First time visitors may be scared by the chaotic traffic in Phnom Penh. Well, it’s not as bad as it seems. Motorised traffic in the city is usually quite slow and rarely you’ll see drivers getting angry. On the contrary, Phnom Penh drivers are extremely tolerant.
Here we give you some ideas on how to get around Phnom Penh.
Personally, I’d like to walk around cities I visit, but the tropical heat in Phnom Penh can be a drawback. Still, large parts of Phnom Penh can easily be explored on foot.
Another healthy option is a bicycle. Ideal for short journeys and available for rent with prices starting at as little as US$ 1 per day. Just be careful negotiating the traffic, which can be challenging to say the least. And don’t forget to lock your bike!
Last of the non-motorised options is a very common sight in Phnom Penh. The cyclo is a three-wheeled bicycle, with the driver sitting above and behind the passengers.
It should have a shade to keep you out of the direct sunlight, and side flaps to offer protection from the rains (especially in the rainy season). Price: around 2000 riel for a short journey.
Probably the most common means of getting around Phnom Penh is by motorcycle taxi, called ‘motodop’ in Khmer.
Any baseball-hat wearing driver is a motodop and there are thousands of them! A short journey should cost you no more than 1500 riel, but be sure to agree the fare in advance. Prices go up a little at night.
Tuk-tuks are ideal for groups of 2-4 people is the tuk-tuk. A little different from the Thai version, in Phnom Penh it being a kind of hybrid moto-chariot. Tuk-tuks have the benefit of offering some protection from the elements, whether the fierce tropical sun or the rains. Tuk-tuks are plentiful at the riverfront. Expect to pay US$ 12-15 for a full day.
And then there is the taxi, typically a white Toyota Camry for some reason. These can be arranged through your guesthouse or hotel and should cost about US$25 per day.
Some negotiating skills are needed!
Your Own transport
For those of you looking for your own motorised transport, there are several motorbike rental shops across the city. You can hire a simple step-through moto (usually a Daelim or a Honda) or a 250cc dirtbike if you are a little more experienced. You will be expected to leave your passport as a deposit.
It’s worth checking the bike’s condition before you set off, especially if you’re planning a long journey. The quality of the bikes vary from place to place, though prices tend to be similar. For a step-through US$ 3 a day, for a dirtbike around US$ 8.
If you are willing to spend more, try the Phnom Penh Bike Shop at #31 Street 302. The prices are a little higher, but the bikes are very well maintained and come with insurance.
All rental bikes should come with some form of security, if only a Solex padlock. It’s well worth using whatever you are given, as having a rental bike stolen can really be a painful and expensive experience!
Livability surveys (e.g. by The Economist) regularly put Phnom Penh in the bottom 10 of "Livable Cities". Well, I say this: these survey guys are sitting overseas just collecting data, but have never actually been here, let alone live. This is for them: