How to get around Cambodia: the best navigation tips

We managed to do a lot of travelling during our month in Cambodia. We made use of Tuk Tuks, Rickshaws and even speed boats and bamboo trains at times.

If you are wondering where to go in Cambodia, you can check out this itinerary we put together.

In this article, we will tell you how to get around Cambodia by road, as unless you travel to the islands, as this is by far the most common way of travelling around the country.

We hope this gives you a handle of how you can get around Cambodia safely and without spending more than you need to….

Use a reliable booking website for busses

In order to travel distances in Cambodia, we mostly made use of the local bus companies but we were selective about which ones we travelled with.

Nearly all of our bus bookings were done via 12GoAsia.

We found this to be really easy to use. We could search for transport that was suitable for us and also see reviews from other travellers. This can be really important for Cambodia, especially as what is available can seriously vary in quality!

Much of our travels was done in a VIP Van which is like a minivan, smaller than a coach. These did tend to be a little nicer, more intimate and a lot of the coaches are nothing to be desired (and that is being polite!).

We would also recommend booking your seats in advance. We would often select the seats behind the driver finding these to offer the most legroom.

Crazy South-East Asian roads

The driving in South East Asia does take some getting used to. There is very little road etiquette with it all feeling more than a little chaotic – but you get used to it!

We were fortunate not to come to any trouble (mostly) during our travels. We had one close call where a tree fell onto the road in front of us but luckily our driver had great reactions and was able to come to a stop before it hit us.

How to get around Cambodia - Tuk Tuks
Watch out for those cows on the roads!

Other than that, we bust a tire in a local Tuk Tuk on a dirt track road (as seen in the featured image of this article). It was all good though – some locals helped our driver get it sorted and we were on our way.

Sadly, we did witness a few incidents. Some of these were quite serious and are not uncommon in this part of the world. It does demonstrate the importance of travelling with reputable companies.

Be prepared for unexpected guests

Please be aware that drivers will often stop and pick up their friends, family, relatives and anyone who needs a ride along the way.

Also, don’t be precious about time. Be prepared to turn up at your destination several hours later than planned.

Tuk Tuks and Rickshaws

In Siem Reap, Battambang and Kep we were introduced to Tuk Tuk drivers through our hotel and we used these to get around each area.

In Cambodia, your standard Tuk Tuk is the one that is pulled along by a motorbike and an “Auto Rickshaw” (or just Rickshaw on the taxi apps) are more like what you might envisage a Tuk Tuk to be.

How to get around Cambodia - Tuk Tuk and Rickshaw
The traditional Cambodian Tuk Tuk can be seen on the left, with an “Auto Rickshaw” on the right.

The hotel will normally have reputable drivers they work with. Also, the driver they send to collect you from an airport or pick up point will often be keen to negotiate a price for tours with you.

Use a Taxi App

In Phnom Penh, we would highly recommend the use of Grab to get around the city.

It’s the best travel tip you will get for getting around South East Asia. Simply download the app on your smartphone and from there it is really easy to set up.

Riskshaws, Tuk Tuks and taxis are all available on grab for available prices. Rickshaws were normally the cheapest option.

Potentially the most incredible airport transfer I have ever seen.

This method also cuts out the need for haggling for the price. It also negates the need for you to speak the same language as your driver!

Overall, stay safe

We hope this helps you navigate your way around Cambodia.

You will get used to the crazy roads over time but just make sure you are using reputable drivers that your hotel recommends or via a taxi app like Grab.

Follow those basic steps as well as your common sense and instincts and we reckon you’ll be absolutely fine!

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