Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Getting Around Phnom Penh (Cambodia)

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

Wow! Being in Phnom Penh after experiencing the chaotic moto taxis (xe om) ubiquitously plying the streets of Saigon is a great relief! Compared to Ho Chi Minh City, Phnom Penh is a fairly easy place to get around.Though traffic is getting more congested during the day, you can still travel the length of the city in less than 30 minutes and get in between most popular tourist destinations in less than 10 minutes. There is no in-city bus system but there is always transportation available. We are very lucky to have a host (Elma)who has a Lexus car to bring us around. But when her driver is not available (since our visit fell on his days' off),she would hire a tuktuk for us.

Tuktuks (Motorcycle trailers or moto-romauks)

'Tuktuks'have become quite popular in Phnom Penh. The Cambodian 'tuktuk' offer a quiet, windy, pleasant ride. $1-$2 for short trips and $10-$15 for the whole day. Prices vary depending on the number of passengers and where you pick up the tuktuk. Make sure to keep your bag toward the middle of the tuktuk to protect against bag snatching.

Motodup (Motorcyle Taxi)

Just like the ubiquitous 'xe om' in Saigon, its counterpart 'moto'is the most common and fastest form of public transportation in Phnom Penh. Motos can be found virtually everywhere in town,but because more Khmer and tourists like me are realizing the unsafe travel,being more prone to accidents and bag snatching of the motos,its number is becoming lesser than what it used to be. For those who have the heart, motos cost $6 - $8 per day.Prices go up at night and for multiple passengers.


Another namesake vehicle common to both Ho Chi Minh City and Phnom Penh is the humble bicycle rick-shaw known locally as the 'cyclo'. Slow and relaxed, cyclos are easier on the nerves than motos and can be a romantic,even practical form of transportation,if you are traveling alone and time is not a factor. The canopy offers a drier, cooler ride and the sitting in front provides a much better view of the passing street scenes. Since we are four,we have not tried this French iconic vestige fixture so I just bought a miniature-cyclo as a souvenir. A cyclo ride should cost about the same as the moto.

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