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The two best ways for getting from one place to the other in Cambodia are by air and private car. Flying between cities is an inexpensive and popular option among visitors, while private cars provide the most comfortable and convenient mode of transportation.
Other travel options, such as boats and ferries, buses, taxis, and bicycles do exist, but they're usually time-consuming and inconvenient.
Travelers only need to take one flight (between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap) to visit the major tourist destinations within the country, including Battambang. This flight usually takes about 1 hour.
There are 3 major carriers operating this route between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap: Cambodia Angkor Air, Bassaka Air, and Cambodia Bayon Airlines.
Cambodia Angkor Air is the longest-running airline offering domestic flights in Cambodia. The Cambodian government and Vietnam Airlines own the company, and their pilots are all from Vietnam Airlines. Cambodia Angkor Airlines is reputed for having the best safety standards in the country, and tickets cost about US$100 one-way.
Their schedule changes often, but they usually have four or five flights daily. The journey between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap can be completed in about 50 minutes.
Cambodia Angkor allows 20 kg (45 lbs.) checked baggage per person for economy class.
Bassaka Air is a relative newcomer in the market, and they offer extremely low prices for flights operating between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. These low prices, however, mean that seats aren’t that comfortable and there isn’t adequate leg space for passengers.
Bassaka Air offers one flight daily in either direction, and the journey takes about 45 minutes to complete. Please notice that Bassaka is a budget-airline, it also has limits on check-in baggage allowance.
Cambodia Bayon Airlines is another new name in the Cambodian airspace, and the airline offers one daily flight between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.
Flying Cambodia Bayon, however, comes with many of the same problems as Bassaka Air. The airline has small seats and inadequate leg space. It also has limits on how much baggage you’re allowed to check in.
It’s also essential to point out that Cambodia Bayon flies the infamous MA60 (Modern Ark 60) propeller plane which has been banned from flying in the US, Europe, UK, New Zealand, Australia, Nepal, and Indonesia, due to safety issues.
Renting a car-with-driver is certainly the most convenient and flexible way for guests to explore Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.
Siem Reap and Phnom Penh are warm pretty much all year round. The annual average temperature is about 86ºF (30ºC) in Siem Reap and around 84ºF (29ºC) in Phnom Penh. Such warm weather conditions make it a near-necessity for guests to travel in the comfort of an air-conditioned car.
Your guide will be provided with your itinerary beforehand, so that they can better plan your day for you. They will know which attractions you need to be shown around and will take the best possible routes to get you there, so you don’t have to worry about figuring out a thing!
The guides speak English and are well informed and friendly. You can spend as much — or as little — time as you want at any given attraction, and you have the opportunity to explore the city at your own pace.
This all makes traveling by private car, with reliable drivers who know the area well, the most desirable option when in Siem Reap and/or Phnom Penh. All you have to do is sit back, relax, and let your guide take care of everything for you!
We’d just like to remind our guests to choose a reliable and reputed travel agent that provides private service.
Private cars can also be arranged for guests that are keen on visiting Battambang from Siem Reap. The journey takes about 3 - 3.5 hours. Guests are reminded, though, that roads connecting Siem Reap to Battambang aren't very well maintained and so the drive is slightly bumpy.
With the improvement in roads, river travel is diminishing in importance. While Cambodia's rivers do indeed offer the chance to travel from one place to another while observing the local culture and natural scenery, the journey is simply too tiring for most visitors.
The boat from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap leaves the pier on Sisowath Quay (Neat st. 104, opposite the River View Guest House) at 7 in the morning. It costs US$35 and takes about 5 hours to complete.
Many companies provide entertainment on board for guests, but many don’t. For boats that don’t, some stretches of the trip can be a little boring, for example on the middle of a lake with no scenery.
The boat from Siem Reap to Battambang leaves Siem Reap at 7:30 in the morning, costs US$16, and takes anywhere between 5 and 8 hours. This is much slower a journey to complete and often requires guests to transfer onto smaller vessels in the middle of the journey.
The Siem Reap to Battambang trip is much more of a gamble — the quality of boats varies from day to day. The Battambang portion of the trip is very beautiful, but visitors should know that the best time for this journey is during the rainy season when water levels are high. A shallow lake makes for a very uncomfortable journey.
As we mentioned before, we don't really recommend traveling by boat to our guests. If you’re really into cruising, though, it might be worth the adventure, but for most guests it takes up too much time and is very tiring.
If you really want to get close to the locals and see the scenery, there are better options such as the boat trip to Kompong Phluk floating village via the wetlands of Tonle Sap Lake.
If you're keen on traveling by boat, we recommend using Angkor Express for your travels. They're reliable and have built up a fantastic reputation for their services.
Having a scenic coastline, Cambodia can be a great destination for cycling enthusiasts. Bicycles are easy to find (you can hire them in towns or even ask your hotel to arrange one for you) in most major tourist destinations.
It's a uniquely Cambodian experience to cycle in the jungle of Siem Reap and explore nearby temples. Cycling tours can be arranged for guests that are interested. Tours include cycling in the jungle of the Angkor area for about 2-3 hours. If you like exploring and adventures, this is a must-do!
That being said, we don't recommend cycling for more than 3 hours at a time, or trying to make it to every temple in the area by bike, because of the scorching heat.
Most popular tourist destinations, including Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, have their own tourist versions of the tuk-tuk (known locally as a remork) with a canopied trailer hitched to the back of a motorbike.
We arrange short distance tuk-tuk transfers for guests, as they're a great way to explore temples, experience local transportation, and have fun!
Using buses to get around in Phnom Penh or Siem Reap is another possibility, but we don't recommend it. It's popular among local students but can prove to be a real challenge for visitors. Not only are buses hard to find, but there aren’t any signs in English either.
While taking a taxi to cover short distances (such as from the airport to your hotel) is certainly worth it, it’s harder to find ones that you can rent for the entire day.
The very few that are available to rent for the day, have drivers that don’t speak English, meaning problems in planning your itinerary may arise.
Asia Highlights welcomes the chance to help you design your perfect trip to Cambodia. Our knowledgeable staff will assist you in selecting destinations, accommodation, and activities that best suit your requirements.
Check out the following links to learn more about our tours and get a head start on planning your hassle-free vacation today.