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Phnom Penh

Getting there and away

Air

Phnom Penh International Airport is a modern facility thanks in part to the US$25 (international) or US$18 (domestic) airport departure tax you will pay when you leave, or at least that's what the government says. Critics argue that little of the tax goes toward airport expenditures and as of late 2008 the Tourism Ministry has begun expressing a desire to eliminate the tax to fuel more tourism. The airport is located to the west end of the city on Russian Blvd. For departures, arrive an hour in advance. It is home to one of Phnom Penh's only international chains -- Dairy Queen.

Phnom Penh has an airport taxi service that will take you from the airport to one destination for $7. This price is non-negotiable during the day, but when taxi drivers are looking to take someone back to the city at night the price can plummet to about $4. Another option is to walk past the taxis and out the front gate. The price should drop to $5 (here you can bargain) for a non-airport taxi usually parked just outside the gates. Motorbikes and tuk tuks are not allowed to wait inside, so drivers will solicit you from inside the gate then bring you outside to their vehicle. Be prepared to be quoted the "barang" or foreigner inflated price, but don't pay more than $2 for a moto, $4 for a tuk tuk, or $7 for a taxi, either inside or outside the airport gates.

    Train

    There is no practical reason to travel by train in Cambodia -- the network here is the worst in Southeast Asia, and that's putting it nicely. But it's a great way to see the country and an adventure in itself -- it's often possible to climb up and ride on the tops of the cars, Indian style, but obviously do so at your own (considerable) risk.

    The station is located at the western terminus of streets 108 and 106. Theoretically, there's a train headed for Battambang that leaves on Saturdays only, at 06:12, which reaches Battambang at 17:21 -- or thereabouts. The fare is 22,000 riel. On Sunday, the same train makes the return trip and then sits there for a week before doing it all over again.

      Bus

      Inter-city and international buses are run by separate companies at different locations throughout Phnom Penh. Luckily, most of the tuk tuk and motodop drivers are well-acquainted with where to take you as long as you give them the name of the company you are looking for. There are two main bus terminals: Beside the Central Market are stations for Sorya and G.S.T., and along the northern part of the Riverside is one for TK.

      G.S.T. Express Bus Service
      13 Street 142, Phnom Penh,
      T: (016) 444 453 (012) 466 612. All buses have air-con but no toilets.
      Battambang: Departs at 06:45, 07:20, 07:45, 10:30, 11:45. Costs 20,000 riel and takes 5 hours
      Kampong Cham: Departs at 7:30. Costs 13,000 riel and takes 3 hours
      Poi Pet: Departs at 06:45, 07:45, 9:45 and 12:00. Costs 30,000 riel and takes 6 - 7 hours
      Siem Reap: Departs at 06:45, 07;45, 9:45, 12:15. Costs 20,000 riel and takes 5.5 hours
      Sihanoukville: Departs at 07:15, 8:15, 12:30, 13:30. Costs 16,000 riel and takes 4 hours
      Sisophon: Departs at 06:45, 07:45, 09:45. Costs 25,000 riel and takes 5 - 6 hours


      Capital Open Tours
      14Aeo Street 182, Phnom Penh
      T: (023) 724 104, (023) 217 627 F: (023) 214 104
      Hotel/guesthouse pick up free, confirm all tickets one day in advance.

      All buses are air-con, no toilets.
      Bangkok: Departs at 08:00. Costs $13 and takes 12 hours
      Battambang: Departs regularly, 07:00 to 14:15. Costs $6 and takes 5 hours
      Poipet: Departs 06:30 and 08:00. Costs $9 and takes 8 hours
      Saigon: Departs at 06:45, 07:30, 08:00 and 09:00. Costs $10 and takes 6 hours
      Siem Reap: Departs at 07:30, 08:30, 10:15, 12:00, 13:30 and 14:30. Costs $6 and takes 6 hours
      Sihanoukville: Departs at 07:15, 07:30, 08:30, 08:45, 11:15, 12:30 13:30 and 14:30. Costs $5and takes 4 hours.


      Phnom Penh Sorya Transport Company
      Corner Streets 217 and 67, Phnom Penh.
      T: (023) 210 359, (023) 210 859, (012) 631 545 F: (023) 992 569.
      168@ppsoryatransport.com, www.ppsoryatransport.com.
      All buses have air-con but no toilets.

      Bangkok: Departs at 06:30. Costs $16 and takes 15 hours
      Battambang: Departs at 07:45, 08:45, 11:30, 13:30 and 18:30. Costs 22,000 riel and takes 4 hours
      Kampong Chhnang: Departs hourly between 07:00 and 17:00. Costs 15,000 riel and takes 1.5 hours
      Kratie: Departs at 07:00, 07:15 and 08:00. Costs 25,000 riel and takes 6 hours
      Laos border (Dom Kralor): Departs at 07:15. Costs $19. The trip includes an overnight stay in Stung Treng, two hours from the border. Cost of accommodation is not included
      Poi Pet: Departs at 06:30, 07:45 and 08:45. Costs 26,000 riel and takes 8 hours
      Saigon: Departs at 06:30, 08:00, 09:00, 11:45 and 13:30. Costs $10 at takes 6 hours
      Siem Reap: Departs at 07:00, 07:45, 08:45, 11:30 and 13:30. Costs 22,000 riel and takes 6 hours
      Sihanoukville: Departs at 07:00, 08:00, 09:00, 11:30, 12:45 and 13:45. Costs 17,000 riel and takes 4 hours
      Sisophon: Departs at 06:30, 07;45, 08:45, 10:30 and 12:45. Costs 27,000 riel and takes 6 hours
      Snuol: Departs at 07:00, 07:30 and 12:45. Costs 22,000 riel and takes 5 hours
      Stung Treng: Departs at 07:00. Costs 38,000 riel and takes 7.5 hours
      Takeo: Departs hourly between 07:00 and 16:00. Costs 10,000 riel and takes 2-3 hours


      Several other companies also offer similar bus services to similar destinations:

      Virak Buntham Express Travel
      Corner of Sisowath Quay and 106 Street, Phnom Penh
      T: (099) 628 448, (089) 998 761
      This company only travels along one route to Bangkok and leave every morning at 07:45. Those stopping in Koh Kong pay $12, in Pattaya $32 and Bangkok $35.

      Rith Mony Bus Service
      137 Street 118 (corner of Street 109), Phnom Penh.
      T: (012) 818 737, (011) 823 885, (012) 878 919

      Mekong Express Limousine Bus
      87Eo Sisowath Quay, Phnom Penh.
      T: (023) 427 518, (023) 426 425 F: (023) 427 168
      mekongexpress@online.com.kh

      Neak Krorhorm Travel and Tours
      127Eo Street 108, Phnom Penh.
      T: (023) 219 496-7, (012) 495 249, (012) 406 262 F: (023) 219 496

        Boat

        Many companies and travel agents will sell you boat tickets at cost, but the two main companies that actually run the boats are:

        Angkor Express
        T: (012) 789 531, (023) 726 892
        Boats leave from the pier near the Titanic Restaurant on the northern part of Sisowath Quay.

        Siem Reap: Departs 07:30, costs $35 and takes 6 hours
        Chau Doc (slow boat): Departs 12:00, costs $22 and takes 4 hours
        Chau Doc (fast boat): Departs 13:00, costs $35, including water, coffee, lunch and a guide. Takes 3 hours

          Getting Around

          Phnom Penh has no public transport The cheapest, most convenient option to get around is to flag down a motorcycle taxi (called a moto or motodop). Moto drivers sporting baseball caps (their uniform) are clustered on most corners, waiting on their 100cc motor scooters. Trips around town can cost from 2,000 riel for a short trip to up to $5 for a long distance trip. Try to settle on a price in advance. Be warned that motos and tuk tuks really want your business and as such they may tell you that they know the destination you are asking about when really they have no idea. It's helpful if you can tell them a city landmark near your destination, and navigate from there. Figure out your destination's proximity to the Independence Monument, Psaar Thmei (Central Market), Psar Tuol Tom Puong (Russian Market), or Oressey Market, and direct motodops from there. The words sdam (right) and sveng (left) will come in handy too. If you aren't in a hurry, and want to take a good long look at Phnom Penh as you travel, a pedal-powered cyclo is a good choice. They are cheaper than motos, but definitely slower.

          A tuk tuk is a moto attached to a cart with one or two bench style seats and a roof. Though Cambodians regularly cram eight or more people into them, usually four average sized people is the maximum capacity, if you want the 100cc moto pulling the tuk tuk to be able to move. Expect to pay double for a tuk tuk than a moto as well as extra for each additional person being carried. Prices are also higher for both motos and tuk tuks after dark and to destinations away from central areas of town, since it will be harder for them to pick up return fares in those locations.

          Phnom Penh has no metered taxis but plenty of good taxi drivers. Decide on a price in advance of a trip -- for a full day of sightseeing expect to pay around US$25. Most guesthouses or hotels can set you up with a taxi driver, or try Taxi Vantha at (012) 855 000, though it is a little pricier than others.

          If you are adventurous, or have experience driving in the developing world, bicycles and motorbikes are readily available for rent. Many guesthouses have bicycles -- expect to pay around $1 a day. The most common motorbikes available are 250cc Honda dirt bikes. Check out Lucky! Lucky! at #413 Monivong or New! New! next door at #417.


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