View Larger Map
Mean: 32°c Max: 36°c Min: 27°c

Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Saigon to Phnom Penh

There are lots of buses running between Saigon and Phnom Penh (PP) but we opted for the Mekong Express Limousine Bus, not quite a limousine but certainly better than the budget buses.

After leaving Saigon we handed over our passports to the bus attendant and after approximately 1 hour 45 minutes we arrived at Bavet one of the main border crossings between Vietnam and Cambodia.

We all got off the bus and went into the terminal building, we had our hand luggage x-rayed and then joined a queue to get our passport back before getting back on the bus.

When everyone was back on the bus we pulled forward about 200 metres to the Cambodia border. The entry process was just as easy, we went to the e-visa desk and had our visa checked before joining a short queue to have our passport stamped. It was amazingly quick and easy and the whole process lasted no more than 10 minutes.

Security was however a bit questionable, our checked luggage never left the bus once, we could have been carrying anything, don't worry Mum we weren't! The security at the e-visa desk was laughable. It was a tiny desk next to an open door which anybody could access and printed out next to the computer was a complete list of all user logins. Even better was the password for every account was 123456! Ingenious!

After the border crossing we jumped back on the bus and stopped shortly afterwards for lunch before continuing to PP. There was even a short ferry ride over the Mekong River which broke up the journey nicely. As you can see from the photos some ferries don't dock properly and you are expected to drive the rest of the way! Luckily ours did and nobody got their feet wet.

Day 1 - Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda

Last night after going to find the source of the music over the road and meeting some locals that kept the cocktails flowing into the early hours the sightseeing was limited to one afternoon!

The Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda, similar to the Palace in Bangkok is a truly magnificent complex of temples and buildings set in perfectly manicured gardens. As this is one of only a few tourist sites in PP it really is a must see and well worth the US$6.50 entry fee.


This is the most confusing currency yet. In Vietnam prices for tourist stuff were often displayed in US$ but you had the choice of paying in either US$ or VND. In Cambodia prices in most places are only in US$ and cash machines dispense cash in US$. But to confuse everything if you are buying something for less than a whole dollar they don't use cents so you get change in Cambodian Riel! You never know if the you are getting short changed as tills work in US$ and they tap away on a calculator or pull a number out of thin air to work out the balance. Most shops and restaurants work on 4,000 Reil to the US$ but it differs from place to place! Also they seem to hate their money unless you are in a local shop, especially notes with a low domination and will only accept it as part payment i.e. for the cents part of a bill, if you try to pay for the whole bill in Reil you get a disapproving look.

Hotel Review

We stayed at the Waterview Guesthouse. We opted for a double private without a window to save a few £'s. The guest house was in a good location as the name suggests it is right on the Mekong River and close to the Palace, market and lots of bars and restaurants. On check in we were shown to a large room with a window and balcony but didn't think anything about it. On check out we were presented with an additional bill for the room upgrade! After a heated debate they got the message that we weren't prepared to pay the extra. The hotel was in a good location probably a little too close to the nightclub opposite which went on way into the early hours. If it wasn't for the bill discrepancy we would have given a higher score.


© 2014-2021 All rights reserved.
All images and logo's are licenced. Please contact us before copying any content or linking to our blog - Thanks! :-)