The Thai carrier, Bangkok Airways (www.bangkokair.com), and its subsidiary, Siem Reap Airways (www.siemreapairways.com), are the only domestic operators. The company has a monopoly on all flights to Siem Reap from Bangkok and internally and charges accordingly. The only domestic route now running is between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.
By Car or Motorcycle
It is possible to hire a car with a driver. The best way to do this is through your hotel or a travel agent. It will cost between $20 and $30 a day.
Another way to get around is by motorcycle, although you should be an experienced motorcyclist if you choose to do this and it's important to drive slowly. Bikes generally range from step-throughs to 250cc dirt bikes. The most established place in town to rent is Lucky! Lucky! (413 Monivong Blvd.). The quality of the bikes varies so it is important to check them first, and don't be afraid to insist on a different bike if you have been given a bad one.
If you are driving yourself, whether on two wheels or four, be aware that the traffic is very unpredictable and often lethal. The accident rate increased by 35% from August 2008 to August 2009, according to government figures. Driving is chaotic and fast with all the dangers that brings.
Pointing the Way with a Rhinoceros -- At major junctions and roundabouts in Cambodia, you will often see giant figures of animals, or familiar gods. They are there for a practical reason. Many Cambodians are illiterate and can't read road signs, so these provide easy markers. So for instance when a Cambodian is giving directions he might say "Drive straight for a mile until you reach the white horse, then turn right and continue past the elephant god until you get to the rhinoceros and then turn left."
By Motorcycle Taxi
Motorcycle taxis (or motodups as they are termed in Khmer) are everywhere in Cambodia and 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, write down his phone number and use him again. 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.
A gentler but slower way to see the sites, the cyclo, a tricycle with a front carriage propelled by a person cycling behind it, operates 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 in the rain since the cyclo driver will bring out plastic sheeting to shelter you from the elements.
By Tuk-Tuk & Samlor
The tuk-tuk and samlor are relatively new arrivals in Cambodia. They are motorcycles with a trailer attached using a fairly ingenious adaptor. As long as you have more than two people, the tuk-tuk is actually the cheapest mode of transport. When in Siem Reap, you can hire a tuk-tuk for the day to tour the temples. The cost is between $5 and $10 for the day.
There was in the past a train that made the journey from Phnom Penh to Battambang on alternate days, although at the time of writing it has been suspended. Passenger services running to Sihanoukville and Kampot have also been axed. Though there is talk of reviving the creaky Cambodian rail, nothing has yet been done.
Long-distance buses now go to all major towns in Cambodia. They tend to operate from the central market area in most towns. In Phnom Penh, different companies leave from different parts of town, although across from Psar Thmei (Central Market) is where you will find the departure points for both Sorya and GST Express. They are reasonably priced but can be cold due to excessive air-conditioning. Mekong Express (leaving from Sisowath Quay on the corner of St. 102) buses are a bit more expensive, but offer bigger seats and are worth the extra dollar or two to use them. 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 and most departures leave in the early hours of the morning, with the last ones leaving midafternoon. The easiest way to buy tickets is through your hotel or guesthouse, or a travel agent.
Main routes run from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, Kampot (stopping in Kep), Koh Kong, Battambang, Kratie, Kompong Cham, Stung Treng, Banlung, Sisophon, and Poipet. Buses also run from Siem Reap to Battambang, and Sihanoukville to Kampot.
With the improvement in roads, river travel is diminishing in importance. Ferries do still ply many of the major waterways, however, including from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap and Siem Reap to Battambang. Boats are not as fast as buses and pickups, and charge more money and often appear overloaded. Yet they allow visitors a unique way to experience the country including the Tonle Sap, which is very much at the heart of the Khmer soul.
The boat from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap leaves the pier on Sisowath Quay (near St. 104 opposite the River View Guest House) at 7am. It costs $30 to $35 and takes between 4 and 6 hours. The boat from Siem Reap to Battambang is very much a slow, expensive, and awkward option, particularly at the height of the dry season from April to May when the waters are low and one often has to transfer to lighter and smaller vessels in the middle of the journey. What it does afford is a fascinating glimpse of the everyday life of the people along the banks of the Tonle Sap and the Sangker River. The ferry leaves Siem Reap at 7:30am, costs $16, and takes between 8 and 10 hours.
The open-air boat journey from Koh Kong to Sihanoukville is presently suspended. Going from Phnom Penh to Chau Doc in Vietnam is a great way to make it to the Mekong Delta. The boat leaves at 9am, costs $15, and takes 4 to 5 hours.
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.