Review: Cambodia Post VIP Van, Phnom Penh-Siem Reap

I got a few incredulous looks when I told people I was going to take the Cambodia Post van to Phnom Penh last week. Most people probably assumed I’d be sitting on packages squeezed between sacks of mail, but the reality couldn’t be more different. The Cambodia Post VIP Van, a transport service owned by the Cambodian government and post office, runs minibuses between several cities. I tried out the Siem Reap to Phnom Penh route and thought it was an excellent ride; here’s the full report.

Cambodia Post VIP Van Phnom Penh

Pick up your mail before you depart in style from the historic Phnom Penh post office.

The novelty of the Cambodia Post transport service is that they are actually using the mini-buses to bring mail and packages from one city to another. But they aren’t old, run-down mail trucks as you might expect. Cambodia Post has purchased a fleet of brand-new Toyota HiAces, my preferred model of mini-bus because of their wide, comfortable seats. Buses and passengers are insured by Caminco Insurance, which was reassuring.

We left from the Siem Reap post office at 7:30 a.m. a few minutes early because everyone was already there. The trip took 5.5 hours and we arrived at the Phnom Penh post office a few minutes before 1 p.m. The driver was young and in uniform and drove well; several times he nosed out and then chose not to pass the car in front of him because it didn’t look safe. He seemed much more cautious — in a good way — than the average Cambodian mini-bus driver. They claim that they use GPS to track the speed to make sure that the drivers don’t drive too fast. I’m not sure if that’s true, but our driver didn’t speed or do anything reckless. That may be because each bus has a sign on the back that says “How is my driving?” with a phone number that dials straight to the Cambodian government.

Cambodia Post VIP Van

Cambodia Post VIP Van uses a fleet of brand-new (and very comfy) Toyota HiAce vans.

Usually a HiAce can seat 15 passengers plus the driver, but Cambodia Post has pulled out two of the seats in the back row for mail and luggage. This actually makes the back row less awful — four people back there feels claustrophobic, but two isn’t so bad. Because there are only three seats across the front, seats A1 and A2 (the front window seat, aka “shotgun”) are slightly more roomy. The second row has three seats across, A3, A4, and A5. The third row has a pair of seats, A6 and A7, and then one solo seat, A8. This solo seat has extra legroom as long as overflow baggage isn’t stored there. The fourth row is in the same configuration, with a pair of seats, A9 and A10, and a solo seat, A11. In the back are an additional two seats, A12 and A13, that they hold until the last minute in case they need them for more mail. These two seats aren’t sold online.

During the trip from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh the bus stopped twice, first in Kampong Thom at the Golden Chenla Hotel, and then in Skun at a rest stop that served food. The Golden Chenla Hotel had a menu for Khmers and one in English, with the prices in English double the price for the same dishes on the Khmer menu. I asked politely for the Khmer price and they capitulated pretty quickly — I had a very nice pork and rice for 8,000 riel ($2). Both stops had toilets, and as per usual there is no toilet paper, so bring your own if you need it.

Cambodia Post VIP Van Siem Reap

In Siem Reap, the Cambodia Post departs from the centrally located post office.

Tickets from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap cost $9. The buses are new, the trip was fast, the driving was cautious, and the food at the restaurant stop was good. I’d pretty much sworn off mini-buses recently, but the Cambodia Post VIP Van has renewed my faith in this mode of transport.

The Cambodia Post VIP Van leaves from and terminates at the main post office in each city. They do not do hotel pick-ups. Most of the other mini-bus companies are forced to do hotel pick-ups because their offices are not in town, but the post offices are centrally located and walkable to many hotels.

Cambodia Post VIP Van

Is it too good to be true? They even want to know how their driving is.

Tickets can be purchased online at BookMeBus for a small fee of less than $1, and you can see real-time seating charts and pick which seat you want. I got my ticket this way, printed it out and presented it at the Siem Reap post office and had no problem boarding the bus. Tickets can also be purchased at the main post office in each city.

In addition to the Phnom Penh to Siem Reap route, Cambodia Post VIP Van goes from Phnom Penh to Banteay Meanchey, Battambang, Kampong Chhnang, Kampong Speu, Kampong Thom, Poipet, Pursat, and Sihanoukville, as well as Siem Reap to Kampong Thom.

Buses run from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap at: 7:30 a.m., 2 p.m.
Buses run from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh at: 7:30 a.m., 2 p.m.

Cambodia Post VIP Van

Wat Phnom Post Office
Street 13 at Street 102, Phnom Penh
T: 012 931 555; 010 778 555; 088 39 93 555

Siem Reap Post Office
Pokambor Ave, Siem Reap
T: 088 8711 807
Book Cambodia Post VIP Van tickets online

Bus tickets purchased through links in this post to read more here.

27 Responses to Review: Cambodia Post VIP Van, Phnom Penh-Siem Reap

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  1. SM says:

    Hi Lina, I’ve read some of your comments that said the roads are so much better now, so would the mini-buses usually make the phnom penh-siem reap route in 5 hours or less? I am trying to decide between Cambodia Post and Larryta based on your reviews, and Cambodia Post seems like a better choice and location, but with much fewer timings. If I take the 2.30pm Cambodia Post bus, I am worried I will arrive in Siem Reap when it’s already dark

  2. jenny says:

    i got the bus from phnom penh to siem reap they picked me up from my hotel and we left on time . stopped a couple times ,free wifi,air con and arrived on time great value for 8 us. Did the return trip same trip no complaints. Booked on line 3 months in advance

  3. KA says:

    Thanks for suggesting the post passenger service. I made a reservation for Phnom Penh to Kep through bookmebus. Printed the e-ticket and showed it at the post office. Now typing this comment while driving into Kep using the van’s wifi. We are the only 2 passengers. The driver is surprisingly skilled. Only one quick stop at Kampot office. Travelling time 4 hours in total. Great!

  4. Amanda Coffin says:

    GRRRR! I just took the van from PP to Sihanoukville, and the driver dumped us out at the edge of town, out near the container ship port. I asked him to take me to the Post Office, as my hotel was a 5-minute walk from there. He replied, “My post office very far from here,” got back into the van and drove away. Yes, and that meant my hotel was very far from there, too. FURIOUS.

    • Lina says:

      That is crazy! The whole point of the post office van is that it goes from post office to post office. I have no idea why he wouldn’t be going there anyway. Did you buy your ticket through BookMeBus? If so, I can forward your complaint along to them and have them follow up with the company.

      • Amanda Coffin says:

        Hi, Lina,

        Yes, I booked the ticket from BookMeBus via the link above in this post.

        I’ve already left a bad review on TripAdvisor, and I’ll speak to someone in the PO (either PP or Sihanoukville, as well.)

        I don’t want to make a mountain out of a molehill, but transport companies that dump passengers off at other than the appointed place really get my goat. Call it a pet peeve.

        • Lina says:

          Contact BookMeBus and have them talk to the PO. This is definitely not PO policy so if one of their drivers is going rogue it’s better that they know about it. A lot of my friends have been taking this bus and this has never happened before. Sorry that it happened to you!

  5. Søren Mouridsen says:

    Cambodia Post VIP Van has dual pricing as well now unfortunately. We payed 10 dollars each as “non-cambodians”.

    • Lina says:

      Yes, they have changed the price to $9 for foreigners (the extra $1 is a processing fee for those using credit cards). I’ll update this blog post to reflect that.

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