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

Giant Ibis night bus at a glance…

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. 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 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.

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.

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).

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: 11 p.m., 11:30 p.m.
Siem Reap – Phnom Penh: 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.

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

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  1. Stephanie Nina Menggu says:

    I recently took the Giant Ibis bus after reading this blog. Was excited by the guarantee of a flat bed for the 11:30pm bus (I also checked with their customer service chat on their website) but it turned out to be a reclining chair bus instead due to a “bus problem”.
    We forgave that issue but hoped for the next on our return trip which was next following night (yes, it was just a day trip which is why we really wanted flat beds). Unfortunately, to our surprise and great dismay, the 11:30pm bus was a reclining chair bus again!!
    Again, they told us that there was a “bus problem”. What’s more, when we arrived at the bus station, we saw the 11pm bus leaving with flat beds!!

    We sent a complaint to the company via email and social media but no response from them. Very disappointing and I’m sorry that I have to share this here after such a positive sharing on this blog.

      • Piotr says:

        Dear Lina,
        do you know how long are flat and angle beds in Giant Bus, could you write how tall are you and what kind bus you drive?

      • Stephanie Nina Menggu says:

        Hi Lina, not exactly sure what you call it, but they’re more like what you say, “lying down, but not flat”. They can’t be straightened up like normal chairs.

        Anyway, an update – Giant Ibis responded about a month later and gave my friends and I a free one-way bus ride. My friend took the risk for a sleeper bus to Siem Reap again, but this time she was delighted that they gave a flat bed as promised. We’ve also taken a day trip to Siem Reap again, and had a good, comfortable ride.

  2. Meghann says:

    Do the night busses generally run on time I have a tour pick up in PP at 0800 and was wondering if I should plan to travel the day before or of the night bus from Siem Reap will actually arrive at 0630 giving me enough time to get to the pick up location?

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