How to Get to Siem Reap
A large number of visitors arrive by air from Phnom Penh and Bangkok to Siem Reap, though in addition there are flights from a few other major cities in Southeast Asia. You can see international/domestic flight schedule for thorough international and domestic flight details and a list of airlines that service Phnom Penh and Cambodia. Cambodian visas can be obtained on arrival at both airports and most international border check points. The border crossing at Aranyaprathet, Thailand and Poipet, Cambodia is nearby and most convenient to Siem Reap. The way from Phnom Penh is in very good condition and there are a lot of regular buses, vans and taxis running between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap along with a day-to-day river ferry service.
Arrival and Departure At Siem Reap
A Cambodian visa is needed for almost all nationalities. You can get Visa on the arrival at the Siem Reap Flight Terminal or the Phnom Penh Airport Terminal and most border crossings.
The Siem Reap Flight Terminal is about 6 Kilometers, or 10 minutes ride from town center. You can hire registered vans, taxis and motodups (Motor Taxi) at the ticket desk in the terminal. Taxis runs $7/pax and motodups (Motor Taxis) are $2/pax into town, and vans (8pax max) run $10. Tuk tuks are also available from the airport. With advance bookings, most hotels offer free transportation from the airport.
Phnom Penh to/from Siem Reap
Flights: Bangkok Airways offer you several daily flights to/from Phnom Penh. See the flight schedule for additional information.
Buses: Bus travel has become the most popular ways of overland transport between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. The National Route #6 is paved and smooth and you will find several regularly scheduled daily buses in both directions, which take only 5 or 6 hours to make the journey. Several bus companies, hotels, guesthouses and travel companies offer a/c bus transport. Most of the time, it is easiest to purchase tickets through your hotel, guesthouse or travel agency. Prices and level of service differs from comfortable, which is basic a/c buses to deluxe a/c buses with snacks, entertainment and on-board toilet. Usually, buses make at least two stops along the way, one at SKUN and the other at Kampong Thom for a snack or lunch.
Phnom Penh does not have a central bus stop. Buses from different companies depart from diverse areas, so you should see the individual bus company for the departure spot.
In Siem Reap the bus station is located at BOREY SEANG NAM near Phsar Leu (the ‘Upper Market’), which is a few kilometers west of town center. On arrival, motodups (Motor Taxi) from the station into town run $1-$2 and tuk-tuks cost about $2.50-$3. For travelers leaving Siem Reap, most bus firms have a free shuttle service from your hotel or guesthouse towards the bus stop.
Local Transportation: Local shared taxi costs $10 per person, and leaves from southwest part of Central Market in Phnom Penh. It takes 5-8 hours to get to Siem Reap and usually they take one stop for a snack at Kampong Thom.
Private taxi: It costs US$65 or even more for the entire car, and it takes 4-5 hours. Discuss the price with a local taxi or arrange a private taxi through your hotel or travel agent. Usually, the price will be higher with the better car.
Motorcycling to Siem Reap: The road to Siem Reap is in great condition; However, driving in Cambodia remains challenging in the extreme, and should be tried out only if you are skilled riders. Speeding taxis, wandering cows and oblivious kids on the highway are the norm. You will need a dirt or road bike, which is not smaller than 250cc. It could be done in just one day easily, but 2 days with a layover in Kampong Thom is a more enjoyable alternative and you can have time to visit the pre-Angkorian ruins of Sambor Prei Kuk along with explore a few of the other sites and small ruins on the way.
After leaving Phnom Penh you will cross the Croy Chongva Bridge (Japanese Bridge) and follow national route 6A north for about 75km, you will reach to the Skun junction. (Skun is very famous for its exotic food; you can look at or test the fried spiders, turtle eggs and a lot more at the road side stalls.) From Skun, it takes about about 2-3 hours to get to Kampong Thom. In Kampong Thom, the Arunras Hotel, Stung Sen Royal Hotel and Mittapheap Hotel are all decent mid-range places. The stall selling food near the Arunras Hotel and Restaurant are where to eat cheaply. It takes another two hours to get to Siem Reap From Kampong Thom.
River Ferry: For most of the year (July – March) day-to-day ferries ply the Tonle Sap river and lake between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. The end of the trip is noticeable by a hill, Phnom Krom, close to the ferry dock at Chong Khneas, which is about 12 km South of Siem Reap. The ferry stops short of the dock and passengers transfer to smaller boats to traverse the final few hundred or so meters in the dry season once the water is low.
Ferries leave at 7:30AM daily from the Phnom Penh Dock on Sisowath Quay near Street 104. Ticket costs $25-$35. It is about 251km and takes 4-6 hours. Tickets can be bought at hotels and tour operators. At Siem Reap, the ferry docks at Chong Khneas, about 15km South of Siem Reap town. Taxis and motodups (motor taxis) are waiting for passengers on the dock. Travel is best in the wet season once the river level is high. The ferries are ‘local transport’ and are of diverse quality and luxury. Usually it is noisy, crowded and over-air conditioned. However, these ferries by no means meet global safety criteria. Travel is better while in the wet season when the river level is high. While in the dry season once the water is low, ferry services are usually stopped.