Traffic in the vibrant capital city of Cambodia is getting more and more congested these days, but it is still relatively very easy getting around Phnom Penh. With so many tuk-tuks, taxis and buses plying their trade along the road, it only takes 30 minutes to travel the length of the city and about 10 minutes going to most of its popular tourist attractions.
The tuk-tuk is the most popular, cultural and inexpensive way of getting around. A ride on this motorized version of the traditional rickshaw costs only a dollar or two for a short trip to one or two destinations, and may be hired for a whole day for $10 to $15. (The local currency is called riel or KHR but people prefer to receive US dollars.) Mostly available around tourist areas only, the tuk-tuk is a fun ride, and the Cambodian version is much quieter and more pleasant than the one in Bangkok. However, passengers must know that it is an open ride, which means bag snatching is a real threat.
On the other hand, motorcycle taxis or the “Motodups” (or moto for short) are faster and more easily available than the tuk-tuk, but not necessarily safer. There have been more cases of accidents and robbery than with any other forms of transport. A ride costs $0.50-$1 depending on the destination, and becomes more expensive in the evening. Day hire is about $6 to $8. The bicycle version of the ride is called the humble “cyclo”. This is a very slow yet romantic way of touring around the city, and costs are about the same with the moto.
For tourists who want to go really slow and romantic, some hotels rent out bicycles for a scenic and laid back personal tour of the city. For rent are simple one-speed bikes or the higher quality mountain bikes. There are also bicycle tours within and around the capital city offered by the Khmer Cycling Company.
Meanwhile, there are regular metered taxis but they are on-call basis only, although available 24/7. The five popular taxi companies are Global Taxi, Taxi Vatana, Choice Taxi, Cambodia Driver, and Royal Cambodian Limousine Service. They also offer limousine service, airport pickups, and unmetered taxis, which are available at major hotels. Short rides to one or two destinations cost $4 to $5, while day hire is about $30. Quite obviously, this is the safest, coolest, and most expensive way of getting around Phnom Penh on land.
Buses on the other hand regularly ply the roads from Phnom Penh to several destinations outside the city. Cambodia does not have a centralized bus system. Instead, there are several bus companies that follow their own route, and make stops all over the city. Most bus companies take passengers around the city and to major destinations such as the riverside city of Battambang, casino city of Poipet, and temple city of Sisophon.
Finally, the adventurous and thrill-seeking tourist would definitely enjoy getting around Phnom Penh on a rented motorcycle for only $5 to $9 per day. The city traffic is congested and very chaotic, yet local motorcycle drivers easily weave through the chaos and get to their destination in no time. Tourists, however, are advised to take the back roads and take it easy, for obvious reasons. Tourists should keep in mind to drive slowly, wear a helmet, and stay right.