This write up describes the quickest way to travel from Siem Reap to Kampot and Siem Reap to Kep by bus.
The majority of tourists who enter Cambodia by air fly into the Kingdom’s busiest airport in Siem Reap. They do this in order to see Angkor Wat – one of the architectural and religious wonders of the world. After that, most of them will make their way down to the South of the country to Kampot, Kep or Sihanoukville for some rest and relaxation after the heat of Siem Reap.
If you are a budget conscious traveler such as myself, you will want to avoid flying from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh and staying overnight on your way down to other destinations. Whilst Phnom Penh is a bustling city with plenty of attractions, nightlife and a buzzing food scene, people who are on a tight timeline and/or budget may want to skip this city. Therefore a few weeks ago, I took it upon myself to figure out the fastest way to make the journey from Siem Reap to Kampot and / or Kep without flying or spending a night in Phnom Penh. What I found was that travelers have two options, ranging from $15-24 and both involve taking buses from Phnom Penh to Kampot or Kep.
Firstly, there is the Giant Ibis bus. This is one of the most reputable and comfortable companies operating in the Kingdom. Their buses are all air-conditioned, punctual and usually have free wifi. In order to get from Siem Reap to Kampot without staying a night in Phnom Penh using Giant Ibis, it is necessary to get their overnight bus from Siem Reap in order to arrive in Phnom Penh in time for their connecting bus the following day. This is a good way to save money on a night’s accommodation, and time as the majority of your travel time is spent whilst you would have been sleeping anyway. The total cost of the trip would be around $24.
The other option is Phnom Penh Sorya Transport. Their buses are also reasonably comfortable and have air-conditioning but no wifi. They are much more popular with locals whilst Giant Ibis caters almost exclusively to tourists. I chose Sorya when I traveled a few weeks ago and the cost of the trip was $15. I had to change bus once in Phnom Penh.
I was picked up bright and early at 6am from my hotel in Siem Reap and transported to the bus terminal where the bus left punctually at 6:45am. On the way to Phnom Penh we stopped twice for food and bathroom breaks (I’d recommend the fried noodles at the second stop they were great!). I arrived without complications in Phnom Penh just after 1pm. I immediately retired to a coffee shop with my book to pass the hour and a half until my next bus. This once again left punctually (a big deal in Cambodia) at 2:45pm. The journey was supposed to take 4 hours but lasted for 5 and ½ hours due to a traffic jam caused by an accident leaving the City. I arrived in Kampot at around 8pm that night in time to have a nice meal, a beer and a good night’s sleep ready to enjoy the rest of my holiday the next day.
In review, both of these options are comfortable and will save you time if you are in a hurry to get down to Kampot or Kep. Giant Ibis has the more luxurious bus but with the downside (or upside depending on your perspective) of having to travel overnight. The total journey time is approximately 10-12 hours on buses with a wait time of 1 to 2 hours in Phnom Penh for the change-over. Tickets for both of these buses can be found on www.camboticket.com. Some of the pictures of the journey can be found below.
Here is a short video of Kep (courtesy: blueladyblog.com)
Written by Michael Watson as part of the CamboTicket traveler memoir section. Michael is an expat living in Cambodia and is an avid traveler.