Passenger train services from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville started again in April 2016. The journey from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville takes 7 hours 30 minutes, which is much slower than taking a bus to Sihanoukville (5 hours), but a pleasant way to travel because of the scenery on route and a must do journey for train enthusiasts.
It’s a 264 kilometre journey between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville which means that the train travels at an average speed of 40 kph. In practice the train picks up more speed than that for certain parts of the journey and stops for long periods at the two train stations on route, and also the train stops during the journey to allow trains coming in the opposite direction to pass as it is single track line between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville. If you are in a hurry to get from Phnom Penh to Sihanouville book a bus service instead.
Trains Times To Sihanoukville
There are 4 passenger trains a week from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville operating on Fridays, Saturdays and twice on Sundays.
|Day||Phnom Penh||Sihanoukville||Ticket Price|
As the schedule indicates, the train service is predominantly intended for use by residents of Phnom Penh for weekend breaks at the seaside in Sihanoukville rather than as a commuter service.
About Train Travel to Sihanoukville
Train services to Sihanoukville depart from Phnom Penh’s main railway station, which is near to Phnom Penh Central Market. Phnom Penh Railway Station, which was constructed in 1932 during the era of French colonial rule, has been recently refurbished now that passenger train services have resumed. Nonetheless, there is not much in the way of food and drink to buy at the station for the journey. This is not, however, a problem as food is available on the train and also for purchase at train stations on the way.
There are two types of carriage on the train to Sihanoukville. The first type of carriage has groups of 4 seats facing each other. The majority of the seating on the train is in carriages like this and you need to book early if you want the other type of seat. These seats are comfortable enough and the carriage is air-conditioned. We recommend not sitting by the door in the carriage which tends to get left open each time sometimes passes through the carriage on the way to the toilet or the restaurant car.
The other type of carriage on the train to Sihanoukville has two long cushioned sofa type seats facing each other. These types of carriage tend to get booked out well in advance by large family groups of Cambodian people on their way for weekend break at the beach.
The first two hours of the journey takes passengers through the suburbs of Phnom Penh and out into the countryside. There are a few villages on the way backed by hills.
2 hours after leaving from Phnom Penh the train makes its first stop at Takeo Railway Station. The train stops at the station for about 20 minutes and most passengers choose to the leave the train whilst it stops in the station for a walk around and to buy food. There are lots of food vendors on the platform at Takeo Railway Station.
From Takeo Railway Station the countryside opens up in large flat plains covered in rice paddy fields, with very few buildings, backed by distant hills. During this part of the journey passengers get sense of both the beauty of rural Cambodia and how little development there has been.
A further 3 hours down the railway line passengers arrive at Kampot Railway Station for a stop of around 40 minutes. Again nearly all the passengers on the train choose to alight from the train for a walk around. Quite a few foreign visitors leave the train at Kampot, many having brought bicycles from Phnom Penh in the cargo carriage, for a stay in this interesting part of Cambodia. Kampot Railway Station building was built in the 1960s and is a classic example of what has been termed as the ‘New Khmer’ architectural style period which was in fashion during the short, but happy, period between the end of French rule in 1953 and the horror of the Khmer Rouge regime of the 1970s. There are not as many vendors at Kampot Railway Station so if you haven’t already eaten you pay want to try some of the food on the train.
After departing from Kampot it’s slightly over 3 hours more on the train until you reach Sihanoukville. This part of the journey is the least interesting section of the trip until you nearly arrive in Sihanoukville when you get glimpses of sea as the train winds its way to the final stop on the journey.
Sihanoukville Railway Station is a strong contender for the title of ‘Ugliest Train Station in South East Asia’ as its in a state of disrepair, has no facilities and has an unattractive concrete design. Fortunately, once you arrive you can get away from the station quickly as there are always plenty of taxis, tuk-tuks and motorbike taxis waiting outside the front of the station to take you onto your accommodation in Sihanoukville within minutes of arriving. Sihanoukville Railway Station is at north end of the town a few kilometres away from the beaches and any accommodation so you need to take a taxi or motorbike after arriving in Sihanoukville as it will be much to far to walk anywhere you would want to stay.