Backpacking in Cambodia’s premiere city is a must for it makes your Asian trip truly memorable. Phnom Penh is known for its French connection through its architectural structures amidst the lush vegetation that surrounds the Tonle Sap and Mekong Rivers. Now the question is how to get to Phnom Penh if you come from its neighboring countries.
Laotians and foreign travelers are will be glad to know that there are buses that ply from Vientiane to Phnom Penh and vice versa every day. The trip departs from Dong Dok at 8:30 in the evening with a drop off at 6:00AM the following morning in Pakse. From Pakse, you change bus to one that will take you to Phnom, leaving at 7:30 in the morning. You will spend a total of about $50 USD for your one-way ticket from Vientiane to Phnom Penh. The daily trips consist of three stops to pick and drop off passengers. A Visa can be bought for a few dollars at the Laos border where a building lies in the middle of the forest.
From Ho Chi Minh
Backpackers prefer to travel to Phnom Penh from Ho Chi Minh City through the Moc Bai border. Travel time is almost 2 hours and another three hour travel by bus from the Vietnamese border (5 hours total) . This trip will cost you around $18 USD if you take a tourist bus complimented with free bottled water and wet tissues. The bus tickets can be obtained from hostels, travel agencies or with the bus company directly.
Visas are offered on board or at the border. When getting off of the bus, all your belongings are scanned by the immigration personnel so always carry them with you. As soon as you return to the bus for a few minutes trip, there is no need to keep your things on you as scanning is no longer needed. For security reasons, it is always important to carry your belongings with you wherever you go anyway.
If you take Cambodia’s largest bus company, the Mekong Express, from Ho Chi Minh to Phnom Penh, you will spend around $14 for a one-way trip. There are two daily schedules that include 7:00am and 8:30am trips. Tickets can be purchased at The Mad Monkey Hostel.
Another route when traveling to Phnom Penh is from Bangkok which is hassle-free and a bit cheaper. Both countries have numerous trips daily to boost their economic and tourism cooperation. The trip to the Poipet border will take around 4 hours. Once at the border, the immigration officials will check the passports and scan the baggage.
If you are going between Bangkok and Phnom Penh you may want to consider one of the cheap Air Asia or Cambodia Angkor Air Flights that can be as cheap as $40. The bus journey, your food and the travel time of around 12 hours certainly make the flight option really interesting when you will be spending $30 on bus journeys anyway.
It is a standard procedure that passengers are asked for their Cambodian tourist visas at the border, which they can purchase there from $20 to $25 USD, hassle free. You can choose to get the visa in advance, this will shorten your time waiting at the border.