In this ultimate guide to Cambodia, you’ll find all the information you need for traveling around the country. From food, culture, and history, there’s something for everyone in this guide.
Cambodia, the Kingdom of Wonder is a beautiful country with the most charming, friendly people and an amazing culture that stretches back millennia. The country is dotted with magnificent temples and monuments, some more than 1500 years old. The heart of the country is the Tonle Sap, literally.
This enormous lake can increase in size up to 16 times during the wet season, it is Asia’s largest freshwater lake. Because of this most of the country is flat, with the mountains mainly around the borders.
The topography of Cambodia means that there are many ways to travel around the country. The ‘Best Way’ to travel around Cambodia is up to the individual. It is only limited by your time, budget, and how much of an adventure you are looking to experience!
Bus Travel Guide
Cambodia is well-serviced by buses. You can travel to almost every corner of the country by bus. There are overnight buses traveling between the major cities in Cambodia, as well as plenty of daytime routes.
There is a range of bus companies and comparatively, they are all cheap. However, with buses, you do get what you pay for. The more expensive companies have much better buses. On a short trip between close cities, the cheaper buses are not as comfortable, but you will meet more locals. The more expensive tickets will provide air-conditioned buses with comfortable seats, but are mostly taken by tourists and ex-pats.
If you are on a tight budget it is a great way to see the country. Taking an overnight bus between the major cities of Phnom Pehn and Siem Reap will save you the cost of a night’s accommodation.
You can arrive and leave Cambodia by bus, but ensure you have a valid visa already prepared if required when crossing the borders. On the Vietnamese border especially, for some countries, you cannot get a visa on arrival.
Flying for a tour destination
Three cities in Cambodia have international airports; Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and Sihanoukville. Prior to the Pandemic, there were several flights a day between the cities. Flying is fast and was relatively cheap prior to the Pandemic. Several of the airlines are restarting their operations during 2022, so the schedules and prices should be restored by the end of the year.
The three cities are all great bases to see the rest of the country by other means of transport. For those who like their luxury, it is possible to hire private planes and helicopters to get around the country.
Taxi Guide for transportation
Cambodia has a private taxi industry that covers the country. Don’t go looking for a car with a taxi sign on it, you catch these at certain places in the city. Ask around for where the taxi collects its passengers from, or they often advertise on social media.
You buy a seat in the car, if you want the front seat, you will pay more. However, if there is a monk traveling, he will get the front seat regardless of how much you offer the driver.
You can hire the driver and car all to yourself, but it is better to hire your own driver rather than take up a taxi. Cambodians rarely frown, but they will if you leave them without a taxi.
Private Car and Driver guide to Cambodia
Hiring a private car and driver is a great way to see the country. Again, you will get what you pay for. A driver who can speak English and is also a guide is more expensive. The type and age of the vehicle will also have a bearing on the cost. You will have to pay for your driver’s accommodation and meals, but with a good driver, they will know the best places to stay and eat.
A private car and driver allow you to see what you want at your pace. You can stop anywhere for any length of time. It is one of the most flexible methods of seeing the country, and you will often see and experience things that are not in the guidebooks. A driver with family in the area you are going to will often want to take you to their home. Accept the invitation, you will be welcomed warmly and have much more than a tourist experience.
Motorcycle guide to Cambodia
Many tourists travel the country by motorcycle, or moto as they are called here. It is legal to ride a moto up to 125cc without a license in Cambodia. However, you must check your travel insurance carefully before taking this option. Cambodia is not the place to learn to ride, so this option is for experienced riders.
Hiring a moto can be tricky, only hire from reputable establishments that rent out well-known makes, like Honda, Suzuki, and Yamaha. Avoid other bikes. It is illegal to rent a scooter to tourists in Siem Reap, but it happens. Just be aware you may be fined if you try it.
Traveling by moto is a fantastic and flexible way to see the country, but it is not the safest. Avoid traveling by night, and riding in the middle of the road, stay to the side. Although Cambodia is flat, resist the temptation to speed. You will lose against a wandering water buffalo on the road.
Every village will have a moto mechanic who can fix the known brands, and tires are available everywhere. So you don’t need mechanical knowledge, just good riding ability.
Bicycle guide to Cambodia
If you can handle the heat and humidity and are fit enough, riding a bicycle around Cambodia is possible. The country is flat for the most part and most of the major roads are good. It is probably best to avoid the wet season, as even major roads get flooded. March and April are the hottest months so long-distance travel on a bicycle will be difficult during those months.
Your bike can be fixed in every village and standard tires are available almost everywhere as well.
Riding a bicycle will let you really see the country up close. There are roadside stalls everywhere for refreshments and a chat with the curious locals. Don’t be surprised if they are surprised by a Barang (foreigner) who chooses to ride a bicycle around the country.
In Siem, Reap bicycles can be hired easily and they are a fantastic way to see the temples and the Tonle Sap.
Tuk-tuk guide to Cambodia
The most unusual and adventurous way to see the country is to hire a tuk-tuk and driver. Cambodian tuk-tuks are trailers behind motorbikes so they have more room than normal tuk-tuks. You will have to arrange this privately with a driver, it is not something you can book.
Make sure the motorbike is in good condition and has a large engine, 125cc or over. Prepare for breakdowns and occasionally have to push the tuk-tuk out of the mud. But most of all, prepare for an amazing adventure where you will be immersed in the culture. The Cambodian/Australian band Astronomy Class released a single about traveling the country in a tuk-tuk; Four Barang In a Tuk-Tuk.
Start Planning Your Trip with Private Angkor Wat Tour to enjoy a wonderful tour in Siem Reap and FIND a friendly AND FAMILY-ORIENTED tour service to explore the MAGICAL Angkor STONE TEMPLES and other natural places.