There are no direct flights to Cambodia from Europe, North America, Australasia or South Africa, so if you plan to fly into the country you’ll need to get a connecting flight from elsewhere in Southeast or East Asia.
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There are direct flights to Phnom Penh from an increasing number of cities in the region including Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Seoul, Bangkok, Vientiane, Ho Chi Minh City, and several cities in China (including frequent connections with Hong Kong). Alternatively, it’s also possible to fly direct to Siem Reap from Singapore, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Kuala Lumpur and a number of other Asian destinations.
Flights from the UK and Ireland
There are plenty of daily flights, many nonstop, from London Heathrow to Southeast Asian cities, with some airlines offering connections to Phnom Penh. Flight times vary depending on routing. The most direct route is via Bangkok (around 11–12hr from London, plus another 1hr on to Phnom Penh), followed by Kuala Lumpur and Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). There are also a growing number of connections via the Gulf, although these will entail at least two stops. From Ireland, it’s a matter of either getting a cheap connection to London Heathrow or flying to Cambodia via a different European (or possibly Gulf) hub.
Thai Airways (thaiairways.com), Singapore Airlines (singaporeair.com) and Malaysia Airlines (malaysia-airlines.com) offer some of the most competitive fares to Cambodia, with return fares to Phnom Penh starting at around £650.
Flights from the US and Canada
Flying from the east coast of North America to Cambodia it’s quickest to travel via Europe. Conversely, from the west coast it may well be quicker and cheaper to fly westward via an Asian city such as Seoul or Taipei (the latter has direct connections to Phnom Penh on EVA Air; evaair.com). There are daily flights from New York and Los Angeles to Bangkok, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, all of which have onward connections to Phnom Penh. Fares from both the east and west coasts to Phnom Penh start from around US$1500. From Canada, low-season return fares from Toronto to Phnom Penh start at around Can$2000, and Can$1500 return from Vancouver.
Flights from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa
There’s a wide selection of flights from Australia and New Zealand to Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Ho Chi Minh City, with onward connections to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Return fares from Australia to Phnom Penh start at around Aus$1000; from Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington flights start from roughly NZ$2000.
Travelling from South Africa to Cambodia via an Asian hub city, fares start at around ZAR12,000 return.
If Cambodia is only one stop on a longer journey, you might want to consider buying a Round-The-World (RTW) ticket. Cambodia can be added to itineraries offered by airline consortium Star Alliance (staralliance.com) for example. Bangkok or Singapore are more common ports of call for many RTW tickets; from the UK, figure on around £1000 plus taxes for an RTW ticket including either of these destinations.
Getting there from neighbouring countries
There are numerous land borders into Cambodia open to foreigners from neighbouring Thailand, Vietnam and Laos. Visas at all are issued on arrival.
There are currently six border crossings between Cambodia and Thailand open to foreigners. All are open daily (7am–8pm) with visas being issued on arrival at all points; although e-visas are currently only accepted at Poipet and Koh Kong.
Far and away the most popular of the six crossings is the mildly infamous crossing at Poipet, on the main highway between Bangkok and Siem Reap. The Trat/Koh Kong crossing further south is good for Sihanoukville and Phnom Penh. There are two further crossings in the east at Ban Pakard/Pailin (Psar Pruhm), an hour by road to Battambang, and at Ban Leam/Daun Lem (although this crossing is basically a casino development in the middle of nowhere, and of zero practical use unless you’re on a visa run from Bangkok). Finally, there are two remote and little-used (by foreigners at least) crossing points in northern Cambodia at Surin/O’Smach, and Chong Sa Ngam/Anlong Veng – both 150km north of Siem Reap (2hr by taxi). These are not busy crossing points though, so your transport options on the Cambodian side will be limited.
There are currently seven border crossings open to foreigners travelling overland from Vietnam (daily 7am–5pm); Cambodian visas are issued on arrival at all points, although heading into Vietnam you’ll need to have acquired a visa in advance. The busiest crossing is at Moc Bai/Bavet, 200km southeast of Phnom Penh on the main road to Ho Chi Minh City. Also popular is the crossing at Chau Doc/K’am Samnar on the Bassac River. There are two further border crossings in the south at Tinh Bien/Phnom Den near Takeo, and at Hat Tien/Prek Chak east of Kep, plus three little-used crossings in eastern Cambodia (see Border crossings in the east) at Xa Mat/Trapeang Phlong east of Kompong Cham; Loc Ninh/Trapeang Sre, southeast of Snuol, and Le Tanh/O Yadow, east of Banlung.
There’s just one border crossing with Laos, at Nong Nok Khiene/Trapeang Kriel (see To Laos) in the far north of Cambodia, 57km beyond Stung Treng. The border is open daily (7am–5pm) and both Cambodian and Lao visas are available on arrival.
If you want to avoid the hassle of making your own arrangements you might consider travelling with a specialist tour operator. However, although Cambodia is well covered, many tour companies still include it only as part of a visit to another Southeast Asian country. Tour prices start at around £500 for land-only options; those that include international flights tend to be £1200 to £1500, while choosing luxury accommodation and specialist activities, such as golfing, can set you back more than £4000.
Agents and operators
North South Travel northsouthtravel.co.uk. Friendly, competitive travel agency, offering discounted fares worldwide. Profits are used to support projects in the developing world, especially the promotion of sustainable tourism.
STA Travel statravel.co.uk. Worldwide specialists in independent travel; also student IDs, travel insurance, car rental, rail passes, and more. Good discounts for students and under-26s.
Trailfinders trailfinders.com. One of the best-informed and most efficient agents for independent travellers.
Specialist tour operators
Cambodia Community Based Ecotourism Network ccben.org. Cambodian organization offering homestays and visits to ecotourism sites throughout the country.
Intrepid Travel intrepidtravel.com. Southeast Asia specialist with an impressive choice of Cambodia offerings and an emphasis on low-impact tourism.
Peregrine peregrineadventures.com. Reasonably priced Southeast Asian tours, mostly combining Cambodia with a neighbouring country – one interesting option is the Saigon to Angkor Cycle. Pedalling through Cambodia may be challenging, but you’ll get fit and see plenty of local life along the way.
Responsibletravel.com responsibletravel.com. Online travel agent with an extensive range of Cambodia tours from different companies, all with an ethical emphasis.
See Cambodia Differently seecambodiadifferently.com. Cambodian specialists offering moderately priced group and customized tours, including an excellent selection of wildlife-themed trips.