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Traveling from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh or vice versa is common for tourists and Cambodian people. As both places are two of the most popular destinations in Cambodia. When it comes to ancient sites in Cambodia, Siem Reap is a famous destination for many tourists. Although Phnom Penh is more of a busy city, it is also a well-known place to explore its historical and cultural attractions.
The driving distance from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh is about 314 km, while the flying distance is only 213km. If you use a car to travel from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh, you will drive across the other two provinces such as Kompong Thom and Kompong Cham. There are many interesting things to experience during the 314km journey.
Traveling from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh
The Remarkable Scenery:
The first thing we get to experience while traveling from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh is the view along the way. It is a different kind of view that we do not usually see often in our daily life. Driving along the rural area, we will see more of the rice fields and palm trees. We don’t only get to enjoy the calming scenery from nature.
We can as well see how Cambodian people live. Sometimes we can see people working on the rice fields, harvest palm juice on the palm tree, or catching fishes on the riversides, which surely are not a common sight for some. Also, there will be more pagodas and traditional houses. From one region to another region, there are many things to looking forward to.
Kra Lan Village
For about 30 minutes after you leave Siem Reap to Phnom Penh, you will cross a village called ‘ kjas’. It is a village where the villagers set up small shops on the roadside of National road 6 to sell a tasty dessert like rice dish called “ Kra Lan”. Kra Lan is a roasted sticky rice dish that can be food and dessert at the same time. This traditional dish is a mixture of glutinous rice, black beans, coconut milk, sugar, and salt.
To cook it, the mixture is put into a piece of the bamboo tube then roasted it on the fire for about 30-45 minutes. This dish is popular in the country. You can find it anywhere even on the attraction sites, like Angkor Wat temple. However, these villagers make it more special. These vendors set up a shop where you can see how they make the dish and roast it. Not to mention the chance, to buy the freshly made aroma Kralan.
Kampong Kdei Bridge
After leaving Siem Reap for about 60 km, there is an ancient bridge located on National road 6, Kompong Kdei. It is called Kampong Kdei Bridge, also known as the Dragon Bridge or Spean Praptop, one of the good stops to make if you are traveling from Siem Reap to Phnom or Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. Spean Praptop is 86 meters long, 16 meters wide and 10 meters high above the level of the riverbed. All kind of transportation used to cross over it until 2006.
About 1000 years old, the bridge is one of the few Khmer empire era bridges to have survived throughout the harsh battles and harsh condition. Standing strong, the bridge still impresses people with its amazing engineering and craftsmanship; especially sophisticated carvings of the head Naga at end of each side. Surrounded by the villagers and local markets, this place gives more of the relaxing and countryside vibe. A surprising fact, the picture of the Kampong Kdei Bridge is on the Cambodian 5000 riel banknote.
The first province you will cross on your trip from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh is Kampong Thom. It is about 147km driving distance from Siem Reap. This province also contains many tourist attractions that worth to take a stop for.
Phnom Santuk located in Ko Koh village about 17 km from the Kampong Thom provincial. An interesting place for people who like hiking, this holy mountain is about 207 m high. To reach the top, you need to climb about 809 steps. However, if you have difficulties using the stairs, a paved road is available for transportations. Motorbike or Car taxi services to the top are available at the bottom of the mountain. Along the way to the top, you will get to enjoy the scenery and a little fun time with the monkey family there.
The mountain offers you a historical and religious site on the summit of the mountain. You will find a main wooden temple, holy shrines, and pagodas with many monks living there. A popular place to explore for the carved stone exterior is Prasat Touch of Pyramind shape, which located next to a wooden temple. Still, the main highlight of Phnom Santuk is the carvings. There are many interesting Carving Buddha statues on a living mountain rock, especially the three 10 meters length Buddha statues reaching Nirvana. Moreover, a spot a little below the summit allows you to enjoy breathtaking scenery, also considered as a good place to enjoy the sunset.
Preah Bat Chann Tuk:
As mentioned above, Phnom Santhuk is popular for its carving. One of the carving that we should not miss is a carving statue of Buddha reaching Nirvana called Preah Bat Chann Tuk. This large carving stone of Buddha has been on the place since 16th century, and is a masterpiece of King Ang Chan I. For it amazing artistry and bewitch landscape, this place has attracted many tourists from neighboring places. This history-speaking site is among the biggest pride of Kampong Thom tourism.
Sambo Prey Kuk:
Another place to make a stop for is Sambo Prey Kuk. Sambo Prey Kuk is located in Sambo village, Sambo commune, Prasat District. The historical site is about 25 kilometers away, a short ride from Kampong Thom provincial. King Isanavarman I built the temple since the Pre-Angkorian Chenla Kingdom. It was a central royal sanctuary and capital, known as Isanapura. The site is in the midst of the forests that have about 100 temples, which have been classified into 3 groups, Central, North, and South.
Group North has the main temple, Prasat Sambor. Standing there since the 7th century, it was a dedication to one of the reincarnations of Shiva, Gambhireshvara.
Group South has Prasat Yeah Puoun include other 22 sanctuaries from the reign of Isanavaramn, also are the dedications to Shiva.
Prasat Boram is in the group central, with remarkable lion sculptures inspired by the popular name of Prasat Tao. Different from the other two groups, it was built in the 9th century.
Although not all temples are in good condition, it has many charming points to impress travelers. The ruins make the complex of the temple becomes even more unique and interesting. It is a fresh sight, unlike other places. This place gives you more of a relaxing vibe. Without mass tourists and vendors, you get to explore and enjoy the scenery peacefully. Adding to the charming points, forest setting with sandy paved lane and the canopy of huge trees make the touring even more comforting. A guide service is available for rent if the information on the board is not clear enough for you.
Another famous attraction in Kampong Thom is Prey Pros. It is in Prey Pros Village, Prey Preal Commune, and Kampong Svay District, about 16 kilometers northwest of Provincial Town of Kampong Thom. This man-made resort covers about 2 million square meters including a river. Many games such as foot races and bicycles races take place in this site. It is pretty much a venue for games during the national festival. Besides, this place brings traveler closer to nature with recreational activities such as boating, fishing, and swimming.
However, the highlight of the place is the dining area. It is a roofed outdoor area overlooking the lake. With Khmer style hammocks, there is not any better place to offer such as calming and peaceful environment. The area has good restaurants featuring Khmer and Western cuisines with an affordable price, plus the souvenir and coffee shop. Because of these good points, Prey Pros has become a popular resting area amongst the people who travel from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh, vice versa. The bus or car normally stops there for 30 minutes. Travelers get to eat and go to the toilet during that time. Thanks to its clean restroom; the place has become even more popular.
Continuing our journey from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh, another province that we will cross is Kampong Cham. We do not drive through the provincial town of Kampong Cham, but a small district called “Skun”. Situated 70 km northeast of the capital city, Phnom Penh, it is a busy market town full of charm. Skun is a name that Cambodians gave to the city, which means “Spiderville”. The city has grown between the intersection of National Roads No. 6 and No. 7.
Skun Insect Market
Although this market town is not really an attraction, Skun is definitely an interesting stop to make for toilet break and feet stretching. Just like the meaning of its name, eating bugs is a custom for the people there. Selling bug dish is a source of income for the villagers. They hunt them in the bush, prepare it as a dish and sell them in large trays on the street. You will see many small shops situated along the road just like the ‘ Kralan’ village, but with fried bugs.
There are different species of crickets, silkworms, small frogs, grasshoppers but also scorpions, etc. The most popular one is the big spider, Tarantula. Due to its large size, long legs, black and hairy color, Tarantula is one of the terrifying insects. Though, this does not stop tourists from enjoying this unusual snack. The crunchy and chewy tastes of the deep-fried Tarantular make it unforgettable for the travelers. Besides these fried bugs, the vendors also sell local fruits like jackfruit and pineapple, and the freshly made sugar can juice.
You can fly from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh because unlike other provinces Siem Reap has its own airport. Flight from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh is available daily. Although it is cost more than the other options, flying is recommended if you are in a hurry. You are able to buy the ticket directly from the airline websites. If not there are a lot of travel agency services in Siem Reap you can use, which might get you a better deal.
Duration: 30-45 minutes
Price: 60$- 150$/ one way ticket
Address: #67, Mondul 2 Village, Sangkat Svay Dangkum, Siem Reap City, Siem Reap Province.
Tel: (855) 63 969 268 & (855) 63 636 3666
Address: No.575 D&E, Russian Federation Boulevard, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Tell: +855 23981363
There are 2 types of transportation you can get from the bus companies. First, the actual ‘ bus’ which has up to 24 chairs. It is not pricey but can take longer to arrive Phnom Penh. Secondly, the minivan or VIP car that has only 14 chairs. It is a bit pricier than the bus, but it gets you to Phnom Penh 1 or 2 hours earlier. The bus services are available daily and usually leave every hour.
- Duration: 6-7 hours for Bus
- 4-5 hours for Mini van
- Price: 6-10 $ / ticket for bus
- 9-11$/ ticket for Mini van
Address: No.752, National Rodd 6A, (Chong Kausu), Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Tel: (+855)16 20 20 20.
Address: Sivutha Blvd, Krong Siem Reap.
Tel: 096 999 3333
Through Tonle Sap River, you can take a trip from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh by ferry or boat. Even though it requires more time and expensive than the others, you will get to enjoy the beauty of Tonle Sap River during your journey. The boat leaves daily at 7:30 am at Chong Kneas, Siem Reap port. Nevertheless, the downside of this service is that the ferry mostly operates only during the wet season.
- Duration: 6- 7 hours
- Price: 25$ – 40$ / ticket
- Angkor Focus:
Address: Taphul Road, Siem Reap – Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
Tel: 016 661 818
Address: 313 Preah Sisowath Quay, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Tel: 023 216 070
You can either rent a whole car for yourself or share it with the others. Price varies due to the rising fuel cost and especially high during the national festival. Private taxi is abundant in Siem Reap. You can use a travel agency or ask the hotel you are staying to get it.
- Duration: 5-6 hours due to the traffic
- Price: 25,000 riel or 6$ /person
- $38-$45 for the whole car
There are several things that you should prepare and know to have a smooth journey from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh. First thing is to always book your ticket before your leaving day, whatever transportation you are using. By doing so, you will get a less expensive ticket (for flying) and a comfortable seat. Second, ask for a pick up to the station, as many companies provide it for free, so take advantage of it.
Next, make sure your luggage is in the transportation before leaving. It is better to put valuable things in a different handbag close to you. The road from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh can be bumpy in some regions. Inform the company beforehand if you have breakable stuff, so they can store it properly. Last but not least, do not forget to bring a neck pillow. The journey can be long and tiring for your neck.
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