How to Get from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap? – A Complete Transfer Guide for Travelers

With the distance of more than 300 km but traveling from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap and vice versa is not something too troublesome like some neighboring countries such as Laos or Myanmar. Because this is one of the most popular routes to explore Cambodia. In this comprehensive transfer guide, Indochina Voyages will help you explore the various transportation options available, including their time, cost, and pros and cons. So, let’s dive in!

4 ways to get from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap

Direct Flight – A Saving Time Way

  • Time: approximately 45 minutes
  • Price: US$55 – US$125 per person (Price varies depending on booking time and airlines)

Traveling by airplane from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap is the quickest and most convenient way. If you do not have many days to visit Cambodia, this option is highly recommended. There are 3 airlines available in Cambodia that have flights connecting Phnom Penh and Siem Reap: Cambodian Angkor Air, Lanmei Airlines, and JC International Airlines. Among them, Cambodian Angkor Airlines is the most reviewed and provides the highest quality flights in Cambodia.

From Phnom Penh City Center to Phnom International Airport

From the city center, you can take a taxi or a tuk-tuk. The journey usually takes around 30-45 minutes, depending on traffic conditions. It’s advisable to leave with ample time, considering check-in and security procedures at the airport.

From Siem Reap International Airport to City Center

Upon arrival at Siem Reap International Airport, you can easily reach the city center by taking a taxi or a tuk-tuk. The journey takes approximately 15-20 minutes. There are plenty of transportation options available at the airport, ensuring a smooth transition to your destination.

Private Car – Privacy and Flexible

  • Time: around 5-6 hours
  • Price: US$100 – US$140 per car per way

Traveling by private car seems to be the most flexible way in terms of time since a driver can be ready at any time as long as you make a prior reservation with a travel agency or a hotel. You’ll have a dedicated vehicle and driver, allowing you to travel at your own pace, and decide the pick-up and drop-off point at the preferable places, normally should be the accommodations you will stay in both cities.

Additionally, you can make stops at interesting attractions or scenic spots along the route, enhancing your overall experience. Furthermore, a private car will be safer as well as faster comparing to other modes of land transportation such as buses or minivans.

The process of making an advanced booking for a car had better be made online by sending your request to the organizations or websites that are in charge of it. If you intend to do it online, bear in mind to have contact with a reliable one to avoid scam companies.

A private transfer in Cambodia
A common type of car for private transfer in Cambodia

Bus or Shared Minivans – The Cheapest and Easiest to Afford

  • Time: approximately 6-7 hours
  • Price: US$6 – US$15 per person per way

Traveling by bus or minivan from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap is the most economical option for budget-conscious travelers. Companies like Giant Ibis, Mekong Express, Cambodian Post VIP Van, and Larryta Express offer comfortable and well-maintained vehicles.

You can catch a bus or minivan from the central bus station in Phnom Penh or arrange for a pickup from your accommodation. In Siem Reap, the bus and minivan stations are conveniently located near the city center.

Keep in mind that these services may have multiple stops along the way, which can extend the travel time. It’s advisable to read reviews and choose a reputable company for a more comfortable journey.

Traveling by bus in Cambodia
Traveling by bus from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap

Boat or Ferry – Fascinating Journey

  • Time: approximately 5-7 hours
  • Price: US$35 – US$40 per person per way

Taking a ferry is by far the most interesting way to get from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap through the Tonle Sap Lake. You will definitely love the sightseeing on the ferry, with local houses on the river banks. Some people say that the view is not too spectacular, it is somehow true, but seeing how a country life in Cambodia happens is what you should hope for. 

Some companies offering ferry service are Mekong Explore, Compagnie Fluevial Du Mekong, and Angkor Expres. However, the ferry system on the Tonle Sap lake is considered to be seasonal. Throughout the year, the ferry cannot operate in months when the water level is too low, which are April, May, and June. Hence, if you travel to Cambodia in the dry season, the ferry is not an ideal option.

Similar to buses or minivans, ferries are used extensively by local people, they even carry more local people than buses and minivans. For this reason, its quality of service is the worst. And most of the ferries are not equipped with life jackets.

Ferry on Tonle Sap Lake
Ferry on Tonle Sap Lake


Is there a train from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap?

Currently, there is no train service between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. The most popular modes of transportation are flights, private cars, buses, minivans, and boats.

What is the best way to go from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap?

The best way to travel from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap depends on your preferences and budget. If you’re short on time, a direct flight is the most convenient option. For privacy and flexibility, a private car is recommended. Bus or shared minivans are the cheapest and easiest to afford, while a boat journey offers a unique and scenic experience.

How many days in Siem Reap is enough?

To fully appreciate the wonders of Siem Reap, it’s recommended to spend at least 3-4 days. This allows ample time to explore the magnificent Angkor Wat temples, visit other important cultural sites, and immerse yourself in the local culture.

Can you do a day trip from Phnom Penh to SiemReap?

While it’s technically possible to do a day trip from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, it’s not ideal due to the distance and the abundance of attractions in Siem Reap. The journey itself takes several hours, leaving limited time for exploration. It’s highly recommended to allocate a few days to fully experience and appreciate the beauty of Siem Reap.

How many days in Phnom Penh is enough?

To explore the main highlights and immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of Phnom Penh, it’s recommended to spend 2-3 days in the city. This allows you to visit iconic landmarks such as the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda, explore historical sites like the Killing Fields and Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, and enjoy the local markets and cuisine.

Or beyond the ordinaries and for the off-the-beaten-track experiences in Phnom Penh, you can visit our blog: Top 10 unusual things to do in Phnom Penh

In general, there are many choices that are suitable for different types of travelers, who want to get from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap and vice versa. Hopefully, this blog will be your handful tip when you are planning Cambodia tours.

For your reference, Indochina Voyages also has various fascinating Cambodia tours for you to choose from:

Or else, you also can tailor-make your journey to Vietnam and Cambodia until it suits you best with our local travel experts. Our travel consultants always welcome you warmly!

Minh Vu – Travel Specialist

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