Getting there and away
Though you may see airport signs in Kompong Thom on certain Cambodia maps, the airport is not functioning.
Almost every bus running between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh stops in Kompong Thom, so your options for bus companies and times are virtually endless. GST and Sorya, companies with adjacent stations near Psar Thmei in Phnom Penh, have the most departure times, starting at 06:45 and departing all day and including night buses. Giant Ibis is the most luxurious.
For reasons best known to themselves, no company will sell you a ticket to Kompong Thom from either Siem Reap or Phnom Penh so you will have to pay a full fare even if you get out half way. (Well, they will issue a ticket for Kompong Thom, but it’s the same price!) Prices range from $5.50 up to $12 or $15, depending on which company you use and how much commission the agent is charging. Smaller, 15-seater vans are somewhat faster and usually cost about $11 to $12. These can be bone-rattlers, especially if you’re coming from Phnom Penh.
Note that since all buses start in either Siem Reap or Phnom Penh (only shared taxis actually depart from Kompong Thom itself), many of these buses may well be full when they reach half way. That doesn’t mean they won’t sell you a ticket anyway, but it means you may get another passenger on your lap or a seat on the floor. For this reason it’s risky to just flag a passing bus down and it is probably worth paying the commission to get a ticket. Everyone and their mother will sell you a bus ticket either way and we were charged a reasonable $1 commission by Arunras. Furthermore since they have to travel several hours to reach Kompong Thom you won’t find any buses in either direction leaving until mid morning.
There is a taxi and mini-van depot behind the building opposite the Arunras Hotel. They tend to offer fair prices — competition is stiff.
For taxis, we were quoted $40 for Phnom Penh and Siem Reap and $35 for Preah Vihear city. You can also share a taxi: Phnom Penh, front seat $13, back seat (four people), $7, Siem Reap $10/$5. At least you know what you’re getting and if you want to leave early morning, this is your only option. Again, your hotel can call to book a seat for you for a minimal fee.
Most transport around Kompong Thom is by moto-dop or tuk tuk. A herd of drivers hangs out in front of Arunras and outside Kompong Thom market.
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