Review: Seila Angkor mini-bus, Phnom Penh-Siem Reap

Mini-buses seem to be the preferred method of travel between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh for expats and upwardly mobile Cambodians who are willing to sacrifice a bit of comfort (and safety, they drive fast!) to shave an hour off the trip. Seila Angkor is popular mini-bus company that does the Phnom Penh to Siem Reap route. I’ve taken them several times and have been pleased with their services.

Seila Angkor Khmer Express

Seila Angkor’s Ford Transit vans transport you in style.

The trip takes between five and six hours. With the current road conditions, in order to do the trip in five hours the drivers need to take some hair-raising liberties, and occasionally they can drive faster than I’m comfortable with. Most of the time, though, the trip takes six hours and the drivers go at a reasonable pace.

Seila Angkor run 16-seat Ford Transit vans, and all seats come with a removable head/neck rest, a small bottle of water and a moist towelette. It’s good to understand the seat setup before you book, because you can reserve seats by number. Seats 1 and 2 are a pair of seats next to the driver, with 1 being in the middle and 2 next to the window. Seats 3 and 4 are the second row. These seats can be hit or miss because there is often baggage piled up in the front, reducing the leg room. The third row is a pair, seats 5 and 6, and then a solo seat, 7. 7 can be the best seat in the house when there is no baggage because it has the most legroom. When there is a lot of baggage, though, it can be just as cramped as the others. The fourth row is a pair, seats 8 and 9 and a solo spot in seat 10. The back row are seats 11, 12, 13, and 14. The whole back row is very crowded, and seats 12 and 13 are particularly heinous, especially if you are traveling alone. If you are alone, go for 7 or 10, the only solo seats on the van.

Seila Angkor Mini Bus Interior

This is what the next six hours of your life could look like with Seila Angkor.

I’m not sure if it’s just my bad luck or Seila Angkor is particularly popular with mothers of young children, but two of my most recent three trips have featured young kids without seats of their own, which adds to the tightness of the quarters.

The bus stops twice along the way, once for a toilet stop and once at Stung Sen Restaurant. Stung Sen is a popular spot for buses to take a rest because they pay some of the highest rates around to buses that stop there. They then, in turn, pass this cost along to you, the foreigner customer. The food at Stung Sen is mediocre and overpriced. Fried rice costs $3 a plate (7,000 for Khmers) and offers very little in the way of vegetables, meat or flavor. They have different menus with different pricing for Khmers and foreigners and are so blatant with their price discrimination that they will charge different prices to people at the same table who have ordered the same thing. All that said, this is still a good bus company so I’d pack a sandwich and avoid Stung Sen altogether.

Seila Angkor Siem Reap

The Seila Angkor office in Siem Reap, across from Psar Samaki.

Seats between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap cost between $11 and $13 if you buy online, where you can book a seat in advance. If you can speak fluent Khmer and make a booking over the phone, they may offer a discount, but only if you speak Khmer.

You can book tickets for Seila Angkor online and choose your seat in advance. There’s a small booking fee of less than $1, but it’s worth it to get the seat of your choice.

Buses run from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap at 6:30 a.m., 7:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:45 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m., 5 p.m., and 6 p.m.

Buses run from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh at 6:30 a.m., 7:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:45 p.m., 2 p.m., 3:00 p.m., 4 p.m., 5 p.m., and 6 p.m.

Seila Angkor Khmer Express

#63 National Road 6 (across from Samaki Market), Siem Reap
T: 077 888 080

#13B, Street 47, Phnom Penh
T: 023 697 1888; 012 766 976; 077 697 672
Buy tickets online

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19 Responses to Review: Seila Angkor mini-bus, Phnom Penh-Siem Reap

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  1. Dave says:

    Thank you Lina, I just booked a bus with Seila Express online through https://www.bookmebus.com/en/seilaangkor?r=n1FZJTpAibuRtzgzqa3P7axo%E2%80%8B&on_date=03/07/2016

    I agree, as you shared: a lot of expats are not comfortable with them because of the way they drive. I have taken them before and was very pleased. My friends prefer buses. One time I took Siela express and my friends had left an hour earlier on a bus. I still got there 2 hours before they did. I guess they could have taken Giant Ibis. I am not complaining because it cuts down the amount of travel.

  2. Francine says:

    Is is possible to book a mini van for a small family to travel from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap including some traveling in Siem Reap and from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh in one day’s time? Any contact and rate?

    • Ruth says:

      Hi,
      What would it cost to book an entire mini Van just for our group of 5 persons from Siam Rep to Phnom Phen on the 03th November 2015
      Thanks

  3. Lynnette says:

    Hi there
    We are a group of 6 people looking at traveling from Phnom Penh on September 29th – each with minimum of 20kg luggage.
    What would it cost to book an entire van/mini bus just for our group?
    Thanks

  4. Jonathan Dunn says:

    Is it possible to get amini-van from Siem Reap down TOWARD Phnom Penh but then get out somewhere in (or near) Kampong Cham and catch a mini-van going to Mondulkiri on the same day?

  5. sivakumari says:

    I m interest to take ur transport mini van. We are 4 adult 2 child. U come and pick up on hotel or we need to come to bus stop.hw much u charge for adult and child??

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