If you have enough of Angkorian ruins in Siem Reap and would like to explore other parts of Cambodia, consider Battambang – the next largest city located about 3-hour drive away. It is the city that retains urban charms, providing modern facilities in a somewhat rural setting.
Read on for travel options and tips between Siem Reap & Battambang!
Available mode of transport
There are 3 options to travel between Siem Reap and Battambang. You may do so by:
|Boat ride||6 – 10 hours||$||🙂||♥♥♥♥♥|
|Local buses||4 – 5 hours||$$||🙂 🙂 🙂||♥♥♥|
|Private taxi||3 hours +||$$$$$||🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂||♥♥♥|
Travelling by land would take about 3 hours, whereas a boat would take about 6 – 10 hours, depending on the water level of the river. If you plan to travel by boat, it’d be best to do so during the wet season when water level is higher. In the end, I chose to travel by bus for best value of money.
Available bus companies
The two main bus companies that provide intercity travel are: Mekong Express and Capitol Tours. The former is slightly more expensive than the latter, although both will get you to your destination without much hassle. Tickets are readily available at travel agencies, guesthouses / hotels or directly from the bus company’s office (usually easily accessible).
Everything comes at a price.
Purchasing your tickets directly from the bus company’s office would cost you USD4.50 per ticket (on Capitol Tours) but if you purchase at the hotel / guesthouse that you are staying – you’d probably need to pay USD9 – a 100% markup. This is recommended for people who do not want to go through the hassle of going to the bus company’s office (though it really ain’t that difficult to access). When we were at Battambang, we walked to the office instead of taking the Tuk-Tuk. The place was easy to find and we were able to purchase our tickets without miscommunication.
Toilet breaks may induce panic. Stay calm.
Toilet breaks are random and can take place anytime and anywhere (at least for the locals) and it is not uncommon for the driver to stop by the road for a passenger to take a leak. The ‘official’ toilet break comes at one of the towns where the bus company has an office. For unassuming travellers, you may panic after visiting the loo, as the bus would not be anywhere in sight. Since there’s no announcement on how long the break is, one can easily get confused. The bus actually makes it way to another rest stop, where the driver takes his meal, before returning to pick up the bewildered travellers who thought they have been stranded.
Transfer to right buses
The Battambang bus station is located outside of town. However, there is a shuttle service to transport you to the bus station from the Capitol’s office if you arrive there at least 20 minutes before your departure time. Caution: check with the bus driver prior to boarding the bus to avoid arriving at the wrong destination!
Be it normal buses or mini buses, there is limited luggage storage space beneath the bus. This means that ‘small’ luggage must be taken onboard and if you cannot squeeze it in the overhead, you’re in for a “cosy” journey. With that in mind, try to pack light.
Bring an earplug
If you are not into music or chattering, do consider bringing an earplug, as the driver / your fellow passengers would most likely be blasting the radio and chatting at the same time. Bringing your own headphones and music would allow you to indulge in your own world, although the noises are not that intolerable.
Catch a nap / enjoy the beautiful scenery of countryside
Last but not least, bus journeys allow one to slip into a deep slumber or capture the passing landscape. Green fields and the occasional cows alongside low-rise houses portray the tranquility of rural land. Sit back, and enjoy your journey.
The above information has been compiled based on various sources, including my own experience and should only be used as a reference. For more information on the destination, do check out: http://www.tourismcambodia.org/
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