Central Cambodia

PHNOM PENH

Global Mark : 13.83    Top Five : No3

Ratings by criteria : 

Charm Scenery Culture Market Relax Fiesta 

Cost

AVER.
3 2 5 5 2 5 3 14.29

Ratings by backpackers :

Surveyed Liked  Comeback  Recommend  Range AVER.
21 86% (18) 62% (13) 86% (18) 6 to 18 13.38


Description : The busy but fairly relaxed & attractive Capital of Cambodia

Comments : The first impression may not be positive but, as far as Asian Capital are concerned, this is one of the most charming & laid back 

What to do ? Get a free copy of the excellent Phnom Penh Visitors Guide  / Spot beautiful villas & old colonial buildings / Walk the riverfront / Loose yourself in numerous markets / Admire striking war photos at the FCC / Complete your Angkor Wat experience at the National Museum / Spot the King's Throne / Walk on silver tiles below superb chandeliers / Admire striking gold, silver, bronze, crystal or ivory Buddha's of all sized, together with other Khmer Treasures / Realize the ignominy of Pol Pot Regime / Rent a boat to see sunset on the Mekong ($3/hour/person) / Or enjoy it at Boeng Kak Lake (free) / Treat yourself at an expensive restaurant / Wake up early to experience sunrise over the river / Watch subtitled French movies for free / Practice English with local students / Develop your general culture at a nightclub or in some streets (there, getting only a massage is optional) / Shoot a chicken with an AK-47 at a shooting range / Sell your poor metal-stuffed chicken back at the market / Learn how a pizza can make you from "happy" to "very very happy" / Take a tour to the surroundings attractions : Phnom Chiso, Tonle Batie, Udong, weaving village, etc.

What you may not like ? The constant offer of services from the motorcycle drivers : ride, tour or... young girls ! / Some dishonest taxi drivers / The traffic, pollution and dirtiness / The sign at Wat Phnom "for foreigners only, please pay here $1" / Paying 11 times more than local people ($3 vs. R1000) to visit very very little of the Grand Palace  / The additional photo camera's fee / Being asked for your photo camera's ticket while not having any / Visiting temples while hearing Rock'n Roll on some guard's radio / Visiting the museum with the sound & smell of bats / The destitute kids & beggars / The not destitute kids also asking for money / The crazy turns of drivers at any street / The rather expensive food in restaurants, nearly all priced in dollars / The safety issue if alone late at night or in some areas / The muggy streets & disgusting markets after rain / The lack of park / 

Backpacker's Tips :  Carlos Xavier, Portugal (Dec 05)
« You do need a pair of glasses while travelling in the back of a motorbike in Phnom penh. Dust is everywhere.I and other travellers found out that it´s almost impossible avoid the itching and irritation in the eyes while using contact lenses. »

Backpacker's Tips : B. Harlow, USA (Oct 00)
« Phnom Penh is a dirty filthy place, trash is everywhere, pretty much every taxi driver without exception will try to rip you off. They will either charge you a very high fare and stick to it, or quote you a reasonable fare and then tell you another price when you arrive at your destination. And if you argue about paying it, your life could be in danger if you really want to push it. I was quoted on one occasion a rate of US$20 for the day, one place 
I went to was the killing fields, and when my driver dropped me off at my hotel after I gave him a $5 tip, he told me I owed another $5 since the killing fields were so far out of town... On one occasion while at the Russian market I was buying cigarettes from a vendor, she had told me 3 packs for one dollar, the taxi driver I had with me was trying to tell her to charge me more money because he wanted a commission... There are beggars everywhere, most of them amputees that just will not leave you alone when you say no, some will come after you and shove their stumps into you to try and get money from you. I handed out lots of money to beggars and children in the 6 days I was in Phnom Penh, at least US$100.00, but I can't give to everyone. Anytime you 
were spotted giving a buck to someone, a crowd would surround you, and if you didn't give to them, they were really angry. If looks could kill, I would be dead... »
  

How long ? At least two days

Where to stay ? 

Hotels  << Get precise info, book online and save money !

- The area West of Monivong Blvd & South of O Russei Market (St 182). This is not the brightest part of town and it can get muggy if rain but it is central, some streets are relatively quiet and there are a few restaurant options

bulletCapitol GH (023 724104), N14 St 182, west of Monivong Blvd / Sgl or Dbl $3 or $4, Sgl or Dbl w. shower $4 or $5, Dbl w. AC $12 / Mosquito net / Go there for the cheapest Dbl, to loose your way in all the corridors, to use the service of the reputed travel agency or to eat in the restaurant reasonably priced in Riels / What you may not like : the grotty & not so clean atmosphere with basic rooms, not being able to pay $1 more for better rooms somewhere else and the not so good restaurant.
bulletThe Happy GH (012 815370), No197 St 107, just south of the above / Sgl w. lavatory & window $3, Dbl w. tiny shower $5 / Mosquito net / Go there for the correct cheap Sgl / What you may not like : getting one Sgl without lavatory nor window, the old & grotty look, the noise from the street
bulletHello GH, No242 t 107-198, south of the above / Sgl w. shower $4, Dbl without shower $4(1) or $5(2) / Acceptably clean but rather basic & grotty
bullet® Hong Phann GH, No10 St 198, south of the above / Sgl or Dbl w. shower & outside window $4 or $6, Dbl w. AC & HW $12 / Go there for the cheapest clean Sgl w. shower & the view from the upper Dbl / What you may not like : getting better Dbl in other places
bulletLux Orissey GH (023 210508), No22 St 115, west of the above / Room w. shower $5, w. satellite TV $6, w. AC $10 / Basic & small with little English spoken...
bullet® Lucky GH (023 218910), just south of the above / Room w. shower $5 / Go there for the clean & big rooms w. some view if on the upper floor / What you may not like : the poor English
bullet® Sokkhary GH (015 916344), No20 St 141, west of the above / Dbl $5, w. shower $6, Sgl $2 (up) or $3 (down) / Go there for the cheapest clean room in town & the friendly atmosphere / What you may not like : the expensive Dbl, the tiny common bathroom & being told that the Sgl are full as it is becoming popular...
bullet® Narin GH (023 213657), No50 St 125, south-west of the above / Brother of Smiley's GH in Siem Reap / Sgl or Dbl $3 or $4, Sgl or Dbl w. shower $4 or $6 / Mosquito net in some rooms / Water dispenser / Go there for the backpackers' atmosphere, the relaxed sitting areas & the acceptable prices for rooms w. window / What you may not like : the tiny rooms, the expensive Dbl w. shower, the noisy staff, the intrusion of motorcycle drivers 

- The Boeng Kak lake area, a beautiful place (in particular during sunset) but a rather scary & filthy environment at night and not just because of the mosquitoes... It is also quite far away from the city's attractions and it can be tricky to reach after rain.

bulletSunrise GH (023 300331), the nearest, just behind the Mosque / Sgl or Dbl w. shower $4 / Mosquito net / Go there for the nice & original setting on stilts & the laid back atmosphere / What you may not like : the basic & rather dark rooms
bulletBoeung Kak Lake GH, south of the above / Room $3 per day or $50 per month / Go there to check the rooms as it was full when I visited...
bulletA bit more in the south on St 93, Happy GH & Shanti Lodge were both recommended as cheap ($3-4) & well managed.
bulletIn the same area, three basic GH (Same Same, No10 & No9) have dorms & rooms for $2 to $5. You need to pay extra for the girls or the ganja...
bulletCafe Freedom & Lodge (012 807345), south extremity of No93 St / More up market rooms & bungalows from $5 to $15 / Go there to check the rooms 


- Other parts of town, from North to South :

bullet® Last Home GH (012 831702), No47 St 108, South-east of Wat Phnom, just west of the Old Market / An old & a new building connected to each other / Dorm $2(2), Sgl or Dbl $2 or $4, Sgl or Dbl w. shower & window $3 or $5 / Mosquito net / Water dispenser / Go there for the nice location & the cheaper rooms / What you may not like : the bad noise isolation between the most basic rooms as the wall does not go to the roof 
bullet® Cathay Hotel (23 722471), Corner St 110 & St 19, just south-west of the above / Huge Dbl w. AC, HW bathtub, TV & fridge $15 / Go there for the great rooms at reasonable prices / What you may not like : the lack of view
bullet® Walkabout Hotel (012 851787, walkabout@bigpond.com.kh), corner 51 and 174 St / Dbl $5, w. shower $6, w. TV, HW & fridge $8, w. AC $12 / Free pick-up / Australian owner / Go there for the bar atmosphere w. lived sport & pool table, the spacious rooms and the night-life area / What you may not like : the noise, the not so clean common shower and the fact that it is often full. 
bullet® Hotel Indochine (023 427292), No251Sisowath Quay, north of Wat Ounalom / Sgl w. AC, shower & TV $10, Dbl w. window $15 / Go there for the cheapest all comfort Sgl in a good location / What you may not like : the tiny Sgl without window
bullet® California II GH (018 813129), No317 Sisowath Quay, east of the National Museum / Huge Sgl or Dbl w. AC, HW bathtub, TV & fridge $15 or $18 / Go there for the excellent locations and the nice all comfort rooms / What you may not like : the price !
bulletArara Rivertown GH (023 725258), No377 Sisowath Quay, next to La Taverne Restaurant / Room $5 / Go there for the cheapest room on the riverfront rd / What you may not like : the small basic rooms w. one bed only, the not so clean common shower 
bullet® Angkor Thom GH (023 215199), No333 Monivong Blvd, 5mn from Central Market / Room w. shower $5, w. satellite TV $6, w. HW $7, w. AC, outside window & fridge $10 / Go there for one of the best deal in town if two people as the rooms are clean & comfortable / What you may not like : the noisy surroundings 


Backpacker's Tips : Stefan Westerheide, Germany (Jan 05)
 
« Lucky Ro Hotel dbl hw tv fridge ac very clean very friendly 8 $ excellent value, very conviently located at Psar Chas. PP during water festival is an absolute must see. At other times still nice but not that exciting. Don´t miss Tuol Sleng. Boeung Kak, the backpacker ghetto,is a very strange place, recommend going there at least once to watch sunset. Ac-bus to Siem Reap 5.5 h 4.5 $ good road »

Backpacker's Tips : Spunky, Dutch (April 03)
« March 2003 we stayed twice in Phnom Penh. The first time we stayed near the lake (Boeng Kak Area), in "Same same but different" Guesthouse. The rooms are very basic and not that clean but all the guesthouses in that area are more or less the same same (and not different). We paid 2 dollar for a double room (shared bathroom/toilet). Boeng Kak is a good area to stay. There are some nice bars and restaurants.
The second time we stayed in Psar O Russei Area, King Guesthouse, Phlauv 141. Actually we were on our way to another guesthouse but the motorbike drivers just took us to King Guesthouse (they work on commission). We were not pleased with that but, now we were there, had a look in King Guesthouse and actually it was very good. It had just open, very clean and beautiful rooms, it looked more like a hotel! We paid only 3 dollars for a double room with private bathroom, fan and TV. When we left for Siem Reap the owner brought us for free by car to the express boat. I can highly recommend this guesthouse!
I liked Psar O Russei actually better to stay, since it is closer to the centre and the nightlife. We were told that Boeung Kak is a safe area to stay and we were advised not to go on the streets at nighttime. Well, we experienced nightlife in Phnom Penh and the time of our lives! We walked on the streets at night and we were not robbed or anything. Actually I loved Phnom Penh. It is chaotic, pretty dirty and wild but I just loved this city! It has a great atmosphere, good restaurants, bars and you can do great sightseeing. And, I just loved the people (everywhere in Cambodia!).
»

Backpacker's Tips :  Alain Olikier, Belgium (Aug 02)
« A new and good gh: Narin GH Number 2, street 111. The rooms are bigger and less noise than in Angkor Thom and the prices are the same. »


Where to eat ? 

Restaurants in Phnom Penh are relatively expensive as there is a big western community with lots of dollars to spend. Count on around $5 for a dish. If in the mood, the Foreign Correspondent Club (FCC) offer a great atmosphere and a good set menu for $10. And if not in the mood, Happy Pizza (No 223 Sisowath Quay) may help you to smile back for around $5 small or $8.5 large. 

Fortunately, food stalls are even more numerous than pizza's restaurants and usually as cheap & tasty as anywhere else (R500 a dish plus R500 for a plate of rice). A good place in this basic category can be found on the North-West corner of the National Museum (St 178 & 19) : well served, rather tasty & new dishes every day (not so much choice though). 

Good snacks (like banana-sticky rice cooked in banana leaves) are still tasty bargain at around R200. Sandwiches or noodles are more expensive at around R1500-2000.

Poste Restante ? The GPO keep letters for 1 month. It cost R300 per item. 

Internet ? Plenty of places around town, in particular on the waterfront. The bottom market price is now $4 per hour in most places but prices are likely to go down soon. Mittaphead Travel & Tour (by the Mittaphead Hotel, No262 Monivong Blvd, north of Wat Koh Tel : 012 980088) has already started with new prices at $3 per hour ($0.05 per mn). They however do not include candy or free drinks like some other to help you swallow what remains an high price...

Backpacker's Tips :  Didier Ketelbuters, Belgium (Nov 05)
« ATM : Haleluya, the first ATM's have been installed in Cambodia. We saw one today (08/12/2005) in Sorya Shopping center and one one the street next to the river. The second one aparantly also gives dollars and there is no commission. So anyone only armed with a banccard can get around as from now. »

Backpacker's Tips :  Ben, UK (Sept 05)
« Contrary to what almost everyone I met in cambodia says, there ARE ATMs that can take international cards. There is definately one in Phnom Penh at the Canadia bank (and i think at other branches around the country) accepting Visa electron, Cirrus, Maestro and all the others. This gives out US dollars but no Riel. Check out the Elsewhere Bar in PP, the lazy gecko (lakeside PP) and the Rusty Keyhole in Kampot (best spare ribs ever) for some fantastic tourist fare when the roadside food gets tiresome and friendly and informative owners.» 

Backpacker's Tips :  Ida, Sweden (Dec 03)
« The prices for Internet in Cambodia was lower when I was there, exactly one year ago, than what your site says. It was not a problem at all to find internet for only 1 dollar/hour, or even less. And it was very fast.
I would also like to recommend some really nice restaurants. To visit when you get boored of noodels and omelettebaguettes... Friends, not far from the royal palace. Enjoy the supertasty tapas and do something good at the same time. All the staff at Friends are former "kids from the street". Not cheap, but not expensive at all compared to US/european prices. We were 3, sharing 10 dishes + desserts and we payed 21 dollars together.
Tamarind on street nu 240 feels quite trendy. Had the best tapas I´ve ever tasted. Springrolls with spinage and fetacheese. Yummi. The Creme Brulé was good too. Also 21 dollars, but this time for 2.
»

Backpacker's Tips :  Anonymous (Aug 01)
« IS down to around $2.00 per hour, connections are fast and mostly reliable. »


Vietnamese Visa ?

Embassy : No426 Monivong St, Tel : 023 362531, open Mond-Sat 8 to 11 & 14 to 16, except Sat afternoon
The above is for reference only as it is strangely cheaper to have your 1 month visa arranged by an agency than to go to the Embassy : $40 in 4 working days, $45 in 3 wd, $50 in 2 wd, $60 in 1 wd / 3 months two entries visa cost $80 in 4 working days / Need 1 photo
SK Travel & Tour was the cheapest at $32 (3 wd). Narin's GH cost $35 (2 wd). Capitol's GH was only interesting for the 3 months Sgl entry at $55 or dbl entry at $70 (4 wd) but check with the other as well.
Note that 3 month visa were available in 5mn at Sihanoukville Vietnamese Embassy for $40 only. 

Laos Visa ? 
Embassy : No 15-17 Mao Tse Toung, Tel : 023 983632), open Mond-Frid 8 to 11:30 & 14 to 17.
The 1 month visa obtainable the next day cost $35 plus 1 photo. 
At Travel agencies, it should cost around $40.
The border with Cambodia was scheduled to officially open in September 2000. You can also get the visa in Saigon. 

China Visa ?
Embassy : No 256 Mao Tse Toung, Tel : 023 720922), open Mond-Frid 8:30 to 11
The 1 month visa (to be used within 3 months) cost $30 in 4 working days. Add $20 for 3 wd or $30 for same day / Need 1 photo


Travel Agency ? 
Capitol may not be the best GH nor restaurant but it is reckoned as one of the most reliable place to organize a trip around or out. They have daily tour to most of the attractions : Killing Field ($2), Phnom Chiso ($12), Taprom Temple or Udong ($5 without a guide or $10 with), Shooting range ($3), Weaving village ($10), Sunset on the river ($7), etc. They however usually require a minimum of people and are of course not as cheap as if going on public transports (when available).
It is also the cheapest place (but not the only one) to buy ticket out. They are however not the best for Vietnamese Visa which means that it would not hurt to compare the other prices as well with other agencies or GH. Those include in the area :
SK Travel & Tours (No10 St111, Tel : 023 982131) : 1 month visa extension for $45, Visa Vietnam in 3 wd for $32,...
Narin's GH : Visa Vietnam in 2 wd for $35, Visa Laos in 2wd for $40, pick-up to Siem Reap $3 back or $6 front, bus to Saigon, etc.

To/from Airport ? Pochentong International Airport is 7km West from central Phnom Penh on Pochentong Rd, a 20mn ride. Official Taxi cost $7 but price go down to $4 outside. Motorcycle taxis cost only $1-2. Capitol also have cars to share for $4 (1 or 2), $5 (3 or 4) or $6 (5 people).


A depressing day ? If you wish to understand what Cambodia has been through and do not mind feeling bad about human nature, there are two historically important places to visit :

- Toul Sleng Genocide Museum : $5, daily 8 to 18, north of St 350, This is probably the most depressing museum in the world. This former school was indeed turned in 1975 by Pol Pot's madness into the infamous Security Prison 21 (S21).
You start the visit by the torture rooms where metal beds and a few photographs are clear demonstration of the horror which took place here. This is also where you learn about the Camp's regulations. Those include rule No2 "Do not try to hide the facts by making pretexts of this and that. You are strictly prohibited to contest me" or rule No6 "While getting lashes or electrifications you must not cry at all". 
You continue with a building displaying some striking photos of inmates : men, women, children or old people. Then it is the cells where more interdictions are written in French : 1/ Strictly prohibited to talk 2/ Before doing anything you need the authorization of the guard. 3/ Strictly prohibited to make noise 4/ When anyone enter, you must lay down. 
You end the visit with more photos, horrible depictions of tortures (also explained in French but you sometime wishes you can not read), torture instruments and, then, a map of Cambodia made with bones together with the statistics of the massacre : more than 3,300,000 people killed !
If after that you are still able to talk, you can get a motorbike ($2 round trip) and follow the tragic historical path of most of the inmate to the killing field.

- Choeung Ek Memorial (The Killing Field) : $5, 15km South-West
I personally had enough and I had spotted one such place already near Battambang but this is certainly a very worthwhile experience. Some people are disappointed by what they see (mass graves and a memorial Stupa with more than 8000 skulls), others find the place peaceful but this is not the point : it is more about paying respect to the victims you have seen before at S21 than visiting a tourist attraction... Because of that, you may wish to avoid going with a noisy tour...

After such an horrible day, you may need the help of Happy Herb's Pizza (Sisowath Quay) : order straight away a "very happy" one ! Alternatively, you could head to the famous Bar "The Heart of Darkness" (near Walkabout Hotel on St 51) to relax and possibly meet Al Rockoff, the journalist portraiyed by John Malkovich is the movie "The Killing Field". 



Other (more joyful) attractions ?

- The Royal Palace & Silver Pagoda : Daily 7:30 to 11 & 14:30 to 17, $3 (local people pay only R1000) plus $2 photo camera or $5 video but you can be discreet... / Cowboys beware : cigarettes, hats & chewing gums are forbidden / It is also prohibited to make photos inside the Temples. 
Beside the above, this is the only real attraction of Phnom Penh and it is certainly worth seeing if you do not expect too much Royal extravaganza : most of the Palace is indeed off access and even in the Throne Hall, you are not allowed to go very far... Paying $3 for a limited view of a roof-decorated hall and some ugly paintings of the King in the Napoleon House ? Some visitors at this point develop the feeling of having been ripped off...
Fortunately, the Silver Pagoda area is much more rewarding : beautiful flower garden, long murals depicting the Ramayana, small charming temples but, above all, the Silver Pagoda itself, housing on 5329 silver tiles the most striking collection of Buddha ever seen (at least by me). OK, the Emerald Buddha might be only made of Baccarat Crystal and the 90kg life-sized gold Buddha may not have as many diamonds as some books claim. But the latest beauty is simply breathtaking and the other 1650 artifacts or so (most of them Buddha) are also pretty good. This is really the Khmer culture at its highest !
When leaving the Silver Pagoda, a sign direct you to the "Elephant Garden". This is not the reason to visit but it makes a nice "bonus" that few people notice : just outside the south gate, a traditional house with weaving instruments, two parallel buildings with all the accessories for a colorful elephant procession and, finally in the back, the elephant statues...

- The National Museum : Daily except Monday 8 to 11 & 14 to 17:30, $2
After Angkor Wat and the Silver Pagoda's exhibits, most of the 5000 objects on display may look a bit dull. But the setting is attractive around a courtyard, some sculptures are certainly beautiful and the soundtrack & perfume are definitively original... 
You might wish to check your change at the ticket office outside as they tried to give me a fake $5 banknote... Taxi drivers and professional beggars are also an annoyance.
North of the Museum, plenty of stone carving & arts shops. Looking at the ugly paintings is free...

- A few Wat : Artificially hilly Wat Phnom is not really worth the $1 entrance fee but the area is spotted with colonial buildings. The other Wat are free and therefore worth a look (if possible as doors are often closed). Sometimes (at Wat Saravan for example), the garden houses delightful colonial structures. As a whole, none of them are however worth a special trip. 

- A lot Colonial architectures : East of Wat Phnom, along the river bank, south-east of the Silver Pagoda or hidden behind ugly modern buildings. Phnom Penh is best explored on foot to discover them...

- Markets : The Russian Market (Toul Tom Poung) in the south is the most interesting for foreigners thanks to its good souvenirs section. Central Market (Psah Thmei) is however the biggest and the architecture is an attraction on its own. Plenty of other markets around town provide some interesting culture shocks, in particular after rain...

 << Discover some aspects of the Capital


Backpacker's Tips :  Guan Hing Teo, Singapore (Dec 01)
« There is another interesting place to visit. At the junction of Rue 144 and Rue14, there is a Chinese school, one of the biggest and last remaining one in Southeast Asia. The school is supported by the overseas Chinese Chao Chiew association. You will be able to talk to the local Chinese on their lives and see how the traditional Chinese discipline was implemented in school. The ancestors shrine and Chinese Diety is still being worshipped in the school temple. It is really interesting to see how Chinese culture is tolerated in Cambodia, given that most Chinese are richer than the indigenous Khmers.»

Backpacker's Tips : Tam Chiwai, Hong Kong (Sept 00)
« Toul Koo is an area near the lake and the Japanese bridge, where you will witness something you can only see in the movies : the whole street, about 2km long, is full of small wooden houses on both side. All along, you will see women and girls (I mean GIRL) standing in front of the house, trying to grip any human who look like a male object inside the den. This is the woman body wholesale market. Heard there is another place name Syva Pak about 11km outside of town.  Note : Prostitution is a real challenge for Cambodia. Tam's report here is certainly not an invitation to consume. 


Leaving Phnom Penh ? 

Most buses (Ho Wah Genting tel : 023 210359 or GST Export Bus tel : 012 895550), pick-up or taxi leave from the western corner of the Central Market while ferry leave from docks, north of the Japanese bridge. 

To Siem Reap : 
- Express boat : $22-25, 6:30, 5 hrs, slower in dry season and maybe therefore more enjoyable for the sceneries (not much as soon as reach Tonle Sap lake), usually free pick-up to the dock. / Follow all the backpackers to the roof to enjoy the view & feel safer...
- Slow boat : $6-7, 34 hours, from July to Oct only
- Capitol or Narin's GH tourist van : $9, 7am, 8 to 10 hrs if rain
- Pick-up truck : $3 in the bed, $6 in the front, same length but certainly more fun !
- It might be also a good idea to go via Kompong Chhnang (see below), Pursat (pick-up, R5000, 2.5 hrs) and Battambang (train, free, 6 hrs) and from there to take an express boat ($15, 3 hrs) to Siem Reap. See the localities for more details on this interesting itinerary 

To Udong : Ho Wah Genting has got buses from 6 or 6:30 every 45mn (K2500, 1 hour)

To Kompong Chhnang : Ho Wah Genting has got AC minibus at 6:40, 8, 9, 10, 11:30, 13, 14, 15:30 & 16:30 (R4500, 2.5 hrs). Other options are crowded minibus (R4000) or taxi (R5000)

To Pursat : Colorful Train, 6:20 arr. 12, arrive at least 30mn in advance for a seat / Pick-up truck : R10000 cabin, R5000 outside, 4-5 hours

To Battambang : the same train (R12300) arr. at 6pm but it is recommended to break the journey in Pursat village / Pick-up truck also do the trip in a difficult 9 hours for R20000 in cabin, R8000 outside / Taxi R25000 if full. 

To Kampong Cham : Ho Wah Genting (023 210359) has got luxury Buses at 6:45, 7:45, 8:30, 9:30, 11:30, 12:10, 13:45 & 15:45 (K5000, 2 hours, recommended to reserve) / GST Export Bus (012 895550) has got the same kind of buses at 6:30, 7:30, 9:30, 12:30, 13:30 & 15:30

To Kratie : Express boat, K30000, 7:30am, 5.5 hrs

To Rattanakiri or Mondulkiri : better & safer to fly ($55 one way) but not impossible by road if adventurous 

To Takeo : Ho Wah Genting has got near hourly buses from 7 to 16 (R4500, 2 hours). Otherwise, songthaew leave when full from Dangkor Market for R2500.

To Kampot : Colorful train, 6:40 arr 12, R4700, leave on even days only  / Shared taxi ($3) or minibuses (R6000) leave from Dangkor Market during the day (corner St 217 & Mao Tse Toung Blvd), 3 hours

To Sihanoukville : The above train should arr. at 5pm, R11700 / Ho Wah Genting has got luxury Buses at 6:55, 7:30, 8:30, 12:30 & 13:30 (R10000, 4 hrs, recommended to reserve) / GST Export Bus has got the same kind of buses at 7:15, 8:15, 12:30 & 13:30.

To Saigon : Capitol or Narin's have tour : $6, 6:45, 9 hrs incl. border crossing. Last info (Oct 2000) : due to the flooding, someone reported that the normal bus trip was cancelled. It is still possible to cross overland/water but it is more tricky and cost around US$40... Flying (US$75) is another option right now. Ask travel agents for the latest. 

Backpacker's Tips : Helle-Mai and Jarek, Estonia & Poland (March 04)
« Great sunset on the roof of Lucky supermarket near Central market. Great views over town all the time, in the afternoons boys are playing football on other house roofs /
The train service from Phnom Penh to Kampot and Sihanoukville has stopped. Minibus from Phnom Penh to Kampot takes 4 hours and cost 7-8000R.» 

Backpacker's Tips : Philip, UK (April 01)
« As of March 2001 the trains only leave every other day and cost three times more for foreigners ! » 

Backpacker's Tips : Jackie Boyer, UK (March 01)
« The train is no longer free, it's new policy to charge tourist extra. Tickets are checked, and a fine is most likely payable. » 

 

The trip to Kompong Cham : SS / L / R5000 / 2.5 hrs / AC Bus
The 7:45 bus was already full when I showed up at 7:30 and it was patiently waiting for me to depart... A good idea therefore to reserve a seat in advance.
I had chosen to travel with Ho Wah Genting, the company with the best looking buses. It was indeed a comfortable ride but with the earplugs' option turned on : the driver was indeed very much in love with his powerful horn. 
As for the TV, it was very loud as well but for half an hour only as it was switched off soon after departure. No bad-Chinese-kung-fu-movie today !
The scenery along the way was nothing special but you will appreciate it better if sitting on the left to avoid the morning sun. Another good reason to get the ticket in advance.
We stopped quite a few times : to let some passengers feel better but mostly to let them get off in front of their houses. Thanks to this door-to-door delivery, we had an extra half an hour ride for the same price ! We reached the market at 10am. 


The trip to Kampot : SSSS / L / R6000 / 3 hrs / Minibus 
Minibus or taxi to Kampot were leaving from Dangkor Market, a R1000 - 10mn motorbike ride from Central Market.
Arriving from Kompong Cham, I showed up there at 9am. The minibus was still empty but everyone was eager to have me seated without delay. Visiting the market may however be more pleasant than to seat inside a minibus basking in the sun. But make sure to 1/ Reserve your window seat, if possible on the left as the right side tend to be more crowded and 2/ do not get lost for too long as the minibus can fill up real fast.
I took ours about one hour to do so, as every centimeter of space had to be fully occupied. With 15 passengers in the back, one of them half standing, I suppose we deserved our GO !
And so we went, for a straight 3 hours, without any break to stretch our legs nor relieve our bottoms from the broken seats (well, mine was but the others looked fine). Fortunately, the narrow road wasn't too bumpy and the superb scenery distracted me from the messages I was receiving from some of my bones...


See also the trip from Kompong Chhnang

 

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