Getting round Cambodia is an journey

Famed for its temples, jungles and seashores, Cambodia is a comparatively compact nation, making it fairly simple for vacationers to navigate. Roads have improved massively lately, however circumstances can fluctuate broadly from the dry to the moist season, and getting round is affordable relatively than fast.

Buses and minivans are the preferred type of transport for vacationers, connecting all the main cities, cities and vacationer hubs. Renting a non-public automotive or 4WD with a driver is an reasonably priced possibility for many who worth time over cash whereas renting a bike is a extremely rewarding technique to discover for skilled riders.

There are home flights linking Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville, however you may miss out on the journey of touring by highway. Boat journey is much less frequent than it was once, however there are many quick speedboat companies to the islands off the South Coast, in addition to boats alongside the Tonlé Sap and the Mekong and Sangkae Rivers. There are additionally prepare companies linking Phnom Penh to the coast and the Thai border at Poipet within the northwest, however departures are rare.

Nonetheless you wish to journey, listed below are our high ideas for getting round Cambodia.

Air journey is an efficient technique to save time and keep away from uncomfortable journeys

Whereas there is a carbon value, home flights provide an effective way to keep away from Cambodia’s unpredictable roads. The nation’s three functioning airports in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville are properly related to one another by shuttle flights, and air journey in Cambodia is usually good worth until you e book on the final minute.

Airways have a tendency to come back and go in Cambodia, with lots of the newer carriers oriented to serve the booming Chinese language market. Dependable choices embrace Cambodia Airways, Cambodia Angkor Air and Lanmei Airways, all with a mixture of home routes and worldwide companies to different hubs in Asia.

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Buses and minivans are the spine of native transport in Cambodia

The vary of choices for touring by highway in Cambodia is intensive. On sealed roads, massive and comfy air-conditioned buses and speedy specific minivans are the preferred selections. Elsewhere within the nation, a shared taxi or native minibus is the way in which to go.

All of Cambodia’s main cities at the moment are properly related to Phnom Penh by fashionable specific buses, following sealed roads, however should you’re touring from one finish of the nation to the opposite you might have to alter buses in Phnom Penh or one other hub, which may add to the general journey time. Whereas it does not cowl all of Cambodia’s bus corporations, bookmebus is a dependable bus-ticket reserving website.

In contrast to the crowded native buses, specific minivans function a one-seat/one-passenger coverage and are moderately comfy. Nonetheless, some drivers appear to assume they’re collaborating in a System 1 qualifier – put on a seatbelt when you’ve got the choice. Older minibusses serve most provincial routes however they don’t seem to be broadly utilized by vacationers, as they’re painfully gradual and sometimes uncomfortably overcrowded.

View of Angkor Wat, Siem Reap
Boats, buses and planes join Phnom Penh with Siem Reap and Angkor © Guitar photographer / Shutterstock

Share taxis complement some regional routes

In lately of bettering roads, share taxis – the place every passenger pays for a seat and the car leaves when it is full – are shedding floor to precise minivans. When utilizing share taxis, it is a bonus to journey in numbers, as you should buy up spare seats to make the journey extra comfy. You will need to keep in mind that there aren’t essentially mounted costs on each route, so you might have to barter a fare. 

Renting a automotive or motorbike provides most freedom

Automobile and motorbike rental is relatively low cost in Cambodia and lots of guests admire having the pliability to go to out-of-the-way locations and to cease after they select. It is dearer than touring by bus or minivan, however prices fall should you can share the fee with a bunch.  

Vehicles can typically solely be employed with a driver in Cambodia. This is usually a helpful technique to discover Phnom Penh and Angkor, and journey between cities at handy occasions. Some vacationers with huge budgets additionally prepare automobiles or 4WDs with drivers for touring the provinces. Hiring a automotive with a driver will value US$40–50 for a day of driving in (or round) main cities, rising to US$60 or extra, plus gasoline, for journey in rural areas.

It is also attainable to discover Cambodia by rented motorbike, although anybody planning an extended trip ought to check out the bike round city for a day or so first to get used to the site visitors circumstances and ensure the bike is in good working order. Bikes can be found for lease in Phnom Penh and most different vacationer cities – a 100cc motorbike will value US$4–6 per day (or double that on the islands), whereas a 250cc dust bike will value US$15–25.

In keeping with official guidelines, to drive a automotive you want a Cambodian driving license, so self-drive rent is uncommon. In the case of renting bikes, no license is required for bikes beneath 125cc. Gas is available all through the nation – even essentially the most remoted communities often have stands by the roadside promoting petrol out of reused Johnnie Walker or Fanta bottles – but it surely’s comparatively costly at US$1–1.50 per liter.

Women on a scooter eating street food in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Bikes are the car of alternative for individuals throughout Cambodia © Russell Pearson / 500px

Trains trundle to the Thai border and the coast

Cambodia’s rail system has been rehabilitated lately, with restricted passenger companies working at weekends, run by Royal Railways. The southern line hyperlinks Phnom Penh with Sihanoukville through Kampot and Takeo, with departures on weekend mornings. The northern line runs from Phnom Penh to Poipet on the Thai border through Pursat and Battambang. 

Boat rides are the way in which to succeed in the southern islands

Given the main enhancements to the highway community, Cambodia’s 1900km (1180 miles) of navigable waterways will not be as essential as they as soon as have been for vacationers. The Mekong River and Tonlé Sap are navigable year-round, that means boats are an possibility for the journey from the capital to Siem Reap. There are additionally scenic boat companies between Siem Reap and Battambang. Nonetheless, most inland transport is by highway lately.

The boats mostly utilized by guests are the speedboats that zip from Sihanoukville and different coastal cities to the Southern Islands, together with the high-speed catamarans that run to Koh Rong and Koh Rong Sanloem. Sundown boat cruises on the Mekong River in Phnom Penh are one other important expertise when passing by means of the capital.  

A tourist cruise boat in Sihanoukville, Cambodia
Vacationer boats of all sizes and styles buzz alongside the Cambodian coast © Matthew Micah Wright / Getty Pictures

Exploring by bicycle is a rewarding journey

Cambodia is a superb nation for skilled cyclists to discover, although be cautious about biking off-road due to landmines. A sturdy mountain bike is the really helpful car because of the unpredictable state of the roads. Most roads within the countryside have an unpaved however flat strolling path alongside the facet, which can be helpful for cyclists. Bicycles could be transported across the nation on the roof of minibusses, reducing out lengthy rides on main roads.

Native Transport in Cambodia

You may discover a variety of native transport in Cambodia from the long-lasting cyclo to the favored tuk-tuk. 

Native buses are an inexpensive possibility within the capital

Phnom Penh has a number of public metropolis bus routes which are fashionable with native college students however will not be but broadly utilized by vacationers. Elsewhere there are not any public city bus networks.

Cyclos provide most nostalgia

As in Vietnam and Laos, the cyclo (bicycle rickshaw or pedicab) is an inexpensive technique to get round city areas, however these automobiles are an endangered species lately. If yow will discover one, fares vary from US$1 to US$3; passengers sit up entrance, with the driving force behind, like an enormous pedal-powered pushchair.

A view from the back seat of a tuk-tuk, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Tuk-tuks zip round cities and villages throughout Cambodia © Westend61 / Getty

Tuk-Tuks provide airflow and environment

There are two most important kinds of tuk-tuks (motorized auto-rickshaws) in Cambodia and each could be booked utilizing ride-hailing apps akin to Seize and PassApp. The agreeably old style remork-moto is a canopied trailer hitched to the again of a bike, permitting two individuals to journey in consolation. These are an effective way to discover temples, as you get a refreshing breeze and a few safety from the weather.

In recent times, a large fleet of Indian-made auto-rickshaws has invaded Cambodia’s city panorama. They’re quicker than their remork-moto cousins, however typically a lot smaller and with much less airflow as there is a wraparound cab.

The moto is the quick technique to get round downtown

Motos, also referred to as motodups (that means moto driver), are motorbike taxis that cowl brief routes in cities and native hops within the countryside. They’re a helpful technique to rapidly cowl brief distances round cities and cities, however rides in site visitors could be scary. Costs begin from US$1 or US$2, relying on the gap traveled. It’s finest to barter a fare upfront to keep away from surprising overcharging, particularly at night time.

Taxis are helpful for sightseeing journeys

Hailing a taxi in massive cities and cities has develop into a lot simpler because of ride-hailing apps akin to Uber, Seize and PassApp. Guesthouses, accommodations and journey brokers can even prepare automobiles for sightseeing in and round cities at an inexpensive charge. Airport taxis can be found at Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville airports. Some Phnom Penh taxis have meters – elsewhere (or if the driving force will not use the meter) agree on a fare earlier than you begin your journey.

Travelers cycling at the gate of Angkor Thom, Cambodia
Rented bikes are an effective way to discover large historic websites akin to Angkor © sharptoyou / Shutterstock

Accessible Journey in Cambodia

Congested pavements, potholed roads and steep, uneven steps at temples and historic websites make Cambodia a difficult nation to get round for individuals with mobility points. Few buildings have been designed with accessibility in thoughts, though flagship tasks such because the worldwide airports at Phnom Penh and Siem Reap have wheelchair-accessible ramps and bathrooms, as do most top-end accommodations.

Buses and minivans are sometimes very overcrowded, however renting a taxi for the day or for point-to-point transfers is an reasonably priced possibility. On the plus facet, Cambodians are very useful in direction of foreigners, and hiring native help is affordable should you want somebody to accompany you always. Most guesthouses and small accommodations have ground-floor rooms which are simple to entry. For extra info, try Lonely Planet’s free Accessible Journey Assets.  

Why motorbike is my favourite technique to journey in Cambodia

Bike is the most typical type of transport in rural Cambodia and it’s one of the best ways to stand up shut and private with on a regular basis life within the countryside. I’ve ridden bikes round Cambodia for greater than 25 years and nonetheless get a buzz, whether or not I am touring for 5km or 500km. 

The liberty to cease when and the place you need is unequalled. Novice riders ought to stick with brief rides round smaller cities akin to Siem Reap and Kampot, relatively than diving into the tangled site visitors of Phnom Penh. Skilled riders can hit the highway on a dust bike and expertise the gnarly roads of the Cardamom Mountains for a really epic dust bike journey.

You might also like:
Angkor Wat: all the pieces you have to find out about Cambodia’s most iconic temple
Siem Reap: 11 finest issues to do after you discover Angkor Wat
Cambodia’s less-traveled islands guests have to find out about

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