It was like getting third time lucky when I was finally able to get a Mekong Express Bus ticket for my road trip from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. On the earlier two occasions I was forced to take a “Paramount” bus, either because my hotel staff misguided me or because I could just not find the Mekong Express office in Phnom Penh. I finally found it and would like to share it all with my fellow travellers so that every one gets the option to take this superior ride for road trips in and around Cambodia. In this page I will also share the complete service time table of Mekong Express on all their routes. A quick note on why I would not recommend “Paramount”. First, they never start on time and second, they just stop anywhere en route when they spot a passenger willing to board their bus. As a result, the trip between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap on a “Paramount” bus will take an additional one to two hours. Mekong Express bus, on the other hand, starts on time and does not make any unscheduled stops on the way. Some free snacks are served in the bus and some of the Mekong buses have clean toilets onboard.
Buying a Mekong Express Bus Ticket
Mekong Express have a website (www.catmekongexpress.com) where online booking and payments can be made, at least theoretically. However, I tried that a few times but the booking did not go through. If it had, I would saved a dollar on my booking. A Phnom Penh – Siem Reap ticket on Mekong costs USD 13 but if booked online, it would cost only USD 12. Anyway, I was able to locate the Mekong Express booking office in Phnom Penh in the river front area (Sisowath Quay), opposite the Bopha Titanic Passenger & Tourist Boat Terminal (See the main pictures above). Their Phnom Penh Phone Numbers are 012 787 839 and 098 833 399. The office is open everyday from 6.00am to 9.00pm. You need to pay in cash at this office.
Free Pickup from Your Hotel
Mekong Express gives the facility of free pickup from your hotel in both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Do make use of this facility. At the time of buying your ticket, tell your hotel details to the Mekong Staff and they will confirm free pickup.
Boarding Point in Phnom Penh
A van came to pick me up from my hotel 30 minutes before the bus departure time. They picked up a few more passengers and reached the bus boarding point 5 minutes before 8.30am. My ticket was checked here and a baggage tag was issued. At the destination I would need to present that tag to claim my bag. A nice and safe practice.
The Bus and the Ride
I had booked an 8.30am bus though a 7.30am bus was also available. The trip to Siem Reap took a total of 8 and a half hours.
Mekong buses are old but clean and well maintained. There is a steward / guide in each bus who speaks good English and would communicate with the passenger over a public address system throughout the journey.
The Free Snacks
The free snacks they served looked ok but since I am vegetarian, I decided to donate the box to someone needy during our lunch stop.
The Lunch Break
The bus stopped at this restaurant called “Stung Sen” on the way from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. It was a 30-40 minute stop. The restaurant was large and clean, served a good range of food (all non-vegetarian except coffee) but was certainly over-priced. After the lunch break, the bus did not stop anywhere before its final stop in Siem Reap.
Mekong Bus Stop in Siem Reap
The Mekong Express Bus Stop in Siem Reap is on a lane off the National Highway 6. From there, you need to pay USD 3 or 4 for a tuk tuk ride to your hotel. Many hotels that offer free pickup from the airport will also offer a free pickup from this place so do not hesitate to ask.
Mekong Booking Office in Siem Reap
Mekong Express office in Siem Reap is on Sivatha Road (Phone: 063 963 662 and 012 315 858). Actually a lot of good things in Siem Reap are on this road, like a KFC, the Nattakkan Bus (Bangkok Direct Bus) office, several restaurants and massage shops. Its really close to Pub Street.
Mekong Express Bus/VIP Van Routes and Schedule
Please visit this official Mekong page for updated schedules*: https://www.catmekongexpress.com/en/transit/master_schedules
*Timings change frequently, and may not be updated on the website. Please confirm latest info from a company local office in Cambodia