I decided to travel by bus in Cambodia because:
- Passenger train service was non-existed when I travelled, but there are now passenger trains running only on weekends and public holidays. Although plans are in the works for a country-wide network, the train service is currently limited to four destinations, running from Phnom Penh via Takeo and Kampot, terminating in Sihanoukville.
- The bus was way cheaper than flying.
- Interesting country scenery along the way.
- Hassel-free border crossing between Cambodia and Vietnam.
After some research I decided on Giant Ibis Bus Service. They offer rest room and restaurant stops along the way, free Wi-Fi, electrical outlets to charge your phone, air-con, complimentary pastries and water and a complimentary pickup service to passengers staying at one of their partner hotels.
Siem Reap to Phnom Penh
Traveling time: about 5 hours, 30 min, price: $15. Departing 7H45, 8H45 and 12H30 pm. Night buses at 10H30, 11H00 and 11H30 pm. The bus will make its first stop about 160 km south of Siem Reap at Banyan Tree Restaurant, the exact half way point of the journey. The second stop is about 60 km north of Phnom Penh. Plenty tuk-tuk drivers at the bus stop in Phnom Penh to take you to your accommodation.
Phnom Penh to and from Kampot
Travelling time: 2 hours, 30 min, price $9. Departing 08H00 and 14H45. Plenty tuk-tuk drivers at the bus stop to take you to your accommodation.
Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh City
Travelling time: 6 hours, 30min, depending on the border crossing. Price $18.
Vietnam does not offer Visa on Arrival. You must have your Vietnamese entry visa in your passport or you will not be allowed to board the bus. I arranged my Vietnam visa through Mad Monkey Hostel in Phnom Penh. I handed in my passport before 17H00 at the hostel and received it the next day after 17H00, $50.
The crew attendant will collect your passport once your on the bus. When the bus arrives as the border you will be required to get off the bus and get an exit stamp in your passport. The Crew Attendant will return your passport to you as you get off the bus and collect it from you again when you get back on.
After you’ve cleared Cambodian immigration, you will get on the bus again. The bus will drop you off at a restaurant in the duty free zone. While you enjoy lunch, the Crew Attendant will take your passports ahead to the Vietnamese immigration check point to start the process while you eat. When your Vietnamese visa has been processed, the bus will take you to the immigration check point. Here you will be required to retrieve your luggage for a scan by Vietnamese customs. Follow the Crew Attendant, pick up your passport from the immigration officer, scan your luggage, and return to the bus. There will be taxi’s at the bus stop in Ho Chi Minh City to take you to your accommodation.