How to take the train from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville and back

How do you take the train from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville and from Sihanoukville to Phnom Penh? Well the good news is that much like other train journeys in Cambodia, not only is it cheap and easy, but that this route also stops in the tourist towns of both Kep and Kampot, as well as the slightly less renowned Takeo

And while these routes are not that frequent (around once a day), they do attract tourists and are thus reliable, much like the Phnom Penh to Battambang route.

Traveling with Royal Cambodian Railways 

Royal Cambodian Railways are the current state owned planners of the Railways System within Cambodia. The railways were built by the French during colonial times, but to nowhere the degree as in neighboring Vietnam.

During the rule of Pol Pot they stopped completely and during the last Khmer Rouge state they were known to be stopped by the Khmer Rouge.

Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville train timetable 

Trains going from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville leave the capital at 7 am, before stopping at Takeo – the home of Ta Mok at 8.30, Kampot at 10.20 and Kep at 10.40. The train then sounders into Sihanoukville at 12.40.

The same train then leaves at 2 pm, before doing Kampot at 14.20 and Takeo at 18.00. It finally arrives at 21.00 in Phnom Penh – in theory.

Tha the trains are by and large and pretty always at least a little bit late. I have heard horror stories of crazy late, but have at least witnessed nothing worse than an hour. 

What is the Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville train like?

OK, so to measure some expectations on trains in general it should be noted that this is not deluxe travel. The trains are busy, they have  seats that are breaking, can be hot and offer no food, or drink. In fact until recently even the toilets barely worked. So, you might ask why would pone take the Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville train?

Firstly the scenery is to die for, with you going through Phnom Penh and Kim Il-Sung Boulevard like a car, before then hitting the Cambodian countryside and then finally finishing up riding past the beach son Sihanoukville.  Quite simply it is a very special journey.

And it can also actually be convenient, with the Kampot to Sihanoukville train actually be quicker and much more confutable than going off road in Cambodia. 

Food wise there are vendors selling street food, such as BBQ and stuffed frogs at Sihanoukville, while a few other stops are essentially used as street food restaurant stops.

And much like other train journeys in Cambodia it is much more about said journey than it even is the destination.

You can check my bespoke Cambodian tours on the link.

Gareth Johnson
Author: Gareth Johnson

Gareth Johnson is the founder of Young Pioneer Tours and has visited over 180+ countries. His passion is opening obscure destinations to tourism and sharing his experience of street food.

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