how to go from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap

How to go from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap

The route between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap is the most popular in Cambodia.  Siem Reap is the major tourist site in Cambodia and it’s where most people go to.  This former Khmer capital is on virtually everyone’s wish list for SE Asia and it shouldn’t be missed.  So whether you’re going from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap or Siem Reap to Phnom Penh, you’ll need to know the best way to travel between these two destinations.  There are several options for transport between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, from the straightforward to the most comfortable and the interesting route using the Mekong River.  But what’s the best way to get from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap?  And what are the options for traveling to Siem Reap from Phnom Penh?  Here’s our guide on how to get to Siem Reap from Phnom Penh.

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Where is Siem Reap

Siem Reap is the second-largest city in Cambodia and is the capital of the Siem Reap province.  The region of Siem Reap was the location of successive capitals of the Khmer empire from the 9th to the 15th century.  Virtually every visitor who travels here comes for the ruins of the Angkor Archaeological Park, which are about four miles (6.5 kilometers) from the city center of Siem Reap.  Siem Reap is the major tourist location in Cambodia and sits on the shores of the Tonle Sap lake.    By road, Siem Reap is 320 kilometers from Phnom Penh, 525 kilometers from Sihanoukville, and 395 kilometers from Bangkok.  This route, from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap is one that many travelers take and it’s a firm favorite on the so-called Pancake trail.  Heading to Siem Reap from Phnom Penh is also a long-standing cultural route through this part of South East Asia.

Where to stay in Siem Reap

The Siem Reap River cuts through the middle of the city, making it quite small. The majority of holiday accommodations are located in the Old French Quarter, a large area that includes neighborhoods like Temple Town, City Centre, and Pub Street. The Wat Bo neighborhood, which is just over the river from the Old French Quarter, is as convenient but a little quieter. There are a host of places to stay in Siem Reap – here’s our pick of the luxury places to stay in Siem Reap, mid-range places to stay in Siem Reap, and budget accommodation in Siem Reap.

Central Corner d’Angkor is a lovely hotel with a restaurant, an outdoor pool, a bar, and a common area. This Siem Reap four-star hotel’s rooms all have a view of the pool, and guests can access a garden and a terrace. The luxury hotel in Siem Reap provides you with a 24-hour front desk, room service, and currency exchange. Rooms at the top-class Central Corner d’Angkor offer air conditioning, a sitting area, a flat-screen cable TV, a safe, and a private bathroom with a shower, bathrobes, and slippers. Central Corner d’Angkor is also close to several of the main attractions, making it an excellent choice if you wish to stay near Siem Reap’s primary attractions. Check availability here.

The 4-star Siem Reap Memoire d’Angkor Boutique Hotel offers personalized service and comfort with its lovely Zen-style rooms and art gallery. The outdoor pool and fitness center are open to visitors and there is free WiFi access throughout. You’ll be welcomed with stylish furniture and a free fruit platter in your room, where you’ll also find a workstation, a flat-screen TV, and a personal safe the size of a laptop. Private bathrooms come with free toiletries, a shower, and toothbrushes. This is a great mid-range hotel option in Siem Reap and you can book a room here.

The Blossoming Romduol Boutique hotel is a fabulous budget hotel in Siem Reap and offers private rooms, dorm accommodations, an outdoor pool, and free WiFi throughout the property. Additionally, there is a café on the premises, pool tables, free private parking, and free bicycle rental for visitors. Private rooms at this Siem Reap budget hotel have a fan or air conditioning, and some accommodations have a flat-screen cable TV, a refrigerator, and rooms with garden views. The front door of the building opens into a garden area, and there is also a front desk with 24-hour service, a shared lounge, currency exchange, and ticketing services. A great option here is that hotel bicycles may be used for free. You can check rates here.

Travel Tips for Exploring Cambodia

How to Go from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap – Transport Options

There is an airport in Siem Reap, and flying from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap is the fastest way to get there, you can even get a flight for as little as US$35.  For ground transport options between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, there are several options, which include buses, shuttles (vans), and boats.  In this guide on how to go from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, we’ll cover the fastest way to travel from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, the easiest way to go to Siem Reap from Phnom Penh, and the cheapest way to get to Siem Reap from Phnom Penh.  If you’re looking for what you can do in Siem Reap, then our guide is here.

How to get to Siem Reap from Phnom Penh

For transport from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh, then you have several options.  Flying to Siem Reap from Phnom Penh is the fastest way to get here, but you’ll need to spend time getting to the airport at Phnom Penh and also waiting around after you’ve checked in.  This is a domestic flight, so the check-in times are less than on international flights.  You can also take a direct bus from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, you can also take a van to Siem Reap from Phnom Penh, which is faster and more comfortable than the larger buses.  If you are traveling in the wet season (usually from November to March), then you can take a boat that travels the Tonle Sap lake.

The Bus from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap

It’s about 320 kilometers by road from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap.  And the bus from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap is the cheapest way to go from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap.  There are (depending on the season) up to 29 direct buses a day that go from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap.   The bus to Siem Reap from Phnom Penh takes 6 hours.  The cheapest bus that travels this route is a regular bus, with reclining seats.  As buses go throughout the day, there are also sleeper buses that run this route, but sleeper buses tend to only operate during late-night hours. You don’t need to print a ticket for the bus from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, you can use an electronic ticket from your online bus booking from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap.

This is the cheapest way to go to Siem Reap from Phnom Penh

Online booking of buses to Siem Reap from Phnom Penh lets you select which seats you want – and pick a different bus if you don’t like the seat availability.

There are 35 buses that you can book to go to Siem Reap from Phnom Penh.  They leave Phnom Penh starting at 6:30 am and there are departures all the way through to half past midnight each day.   Check which times suit your schedule here.

Minivans from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap

The minivan services from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap are the most comfortable way to go from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap.  The minivan to Siem Reap from Phnom Penh takes about 4 and a half hours.  It all depends on which van you book, you might luck out with great legroom or you might not.  All minivans have A/C and reclining seats.  Minivans from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap cost a little bit more than regular buses.  This is the most comfortable way to go to Siem Reap from Phnom Penh – apart from a taxi!

Minivan departures make up about 50% of the departures from Phnom Penh going to Siem Reap and I’d recommend taking a minivan over a large bus, as they’re much, much more comfortable.

Check availability, prices, and book seats on minivans from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap here.

Boat from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap

If you are traveling to Siem Reap from Phnom Penh during the wet season, which is between November to March (climate depending), then you can also take a boat trip across Tonle Sap Lake.

This route is about 250 kilometers (155 miles) and takes up to 8 hours and a ticket on a boat or ferry from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap will cost about US$20-US$40 per person.  You can buy tickets for the boat to Siem Reap from Phnom Penh at travel agents or your hotel in Phnom Penh, or you can book online here  The companies that run these boats are

  • Angkor Express
  • Mekong Dawn – runs longer multiple-day trips if you want to chill out and relax
  • Khmerdertours – offers a full day trip that takes you door to door in both directions – so there’s no need to have the hassle of getting to and from docks at either end.  Lunch and snacks are provided too.  There are unlimited soft drinks and also a (paid for) bar on board.  It’s not as luxurious as the Mekong Dawn, but it’s nowhere near as expensive either!  You can check rates and book here.

If you take the budget option it’s best to arrive early and claim a decent sea – and a life jacket.  You’ll need to bring snacks, drinks, sunscreen, and a sense of adventure.  You’ll probably get wet and dirty and hot and sweaty, as this is one of the trips where the journey is definitely part of the adventure!

The boats and ferry arrive about 7.5 miles (12 kilometers) south of Siem Reap at a dock called Chong Kneas, this is one of the floating villages that you visit on a day trip from Siem Reap!.  It’s about 20 minutes from there to the city center of Siem Reap and you can take a tuk-tuk for about US$5 or a taxi for about US$10.

Alternatively, take the mid-range boat trip from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap and make a day of it/

Private Transfers or Taxis from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap

You can also book a private transfer or taxi to Siem Reap from Phnom Penh, you can book an SUV holding up to 9 people, which makes sense if you have a group.  This is the most comfortable way to travel to Siem Reap.  You can check rates for your group trip to Siem Reap here.

Flights to Siem Reap from Phnom Penh

The direct flight from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap takes about 50 minutes.  Several airlines fly to Siem Reap from Phnom Penh the one with the best schedule is Cambodia Angkor Air.

Flights from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap leave from Phnom Penh Airport (PNH) and land at Siem Reap Airport (REP).  Flying to Siem Reap from Phnom Penh is the fastest way to go from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. The flights depend on the time of year that you are traveling.  There’s a flight in June for instance at 1:40 pm that arrives in Siem Reap at 2:30 pm – but you can check flight times for your schedule here.  Flying to Siem Reap from Phnom Penh tends to be cheap and is the best way to get to Siem Reap.

The quickest way to get from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap

The quickest way to get to Siem Reap from Phnom Penh is to fly.  It takes about 50 minutes to go to Siem Reap from Phnom Penh and you can book tickets from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap here.

The easiest way to go to Siem Reap is from Phnom Penh

The easiest way to get from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap is to fly, you can check the times of flights from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap here.

The cheapest way to go from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap

The cheapest way to get to Siem Reap from Phnom Penh is to take the direct bus – reserve your seats here.

The best way to go from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap

If you’re going overland and you can afford it, then a taxi is the best way to go.  If you prefer to take shared transport, then a minivan is a lot more comfortable than a large bus.  The road is pretty rocky in places and it gets a bit bouncy on the big bus.  If you have a full day, then I truly recommend heading over the lake.  You can take the budget option, or splurge a little and make a luxury day of it with this trip to Siem Reap from Phnom Penh.  You can check the booking details here.

Final Words on How to Go from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap

There are a heap of options to go from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, and whether you choose to fly, take the bus, or a minivan they’re all easy to organize.  The boat across Tonle Sap lake is more adventurous, especially if you take the budget option.  There is a multiple-day luxury option or a one-day (semi-luxury) trip that will give you time to appreciate your surroundings and avoid the dusty road to Siem Reap from Phnom Penh!  Whatever way you decide to go, enjoy, this is a glorious part of the world!

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