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Getting There

By Air -- All major airlines in the region connect here. Phnom Penh International (formerly Pochentong) Airport is about a 20-minute drive from the city center (if the traffic is thin). A cab costs $9, while a tuk-tuk costs $7. Vehicles entering the airport are monitored. You pay at a counter in arrivals and hand the voucher to the driver waiting in the queue at the front. Motorcycle taxis are not allowed into the airport compound, but if you wish you can walk past the airport gates and hail a motodup from the side of the road. The fare will be about $3, but be prepared to haggle. This is all probably a bad idea if this is your first time in Phnom Penh, and you are better off sticking with the approved taxi.

By Boat -- Hydrofoil riverboats connect Phnom Penh with Siem Reap and leave early every morning from the main dock on the north end of town. Tickets are available from both travel agents and hotels or you can purchase directly at the quay. The price is in the region of $35. Now that the road to Siem Reap is completely perfect, boats have lost much of their popularity. This is not surprising as they are often overcrowded and uncomfortable, and their safety record is dubious. The boat route up the Mekong to Kratie has been discontinued altogether. Earlier this century, all the passengers on the Siem Reap ferry were held up at gunpoint and robbed by fellow passengers. The culprits turned out to be hospitality students!

By Bus -- Different companies leave from different parts of town, though outside of Psar Thmei (Central Market) is where you will find the departure points for both Sorya (tel. 023/210-359) and GST Express (tel. 023/355-379) bus services. They are comfortable and reasonably priced, but often very cold because of excessive air-conditioning. Mekong Express (tel. 023/427-518), leaving from Sisowath Quay on the corner of Street 102, is generally reputed to be the most comfortable and swift, but you will pay slightly more. It is worth it. Sorya (or Ho Wah Genting as they used to be called) and GST offer a slightly cheaper but less salubrious option. Travel remains cheap, with journeys from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap or Sihanoukville costing under $5. Unlike elsewhere in Southeast Asia, there are few night buses. Most departures leave in the early hours of the morning with the last ones leaving in midafternoon. The easiest way to buy tickets is through your hotel, guesthouse, or a travel agent.

Buses run in both directions from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, Kampot, Koh Kong, Battambang, Kratie, Kompong Cham, Stung Treng, Banlung, Sisophon, and Poipet.

Getting Around

With the increase in crowds and traffic that has occurred in the last few years, getting around Phnom Penh can be a fairly wild experience. The good news is that there are plenty of modes of transportation, and hailing a motodup, a cyclo, or a tuk-tuk is very simple since they are everywhere.

By Motorcycle Taxi -- Motorcycle taxis are all over town and are often the quickest way to get around. Just hail one from the sidewalk. Most restaurants and hotels will also have a stand of affiliated drivers. If you find one you like, take his phone number and hire him again. Most residents of Phnom Penh will have their own recommendation for good drivers or motodups, as they are called in Khmer. The dups are even thought to be mystically "all knowing" by Phnom Penh residents. Most trips around town will cost less than a dollar during the day. At night you normally double the fee. Most people don't wear a helmet, but they should, given the dubious quality of both the motorcycles and the driving.

By Cyclo -- A gentler but slower way to see the sights is by cyclo. They operate under the same rules and pretty much the same rates as the motorcycle taxis. Cyclos take a lot of the stress out of getting from point A to point B. They are also good when it rains, since the cyclo driver will bring out plastic sheeting to shelter you from the elements. You will always find lots of cyclos around Psah Thmei (the Central Market), as people use them to transport bulky or heavy goods. As the traffic chaos of Phnom Penh's streets increases, the experience of touring the city by cyclo becomes harder as these gentle vehicles are forced out by land cruisers and trucks. At the moment, however, it remains feasible.

By Tuk-Tuk -- Tuk-tuks are a fairly new development in Phnom Penh and are readily available. The name is taken from the Thais, but these tuk-tuks have little in common with the noisy, Bangkok two-stroke three-wheeler. Cambodia's tuk-tuks are a two-wheeled cart pulled by a standard motorbike, attached through a fairly ingenious coupling device. They are shaded, and the padded seat seats two (or three if you are thin). There is often a small shelf at the front of the cart, usually with laminated maps and advertisements, and, in a pinch, you can seat two more, but it's not very comfy. It costs between $2 and $3 for trips around town, while a ride farther out to places like the Killing Fields will set you back $15.

By Taxi -- Metered cabs have now made an appearance on the streets of Phnom Penh, though they are limited. Global Taxi (tel. 011/311-888) is generally reserved only by phone, though occasionally you might's see one waiting for a fare near a tourist spot late at night. The flag fall is 4,000 riel for the first 2km and then 400 riel per kilometer. Taxi Vantha (tel. 012/855-000) is unmetered and reached by phone only. Expect to pay around $4 to $5 for a short journey.

Enterprising taxi driver Yinn Vannak (tel. 016/639-852; www.cambodiadriver.com) has his own website for bookings and is available for hire on a long- or short-term basis.

There are many unofficial cabs. All guesthouses and hotels will be able to get you are a car within half an hour. A ride to the airport costs between $5 and $7.

By Motorcycle -- Driving in Phnom Penh is not for the fainthearted. In fact, unless absolutely necessary, it is best avoided. If you don't heed this call, you can hire motorcycles at a number of places including Lucky! Lucky!, at 413 Monivong Blvd. (tel. 023/212-788), which has been in the business a long time. You can get a step-through type 100cc-to-125cc scooter for $5 a day. Some of them are good, but some of them are unsound in the extreme and you should examine them and refuse them if you have doubts. They also rent bigger 250cc bikes for touring at $9 as well as jeeps and even luxury cars. Driving a motorcycle in Phnom Penh requires experience. It is a chaotic, aggressive, and often nerve-racking experience with traffic going in all directions, often straight at you. Keep space around you, drive slowly, and wear a helmet (if not available when renting, you can buy one for $10-$20 from a shop at Monivong or Kampuchea Krom).

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.