Siem Reap and Battambang, which are two of the most stunning spots that Northwestern Cambodia has to offer, are well worth visiting. The distance between Battambang and Siem Reap is only 48 miles (77 km), but due to the fact that there is no direct road–all of the buses route through Sisophon–and up to ten hours by boat, the trip can take as long as four hours. Here we cover how to travel between Siem Reap and Battambang (and vice-versa), including bus, taxi and boat. Tours of Indochina
There are daily boats between Battambang and Siem Reap leaving at 7 a.m. in both directions. Depending on which direction you are going, the season and how high the water level is, the trip takes from eight to ten hours, the trip from Battambang to Siem Reap takes less time than the other ways around. The views are splendid, passing by many small yet lovely fishing villages, letting you get a sense of life on Cambodia’s riverside. Cambodia travel tours
If you are considering traveling by boat, know that due to higher water levels, the wet season is the best time to take it. However, be aware to bring both sunblock and some sorts of rain protection (at any small shops, you can get cheap ponchos for 2,000 riel). Also be sure that the boats do not own any sort of safety standards and would not pass any safety tests back home. Even thought the boats can seat up to 14 people, onto the boat, they will pack as many as 20, together with luggage. Tickets range from $20 to $22 per traveler and for around $180, it is possible to take the entire boat for private trips.
After a hiatus, there are again mini-bus shuttles running from Siem Reap to Battambang and vice versa. Mekong Express is the brand now running two daily buses in both directions. The 2 p.m. bus from Battambang and the 8 a.m. bus from Siem Reap are larger and seat 25 passengers, the other buses can seat 18 passengers. As having a good safety record and being relatively reliable, Mekong Express is a long-time tourist favorite. All nationalities pay $6 each way for the journey as they have also come to their senses and are not doing dual-priced tickets. It is possible to book tickets online at BookMeBus where you can reserve a seat in advance, at the Mekong Express ticket offices or through travel agents. The trip will take you about three hours.
There are some full-size bus companies flying this route, which all of the crappy local variety. Although bus tickets cost from $4.50 to $5, there can be as much as 100% markup at local guesthouses and travel agents, especially on the Siem Reap side. It is quite easy to save a couple of bucks by going directly to the bus company ticket office and purchasing your ticket yourself.
Capitol Tours, which sell tickets at quite reasonably priced at 18,000 riel ($4.50) for both locals and foreigners, is the best of the bunch. In spite of being aging, their fleet of 42-seat buses bedecked with colorful curtains is still in decent condition. For the duration of the journey, you will be treated to Khmer karaoke videos, a great insight into unique local culture. Tending to leave 15 minutes late, the trip may take between 3 and 3.5 hours.
Free mini-bus pickup is included in the price of your ticket. As the bus depots in both Battambang and Siem Reap are not especially central, you can go to the Capitol offices in both towns and have them transport you to the station.
For buses arriving in Battambang, you can take a tuk tuk or another bus waiting saying Pick up Bus on the side that will take you into town from the station. From the Battambang bus station, you can also get a tuk tuk, whose drivers offer a discounted rate of $1 for foreigners. However, they will push for the real rate of $2 or $ if they know that you are not planning on doing any day tours.
It costs $35 or $40 to go by private taxi between Siem Reap and Battambang. Like with most taxis in Cambodia, the Toyota Camry which can fit four passengers is the preferred vehicle, but travel light if you have more than three people as it can be a tight squeeze and the trunk is rarely empty. It is possible to hire a taxi through any travel agent or local guesthouse for $40, but the trip will cost $35 if you go directly. The trip takes 2 or 2.5 hours.
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