Toby Keps

Travelled to 12 countries / regions

Written 42 briefs
Backpacked across Thailand and Cambodia in 2019



Asia > Cambodia > Phnom Penh > Choeung Ek Genocidal Center > Useful Info
Submitted on Feb 05, 2020 Useful Info

How to get to Choeung Ek Genocidal Center (The Killing Fields) in Phnom Penh

  • Choeung Ek Genocidal Center is the most famous (or infamous) site of what's known as the Killing Fields. It's located about 10km southwest of downtown Phnom Penh

  • Getting there from Phnom Penh city center is straightforward. You have 3 ways to do it (ranked by popularity):
  1. Tuk tuk or taxi: by far the most popular way to get there
  2. Tours or tourist shuttles: very convenient and hassle-free
  3. Public bus: the cheapest way to get there

  • Option 1) Tuk tuk or taxi
  • This is probably the most popular way for tourists to get to Choeung Ek. It's located sufficient outside of the central areas of Phnom Penh that the convenience of a tuk tuk and taxi more than makes up for the costUser submitted photo of Choeung Ek Genocidal Center
  • Tuk tuks can seat up to 4 people. Taxis normally seat up to 4 people but you can request bigger ones
  • Costs:
  • Tuk tuk costs $12-$15USD round trip including waiting time, taxi costs $20-$25USD round trip including waiting time
  • One-way fares is about $4USD for tuk tuk and $8USD for taxi
  • Many people also get tuk tuk or taxis to take them to S21 (another infamous site of the Killing Fields that's located in the city center) first before going to Choeung Ek. The total costs for Hotel -> S21 -> Choeung Ek -> hotel, including waiting time at each of these sites, is $20-$25 for tuk tuk and $25-$35 for taxi
  • The fares are agreed on before you depart. Tuk tuks are not metered, and most taxis aren't metered either. Payment is by cash USD or Riel. If you use Grab app (see below) you can pay by credit card linked through your app
  • How long it takes: 30-40 minutes each way from downtown
  • How to get tuk tuk and taxi:
  • Easiest way is to ask your hotel to get one for you. They get requests like this all the time and can quickly get a ride for you. Just make sure you get ask them for a cost estimate first so you don't end up overpaying
  • Use a taxi hailing app, on which you can get both taxis and tuk tuks. In Cambodia the two main ones are Grab and PassApp. Of these two, Grab is the much better option. Grab is based in Singapore and is widely used across southeast Asia, whereas PassApp is just for Cambodia. With Grab you can pay by credit card whereas PassApp is cash only. I tried both and for me the user experience and driver professionalism was simply much better for Grab. In order to use this app you need to download them and set them up while you're somewhere where you can receive SMS text messages. When you use them, obviously you need to have wifi or SIM card to be able to use cellphone data
  • You can easily get a tuk tuk on the streets. Just walk outside your hotel and go to one of the main streets and you'll see a lot of them cruising around looking for passengers. However, there are no metered taxis on the streets you can flag. You must book them by phone, which I don't recommend since they don't speak English; instead if you want a metered taxi just have your hotel call it for you
  • Getting back from Choeung Ek: most people ask their drivers to wait for them while they tour Choeung Ek. The recommended visit time is about 2 hours, and drivers are totally fine with waiting that amount of time. This is built into the price you pay and is something to negotiate and agree with the driver before you depart for Choeung Ek from the city center, rather than something you tell the driver once you get there. I don't recommend getting one-way rides because it's in the middle of nowhere and while there are many tuk tuks and taxis waiting outside to take tourists back to Phnom Penh, the price may not be great and it's a hassle to deal with the touts. Also, later in the day it could be hard to find rides back

  • Option 2) Tours or tour shuttles
  • There are lots of tours and tourist-focused shuttle bus services that you can book either online or through a local travel agency in Phnom Penh. Some of them is just to and from Choeung Ek, but many of them also include S21 (another site of the Killing Fields, formally called Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum) as well for a packaged experienceUser submitted photo of Choeung Ek Genocidal Center
  • This option is also very popular among tourists and is cheaper than taking the taxis, about the same as tuk tuk
  • Costs: if you book online, the tour shuttle costs $15-$22USD per person including hotel pickup and drop off, transportation to S21, transportation to Choeung Ek. Tours, which include guides, obviously costs a lot more, minimum $45-$55USD per person. The costs will be about 25% cheaper if you book from a local travel agent in Phnom Penh
  • How to book:
  • To book online, I came across 3 websites that have these tours and shuttles available: Viator, GetYourGuide, and Klook. GetYourGuide and Klook seem to be cheaper than Viator. These sites are all legit (Viator is owned by Tripadvisor and GetYourGuide and Klook are both Softbank companies). On these sites, just search for "Choeung Ek" and you'll see all the options available to book, and then you can just pay with your credit card. You can view the details of the pickup on the website before you book
  • A cheaper way to book than going through the websites (which charges a premium for the convenience) is to find a local travel agent in Phnom Penh. There are a lot of them in Phnom Penh (see on Google Maps). You can find them by just walking around the old town, use Google Maps, or just ask your hotel concierge

  • Option 3) Public buses
  • If you're on a very tight budget, you can always make use of public transportation
  • Phnom Penh's public bus system is simply called Phnom Penh City Bus. To get to Cheoung Ek from downtown you need to take bus 4C. This is the only line that serves Choeung Ek, so this is the bus you need to get on
  • Route map:
  • Here's a map overview of the routes. Route 4 is the pink line and you can see that it splits into 4A, 4B, and 4C. Of these, you must take 4C as that's the only one that gets you to Choeung EkUser submitted photo of Choeung Ek Genocidal Center
  • A better way to access the map is to use Phnom Penh's public bus app. There are two you can use: Stops Near Me (Android, iOS), or City Bus Official (Android, iOS). Both apps overlay the bus routes onto a GPS map of Phnom Penh so that you can see where the closest stop to you is. Neither apps currently show live bus locations though
  • Fare: 1500 Cambodian Riel, or about $0.4USD, per ride. So round trip price is less than $1USD by public bus. Payment is cash only, and only with Cambodian Riel, not USD. You pay on board and must have exact change because they won't give change back to you
  • Schedule and frequency: bus 4C runs between 5:30am and 8:30pm everyday, once every 5-10 minutes
  • How to take the bus:
  • Use the app I mentioned above to navigate yourself to one of the bus stops. Have the 1500 riel bus fare on you ready to go
  • The public buses in Phnom Penh are all labeled with a giant number in front that shows you which route it isUser submitted photo of Choeung Ek Genocidal CenterOnce you see bus 4C approaching you, raise your hand to stop the bus
  • Board the bus using the front door, and drop the cash into the fare box next the driver, then take a seat (or stand)
  • Once you get to Choeung Ek, just press the red button inside the bus to request stop
  • Check out this helpful video with English subtitles on how to take Phnom Penh City Bus