The last few years have seen some rapid development in Phnom Penh on road conditions and transportation facilities. As a small city, Phnom Penh is so easy to travel around that you could choose to explore it in many ways: on foot, in a private car, or in a taxi cab.
While all are fun options, perhaps the most comfortable means of exploring the city and cover the main attractions is by air conditioned private car. Motorized local tuk-tuks and rental bikes provide authentic experience for short discoveries inside the city.
Quick Facts (Getting Around)
- There are many great ways to explore Phnom Penh: by private car, on foot, or in a cab.
- Phnom Penh’s streets are full of cars and motorbikes, so cross streets with extra caution.
- Phnom Penh is warm all year round so make sure to stay hydrated if you decide to walk.
- Watch out for taxi drivers who quote you a price that seems too good to be true and make sure that they do not mean that price per person!
- Any time you leave your hotel you should grab a few copies of the hotels business card. This way, if you ever get stuck, you can show the card to a driver and find your way home.
Private cars offer you a lot that a taxi cannot: A professional driver, air-conditioning, and a flexible way of navigating the city streets. More and more visitors are choosing private cars over taxis and the prices are becoming very competitive, especially for families and senior travelers.
Hiring a private car also ensures that if you forget your belongings or have any trouble, you are able to contact the driver and company directly. The fares for local taxis should depend on a meter but you can expect the occasional driver to try and win a few extra bucks, a problem that can be avoided by hiring a private car.
Considering the sights worth visiting and the stories behind the sights, taking an organized tour with your private guide and driver is usually a good idea. Besides being flexible for you to explore at your own pace, they are more comfortable; all you need to do is sit back in the car and listen to your guide’s interesting views about the sights.
If you are traveling with Asia Highlights, our trip leaders will design the itineraries according to your interests, arrange the guide and hire the car for you.
Phnom Penh has a lot of inhabitants, but compared to other major cities it is relatively small and therefore you can walk to many places. Walking can be a good way to stretch your legs after a long flight and will allow you to stop and “smell the roses” or, in this case, stop and appreciate the local culture.
Most hotels offer maps at the front desk, and the city of Phnom Penh regularly updates their online map. Get a map and start to explore the nearby area of your hotel at night, like looking for food or just walk for a while after dinner. Remember to take your hotel’s calling card and not to walk away too far late at night.
If you want a more rewarding experience, signing up for a guided walking tour can also be a good way to learn more about the city. Walking tours will either focus on an area like downtown or the market district or will take you between two or three famous landmarks or local street food vendors.
On a walking tour your guide will point out details that you would never catch on your own. They can also help you buy food, and point you in the right direction for your next adventure.
Sync with Indochina's Heartbeat
Taxis are a common sight in Phnom Penh and their bright colors fill the streets. However, the time of taxis seems to be ending while the era of private cars is starting. Whenever traveling more than a few blocks, it is a wise choice to seek out a private car or use an app like Uber, but for short transfers, a taxi will suffice.
Taxis in Phnom Penh are metered and overall safe but almost none of them have AC and scams against foreigners are still quite commonplace. Visitors are advised to be careful when grabbing a taxi. Check with the receptionist at your hotel about the cost and how long the drive takes, or let the receptionist call one for you. Goble Taxis is the only official metered taxi service with reasonable prices.
If you travel with Asia Highlights you can be assured you will travel around the city in a private car.
If you want to get some fresh air but a walk sounds like too much, then try meeting in the middle and hop on a motorized tuk-tuk.
Tuk-tuks are a classic means of transportation around many cities in Cambodia. Think of a large tricycle with a bench seat for two or three passengers. It is like riding a bicycle without requiring you to do any pedaling! A ride on a tuk-tuk may not cost much, about US$ 5 for a short-distance transfer. It is recommended to ask your hotel’s receptionist to find a tuk-tuk for you and negotiate a price with the driver.
Bikes are popular with the locals as a form of transportation, and they are available to rent at most hostels and tour shops. Always wear a helmet and be very careful, as the local traffic might have different rules than you are used to.
There are countless bike tour companies around the city. In fact, if you ever need to rent a bike it is almost faster to find a bike tour company. Just like on a walking tour, a knowledgeable local guide will take you on a pre-established route that will expedite your time and ensure your safety and comfort.
If you prefer, you can call such establishments the day before and tell them specific destinations you would like to visit, and assuming you have enough people in your group they can make a custom tour just for your party.
Getting Around Phnom Penh With Asia Highlights
Asia Highlights provide tailor-made organized tours not just in and around Phnom Penh, but also to other cities like Siem Reap and Battambang. Our trip advisors will help arrange trips, starting from several days to longer multi-country trips, based on your interest and time.
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