If you’ve recently booked a flight to Siem Reap, chances are you could be confused. The city’s premier airport, Siem Reap (REP) opened in 1932 and has recently closed, making way for the new Angkor International Airport (SAI) which opened in 2023.
Located 50 km east of Siem Reap city, discovering how to travel from the airport to Siem Reap can feel like a bit of a daunting process, especially with the lack of information available online.
If you’re heading to this shiny new airport, fear not! We’ve recently completed the journey from the UK and are going to share everything we know to help you get from A to B, whilst avoiding the rip-off factor that often comes hand-in-hand with airport transport!
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Siem Reap Airport Guide (SAI)
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Siem Reap International vs. Angkor International
For a short time in 2023, there were two airports in Siem Reap, Cambodia. That is no longer the case. All arrivals will now fly into Angkor International Airport, located 50 km outside the city centre and 40 km from the epic Angkor Wat religious site.
While there was talk of keeping Siem Reap International operational to deal solely with domestic flights, it is currently closed and looks like it will stay that way. Therefore, no matter whether you are flying domestically or internationally, you will arrive at the new Angkor International Airport.
Visa on Arrival at Angkor International Airport
For several nationalities, Cambodia offers visas on arrival (VOA). All airports operate this scheme, but only selected land borders do – make sure to check before you arrive.
Currently, VOA costs $30USD per person for those eligible and can be paid at the airport (pristine USD notes only – Cambodia is very fussy about the dollars it accepts). You will receive the forms on the plane and then apply at the airport visa desk once you arrive. The whole process is quick and easy, taking around 10 minutes for the standard tourist visa on arrival – although it will take longer if it’s busy.
“If you pay in USD for something, ALWAYS check the quality of the notes you get back. The guy at the ‘VOA’ desk at the airport in Siem Reap, asked if we’d mind swapping five x $20USD notes for a $100USD as he needed change. The kindness in me thought ‘yeah of course, no problem’ so I went ahead and did it. I then went to use said $100USD note to purchase a bus ticket outside the airport and they wouldn’t accept it as it had a big crease in the note down the middle which had a small strip of tape on to strengthen in. The ladies at the ticket office informed me that it was unlikely we’d be able to use this note anywhere in SE Asia. I suspect the guy at the visa desk knew exactly what he was doing.. lesson learnt!”Gemma Ann, South East Asia Backpacker Community
Onward Travel in Cambodia
Bear in mind that you will likely be asked to provide proof of onward travel out of Cambodia, especially if you do not have an e-visa and are planning on getting the visa on arrival. A bus ticket may be accepted but this ultimately comes down to the discretion of the immigration official on the day.
“When I travelled from London Heathrow to Siem Reap, I used Onward Ticket which is a ticket rental service. It worked a treat, even with my ‘pretend’ return flight being booked with the airline I was currently flying with.”Sheree Hooker, Editor at South East Asia Backpacker
Getting from Siem Reap Airport to the City Centre
As soon as you leave the airport you will be approached by taxi drivers looking to take you to Siem Reap city centre. The official price for a taxi is $35USD and the journey time is around 1 hour.
It is a good idea to have the address of your accommodation saved on your phone so you can tell the driver exactly where you are. If you don’t have the exact address, make sure you know the area in Siem Reap where you will be staying.
“After a hectic day which involved an unexpected transfer in Vietnam, amounting to a 24-hour journey, plus lost luggage, I caught a taxi from SAI to the city centre. They charged me $25USD for the journey, a very fair price. Having travelled extensively in SEA, I know that honest taxi drivers can be hard to come by. If you are lucky enough to find someone like this, consider leaving a tip. It is always appreciated and encourages drivers to continue being honest about pricing.”Tim Ashdown, Gear Writer at South East Asia Backpacker
Ride Hailing Apps
When it comes to ride-hailing apps like Uber in Cambodia, the most popular options are PassApp and Grab. The former does require you to have a Cambodian phone number so this will only be an option if you have already purchased a Cambodian SIM. Travellers report that prices start from around $19USD using one of these apps but it will depend on the time of day, availability of drivers etc.
Buses from the new airport to the city centre cost $8USD and you can catch them outside. The bus schedule is as follows; 09:30, 10:30, 12:30, 15:00, 16:00, 18:00, 20:00, 22:00. Ask someone where to wait if you are confused.
Good to Know!
Getting from Angkor International Airport to Siem Reap city doesn’t have to be confusing. While the bus is the most economical option, it is only available at certain times of the day and doesn’t drop you in the centre. If you can agree on a good price beforehand, a taxi is a better way to go – especially if you can split the cost between a few of your fellow travellers!
South East Asia Backpacker is a ‘travel diary for everyone’. This article has been written with the help of backpackers and local experts. We would like to thank the following for their input to this article…
🙏 Gemma Ann | South East Asia Backpacker Community
🙏 Staff at Singapore Airlines
🙏 Tim Ashdown | Gear Writer at South East Asia Backpacker