train experience in cambodia

May 2022

Phnom Penh Royal railway station is a railway station in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. It is located next to the University of Health Sciences and the National University of Management as well as the Canadian embassy. This station was renovated and formally reopened October 22, 2010

After a long break due to the covid-19 pandemic, passenger railway services in Cambodia are now back in service. Safety checks have been completed, new staff have been hired, railway stations have been repaired and cleaned, and tickets are available to buy both online and train stations.

As well as restarting passenger railway services, the train schedules have also changed. The new timetables are temporary and will adjust again later this year as passenger numbers start to increase, and maintenance and upgrade work on the railway lines is carried out.

Passenger trains in Cambodia are very basic, and many of the fitting and furnishing are the same as those used in houses and hotels rather than made bespoke for use on a train. This is unusual even for trains in South East Asia, but understandable when you consider that passenger train services in Cambodia only started in April 2016 with the railway track having been used very seldom, if at all, since 2008.

Despite being basic, and having unusual fittings, trains in Cambodia are comfortable. The trains are air-conditioned and well light. The seating is comfortable enough also. The trains have a kitchen in a separate carriage and fairly good toilets. The doors between the carriages have the same type of door handle you would use on an internal door in a private house and do not shut automatically, which is an annoyance because Cambodian train passengers do not appear to understand that they should shut train doors after themselves as they pass through the train.

The other type of seat on a Cambodia train is a sofa type seat. In these types of carriage, of which there are fewer in Cambodia trains, the whole carriage is taken up by two long well padded seats with a wide passageway in between.

Food on train:
​There is a full catering service on Cambodia trains and the food is freshly cooked on the train in a separate kitchen car. There is no restaurant car or trolley service on Cambodia trains so passengers need to go to the kitchen car, which is generally the last carriage at the rear of the train and order through the door and then consume the food at their seat. Drinks are also sold, as are snacks, from the kitchen car.

The toilets on Cambodia trains are surprisingly good. They are clean and they spacious and don’t simply vent onto the track like they do in standard trains in Thailand.