Getting there & away
A rail line from Poipet to Sisophon – planned by the French but never built – is supposed to be constructed as part of the Trans-Asia Rail Link, which by 2015 may make it possible to take the train all the way from Singapore to Western Europe.
Thanks to the prestige at stake when Cambodia hosted its first international golf tournament, held near Siem Reap in November 2007, the heavily trafficked NH5 between Sisophon and Poipet is finally being paved! Poipet is 48km from Sisophon and 153km from Siem Reap.
Share taxis – some of them Thai right-hand-drives that provide front-seat passengers the thrill of seeing oncoming traffic before the driver can – are available all day long, either at the big roundabout just past passport control or along NH5 near the bus station.
Destinations include Sisophon (100B, one hour), Siem Reap (250B, three hours) and Battambang (US$5, two hours). Private taxis can be hired for as little as US$20 to Battambang and US$35 or US$40 to Siem Reap, though the usual fee is six times the single-seat fare (Cambodian share taxis pack two passengers in front and four in back). Be prepared for a cheerfully chaotic rugby scrum of taxi touts and negotiate hard (smiling helps) or you’ll pay above the odds.
Packed-to-the-gills pickups, which stop along NH5, are a bit cheaper, in part because riding in back is so dangerous (even in a minor accident everyone goes flying).
All buses depart from the bus station. To get there from the casino zone, go east along NH5 for 1.5km and then turn left (north) for 200m. Bus companies, including GST (012 727721), Neak Kror Horm (012 970067, Thai mobile 01-9825610), Phnom Penh Sorya, Ponleu Angkor Khmer and Rith Mony (012 579943), have a roadside office along NH5 near the bus station. Word has it that the OSP bus and taxi monopoly, which forced tourists to pay double local prices, has been abolished.
Destinations by bus include Sisophon (10, 000r/100B, one hour), Battambang (15, 000r/150B, 2½ hours) and Phnom Penh (22, 000r/220B, 7½ hours). All buses leave early in the morning (between 6.15am and 8am) and all take NH5, which runs south of the Tonlé Sap, so for now the only way to get to Siem Reap is via Sisophon or by taxi. However, direct buses to Siem Reap are planned.