Getting around in Cambodia

Cambodia, as a tourist destination ranks very high up in my opinion. I have spent some wonderful weeks here, traveling and eating cheap. While “cheap” makes it sound “downtrodden” and “downmarket”, it is not so! Traveling here is cheap, definitely so and your dollar can stretch far here, but traveling here is also fun.

The capital city of Phnom Penh, is congested, (but name one capital city that is not!) what with taxis, buses, bicycles  tuk- tuks and motodups pushing their way though human traffic, it is sometimes hard to tell who belongs where! The roads are pretty good and so are the long distance buses – so who is complaining!


My first motodup ride from the airport

Okay, so no one really cares about the traffic rules (true until my visit) and edging past red lights or cutting lanes are fairly common. The inner roads especially around the markets and residential areas are often used as sleeping area for homeless people, livestock, as garbage disposal units which means it is common to find rotting matter on the potholed roads and one hell of a stink (not to mention it being the breeding ground for disease carrying insects), so if you plan to venture into the heart of the city, wear a mask.

Getting around

Motorbikes: Easy to rent and the best way to go around the city. Always wear a helmet and be absolutely sure where you are going. PNH is a fairly well laid out city and easy to find your way around, though the streets are chaotic in peak hours.

Rent: USD 5-8. Theft is common and so are ‘traffic’ fines. Lock your bikes and as much as possible avoid leaving it unattended, especially in crowded areas.

Motodups: (My personal favourite). They really are motorbike-taxis, are all over the place and the best way to get around. Negotiate a fare before setting off, but they are so cheap you would hate yourself for bargaining. The drivers are a great source of information and usually know the shortest possible way to get you any place, cheap hotels and everything else. I paid 1.5USD (about 6000KHR _Cambodian Riels) from the Airport to Boeung Kak Lake, Phnom Penh)

Tuk-tuks: These noisy contraptions (unlike their Thai counterpart) are actually a cabin hooked to a motorbike (see pic). Cheaper than taxis and especially if you have baggage, this comes handy.

Taxis: Available at airports and on order (from your hotel) and usually have no meters. You may have to negotiate a fare. If you are hiring one at the airport, speak to a few before making up your mind. They won’t burn a hole in your wallet, but you don’t want your start in Cambodia with an unscrupulous driver with his eyes on your money belt.

Walking: This simple activity elsewhere can be challenging in Cambodia for a lot of reasons. One, road crossing can be a nightmare (never mind there are designated crossings). You might be hounded by touts/motodups or if you are not careful, have your bags snatched. There are no designated walking tracks, so you are either walking on the roads or on the side of it which on most occasions are the ‘slip way’ to motorists in a hurry.



  1. Hai…

    Tuk tuk is nice…its like our rickshaw….plz say something about the people.

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