Once a sleepy little coastal village, Sihanoukville has now boomed into a sprawling city full of casinos and seedy nightlife. Most tourists either love it or hate it, there seems to be no in-between.
Sihanoukville was once on the Southeast Asia backpacker trail due to its chilled-out beach scene. Nearby Otres Beach and Serendipity Beach attracted travelers looking for cheap accommodations and laid-back beach vibes.
These days, Sihanoukville seems to be under constant construction making it a noisy and rather unpleasant place to visit. Unfortunately, Sihanoukville remains the jumping-off point to reach the beautiful unspoiled beaches of Cambodia’s islands – Koh Rong, Koh Rong Samleom, and Koh Russey. This makes a trip to Sihanoukville a necessary evil.
Just 140 miles (~230 km) away from Phnom Penh, the journey to Sihanoukville is surprisingly slow – it takes over 5 hours when traveling by land. But when you add up all the time it takes to commute to and from the airport, check in, wait for your flight, and then the actual air time, flying isn’t much faster.
You can reach Sihanoukville by airplane, private car, bus, minibus, and even by train. To make your planning easier, we’ll cover all of the ways to get from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville below.
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The Best Way to Get from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville
Flights from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville
Duration: ~40 minutes
Cost: $50 – $150 per person
There are a handful of direct flights from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville. Airlines with direct flights include Cambodia Angkor Air, JC Airlines, and Lanmei Airlines. Not all of them fly the route every day so make sure you double-check flight schedules before making travel plans. Direct one-way flights usually range from $50 – $150 per person.
The flight duration from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville is just 40 minutes. However, if you include the time you need to travel to and from the airport and the time you need to be there in advance to check in, the total travel time is almost the same as going by private car or taking the bus.
Our favorite flight comparison search engine is Skyscanner – we always use it when booking our flights!
Phnom Penh’s International Airport (airport code PNH) is located about 7 miles from the city center.
The easiest way to reach the airport is by hailing a car with Grab (iPhone|Android) or PassApp (iPhone|Android). Of course, you can hail a tuk-tuk or taxi the old fashion way, but why bother? It’s just more hassle and haggling that can be easily avoided.
If you’re on an extremely tight budget you can take the bus (line No. 3), which will cost less than $0.50. You can also take the train from Phnom Penh Railway Station for ~$2.50, but by the time you travel to the train station, you could just as easily have gone to the airport.
Transportation from the Siem Reap Airport
Sihanouk International Airport (airport code KOS) is located ~12 miles from downtown Sihanoukville. But due to traffic congestion, unfinished roads, and the never-ending construction in Sihanoukville, the 30-minute ride can easily turn into a 2-hour ride.
To get to the city center from the airport there are a few options, but they are all shockingly expensive considering the short distance.
We always prefer ride-sharing apps like Grab (iPhone|Android) or PassApp (iPhone|Android). It is the cheapest and most convenient way to get around in Sihanoukville. At the airport information desk, you can also book a taxi or a tuk-tuk. Taxis usually cost ~$20 – $30 per taxi and under perfect conditions, the ride should take 30 minutes to the city center.
To make the taxi ride a bit more affordable, wait around for other tourists and share a ride with them to split the costs. The staff may try to convince you to take your own taxi to maximize profit, but remain firm and assertive that you want to wait to share a taxi.
We recommend taxi companies that are associated with the airport like Dragon Taxi, Friendship Taxi Association, or the Tourist Small Car Association.
There are also a few tuk-tuks waiting at the airport. However, this way won’t save you much money compared to a taxi and they are not particularly comfortable on the bumpy roads into the city. Plus, the tuk-tuk drivers of Sihanoukville have formed an informal tuk-tuk mafia that has fixed prices much higher than elsewhere in Cambodia so, in general, we recommend avoiding them altogether if possible.
By Car or Private transfer
Duration: ~5.5 hours
Cost: $66.00 – $108 per vehicle
Private transfers are the fastest way to get to Sihanoukville by land. And if you can find a couple of other travelers with which to split the cost, this is definitely our recommended method of travel. A ride from Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville starts at around $66.00, but you may pay more during the busy tourist season.
The journey takes around 3-4 hours depending on traffic and road conditions. It’s best to leave Phnom Penh early in the morning to avoid traffic jams that can happen in the late afternoon and evening.
We recommend booking your private transfer online using trusted websites like Bookaway.com. That way you can avoid a bunch of awkward haggling and be confident that you’ll get a vehicle with working air conditioning and seat belts.
|No. of Passengers||Total Cost||Book Your Transfer|
Most taxis in Cambodia are mid-sized cars with limited trunk space, so if you have a lot of luggage you should definitely arrange for a bigger vehicle before your departure day.
An additional advantage of a private transfer to Sihanoukville is to be picked up and dropped off right at your accommodation. This will easily shave 1-2 hours of unexpected travel time off of your trip.
It’s also nice to be able to stop along the way if you so choose. Most drivers are happy to make short stops along the way at places of interest like Kampot and Kep. These coastal cities are known for their salt fields and pepper plantations. Our favorite stop is the famous crab market in Kep for some tasty seafood.
Bus from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville
Duration: ~6.5 – 8 hours
Cost: $7 – $16 per person
The most common method to get from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville is by bus. It takes about 6.5 – 8 hours to get to Sihanoukville, depending on the traffic and current road conditions. The roads in Cambodia aren’t the best, and since there seems to be constant construction, the traffic can get congested.
Several bus operators serve this route, including Giant Ibis, Sorya, and Virak Buntham Express.
Giant Ibis is definitely the best bus company on this route (and for pretty much all bus trips in Cambodia). Tickets start at $16.00 and include a free pick-up from your accommodation in Phnom Penh. They have comfortable buses and a solid safety record, and they provide water and snacks along the way. Just don’t believe their claims about having wifi on the bus – it hardly ever works.
The Giant Ibis bus is our recommended method of transportation from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville if you’re not able to find enough people to split the cost of a private transfer.
If you’re not taking the Giant Ibis bus, we would just recommend taking a minibus to Sihanoukville. Unfortunately, the other bus options are not particularly comfortable or punctual. Several minibus options provide VIP van services that are faster, more comfortable, and more reliable (more on that in the next section).
|Bus Company||Departure Times||Departure POint||Ticket Price||Book Tickets|
|Giant Ibis||7:30 am||Giant Ibis Office – OCIC Street (Map)||~$16||Book Tickets|
|Sorya Bus||7 am, 9:30 am, 11:45 am, 2:45 pm||Sorya Transportation Office (Map)||~$6.75||Book Tickets|
|Virak Buntham Express||12:30 am||Corner of Moat Chourk & Frances St. (Map)||~$11||Book Tickets|
If you are planning to take a ferry to the surrounding islands upon arrival in Sihanoukville, be sure to allow plenty of time into your schedule since you might be stuck in traffic during peak hours.
When you reach Sihanoukville, you will need to arrange to get to your accommodation. Taxis and tuk-tuks in Sihanoukville are notorious for overcharging, so practice your negotiation skills or use a ride-share app like Grab (iPhone|Android) or PassApp (iPhone|Android) to get a fair price.
Minibus from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville
Duration: ~6 hours
Cost: $8 – $12.50
If the Giant Ibis bus departure times do not align with your travel schedule (or if it is fully booked), then your next best option is a minibus to Sihanoukville. There are actually some very nice minibus options between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville. And with dozens of departures, you can pretty much start your trip at any time you like.
The seats are a bit more cramped than a full-size bus, but minibusses generally make the trip faster because they are not stopping as much to pick up and drop off people along the way. In a minibus, the trip from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville should take around six hours, but with Cambodian traffic jams and road construction you just never know.
There are several solid minibus companies to choose from for this trip – Mekong Express, Larryta Express, Bayon VIP, Mey Hong, and Cambodian Post VIP bus. Minibus ticket prices range from $8 – $12.50 and are one of the cheapest ways to go to the coast.
To book a minivan, we recommend using Bookaway.com so you can see all the departure times and read the most recent traveler reviews.
|MiniBus Company||Departure Times||Departure Point||Ticket Price||Book Tickets|
|Mekong Express||7:30 am, 8:30 am, 9:30 am, 12:30 pm, 1:30 pm, 3 pm, 5:30 pm||Mekong Express Riverside HQ (Map)||~$12.50||Book Tickets|
|Larryta Express||Every hour from 7 am to 5 pm||Larryta Express Office (Map)||~$12||Book Tickets|
|Bayon VIP||7:15 am, 1:30 pm||Bayon VIP Office (Map)||~$10||Book Tickets|
|Mey Hong Transport||7:30 am, 2 pm||Mey Hong Transport Office (Map)||~$10||Book Tickets|
|Cambodia Post VIP||7:30 am||Cambodia Post VIP Office (Map)||~$8||Book Tickets|
Train from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville
Duration: 8+ hours
We generally don’t recommend taking the train to Sihanoukville (or anywhere in Cambodia). It’s not particularly convenient, fast, or reliable. That being said, the train is an option if you’re more interested in the journey than the destination.
The train to Sihanoukville operates a few times a week, usually on Friday, Saturdays, and Sundays. Most trains depart from the Royal Railways Station in Phnom Penh at 7 am. About once per week, there is also a 4 pm departure. Tickets are $8.00 to reach Sihanoukville and we recommend that you buy your ticket in advance. You can check the train schedule and book tickets on the Cambodian Railways website.
In total, the trip takes 8+ hours, which is several hours more than the bus, minibus, or private transfer and there are often delays. If you’re not in a hurry, this is a great way to see the Cambodian countryside.
All in all, the cabins are comfortable enough, have sockets for electronics that occasionally work, and some cabins even have air conditioning. The train makes a couple of short stops along the way to pick up other passengers, which is a good opportunity to stretch your legs and get a snack.
When you reach Sihanoukville, the train station is about a 20-minute ride to the city center. We recommend using Grab (iPhone|Android) or PassApp (iPhone|Android) to hail a ride. Otherwise, a tuk-tuk or taxi should cost you around $10 to the city center or $15 to Otres Beach.
Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville FAQ
The distance between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville is approximately 140 miles (230 km).
The fastest way to get from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville is to fly which takes just 40 minutes. Other methods of transportation (including by bus, minibus, private car, and train) will take you at least 5.5 hours and perhaps as long as 8 hours.
If you’re traveling as a group of 3 or more, we recommend booking a private car which allows you to make the trip in as little as 5.5 hours. Otherwise, the Giant Ibis bus is a good option and there are also several great minibus companies such as Mekong Express, Larryta Express, and Cambodia Post VIP.
While you can take the Sorya Transportation bus from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville for just $6.75, we don’t recommend it. You’ll be much better off traveling by minibus with a reliable company like Mekong Express or Larryta Express. The one-way trip will cost you ~$12 – $13.
The only bus company we recommend on this route is Giant Ibis. There are also several good minibus companies, including Mekong Express, Larryta Express, Bayon VIP, Mey Hong, and Cambodia Post VIP.
We hope this guide helped you determine the best way to get from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville! Got any suggestions – let us know below.
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