There are different way’s to get from Siem Reap to Phnom. The cheapest way is hitchhiking, which is not a very common thing in Cambodia, but it happens and is not illegal. The most expensive option is to fly, which can cost you between $44 and $176. The second best way to travel cheap from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh is taking the bus.
There are more than 10 different bus companies and ticket prices vary between $7 and $15 for a one way ticket. Without any doubt the cheapest bus company is Rith Mony. Since we love to travel cheap, we used their service to travel from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh….. and were pleasantly surprised. Just like any world traveler would do, we first checked out some reviews about RIth Mony. As you can see, they’re not very positive. Since we weren’t on a tight schedule we ignored all the warnings and bought a ticket for the next day.
Buying the ticket
We bought the ticket one day ahead at the Rith Mony ticket office and paid $7. The ticket office is located next to the cinema at the roundabout near Pub Street. If you want to buy the ticket online, you won’t be able to get it for $7 but will pay $9. We planned to arrive in Phnom Penh somewhere in the afternoon, so we booked a seat at the 11:30 bus. We were requested to come to the ticket office at 10:30 so they would have enough time to take us to the bus station in Siem Reap.
As requested we arrived at the ticket office at 10:30 sharp, The van that would take us to the bus station was already present, but left without us to pick up a guest from a hotel. So we waited…and waited, until 10:50 when it arrived back with the hotel guest. .
Normally a 20 minute wait would kinda piss us off, but since we’ve read the reviews, we anticipated some delay. It took 15 minutes to drive to the bus station, where we were dripped off in front of the bus that would take us to Phnom Penh.
Don’t bother finding your chair number
When we entered the bus, our designated seats were already taken. When we showed our bus ticket to the driver and asked him where we should sit, he replied with ‘Anywhere you want‘. So basically the seat numbers on the ticket don’t have much value.We choose a seat and at 11:30 sharp the bus departed.
We would describe the driving skills of the bus driver as ‘an inch from perfect’! He didn’t drive too fast or too slow. There were no sudden stops and the only thing we noticed was the continuous honking of the horn, which we know is a common thing among Cambodian drivers.
The AC in the bus was working and luggage was taken care of in a careful manor. The bus was a standard big bus with normal leg space between the chairs. Some locals got off the bus during the route, which didn’t cause any delay.. We had one 15 minute lunch stop at 14:00 and a shorter 10 minutes toilet stop around 16:15, which was perfectly timed. During both stops the AC remained on for people who wanted to stay in the bus.
We traveled on a Friday, which is one of the busiest days for traffic, so we expected the trip would take longer than the promised 6 hours. I didn’t. We arrived at the Central Market in Phom Pehn at 17:28, which ended our cheap and perfect trip with Rith Money.
What would I do differently next time?
If we would have to travel from Siem Reap to Phnom by bus again, we would NOT change the bus company, but definitely use Rith Mony again. However, we would travel to the Siem Reap bus station on our own, which will cost me $2 with a PassApp.
We would also bring our favorite bottle of soft drink (Coca Cola or Sprite) with us. The local restaurant where we had our first stop only sells soft drinks in cans, which you can’t take inside the bus.
When we read back the reviews, we realize that most of the negative reviews have nothing to do with the Rith Mony bus company itself, but more with the transfer from the ticket office to the bus station. We somewhat had a similar experience, but we were dropped of in time and we didn’t miss our bus or something.
If you need to travel cheap from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh, Rith Monty is a good choice, but we do advise you to buy the ticket in advance and spend some money on a tuktuk or PassApp to get to the Siem Reap bus station.
Where is the bus station in Siem Reap?
Different companies depart and arrive at different locations in Siem Reap. Rith Mony departs from the Siem Reap Bus station. It will take 15 minutes to driver to the bus station by tuktuk of PassApp, which shouldn’t cost you more than $2.