Last Update: December 2023
For those embarking on a journey from down under to Cambodia, we’ve got you covered on everything you need to navigate your way into and around the country. Our focus is particularly on the vibrant and culturally rich city of Phnom Penh, along with its picturesque surrounding cities.
With the royal palace gracing the heart of Phnom Penh and neighboring city Siem Reap boasting one of the world’s most significant religious sites, your exploration will prove to be an abundance of awe-inspiring experiences and enlightening moments throughout the city and beyond.
Airports to fly from in Australia
If you want to fly into Phnom Penh, there are a few airports we recommend flying from. There are no direct flights from any airport in Australia to Cambodia, so, no matter where you fly from, you will have to stop in a Southeast Asian country, most likely Kuala Lumpur. The flight will be upwards of 12 hours, depending on where you stop.
1. Melbourne Airport
From Melbourne Airport, expect to spend around AU$582.00 – AU$1,400.00 for a round trip flight of a month when travelling to the country in its summer months of June – September. Also, keep in mind that departing from Melbourne Airport to Cambodia will give you some of the lowest flight prices out of all the airports in Australia.
2. Sydney Airport
To fly from Sydney to Phnom Penh, expect to pay around AU$665.00 – AU$1,640.00 when travelling in the summer months of June – September, booked at least 4-6 months in advance. Sydney Airport will be the second-cheapest airport at present for routes between Australia and Cambodia.
3. Brisbane Airport
Flying from Brisbane Airport will be a bit more expensive than flying from the two airports listed above. Therefore, you can expect to spend upwards of AU$1,248.00 when flying in the Cambodian summer months of June – September.
While these are the most popular airports for flying from Australia to Cambodia, you can fly to Cambodia indirectly from almost any airport in Australia; however, the ones mentioned above will offer the most convenient routes with considerably cheaper flight prices compared to flying from other airports.
To secure the cheapest flights, Momondo is a great flight aggregator site that compares all the available flights on the market. Travellers can also utilize Google Flights ‘Track Prices’ feature to receive notifications when ticket prices hit the lowest for specific travel dates.
Find Airport Parking in Australia
For travellers looking to keep their car at the airport whilst away, there are inexpensive and secure ways to do so. Whether you are flying from Sydney Airport or Brisbane Airport, you can find your airport parking with Flyparks and save in the process of doing so as they compare car parks all over the country, and allow you to save up to 40% when booking your spot online.
It’s recommended that you book your airport parking soon after booking your flights, especially if you are travelling during the Australian holidays or summer months of December – February, when airport car parks get booked weeks in advance.
Airports in Cambodia
1. Phnom Penh International Airport
Phnom Penh International Airport is known as the finest in Cambodia and is the most frequently visited amongst international visitors as it’s located within Cambodia’s capital city, and is a great gateway airport to visit other parts of the country.
If you plan to explore primarily the southern part of Cambodia and want to explore the largest city in Cambodia, fly into Phnom Penh. Phnom Penh offers travellers a glimpse into the eye of the commercial, business, and political hub of the country, and a more modernized appeal than what you would find in Siem Reap or Sihanoukville.
2. Siem Reap International Airport
Siem Reap International Airport is the best airport in Cambodia to fly into for those who want to explore the Northwest of Cambodia first, or only. For those keen to explore cultural heritage monument “Angkor Wat” and enjoy immersing themselves in religious history, Siem Reap will make for an excellent entry point.
3. Sihanoukville International Airport
For those looking to hit the coast and experience Cambodia’s beaches and island lifestyle, flying into Sihanoukville isn’t a bad idea. From Sihanoukville International Airport, you can travel to Phnom Penh in 4–5 hours on a bus, or Siem Reap in 10 – 12 hours. While it may seem like a lengthy ride, you will get to experience a full exploration of the country from the Southwest to more central Cambodia.
If you do plan to fly into Sihanoukville be sure to explore the islands of Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloem for vibrant nightlife, pristine beaches, and crystal blue waters.
Transportation in Phnom Penh, Cambodia & Beyond
Taxi’s are a common way foreigners travel within cities in Cambodia. To ride in a taxi, you can either order one from taxi apps like Grab or Passapp, which are regulated and safe or by walking up to a taxi at a designated taxi point. If you wish to order one from a taxi app, be sure you pick up a SIM card upon arrival in the country and then download the app(s) onto your smartphone.
Transportation apps will be of huge use if you want to travel around the city and country. If you choose to hop in a traditional taxi at a stop or that you wave down in passing, be sure it has a running meter so that you are not overcharged.
Do expect delays when travelling during peak times during the day, and while tipping is not mandatory, it is recommended to round up your fare if your driver offers good service. To tip and pay the fare of your ride, carry Cambodian Riel (KHR) or USD as not all drivers will have a cashless payment system or accept AUD currency.
Tuk Tuks are three-wheeled vehicles with a canopy overhead that are great to hail when travelling short distances or if you get tired of walking around the city. They are widely available, especially in Phnom Penh, and are safe to use. Always negotiate your fare with the driver before getting in the Tuk Tuk, and keep in mind that it’s normal to haggle a bit.
Riding a Tuk Tuk gives travellers one of the most local transportation options and is a great way for them to experience the city from a different perspective. While English is widely spoken in Phnom Penh, it is beneficial to have Google Translate or Google Maps handy to show your driver where you are going or translate any needed information readily.
Buses are going to be one of the best ways to travel within cities in Cambodia as they run daily and also one of the best ways to reach neighboring countries like Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam. There are a variety of different bus companies and styles available such as Giant Ibis, Mekong Express, and Cambodia Post VIP Van.
Some buses will offer overnight travel as well to neighboring cities and countries, but keep in mind that it may not be the most comfortable conditions. As a final tip, when you can, book your bus tickets in advance, especially if you are travelling in peak travel seasons and prices will rise, and occupancy will lower as the date and time of your departure grow closer.
The railway network in Cambodia is often under infrastructure improvements, and as such, offers limited transportation access. The most common routes that can be taken on the railway are from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville (the southern line) and from Phnom Penh to Poipet (the northern line).
While the trains are relatively slow and don’t run regularly, if you know you will be travelling the routes above, they are worth taking a look into, as they are very cheap and only $7.00 to go from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville.
Trains and buses are also the most common transportation modes to get to Thailand from Cambodia (we recommend taking a bus for travel with longer duration).
Renting a car
While you can rent a car in Phnom Penh with reputable companies like Avis Cambodia, renters must have an international driver’s license in addition to a local Cambodian license that was converted from an international driver’s license.
Due to the hassle of this, as well as the traffic system that many Australians are not accustomed to, we do not recommend renting a self-drive car and instead recommend hiring a driver or taking a bus. Drivers will know local traffic laws and conditions like the back of their hand and will be able to offer a personalized tour and answer any questions you have along the way.
Now you’ve got about all you need to kick-start your Cambodia adventure. Be sure you do a bit of research to be sure you visit all the spots that interest you, and pack modest clothing for trips to the temples and cultural monuments.
Also, if you can, learn a few Khmer phrases for when you find yourself shopping or eating at a restaurant – it goes a long way with the locals and shows you appreciate their culture.