The secret to successfully travelling through Cambodia is to allow plenty of time and take it easy. Most types of transport break down from every so often and are sometimes delayed by several hours. However, any hardships travellers may experience along the way are more than made up for by the warm and giving nature of the people they will share the journey with. Khmers have an innate ability to smile in the face of adversity and they will often sing and dance during delays, lifting everyone’s spirits.
Cambodia has international airports in both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap and flights arrive here regularly from prominent destinations in Southeast Asia such as Bangkok, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. While not the cheapest way to get around, flying is certainly quick and convenient and both airports have good safety records.
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Exploring Cambodia by boat is an excellent way to see the countryside and travel to popular tourist destinations. Ferries and longtail boats connect destinations such as Battambang, Sihanoukville, Siem Reap and Phnom Penh and are ideal for those with plenty of time to spend soaking up the scenery, while those in a hurry can choose to take a speedboat.
Cambodia’s major roads have been sealed and are now in good condition, making travel by bus fairly smooth and comfortable. Although there are no public services, comfortable buses are run between major destinations by a handful of companies and this is a fairly cheap and convenient way to get around.
There is no longer a passenger rail system running through Cambodia and although you may be able to bum a ride on a freight train, it’s hardly worth bothering unless you’re really stuck for choice.
Those who plan to travel off the beaten track can hire a car or a motorbike for a small fee. Most leading car hire companies provide a driver, which allows visitors to simply relax and enjoy the ride. Cyclos and motos are cheap forms of taxis that can be hailed on the street. While fares tend to be quite low, they are not fixed and must be negotiated in advance.
Travellers who like to explore independently can hire a bike from a guesthouses or tour offices and simply cycle away. Most roads feature a flat trail along the side that is ideal for bicycles and those who don’t mind sweating a little will find this an excellent way to get around.