Cambodia: Traveling Around
Are you planning a trip to Cambodia? So please, take a moment to read this important post on how to move around there with safety, specially if you are a lonely travel and even more of you are a lonely woman. Traveling around Asia as a woman alone can be pretty trick, but if you have the right advices you are going to prevent that anything bad can happen to you.
This post was supposed to be just one, but it got too long. Here you are going to find some general information about traveling around in Cambodia. After you finished this reading (that is very important!), you can go to our recommendation post, the post about our night travel between Siem Reap and Sihanoukville and the post where we leave Cambodia and go to Vietnam by bus.
Available ways to travel in Cambodia
The main cities in Cambodia have airports. So the quickest, safest, easiest, but most expensive way is to fly around. Specially if you have luggage with you. Flying with the low cost companies can save you some dollars, but you still have to pay if you have more than hand luggage.
Well, you really can take a train from some destination to another, like from Sihanoukville to Phnom Penh, but the trains in Cambodia work in very special way. They were deactivated in 2009 because it was too old. But then, around two years ago, they decided to revive some lines but they are far from working every day or more than once per day. The itinerary I mentioned before, for example, just work on weekends and only with departure at 7 in the morning. Nothing more. The good news is that it is indeed pretty safe, the trains are renewed, they go slow – can take up to 3 hours more than by bus – and the tickets have amazing prices and just one dollar difference for the VIP wagon, which offers pretty comfortable sits, air conditioner and even some weird movie going on. Ah, they also offer Free Wi-Fi, but the internet connection didn’t work not even for a second for me.
This is the most traditional way of getting around Cambodia, but the least safe one. You must be careful about the bus company you are going to choose, because it’s not only dangerous because of the driving, but also with scams, sexual assault, robbery and the lair goes. So if you want to take a bus in Cambodia, read carefully the post where we recommend a bus company and even search for more information on the web before buying some tickets.
A fun fact about the Taxis in Cambodia is that they can be very affordable even for long travels. Usually they will cost you pretty much the same price as a normal flight ticket and they are safer than buses. We just recommend taking a taxi for long distances if you really have extra money and you want avoid flying as much as possible. Without those two reasons, Taxi can’t be much more costly in the end.
The roads in Cambodia
They are scary, small, with a horrible signalization, with just one lane to each way, with cows crossing, kids crossing, people crossing, slow Tuk Tuks, slow Motorcycles, few kilometers with street markets both sides and the bus driver just go. They drive quick, they overtake pretty much all the time, most of the time they even force the motorcycles that comes from the other direction to drive out of the road.
We read that Giant Ibis buses were equipped with a GPS system that sends to the central as soon as the driver reaches more than 60km/h, but we found out that this is just bullshit. Through an app on my phone I saw him driving over 80 km/h for many times and didn’t change until the end. So, prepare your heart for the travel, because it is indeed adventurous. If you have a sit with a view from the road, you will have to hold on hard on your sit, because you will face cars, trucks and motorcycle coming in your direction pretty much often. There’s not much you can do. If the safest one already got us some quick heart stops moments, can you imagine the worst one?
In the end, we traveled around Cambodia by bus for 3 times and we survived all of them with no problem at all. Maybe this adventurous way of driving is just the Cambodian way. For westerns that are much more used to very well regulated – some times even too much – roads and driving rules, traveling around Asia can be pretty tuff for the heart. The good thing is that you get used to it, just don’t forget to fasten your sitbelt. =)
If you are traveling around Cambodia, read also about our night bus travel from Siem Reap to Sihanoukville and also our travel from Cambodia to Vietnam by bus. We also arrived in Cambodia by bus from Bangkok! Click here to read.
We traveled around in Cambodia from 01 to 12.04.2017.