Cambodia

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Flag of Cambodia Cambodia
Information
Language: Khmer
Capital: Phnom Penh
Population: 16,713,000
Currency: Riel (KHR), American dollar (USD)
Hitchability: <rating country='kh' />
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Cambodia is a country in South East Asia.

On the national roads, it is pretty easy to hitch. On some remote roads things may be harder though. People are very friendly, but most don't really know what hitchhiking is if you just use your thumb. Many will assume you are trying to flag down a taxi - so they won't stop. Taxis will stop of course, that's why it's important to make it very clear that you have no money. It's better to hit the air with your palm, that's more understood. The easiest way to get a ride is to make a sign in Khmer script, it might take some time to copy those symbols with your marker on a piece of cardboard, but there's no better way to impress Cambodians. You can copy paste names of the cities below to Word or Google Docs, enlarge them and then redraw them. Or on you phone simply zoom in this page!

Phnom Penh - ភ្នំពេញ
Sihanoukville - ព្រះសីហនុ
Battambang - បាត់ដំបង
Siem Reap - សៀមរាប
Kampot - កំពត
Bavet - បាវិត
Koh Kong - កោះកុង
Kep - កែប
Poipet - ប៉ោយប៉ែត

Trucks and lorries are most likely to give you a free lift. You will probably spend more time on the back of vehicles then inside. This can be a pleasant way to enjoy sun, wind and the beautiful landscape. Make sure you bring water, sunscreen and a hat though, as you might get a 4-hour-lift without a single minute of shade.

Most people speak at least some basic English and will understand at least something like "no money". In Khmer you can say k'nyom ot mean loy - "I no have money" is the literal translation. The level of English in Cambodia is definitely higher than in Vietnam, Laos or non-touristy parts of Thailand.

All the main roads lead to Phnom Penh. From there it's easy to make it in less than a day to Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, Battambang or the Vietnamese border.

Public transport

Cambodia has only one proper city so there's only one city with public buses and it's obviously Phnom Penh. Before covid there were 17 bus lines bringing people to the farthest outskirts. For two years during the pandemic they were all suspended and as of March 2023 only 5 lines are back and running. The vehicles are modern with AC onboard and they run between 5.30am and 8.30pm with an interval of 10-20 minutes depending on the line. One ride costs 1500 riel, cash only, no change given (late 2022).

Unfortunately you can't find Phnom Penh public transport on Google Maps, nor on Moovit app, however all the lines are visible on Openstreetmap and on a related app called Osmand. Lines 1, 2 and 3 have all the stops added and directions will work on these lines in Osmand app in the same way as in Google, showing connections and walking time between stops. Other lines don't work this way. There's also an app provided by the PP City Bus Authority that shows all the 17 lines and most stops as well as live position of the buses from their GPS.

Besides buses there's plenty of three wheeler tuk tuks not only in Phnom Penh but all around the country. There are two apps used by locals to order a tuk tuk: Passapp and Grab. With these apps you will know the price to your destination before ordering, so you don't need to worry about being ripped off. These apps don't work in every town. Prices start at 4000 riel (USD 1) for the shortest ride up to 1km and a distance of 10km should cost around 10,000 riel, or 2.5 dollars (late 2022).

Maps

Google Maps works pretty well in Cambodia, especially in Phnom Penh. The same can be said about the satellite view which is updated quite regularly, though not as often as in Europe. However if you decide to use Street View you should treat it as a time machine into the past. The latest Street View images are from 2014 and Cambodia developed tremendously over the last decade. What on Street View looks like a countryside road with tons of potholes today can be a dual carriageway surrounded by banks and shopping malls. In such case looking for a good hitchhiking spot using the Street View is definitely not recommended.

Cities

Phnom Penh
Sihanoukville
Battambang
Siem Reap
Kampot

Personal Experiences

Pls add info


Links

Information, tips and personal experiences of hitch-hiking in Cambodia. A 2103 km journey on 40 vehicles and 1 boat! (only in spanish), by Marcando el Polo

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