Review: Giant Ibis buses, Phnom Penh to Siem Reap (and vice versa)

If you’re skeptical about getting from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap by bus, allow me to assure you that it’s an excellent way to travel in Cambodia! The road from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap is sealed now, which means a smooth rode with views of the Cambodian countryside, and the trip takes between 5 and 6 hours. Giant Ibis, with its onboard powerpoints and WiFi, offers one of the best full-size bus experiences in 2020. In this post, I’ll cover Giant Ibis day buses and night buses between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, both of which I have taken many times.

Giant Ibis bus Cambodia 2019

We took this gleaming Giant Ibis bus in 2019 and it’s still a great ride.

Giant Ibis table of contents

Giant Ibis Phnom Penh – Siem Reap buses

Phnom Penh to Siem Reap: 8:45 a.m. 9:45 a.m. 12:30 p.m. 11 p.m. night bus 11:30 p.m. night bus
Siem Reap to Phnom Penh: 8:45 a.m. 9:45 a.m. 12:30 p.m. 11 p.m. night bus 11:30 p.m. night bus

Giant Ibis Transport

Giant Ibis Transport began operations in 2012 and offers a variety of services that will appeal particularly to visitors. Their fleet of buses is new, the seats recline, they offer free WiFi, power outlets, a bottle of water and a pastry and their staff speak English. They are also the only full-size bus company in Cambodia to offer seat belts. Best of all, they offer online booking and seat reservation, thus eliminating the 30-odd minutes one would usually have to spend at a Cambodian travel agent’s while they call the bus company and laboriously write out a ticket.

This isn’t the only thing that sets Giant Ibis apart from the other bus companies in Cambodia. One of my favorite things about the journey is that it does not involve multiple pickups and dropoffs along the way–previous expat favorite Mekong Express often takes an hour just getting in and out of Phnom Penh due to the extra stops.

The best thing about Giant Ibis, though, is safety. They have a maximum speed of 95 kph/60 mph, and management is alerted automatically if drivers go over this speed. The company has ten full-time mechanics and their dedication to safety seems very genuine. They are also more reliable than the local airlines that ply this route, who often cancel flights if they deem them not profitable enough, leaving people stranded and with little recourse other than to wait an extra day.

New for 2019-2020: Giant Ibis buses drop off in Phnom Penh at the new Giant Ibis terminal near Wat Phnom on Street 90 [map] and at the main bus station in Siem Reap [map].

Giant Ibis daytime buses from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap

The trip from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap takes about 6 hours give or take about thirty minutes. It’s a nice way to see a bit of the countryside; along the way you’ll see traditional Khmer homes, family gardens, rice paddies, flocks of ducks, and water buffalo being led home. The 38-foot buses seat 41 passengers and while there are no toilets on board, the bus stops at the 1.5 and 3.5 hour mark. The first stop isn’t always the same, but always has a relatively clean Western toilet. The other stop is a restaurant contracted by Giant Ibis called Banyan Tree on National Highway 6 near Kampong Thom.

Banyan Tree Giant Ibis restaurant

Don’t worry, you will stop for lunch.

While on one hand, it does feel like a bit of a hustle to be forced to sit at a bus company-contracted restaurant, there’s no way of avoiding this. Every bus company in Cambodia stops at places that pay them for the business, and it will even happen when you take a private taxi. The plus side of Banyan Tree is that they have the same prices for Khmers and foreigners, which is not typical.

The food is ordinary, and prices are higher than you’d expect in Cambodia, but still not very expensive (dishes are priced between $3 and $5). They serve Western and Khmer food, such as hamburgers or Khmer curry, and they are efficient enough to make sure everyone has ordered and eaten in less than 30 minutes. And while Giant Ibis doesn’t own the place, they do hygiene inspections to make sure that everything is up to their standards. Moreover, the toilets are clean and usually have toilet paper. So overall, I can’t really complain.

On board the Giant Ibis day bus

On board, Giant Ibis offer movies in English, which are generally family-friendly action movies–anything that was once a comic book seems to be fair game. Seats have individual switches for the speakers, so the noise is not too loud for those who aren’t interested in watching the movie, and as time progresses they have been lowering the volume, and sometimes skipping them entirely, perhaps recognizing that no one watches the movie anyway.

WiFi is offered onboard, using 3G and 4G. This means that the connection is available when there’s a 3G/4G signal available, which is more than half the journey. It doesn’t work in the more rural parts of the trip, but there’s no avoiding that; this isn’t the fault of Giant Ibis, there is just no mobile service there. The latest exciting addition are individual power outlets on all of the buses between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. They’re international-style plugs that feature inputs for most standard plugs from around the world.

inside a Giant Ibis bus

Interior of a Giant Ibis on the Siem Reap to Phnom Penh route. Still looking good!

Of course everything on Giant Ibis is not perfect–the seats are narrow enough that it’s unpleasant to sit next to a large stranger, but they have more legroom than any of the mini-buses, and the ride is smoother and more comfortable than on a mini-bus.

Giant Ibis day bus schedule from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap (and vice-versa)

Currently, buses run from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap at 8:45 a.m., 9:45 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., the schedule is the same in the opposite direction, with buses from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh at 8:45 a.m., 9:45 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. as well. They also have a night bus service in both directions at 11:00 p.m. and and 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 night buses from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap

Over the years, 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 precautions. I’m now a regular on the Giant Ibis night bus from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh.

Giant Ibis night bus Cambodia

The Giant Ibis night bus looks great in the morning, too.

Night buses in Cambodia are notoriously unsafe. Giant Ibis, on the other hand, makes safety a priority. Their  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 seven 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.

On board the Giant Ibis night bus

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 4G. This means the connection works as long as there’s 4G 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.

Giant Ibis night bus

The 11 p.m. Giant Ibis night bus has lie-flat beds.

There are two Giant Ibis night buses going each way between between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, with slightly different seat configurations.  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 11:30 p.m. bus has 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  11:30 p.m. Giant Ibis night bus.

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. I have traveled alone on the Giant Ibis night bus many times and have never felt unsafe as a solo woman, but again, be sure to get a solo bed (if you buy a ticket online, you can make an advance seat reservation).

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).

Giant Ibis night bus schedule from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap (and vice-versa)

Phnom Penh to Siem Reap 11 p.m.  (night bus) 11:30 p.m. (night bus)
Siem Reap to Phnom Penh 11 p.m. (night bus) 11:30 p.m. (night bus)

Frequently asked questions about Giant Ibis

Where does Giant Ibis stop in Phnom Penh?

In Phnom Penh, Giant Ibis has a ticketing office on Street 106, but the buses leave and depart from the Giant Ibis bus station on Street 90 behind the National Library. Here’s a map.

Where does Giant Ibis stop in Siem Reap?

Giant Ibis has an office in Siem Reap, but the buses leave and depart from the main bus station which is a little bit outside of Siem Reap. Here’s a map.

This is the address: Address: Borey Seang Nam 1, Sangkat Chreav, Siem Reap

How long does it take to get from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap on Giant Ibis?

Giant Ibis takes between five and six hours to get from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap during the daytime, depending on traffic. The buses at night drive slower, so can take about an hour longer.

How long does it take to get from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh on Giant Ibis?

Giant Ibis takes between five and six hours to get from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh during the day, dependent on how bad traffic is. Because the night buses go slower, they can take about an hour longer.

Which are the best seats on Giant Ibis buses?

Whether you are traveling during the day or at night, the closer to the front is better, in my personal opinion.

How can I get from the Phnom Penh Airport to the Giant Ibis bus terminal?

Download the Passapp or Grab app on your phone and hail a tuk tuk from just outside the gates of the airport. You can also negotiate with a tuk tuk driver inside, but it is usually cheaper to use an app.

Buying tickets on Giant Ibis

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.

Some links in this post 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.

90 Responses to Review: Giant Ibis buses, Phnom Penh to Siem Reap (and vice versa)

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    Hans says:

    Any recommendations on what are the best seats? I was looking at booking seats in the front row (1C and 1D) to get a good view, but these may have limited leg room?

    Yvonne says:

    Hi
    Can someone please help. We are booking Giant Ibis bus from Siem to Phnom Penh, and Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh City, would the best seats be 1a/1b or would it be better on the other side of the bus? Also do you board first if you go to the office as opposed to getting a hotel pick up?
    Thanks so much

    miguel azevedo says:

    Hello. I want to know if its possible to book 2 tickets to travel into Siem Reap, from Phnom Penh. I would like to know informations about it, such as the price,and if there’s an afternoon or night bus on Thursday. Thank you.

    Peter says:

    Hm, after I read Lina’s review I decided to book Giant Ibis for our return to Phnom Penh. After that I read the comments below the review. Not sure I dare to let my wife know that not *everyone* is just as positive. :-)

      Lina says:

      You have to have reasonable exceptions. For one, the road is not good. The reality is customer service and buses in Cambodia leave a lot to be desired, but in my opinion Giant Ibis is the best if only because they take safety seriously, which few, if any, of the others do.

        Peter van Rijn says:

        After all we had a (given the circumstances) comfortable and safe trip from SR to PP.
        And yesterday we had our last Cambodian trip from Kampot to PP Airport and also this time we had no complaints about Ginat IBIS. It was the ending of a wonderful holiday in Cambodia.

          Yvonne says:

          Thanks so much, really looking forward to it, thought we would see more of the countryside this way instead of just flying over it. I have read a lot of reviews and Giant Ibis have certainly come out on top.

    Andrew Legg says:

    If you book early, the best seat on the Siem Reap to Phnom Penh (and vice-versa) bus is 1E, front row by the window, and the best seat for Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville (and vice-versa) is 3D if you are traveling alone (by the door, great leg room as no-one in front, and perfect view of the TV).

    Victor says:

    I would recommend Seila Angkor mini bus for this trip…

    Davie says:

    I booked my roundtrip for sihanoukville and paid for it. after i get my voucher in my mailbox i see that it only says one way. while i m 100% sure i booked a roundtrip. because i m stick to my plan and want to be on time in phnom penh again and head to siem reap.

    After sending a mail it takes some time before the reply. I dont care but finally someone friendly replied and ask me what the dates are i made my booking. this is already in the mail and i kindly send them some mail back what i booked and where and how late my traveldates are.

    No response yet. I hope they soon sent me the right voucher because its my right and i pay for it. Will be continued. stay save all

    Selina says:

    Hey guys,

    unfortunately we had a really bad experience with giant ibis. I’m pasting my email complaint here so you get an idea about what happened. It just happened one hour ago so I can’t tell you now how it ended. But as far from now the office stuff was nice.

    Dear Giant Ibis-team,we made a booking for today from ho chi minh to phnom penh. The bus was supposed to pick us up at 8:30 at our chosen pick up. We were waiting there for more than an hour and after that we thought you might forgot about us. We called you at your cambodian office where they told us to call in hcmc straight. After this call we went to your office for easier communication. No one from giant ibis was there so the nice lady from panda travel agency called your guy. After some time he showed up and told us that he was there looking for us at 8 am. But thats simply not true because we’ve been waiting there since 7:45. We also told the woman at the hostel to inform us if you’re company tries to reach us. But you didn’t, not on our mobile and not at the hostel. So what happened? Why didn’t he try to reach us?
    We booked at your company because we only heard good things about it and you’re supposed to be the best. But after all this is not good service.Your guy at the hcmc office booked us another ticket to phnom penh with a different company because we couldn’t wait for tomorrow to go there. But the thing is we payed 38$ at your company and the ticket with this new company (kumho samco bus) is 20$. So we payed way more than this ticket is worth. We therefore ask for compensation.

    Also we wanted to book another trip with you from phnom penh to siem reap but I’m not sure if I want to use your service again. I’m really sad about this bad experience because I was really looking forward to u your company.

    Jean says:

    Hi, first of all thanks for your review. We decided to use Giant Ibis between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh after reading it.
    However I feel obliged to give some updates after our own experience so that people know what they are paying for:
    – speed: one of the 2 drivers has been speeding the whole time. It felt unsafe, not only for us but also for all the other users of that road and mostly for the little kids that unconsciously walk on it (on one occasion the second, slower driver, had to stop because there was a naked baby wandering on the road…). I don’t know where you read that management is alerted automatically if drivers go over 95 kph but I call bullshit (not that I doubt it’s written somewhere, but this system, if it ever existed, does not work). Out of curiosity I recorded 5 minutes of the 7-hour ride on a GPS tracking app and we were often above 100 kph, and up to 110 kph… Although this is a common speed limit in countries with modern highways, driving at that speed on a road like the one between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh is simply irresponsible. In addition to the safety hazards this brings, it is also very uncomfortable. Reading a book suddenly becomes a very challenging activity. To finish on that point, I’d like to add that we took advantage of the first stop to warn the kind of steward who sometimes provided explanations in Khmer and English. He told us he would tell the driver to slow down. Of course when we started rolling again nothing had changed…
    – constant honking: I’m aware of the honking game going on in Cambodia. But when it is so omnipresent that you can hardly have a conversation it’s just too much.
    – WiFi did not work (“there is a technical problem today”). Not such a loss for us but if you were planning on spending a few extra bucks for that…
    I think that’s about it from my side. All in all Giant Ibis may provide seats which are slightly larger and more comfortable than the other bus companies but after trying 2 other companies I realized I’d rather have slightly less room for my legs (and pay less…) but make it to my destination alive.
    That’s all folks! Have a safe journey!

    Oh! Did I mention the driver spent quite some time on the phone?

      Lina says:

      Thanks for your feedback, Jean. I’d send an email to the company with this information and include the date and time of your bus. The driver should not be going over the speed limit or be talking on the phone while driving. If you report it to management, they will do something about it!

      davie says:

      they ask me to book my roundtrip again. No thank you i wait till i m there not sure what to expect now after reading all the posts here.

    Rio says:

    TERRIBLE SERVICE. I arrived this morning on the giant ibis night bus from siem reap to Phnom Penh and everything about the service was far below expectation. False advertisement, and not worth the price compared to other bus/minibus services. The seats were actually bunk beds which was great for sleeping, but bottom row is floor level and extra bus crew slept in the narrow hallway snoring and elbowing my boyfriend all night. No Working WiFi or electrical plugs which seemed an ongoing problem because crew was unsurprised and dismissive of this, no snacks or coffee as advertised, no stops where passengers were allowed off the bus- which meant you had to climb over the two crew members sleeping in the hallway to get to the bathroom at the back of the bus which smelled horrible and had no toilet paper. When we arrived at 5:30am to Phnim Penh, the lights were turned on and passengers told to get off in a disorienting abruptness while a horde of tuk tuk drivers helped to unload luggage into a pile. The baggage claim tickets were of no use as no one was checking where bags went, and to avoid the complete cluster we excavated our bags from the pile ourselves and quickly walked away, followed by a trail of persistent tuk tuk drivers. Once at a safe distance we found a place to sit and collect our wits and look at a map. Was completely disappointed by the service and surprised by how commonly referenced this company is for travel in Cambodia. Based on the price of Giant Ibis, I would opt for one of the many budget buses.

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