awful company.
    Would you have a suggestion on how to get from PP to Phu Quoc? I would like to book my ticket in advance… any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

  13. Eva says:

    Hi there we are a family of 4 and I’m wondering if Giant Ibis do a night bus from Phnom Penh to Can Tho in Vietnam please? I wasn’t going to include a night bus having heard the stories but it looks like this company might be good for us (teen boys). Many thanks Eva

  14. Menno says:

    Very useful thankyou. We are currently in Sinahoukville & were trying to get a complete trip direct to Siem Reap, as we don’t care to stop at Phnon Phem, but seems we will have to do it in two trips, both with this company. Will review it too once done, but sound like you have covered it well. :-)

  15. Ryan Baum says:

    This is so incredibly helpful, thank you for taking the time to write this out! I know what bus I’ll be taking tomorrow night :)

  16. Marcus Wong says:

    Hi Lina, i will be taking the night bus from PP to SR. My flight arrives at PP in the early afternoon and i was wondering if you could recommend a place for me to leave my bulky items and to wash up. ( travelling solo )

    • Lina says:

      You can leave your baggage at the Giant Ibis office. Up to you where you want to go — I’ve gone to the Empire and had dinner/watched a movie while waiting for the night bus.

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