The Giant Ibis Bus from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap
SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA- There are a number of options to get from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, but unless you are on a super-tight budget, the Giant Ibis is the clear-cut winner. At $16 for a single ticket, you really can’t beat the level of relative luxury that you’ll be traveling in. I was picked up from my accommodation in a Tuk Tuk (no additional charge) that took me to the bus station, where our luggage was tagged, our tickets checked, and we were loaded onto the bus in assigned seats.
First off, the coach was absolutely spotless. It is far newer than many of the other buses you’ll find driving around Southeast Asia, and obviously cleaned right before we got on. There are two attendants who ride along, and before we left they diligently checked everyone’s tickets and ensured that our seatbelts were fastened. A bit over the top, sure, but attention to detail that I don’t mind seeing from a Cambodian transport company. They also left at 8:30 on the dot, which was the appointed departure time. Again, not something you often find in Cambodia, but to me this was a huge plus!
Additional on-board amenities included Wi-Fi that was way better than it should have been, a spacious, comfy seat, and a morning snack. Unfortunately, there is no bathroom on board the bus, but they were great about making frequent stops for the toilet, so the lack of facilities was not an issue. We also stopped for lunch at a roadside restaurant, so there’s really no need to bring any food (even though it’s always a good idea to have something in your bag—just in case!)
Giant Ibis costs a bit more than the mini-van options, but unless you’re on a super-tight budget, it’s well worth it to spend the extra money. It turns the 8-hour journey from a cramped, overbearing experience that you have to grin and bear (in a mini-van nonetheless) and can’t wait to be over to a pleasant, relaxing experience where you’re almost refreshed when you arrive in Siem Reap. Cambodia’s roads are bad enough, so you might as well choose a mode of transport that’s going to give you the chance to sit and stare out the window, and think about what kind of country Cambodia is.