Taking Buses from Phnom Penh: Possible Destinations
The bustling capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh, sparkles along the Tonlé Sap and Mekong Rivers. Home to more than 1.5 million people, the busy city can be overwhelming for first-time travelers or those who take things a little more slowly. Others revel in the chaotic energy and endless activities.
Once visitors had their fill of the Russian and Central Markets and viewing the many historical monuments and buildings in the center of the city, including the National Museum, the Silver Pagoda, and the Royal Palace, they can take a bus to many of the other memorable destinations within Cambodia and just across its borders.
Buses from Phnom Penh provide the perfect transportation method to get to a destination quickly, cheaply, and while still getting to see the breathtaking scenery found in the middle parts of the country. All of the options below can be reached from anywhere within Cambodia in less than 24 hours, depending on traffic and other unforeseeable delays.
- Buses from Phnom Penh to Destinations Within Cambodia
As the capital, Phnom Penh connects to the major highways in Cambodia. This makes traveling to another part of the country much easier, regardless of the distance, and travelers should find time to discover one of the many other places granting Cambodia the name, the Kingdom of Wonder.
Travelers taking buses from Phnom Penh need only travel 4 hours to uncover the mellow city under the mountain, Kampot. It entices Westerners and Khmer tourists alike with its colorful French colonial architecture and small-town feel. Foodies can enjoy an inordinate amount of different international cuisines despite Kampot’s small size. The same goes for bar-goers with enough waterholes serving up cheap beer and memorable conversations to satisfy even the most insatiable.
Adventurers can day trip up Bokor Mountain to get a unique view of the lands surrounding Kampot all the way out to the Gulf of Thailand, head to one of the cool waterfalls, explore the caves, or eat fresh Kampot pepper at one of the plantations, all only a short motorbike drive out of the city center. While visitors looking to relax can find lodging at one of the many riverside guesthouses along the serene Tuek Chhu River.
Kampot’s more timid sister, Kep, sits on the southern Cambodian coastline on the Gulf of Thailand. The former vacation spot of French colonialists and Khmer gangsters is working to reclaim its popularity as a quiet refuge from the big Asian cities. Tourists taking buses from Phnom Penh will be greeted by the White Horse and Crab statues as they pass through the rambling, bucolic city. Kep draws a significantly different crowd than places like Sihanoukville with its seaside hiking, butterfly gardens, and fresh seafood from the famed Crab Market.
- Siem Reap
Siem Reap beckons millions of travelers from across the globe to view the famed Angkor Wat and the other ancient Angkor temples. Buses run from Phnom Penh every day to the temples’ gateway, but Siem Reap offers more than can be seen in the recommended three days. Tourists who stay to explore the boomtown will discover the hordes of luxurious spas, high-quality restaurants, authentic Khmer food stalls, and the exciting nightlife in the entertaining city.
The coastal city of Sihanoukville attracts visitors with its sandy beaches and epicurean nightlife. Tourists with many different intentions can find satisfaction for their cravings, whether they entail a disconnected escape on an island with turquoise waters, a drug-fueled jungle party to dance until sunrise, or other more unseemly endeavors. Buses from Phnom Penh will not take travelers directly to the many popular spots around Sihanoukville, but getting a tuk-tuk is cheap and easy enough.
Otres, Sohka, and Ochheuteal beaches only a short distance from the main city turn tourists into expats with the awe-inspiring sunsets, delicious restaurants, and friendly guesthouses. Koh Rong Samloem, Koh Rong, Koh Ta Kiev, and Koh Thmei, invite tourists to take a break from the busy mainland life and retreat to a haven with limited electricity and no wife.
- Buses from Phnom Penh to Destinations Outside Cambodia
Cambodia sits directly in between Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos in South East Asia and tourists can easily connect to one of these countries by bus. Most buses from Phnom Penh will take travelers to the country’s capital for a reasonable price and in less than a day.
- Bangkok, Thailand
The extravagant capital of Thailand, Bangkok, invites travelers from around the world to get lost in the oversized metropolis. On the streets, all succumb to the cacophony of sounds, smells, and sights that overwhelm the senses and call adventurers to try something new and exotic. The city finds an impossible middle between its historic legacy and modern amenities, the hurried insanity of road traffic to the meandering calm of boats on the Chao Phraya River, the neon brothels, and the golden temples. Bangkok offers something for every one of its 11 million inhabitants. If travelers book one of the buses from Phnom Penh, the trip should not take more than 20 hours.
- Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Ho Chi Minh City, formally Saigon, is Vietnam’s capital and its largest city with more than 8 million people and buses from Phnom Penh depart daily. Visitors to the city of chaos, culture, and commerce immediately find themselves amid an overwhelming fusion of Eastern and Western cultures. Visit a local market or see a newly released film at the MegaStar Cineplex. Tourists can find guides to take them around the city or attempt to navigate the maze alone and discover some of the amazing food, religious sites, and many markets that create the sprawling capital.
- Si Phan Don, Laos
Si Phan Don, literally translated as the Four Thousand Islands, in Laos may sound like a mythical place from an archaic world, but visitors will find the islands very real. The Mekong River meanders around each of the individual paradises in a torpor soon shared by those on its banks. With little to do by way of trekking, tourists enjoy boat tours to view the many islands and Southeast Asia’s biggest waterfall.
Travelers seeking the blissful solitude and natural beauty of Si Phan Don can take one of the VIP buses from Phnom Penh to reach Don Det, a popular tourist island, in about 7 hours. Don Det, along with Don Khon, receive the majority of adventurers looking for cheap accommodation, while Don Khong holds the title as the biggest of the main tourist isles.