There is just about an option for every budget and time constraint and all transportations offer a glimpse of Cambodia in a different way be it by land, air or water. Here is a list of all ways you can get from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap and back.
The full size bus offers the best views with its tall windows. If you’re planning to take the bus, there are lots of bus companies to choose from. Don’t expect much as most bus lines are old, overcrowded and has lots of stops. It is however the cheapest option, as low as 6 USD for a one way ticket.
Most recommended by expats is the Mekong Express, best known for their security, which makes up for their shabbier vehicles. Giant Ibis however have claimed the favorite spot of most travelers, offering Wi-Fi and power outlets on board and the only bus line to offer night buses. All bus lines take around 6.5 hours of travel and a food stop.
If you’re pushed for time but still want the scenery, try the mini-bus. Trips via mini bus take 5-6 hours. You can book with Seila Angkor with their 16-seater Ford Transit vans, Mey Hong Transport (former Apsara), or Golden Bayon Express, with their 15-seater Toyota HiAces. Fare ranges from 8-12 $, fare for foreigners is more expensive than Cambodians.
If you’re traveling in a small group, 2-4 people, and want some privacy, you can rent a taxi. Taxi fares range from 65-85$ with airport taxis being more expensive. Taxis are mostly Toyota Camrys and can fit 4 passengers, however the trunk might be a bit small for luggage so prepare accordingly. Expect lots of stops for picking up and dropping off packages of the taxi drivers. If you’re paying more or on the top end of the range, you can always ask the driver to not make stops.
Mini-van taxis cost 100-180$ and can seat up to 15-16 passengers. This is best for large group of people. Try to hire one which has seatbelts, in Phnom Penh next to the Landscape Hotel across from the Cambodiana Hotel on Sisoqwath Quay. Always negotiate terms and price first before riding the vehicle. You can also book through travel agents or hotels but they charge extra fees.
If you’re in a hurry and budget is no problem, take the plane. There are three airlines with 5-6 daily flights from Siem Reap and Phnom Penh and vice versa. Flying takes about 45 minutes. Tickets can be booked online or through any travel agent. The cost is $100+ for a one way flight or $200+ for a round trip. Occasionally travel agents can get better deals, so it’s worth asking. You can book via Cambodia Angkor Air, Bayon Airlines and Bassaka Air.
Boat is only available in wet season between months of July and March. However safety and security is a risk. However the boat offers a view of the countryside from a different perspective. Tickets cost $35 and leave from the Phnom Penh Port on Sisowath Quay near Street 104 at 7:30 a.m. Depending on the season and water levels, the trip can take between four and eight hours.