No matter the mode of transportation, you’ll get to Siem Reap/Phnom Penh in one piece! None of the options are necessarily dangerous, but each have pros and cons that you may want to consider before making the trek across Cambodia. I hope this advice helps guide your decision in getting from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh, or vice versa.
This is an adventurous, simple, and cheap option. As long as you get to the bus station 15 minutes before departure (depending on the bus company), all you have to do is sit and take in the view. I used the Giant Ibis bus company to get from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh, and purchased a ticket two days before departure for $13. This was a new coach bus with kind staff that passed out snacks and water bottles throughout the drive. If you order a ticket online or by phone, don’t forget to pick your ticket up the day before you leave, otherwise your trip will be postponed another day! One con to the bus option is that the ride is slow, and you make lots of stops. You can, however, look at this as a positive in that it is nice to have a break at a local restaurant. I will admit though, the amount of stops felt a little excessive. The bus option is also perfect if you are traveling alone! I met tons of fellow travelers on the bus from all over the world! If you decide to take Giant Ibis, you are also offered a free ride from your hotel to the bus station. This ensures you will get to the bus station on time, and may avoid an over-priced TukTuk.
Traveling by plane is a fast and easy option, which may be perfect if you are constrained by time. Tickets start at about $75, but this number may vary depending on how early you buy your ticket and what season you are traveling. One con to traveling by air is that you miss the beautiful views of Cambodia’s countryside. Though you may face some traffic driving or taking a bus, the villages and rice paddies you pass through are breathtaking. The Siem Reap airport is smaller than the Phnom Penh airport, but they are equally manageable, and you will have no problem finding a TukTuk to take you to your hotel upon arrival.
Everything is up to you when you rent a car. You can blast the music and air, stop at a restaurant along the way, in a small village, or for a bathroom break whenever you please. You should be confident in your driving abilities if you choose to travel by private car because you will come face to face with oncoming cars and trucks, and will have to deal with the occasional motorbike zooming by your side. As long as you are prepared to drive on some poorly paved unfamiliar roads with constant distractions, you will be okay! A private car may be ideal if you are traveling as a family because it’s easier to cater to your kids needs, but this shouldn’t make or break your decision. You can rent a private car on either end (From Phnom Penh or Siem Reap) for about $99 a day. This, however, depends on the company you use, and on the time of your trip.
Don’t stress- Getting from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh (or vice versa) will be a worthwhile trip no matter your mode of transportation.