Most travelers to Cambodia begin their trip in the capital city of Phnom Penh. Probably best known for the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (housed in the former S21 Prison) and the Choeung Ek Genocidal Center (also known as The Killing Fields), Phnom Penh has a long and tumultuous history. But these days it is actually one of Southeast Asia’s fastest-evolving cities with trendy microbars and health food cafes springing up just blocks away from traditional markets and ancient temples.
After spending a few days exploring Phnom Penh, you’re likely heading north to Siem Reap and the famous temples of Angkor Wat. Siem Reap is quieter and easier to navigate than the hectic Phnom Penh. But with over 2.6 million tourists annually, there is no shortage of things to do in Siem Reap.
The distance between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap is just ~200 miles (318 km). And to get to Siem Reap from Phnom Penh, you have several transportation options to fit every travel style and budget. Of course, the most convenient way to travel to Siem Reap is to fly, which takes just under an hour. But if you are looking to save some money, you might be better off taking a bus or minibus.
You can also arrange a private car, which can get you to Siem Reap in just 5 hours and allows you the flexibility to stop along the way. Or if you happen to be in Cambodia during the rainy season, and you’re up for a real adventure, there is even a connection by boat.
In this article, we will discuss all the best ways to get from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap so you can choose the transportation option that is perfect for you!
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The Best Way to Get from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap
Flights from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap
Duration: Less than 1 hour
Cost: $50.00+ per person
As previously stated, the fastest way to get from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap is by airplane. A flight between the two cities takes less than an hour (plus, of course, the time spent checking into your flight at the airport). If you’re short on time in Cambodia, then flying is definitely the best way to get from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap.
While flying is the fastest method to travel, it is also the most expensive. Airline tickets are usually between $50 to $150 for a one-way flight. Cambodia Airways and Cambodia Angkor Air both offer daily direct flights between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. Between the two we prefer Cambodia Angkor Air for its comfort and timeliness.
Our favorite flight comparison search engine is Skyscanner. You can check available schedules and find the cheapest flights from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. Keep in mind that Cambodian domestic flights can be somewhat unreliable and flights are often delayed. Morning flights are typically more punctual than afternoon flights.
Phnom Penh International Airport (airport code PHN) is located only about 6 miles (10 km) from the Phnom Penh city center.
The most convenient way to get to the airport is by using a ride-share service like Grab (iPhone|Android) or PassApp (iPhone|Android). You can also just hail a taxi or a tuk-tuk, but both require more hassle and are unlikely to save you any money.
The cheapest way to get to the Phnom Penh airport would be by local bus which costs less than $0.50. If you’re feeling frugal (or adventurous), it’s bus line #3 that you’ll need to take.
Transportation from the Siem Reap Airport
Once you arrive at the Siem Reap Airport (Airport Code: REP), you’re just a few miles outside of the city center. Many Siem Reap hotels and guest houses offer a free airport pick-up so make sure you ask about it in advance.
Tuk-tuk drivers provide this service at no cost to the hotels (or you) because they want the opportunity to sell you their service as a driver for the remainder of your stay in Siem Reap.
If you forget to tell your hotel you would like an airport pick-up, don’t sweat it. You can easily arrange a taxi or tuk-tuk at the transportation information counter for around $9.00 USD.
Or you can arrange a ride-share using an app like Grab (iPhone|Android) or PassApp (iPhone|Android). It shouldn’t cost you more than $4.00 to get from the airport to your accommodation in Siem Reap. We prefer PassApp because it supports a local Cambodian company.
We also have a favorite tuk-tuk driver in Siem Reap. His name is Nakry Mean and he drives a batmobile themed tuk-tuk. You can reach him on WhatsApp at +855 17 761 110 or on his Facebook page, Siem Reap Batmobile Tuk Tuk.
Private Car from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap
Duration: ~5-6 hours
Cost: ~$90 – $140 per vehicle
If you traveling with a group of 3 or more people then it may make sense to arrange a private transfer between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.
You can book a car with a driver to take you to Siem Reap for as little as $90. So while it is more expensive than traveling by bus or shared mini-bus, it actually works out to just $30 per person if you’re able to split it between 3 people. And you can get a 6 passenger vehicle for just $130 which makes it just $22 per person.
A private transfer is typically faster and more comfortable than a bus and has the added advantage of allowing you to stop at interesting sights along the way. You’ll also be picked up at your hotel in Phnom Penh and delivered directly to your hotel in Siem Reap – this door-to-door service saves you quite a bit of time and hassle getting to/from the bus station or airport.
Travel time is 5-6 hours depending on traffic and whether you decide to stop during your journey.
We recommend pre-booking online because you can easily compare prices as well as read other traveler reviews. And because fare is fixed, you won’t have to worry about being overcharged or haggling with your driver the day of your trip.
|No. of Passengers||Total Cost||Book Your Transfer|
If you book your transfer through your guesthouse and not online, be sure to confirm the total price before departing Phnom Penh. Unfortunately, misunderstandings can sometimes happen regarding the final price.
It’s also a good rule of thumb to have the address and phone number for your hotel or guesthouse in Siem Reap. Make sure you give it to your driver if you want to be dropped off directly at your accommodation.
Stops between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap
One of the biggest advantages of arranging a private transfer is taking stops along the way. Consider talking to your driver to see if you can make stops at a few places of interest on the route to Siem Reap.
Located about half-way to Siem Reap in the Kampong Thom Province, you can stop and visit the temple of Sambor Prei Kuk. This temple complex is not as widely visited as Angkor Wat, though it predates it. This impressive UNESCO World Heritage Site contains about a hundred small temples and it’s a fascinating place to walk around and stretch your legs. Most likely you will be the only tourist there.
For another break, stop and visit the floating villages on Tonlé Sap Lake. Located 20 miles south of Siem Reap, Kampong Phluk is one village built on stilts. You can see the community while on a boat and discover the farming and fishing lifestyle of the locals. Water permitting, you can also see a few schools in the village, visit the Pagodas, and witness other aspects of daily life.
Bus from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap
Duration: ~6 hours
Cost: ~$11.00 – $17.00 per person
If you’re on a budget, then the best way to travel between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap is by tourist bus. The trip takes ~6 hours depending on traffic and will cost you less than $20 per person. There are dozens of bus companies that offer this route in Cambodia, and it’s a surprisingly comfortable (and affordable) way to travel.
Tourist bus companies like Giant Ibis have reclining seats, power outlets, and air-con that actually works. They also advertise free Wifi (but it’s rare that any buses in Southeast Asia actually have working Wifi).
Just beware of booking with cheaper bus companies as you’ll almost certainly regret your decision. They tend to have older buses and are notorious for breakdowns, overcrowding, and unexplained delays.
We highly recommended spending just a few dollars more and booking with a bus company that has a solid safety record and good customer reviews. The most popular bus companies are Giant Ibis, Mekong Express, Virak Buntham Express, and Mey Hong Transport.
Giant Ibis is our top pick and Mekong Express is the second-best option. There is really no reason to book with any of the other bus companies. You can compare all of your different bus options on Bookaway.com.
|Bus Company||DEPARTURE TIMEs||Departure Point||Ticket Price||Book Tickets|
|Giant Ibis||8:45am, 9:45am, 12:30am, 11pm, 11:30pm||Giant Ibis Office – OCIC Street (Map)||~$16||Book Tickets|
|Mekong Express||8:30am, 3pm, 11:30pm||Mekong Express Riverside HQ (Map)||~$13||Book Tickets|
|Virak Buntham Express||9:30am, 11pm||1 Block North of the Phnom Penh Night Market (Map)||~$14||Book Tickets|
|Mey Hong Transport||8:30am, 1:30pm, 11pm, 11:30pm||Mey Hong Transport Office (Map)||~$11||Book Tickets|
|Sorya Bus||7am, 8am, 9:30am, 10:45am, 12:30pm, 3:15pm, 10:30pm||Sorya Transportation Office (Map)||~$12 (Sleeper Bus: ~$17)||Book Tickets|
Unfortunately, there is no main bus station in Phnom Penh that all these buses use. Instead, each company has its own bus station or transportion office.
Most buses provide a free pickup service at your hotel if you book in advance. But be sure to note the location when booking if free pick-up isn’t available.
While most tourist buses bound for Siem Reap depart Phnom Penh in the early morning or late afternoon, there are also a few overnight bus options. The overnight buses leave Phnom Penh at 11:00-11:30pm and arrive in Siem Reap around 4:00-5:00 in the morning.
This option saves you the cost of one night’s accommodation, but you’ll be absolutely exhausted for your first day in Siem Reap. We don’t recommend the overnight bus for such a short trip, but you can make your own choice.
Be sure you tell your Siem Reap accommodation which bus you’ll be arriving on before leaving Phnom Penh. Many Siem Reap hotels and guesthouses will arrange a free tuk-tuk to pick you up.
Minibus from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap
Duration: ~6 hours
Cost: ~$9 – $12.50 per person
If you are on a budget and need something even cheaper than a bus, you can consider taking a minibus. While not as comfortable as larger tourist buses, a minibus is generally the cheapest way to get from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. A one-way ticket will cost you between $9 and $12.50 depending on the company you choose.
There are seemingly endless minibusses departing every day, so this is also a good option if you want to decide at the last minute. In fact, some minibus companies like Larryta Express have as many as 25 daily departures to Siem Reap.
We recommend booking your ticket with one of the more reputable and more well-known companies. If you don’t choose a company with good reviews, you’re very likely to get a minibus ride from hell. You’ll be squished in an overcrowded minibus with broken or no air-conditioning and no windows to open. It will be a very uncomfortable 6+ hour ride to Siem Reap.
A few companies with better than average reviews include Mekong Express, Angkor E-Booking, Larryta Express, and Cambodia Post VIP. Of these options, we prefer Mekong Express or Angkor E-Booking. You can check ticket prices and schedules on Bookaway.com.
|MiniBus COmpany||Departure Times||Departure Point||Ticket Price||Book Tickets|
|Mekong Express||7:30am, 8:30am, 2pm||Mekong Express Riverside HQ (Map)||~$12.50||Book Tickets|
|Angkor E-Booking||6:30am, 7:30am, 8:30am, 10:30am, 12:30pm||Angkor E-Booking Office (Map)||~$10||Book Tickets|
|Cambodia Post VIP||7am, 8am, 9:30am, 2pm||Cambodia Post VIP Office (Map)||~$9||Book Tickets|
|Larryta Express||Every 30 minutes from 6:30am-6:30pm||Larryta Express Office (Map)||~$10||Book Tickets|
Most of the time you don’t really have to buy a minibus ticket in advance due to the number of companies and departures for this route, but we still recommend booking online if you want to ensure you have a seat at a specific time rather than waiting at the bus station for the next available departure.
It seems like every minibus company has a different drop-off point in Siem Reap, so it’s best to ask the staff for the specific drop-off location, especially if you are arranging a ride with your accommodation.
Boat/Ferry from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap
Duration: 8+ hours
If you are seeking the most adventurous way to get from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, there is an option to take a ferry boat or speed boat during the rainy season. When the water levels are high enough, there are several Cambodian companies that offer this service.
It’s not the most comfortable transportation option as it’s a hot and sticky 8+ hour ride on a slow-moving boat. However, the ferry is certainly a unique way to experience Cambodia and life on the Tonle Sap Lake.
When the Tonle Sap is at its highest water level – between the months of November to March – you can sometimes reserve a seat online on websites like Bookaway.com. If you can’t find tickets online, you can buy them at the ferry itself or ask your hotel in Phnom Penh to call and make a reservation for you. Reserving your boat ticket a day or two in advance is generally a good idea.
On the morning of your departure make sure you arrive early to get a good seat. During the rainy season, it is common practice for the ferry companies to overbook tickets. If you arrive late, you might have to stand the entire way which will be miserable. Bring sunscreen, some snacks, comfortable clothing, a sense of adventure, and an openness to get dirty and wet during the ride.
Some budget ferry companies don’t provide life jackets so double-check prior to boarding. If you find yourself hesitant about the safety standards offered, it’s best to go with another company or take another method of transportation altogether.
For safety reasons, we recommend Angkor Express. They enforce safety standards such as life jackets on board. The journey is ~$55.00 per person and departs early in the morning from Sisowath Quay in Phnom Penh.
There are also a few luxury boats that also offer this route if you want to travel more slowly and comfortably. Companies like Mekong Dawn offer a 3-day/2-night cruise on a lovely boutique boat inclusive of meals and excursions along the way. These deluxe boats can set you back a few hundred dollars but might be worth it if you prefer to travel in style.
When you reach Siem Reap, the ferry will drop you off at the Phnom Krom Port. You’ll then need to take a tuk-tuk or taxi for about 20 minutes before arriving in the city center. It’ll cost around $5.00 for a tuk-tuk or $10.00 for a taxi. Moto-taxis should also be around for a total charge of a few dollars.
Phnom Penh to Siem Reap FAQ
The distance between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap is approximately 200 miles (318 km).
The fastest way to get from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap is to fly which takes less than an hour. Other methods of transportation (including by bus, minibus, private car, and boat) will take you at least 5 hours and perhaps as long as 10 hours.
Flying from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap is probably the easiest way, but a private car is also a good option if you’re traveling as a group as you can make the trip in ~6 hours.
The most affordable way to get from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap is by minibus which costs as little as $10.
We prefer Grand Ibis. They are a little bit more expensive but worth it. The second-best option is Mekong Express.
We hope this guide helped you determine the best way to get from Bangkok to Siem Reap! Got any suggestions – let us know below.
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