Sadly, time is always limited in travel and at some point you are likely to be moving on. Today’s blog is all about how to get from Battambang to Phnom Penh for further sightseeing or onward flights. But first a note about Battambang, my favourite Cambodia tourist spot.
There’s something about Battambang that visitors just love. Forget that there’s really not all that much to do in the city as a whole…the colonial architecture swaying into refined disrepair, the laid-back cafes and the riverside setting all make up for it. It’s the ideal blend of small-town friendliness and relatively urban modernity. I totally loved Battambang!
Outside the city’s confines, meanwhile, timeless hilltop temples (don’t miss Phnom Sampeau) and rural villages await. Not to mention the most amazing scenic river trip in the country, which links Siem Reap with Battambang. Also, don’t miss a ride on the famous Battambang Bamboo train!
The fact that the best-known circus in Cambodia – the incredible Phare Ponleu Selpak – is here is also no coincidence. The city of Battambang has a lasting tradition of producing plenty of Cambodia’s best-loved actors, singers and artists.
If you’re thinking about weather Battambang is worth it, yes – it totally is! Here’s how to get from Battambang to Phnom Penh or vice versa.
Battambang to Phnom Penh – How to get there?
You have two main options when traveling from Battambang to Phnom Penh, a bus or a taxi. Both take 5-6 hours, depending on traffic. Taking the bus is the option that is recommended. The preferred bus companies such as
Phnom Penh Sorya or Mekong Express provide enough comfort for this 5-6-hour trip and are an easy and cheap way to reach Phnom Penh (around $7). Traveling by taxi can be more expensive, but it allows you to go directly to your hotel. There is no option to fly as there is no airport in Battambang.
Battambang to Phnom Penh by Bus
If you are travelling from Battambang to Phnom Penh by bus, It is recommended that you book with one of the well-known bus operators for this route – Cambodia Post VIP Van, Sorya, Bayon VIP or Mekong Express.
Buying tickets from Mekong Express is ideal as it is the most secure and trusted transport operator in Cambodia, and it is known specifically for their good service (good by Cambodian standards remember!). In Battambang, the Mekong Express office is on Road no. 3 just down from Piphetthearam Pagoda and next to ‘The Place Hostel‘ (a good place to stay for backpackers).
The best and easiest thing to do is to book direct with your chosen Bus Company at the ticket office. You can also book online, but I recommend that you only book on the official website of the bus company direct and NOT with 3rd party booking website such as Book Me Bus or Bookaway.com. There are a lot of things lost in translation and I experienced extensive problems when booking through a third party, but not when I booked directly with Mekong Express. Read my Bookaway Review here.
Roads are paved and in a reasonably good condition, but accidents can still happen from time to time. However, there are a few other companies you can also book with. Fares start at $7.
Another bus company is Capitol Tours, which is a good option out of the big buses. The ticket costs around $6 and takes between 6-7 hours. There will be regular stops to allow people on and off the bus, which contributes to the long journey. You may also be treated to Cambodia karaoke videos for the duration of your ride!
Battambang to Phnom Penh by Taxi
You can sort out a taxi at your hotel or book it online. The taxis can seat up to 4 passengers, but they might have reduced trunk space for your luggage. Negotiate with the driver and agree on a price before to avoid bad surprises. With good haggling skills, you can get a taxi from $60. Taxis booked online start at $75.
Remember to check the standard of the cab – many drivers are not bothered about health and safety and their cabs do not have working seatbelts. Also, the drivers should not be using their mobile while driving – only hands free, but a lot of them don’t care.
If these rates are too expensive for you, you can also opt for rideshare. You can get one just along Boeung Chhouk Market on the National Road 5. Ride-sharing costs around $10 per seat. Bear in mind that you may have to wait until all seats are filled and the journey may not be as comfortable.
Phnom Penh to Battambang by Mekong Cruise
A third option to consider – if you have time and money on your side and want to soak up some scenery – is to take a boat from Battambang to Phnom Penh. The Cruise will take 3 days and you will need to book a sleeper. This will allow you to pass through Kampong Chhnang and Oudong. Safety has previously been an issue on Cambodian cruises, which is why I recommend the below cruise which has lifejackets and limits the number of people onboard.
Phnom Penh is a non-negotiable destination if you are visiting Cambodia. The gleaming spires of the Royal Palace, the pulsating saffron of the monks’ robes and its incredible position on the banks of the mighty Mekong, Phnom Penh is the Asia many daydreams are about. Motorbikes fly through laneways without a single thought for pedestrians; markets radiate pungent scents; and all the while the sounds of life and survival reverberate through the streets.
But this is all part of the enigma. Once known as the ‘Pearl of Asia’, Phnom Penh’s shine was blemished by the impact of revolution and war. The city has now risen from the ashes to take its place among the trendy capitals of the region, with an appealing cafe culture, bustling and enjoyable bars and a world-class food scene, known widely around the world.
What to do in Phnom Penh
Don’t Forget your Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is so important as it will help you with emergencies and unexpected costs on your trip. Make sure that you declare any pre-existing health conditions so that you are covered for those. Check your cover for accidents and medical care and also lost baggage or getting things stolen. Remember to report as soon as something goes wrong on your trip because some travel insurance companies require you to report something that you want to claim for within 24 hours. Read the fine print carefully when you sign up. I always recommend World Nomads. You can get a free quote here:
What to Pack for Cambodia
Take light cotton tops, long comfortable trousers and maxi dresses that cover your shoulders. Thailand is a conservative Buddhist county and you are likely to be refused entry to top sites like the Phnom Penh Royal Palace and Angkor Wat with shoulders showing and shorts or short skirts. You can pack shorts and vest tops for hanging around your hotel or the pool.
Pack a water bottle because many guest houses are eco friendly and have a refill and reuse policy to cut down on plastic waste. The drinking water is fine and many hotels supply cold purified drinking water.
Bugs bite particularly in the evenings in Cambodia and so a bug repellant is essential. Also the sun can get hot – this Christmas and New Year temperatures were exceeding 32 degrees and so sun screen is another essential.