Takeo railway station is on the recently upgraded Phnom Penh-Kampot-Sihanoukville line, and is around 4 kilometres west of town. Tracks and air-conditioned rolling stock are brand new and travel time from Phnom Penh is 90 minutes. Before you get too excited, note that there are at present only 3 departures per week.
From Phnom Penh these are Friday at 15:00 and Saturday and Sundays at 07:00. In the opposite direction departure times are Friday 20:50 and Saturday and Sunday 11:50.
From Takeo, departures for Kampot (3 hours) and Sihanoukville (5 hours) are Friday 16:30 and Saturday and Sunday at 08:30. There are generally extra services during busy holiday periods.
Prices from Takeo are $4 to Phnom Penh, $5 to Kampot and $6 to Sihanoukville. Taking a bicycle on board will cost you an extra $2 or a motorbike $5.
Since this is a new service, schedules and prices are liable to change.
Royal Cambodian Railways: Takeo: T: (099) 222 533; open 08:00-16:00 except Tuesdays. Phnom Penh: T: (078) 888 582-3.
The nearest bus stop is at Aung Ta Som, a bustling town some 12 kilometres away at the junction of Highways 2 and 3. Drivers from the Sorya Company break up bus journeys on the Phnom Penh-Kampot-Kep route at the Rekchmei Monivong Restaurant just south of the town centre on Highway 3. Other bus companies use alternative stopping points in Aung Ta Som; tuk tuk drivers from Daunkeo should know the various stops. If you’re alighting here and trying to organise a pick-up from Daunkeo, you’ll need to specific which bus company you used.
Bus prices are a pretty similar $5 in either direction, give or a take a dollar. You’ll find buses in both directions—Kampot and Phnom Penh—frequent during morning periods but few and far between after midday. (There are direct Kampot buses, plus Kampot via Kep services.)
Sorya claim 07:00, 08:00, 09:00 and 12:30 departures in a northerly direction and 07:30, 09:30, 12:30 and 14:45 for Kep and Kampot though we’d advise both checking and booking in advance, as buses may well be full on arrival at Aung Ta Som. (Your Daunkeo guesthouse should be able to help with this.) There are other services as well, such as Capitol and Rith Mony. Aung Ta Som has a large market, plenty of cafes and even a couple of reasonable guesthouses if you do get stuck.
Sorya, Aung Ta Som: Check at Rakchmei Monivong Restaurant; T: (092) 980 168, http://www.ppsoryatransport.com
Standard fare for a taxi between Phnom Penh and Daunkeo is $30-35 for the whole car or $5 per person for a shared one. While taxis will collect from anywhere in Daunkeo, the standard pick-up and drop-off point in Phnom Penh is Phsar Daum Ko, near the Olympic Stadium. If you wish to board or alight in a more downtown location it will cost around $5 extra.
On a good day, allow two hours to cover the 78 kilometres, though be warned you can easily double that during rush hour as downtown access to either Highways 2 or 3 can be horrendous. Highway 2 is slightly shorter but Highway 3 is in better condition. Note Phnom Tamao, Chisor and Tonle Bati all lie aside Highway 2. We arranged taxi services through Mr Pich, a friendly, English-speaking driver charging standard rates. Contact him on (097) 735 0044 or (098) 735 004.
At the time of writing we couldn’t find any motorbike rental in Daunkeo. Hiring a motorbike in Phnom Penh for the 78 kilometre ride down Highway 2 may seem at first like a good idea and provides the opportunity to then stop off at Phnom Tamao, Chisor, Tonle Bati and so on, however there are drawbacks. Heading north, east or west out of the capital is relatively straightforward; heading south isn’t. Highway 2 is only reached after a torturous negotiation of badly indicated and severely congested roads through Phnom Penh’s southern suburbs, many of which are too new to even feature on any map. If you’ve got onto Highway 2, and can see fields on either side without ending up in hospital or getting totally lost in anything under two hours, then congratulations. (Coming back isn’t so bad as you can set your sights on one of downtown’s new high-rises from a long way off.)
A smarter move would be the short drive to Phnom Penh station and sticking your moto on a weekend morning train for Takeo. You’re then free to explore the area by moto then carry on down to Kampot or chance the return ride back into town.
The centre of town is easily explored on foot which is fortunate as there isn’t a lot of public transport to be found. With luck there may be a tuk tuk hanging around the waterfront road, night market or Independence Monument, though your guesthouse should have a phone number or two if you’re travelling further afield. Tuk tuks for the railway station cost $3 during daylight hours or $6 at night. For the bus stop at Aung Ta Som, count on paying $5 per person. The former is around 10 minutes from Phsar Nat, the latter 20 minutes or so.
We found no motorbike rental in town and though Daunkeo Guesthouse did have bicycles they were all out of action when we visited. For tuk tuks we used a friendly English-speaking chap called Mr Pich. Contact him on (097) 735 0044 or (098) 735 004. He also provides taxi services.