From Battambang to Siem Reap by boat

From Battambang to Siem Reap by boat

After Battambang, it was time to go to Siem Reap. There are different options to get to Siem Reap from Battambang, by bus or taxi, 3-4 hours or by boat, 5 to 10 hours. We chose the boat. We wanted to see Tonlé Sap, Cambodia’s largest lake, and the floating villages. 

In this post, you will find everything you need to know about the boat trip from Battambang to Siem Reap.  

Tickets 

You can take a boat from Battambang to Siem Reap or reverse, with boats departing as early as 7.30 am. You can buy tickets at the boat dock for 20 USD. There are also hotels and restaurants that sell boat tickets but they tend to charge a bit more. We bought tickets for the boat trip at our hotel for 25 USD. Included in the ticket price was the transportation from our hotel to the boat dock. 

Taking the boat offers views of floating villages and some beautiful local landscapes. The ride also includes a lunch stop at a floating restaurant. The restaurant serves local food. 

The boat ride will take you through the Sangker River and arrives at Phnom Krom ferry port. From the port, you can take a tuk-tuk to Siem Reaps city center. The route will look like this; Battambang – Sangker River – Tonle Sap Lake – Siem Reap River – Phnom Krom Dock. 

Best time 

The boat journey will take between six to eight hours depending on the water levels and on the season. During the dry season (April – June) the water levels in Tonle Sap are too low for a boat ride. The best time to take a boat ride is during the wet season (July – March), as the water levels in Tonle Sap will be enough for a boat ride.
We did the boat ride in March. 

Our experience 

We were picked up from our hotel around 7 am. They were a little late but we were the last people to have been picked up. It was a beautiful drive out of the city and through the country.  Around 8 am we arrived at the boat dock. It was a small boat with two rows of hard wooden seats. 

The first part of the boat trip was along the Sangker River. We sat on the roof of the boat, which gave us a good view of all there was to see. We saw floating houses, floating shops, fishermen in longboats, and kids who were waving excitedly at us from their homes. 

When you are on such a long trip you certainly need a little break in the middle. Our break was after 4 hours. We stopped at a little floating restaurant. We bought some drinks and snacks for the rest of our trip. 

During the second part of our boat trip, the trees became so tall and the reeds in the river became so thick. At one point we got stuck and the captain had to fish out a bunch of tangled reeds around the propeller. This took about 30 minutes. 

Again and again, floating villages appeared out of nowhere. In every village little boats are approaching to try to sell us snacks or pick up one of the local passengers on board. It was unbelievable how happy the people seem to be there, many of them smiling and waving at us. We saw many of them taking baths and washing their laundry in the water of the lake. 

After some time we entered the huge Tonle Sap Lake. It felt like we were on the sea as everything we saw around us was water. 

The joy of seeing floating houses and the local scenery started to fade in the seventh hour of our trip. After around 9 hours we finally arrived in Siem Reap. Don’t get us wrong the trip was amazing, but 9 hours on a boat is definitely enough for us! We were happy when our feet touched solid ground again. From there we took a tuk-tuk to our hostel in Siem Reaps city center.

Tips 

1. Ask beforehand if there is a toilet on board, most boats don’t have one. 

2. Bring enough snacks and water for the trip. 

3. Take sunscreen and a hat if you want to sit on the upper deck. 

4. Try to get a spot in front, there you have the least engine noise. 

5. Headphones, or earplugs. Trust us, you don’t want to listen to that loud motor drone for 9 hours straight. 

6. There is only one stop for lunch and a toilet visit. 

7. Bring a pillow with you, you have to sit on board for a long time. 

This was really quite an adventure and a unique way to experience rural Cambodia.

Have you made the slow yet fun journey from Battambang to Siem Reap by boat? Let us know in the comment section below!  

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2 Comments

  1. March 18, 2024 / 10:47 am

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  2. March 22, 2024 / 2:52 pm

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