Getting there and away
Cambodia Angkor Air runs scheduled direct flights between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville three times a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday), while Cambodia Bayon Airlines runs flights to Sihanoukville via Siem Reap daily, with direct flights twice a week (Friday and Sunday).
Cambodia Bayon Airlines and Cambodian Angkor Air also run scheduled daily flights between Sihanoukville and Siem Reap for as little as $110 return.
Both airlines take online reservations, but you will need to go to the Bayon Airline offices in order to complete payment and confirm your reservation within 48 hours of making the booking.
Cambodia Angkor Air: House 206A, Preah Norodom Blvd, Phnom Penh; T:(023) 666 6786, (023) 666 6788; House 17D, Omkhun Street, Siem Reap; T: (063) 969 268, (063) 636 3666; www.cambodiaangkorair.com
Bayon Airlines: CEIB Building, Russian Blvd, Phnom Penh; National Route 6 (Beside the Vietnam Airlines Office), Siem Reap; Moon Julie Hotel, 23 Tola St, Sihanoukville; T: (023) 231 555 (PP), (099) 227 301 (PP); (034) 936 555 (SHV); www.bayonairlines.com.
Sihanoukville is served by just about every bus company you can think of. Giant Ibis and Mekong Express are by far the best of the lot, with a well-maintained fleet and disciplined drivers. This makes them highly unusual, and even more appreciated. On minivans, we recommend trying to book the seat inside the sliding door as you’ll have more legroom and won’t have to sit beside someone else, who will undoubtedly start eating something weird and malodorous. Prices below are subject to change. For almost all bus journeys to Sihanoukville from anywhere else in Cambodia, it is likely that you will have to travel via Phnom Penh.
To get to Sihanoukville from Siem Reap by road, you’ll need to travel via Phnom Penh and catch a connection there. Depending on the connection, the entire journey normally takes about 14 hours. Giant Ibis have night buses leaving Siem Reap that connect quite smoothly with the following morning departure for Sihanoukville. Tickets for the whole journey cost $24.
From Phnom Penh
Giant Ibis: Giant Ibis VIP vans leave Phnom Penh at 08:00, 09:30 and 12:30. The journey should last four to four and a half hours. Tickets are $12. Free WiFi on board.
Mekong Express: The Mekong Express VIP van leaves Phnom Penh at 07:00, 08:00, 08:30, 13:30 and 17:00. It costs $12 and should take four to four and a half hours. Free WiFi on board.
Virak Buntham Buses: Night bus from Phnom Penh at 02:00 ($10), and VIP van from Phnom Penh at 07:30, 08:30, 09:30, 10:30, 12:30, 13:30 and 17:00 ($12).
Sorya: Every hour from 07:00 to 13:00, then at 14:30, 15:30, 16:30 and 17:45.
Paramount Angkor Express: From Phnom Penh at 07:00, 08:00, 09:30, 11:30, and 16:30 ($8).
Capitol Tours: From Phnom Penh at 07:15, 08:45, 09:45, 11:15, 12:15, 13:30 and 14:30 ($5 and remember you get what you pay for).
Giant Ibis: 7E0, Street 106, Phnom Penh; 2 Thnou Street, Sihanoukville; T: (023) 999 333 (PP), (089) 999 818 (SHV); www.giantibis.com
Mekong Express: In front of Orussey Market, Phnom Penh; 171 Ekareach St, Sihanoukville; T: (023) 427 518 (PP), (034) 934 189 (SHV); www.catmekongexpress.com
Paramount Angkor Express: Bus Station, Sihanoukville; T: (017) 525 366, (016) 260 086, (034) 933 618
Virak Buntham Buses: St 106, Phnom Penh; T: (012) 322 302.
Sorya: Corner of Street 217 and Street 67, Phnom Penh; Ekareach St, Sihanoukville; T: (023) 210 359 (PP); (034) 933 888 (SHV); www.ppsoryatransport.com
Capitol Tours: #14AE0, Street 182, Phnom Penh; Ekareach St (between Acleda Bank and Canadia Bank), Sihanoukville; T: (023) 724 104 (PP), (034) 934 042 (SHV); www.capitoltourscambodia.com.
Guesthouses may also run their own private transport to Phnom Penh and elsewhere.
The bus service between Sihanoukville and Kampot is erratic, with services appearing and disappearing like jack in the boxes. At the time of writing, Champa Mekong operates a bus service from their office on Ekareach Street in Kampot at 08:00, 10:30 and 15:30 for $5.
You can also get a taxi at the end of Old Market Boulevard for a flat rate of $25/30. Shared taxis are also available.
From Koh Kong, several bus companies operate out of the bus offices on Street 3 in the town centre. A full size, air-con bus should take about 4-5 hours, and cost between $6 and $10.
Virak Buntham buses run from from Koh Kong at 08:15 ($9).
If you’re headed to Thailand you have several less-than-appealing options. You can buy the stages of the trip individually: a VIP bus ticket to the border, a van ride to Trat once you cross the border, and another bus to the capital (which is recommended by some). Or you can buy a package deal which includes the same VIP bus but from the border you are crushed into a van for a direct trip to Bangkok (that sometimes goes through Pattaya). The first option is cheaper and more comfortable though the stress of negotiating all the transport can offset any savings. The second option is a bit more unpleasant and costly, but is mindless. Both take about the same amount of time, depending on any of a thousand variables. Booking direct will cost about $27, and buses leave at 08:15 and 20:00. The morning departure journey will take about 14 hours, while the evening departure will take up to 18 hours.
Ana Travel: Serendipity Beach Rd, Sihanoukville; T: (012) 915 301, (016) 499 915, (085) 508 887; www.anatravelandtours.com
Cool Banana Travel: Serendipity Beach Rd, Sihanoukville; T: (016) 688 384, (068) 688 384, (012) 941 900.
Taxis run regularly from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville and return. The entire car can be hired for about $50 to $60, or else you’ll need to wait till the driver has a full load (which can be up to eight people), which should cost about $9. Taxis are quicker than the bus, but the journey can be harrowing, especially if you’re in the front seat and can see everything that’s happening. Usually they will charge foreigners slightly more to have the front seat while the locals pack into the back like sardines.
If you don’t have your own transport, you will need to rely on motodops or tuk tuks to get around Sihanoukville.
The motodops are among the worst in the country and are the most likely to leave a sour taste in your mouth.
Always agree on a price before you get on. Never, ever pay before you go anywhere. No matter how angry you are, never throw money at the driver or his bike as this is highly offensive and may trigger violence. If you must use one at night, try not to do it alone and try to use one that you know/have used before. Generally the oldest guy on the crappiest bike is the safest bet; avoid young jocks on shiny new bikes. Do not expect to get anywhere for a local rate.
The easiest way to avoid this problem is to hire and ride a motorbike yourself. Be careful, though. There have been many reports of rental motos going missing, forcing the customer to repay the entire cost of the motorbike. Weeks later, once the tourist has left town, the moto magically reappears. If you do choose to rent a motorbike, bring your own lock as the ones provided are not to be trusted.
Tuk tuks used to be a bit more honourable, but now there are increasing reports of a tuk tuk “mafia”, meaning there’s massive price-fixing going on which is why every tuk tuk will tell you it will cost $6 for the 10-minute ride from the new bus station. However, if you can get a driver away from his buddies, he’ll often be willing to negotiate a lower price. Same rules apply here though — agree on a price before setting off and pay when you’ve arrived at your destination. Do not expect a tuk tuk driver to have change.
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