I spent a total of 27 days in Cambodia. Unlike South America, I found that there were a wide range of traveller types from two week vacationing backpackers to high end wealthy Chinese, Vietnamese and Koreans. From the famous temples of Angkor Wat to the coastal town and island of Sihanoukville and Koh Rong Island, it’s evident that tourism is booming. Is it possible keep the cost of travel in Cambodia on the cheap? It wasn’t as cheap as I thought vs other SE Asian countries but yes it is still possible to do it on the cheap as there are quite a range of facilities to cater to all types of travellers.
|CAMBODIA||Spend ($US)||Avg spend per day||Percentage|
|Electronics (memory card)||$50||$2||5%|
|Avg cost per day||$37|
Why buy sugary drinks when you can just buy a coconuts off the many carts that float around the cities or towns. They shouldn’t cost you any more than $1 where softdrinks by the big companies tend to be over $1. For a large bottle of Angkor Beer you’d be looking at $1-$1.50. Spirits and a mixer are a lot more expensive and will set you back around $2.50. If you feel like a whisky or a gin then it’s much cheaper to buy in the supermarket at around $15.
The food cost in my figures are slightly inflated as I went to the Sofitel lunch buffet for a friends 30th birthday. This was an $80 cost and included all you can drink champagne. If you took this cost out then it would be a $10 per day average for food. I ate plenty of local food in restaurants close to the markets.
Khmer food is a cross between Vietnamese and Thai. Slightly sweet and lacking in heat. There isn’t much much of a street food culture like there is in Thailand and Vietnam so unfortunately you will find yourself eating in restaurants most of the times. In the mornings, I would switch between a bowl of soup or pork and rice costing around $1.50. For lunch I’d have a baguette or a stir fry from any of the local restaurants for $2.50-3 per plate. For dinner, we’d go out generally to somewhere mid range and probably out of the reach of a backpackers budget if you were going to these places each night. If I were staying in hostels with other backpackers then I probably would have saved a bit more in the dinner area.
Around the touristy towns such as Siem Reap you will have plenty of expensive western/Khmer food options. It’s best to avoid these places and walk along the outskirts of the area (only a few blocks) to find cheaper places occupied by locals. Along the coastal and island areas down south you will be have many options of the Khmer BBQ. Fresh fish, prawns and squid are usually on the menu as well as pork, chicken and beef. Look at spending $5 for a serving.
I spent a lot of my time in Phnom Penh and in Sisophone staying with friends so I spent hardly anything there. Down south, expect to pay between $4-10 for a dorm room. In Koh Rong island, most places were booked out so I spent a night there paying $25. for most of the time I spent $10 per night because there weren’t many dorms available or because I was sick in the later half of my trip up north in Siem Reap and didn’t want to be “that guy” coughing his guts up and keeping everybody awake all night. If you want to stay in dorms in Cambodia then expect to budget approximiately $5-6 a night
Tuk tuk or moto-taxis are the main way to get around. You won’t have any problems finding either as the country is swarming with them wherever you go. Expect to pay around $2 for a 5-10min trip. Moto-taxis are a lot cheaper and faster but be careful when using moto-taxis especially in the evening and if you’re female.
On a side note, bag snatchings are becoming more common so always have your possessions secure and in your bag. When riding tuk tuks, make sure your bags and valuables are on the are secured and on the middle section of the seat away from the side of the tuk tuk. While I was there, a friend of my hosts had her bag snatched from her even though it was secured across her shoulder and body. The only thing preventing her from sustaining serious injuries was that the strap broke and the culprits made off with her bag.
Travelling throughout the country is relatively affordable. Most longer bus rides were between $11-$16 from Phnom Penh -> Sihanoukville and Phnom Penh -> Siem Reap.
Exploring a town is easy with a bicycle. $1 is what you’d pay for a day and and $5 for a 24 hour rental of a scooter.
The main tourist attraction and largest cost would be Angkor Wat. A day pass is $20 I bought a $40 three day pass. I also did a cycling tour of Angkor Wat which cost $39 and worth every cent. If you want to do it yourself then a tuk tuk is about $15 per day so costs will be lower if you share it with three others.
I forgot one of my memory cards back in Sydney so spent $55 on a super fast memory one which is incredible if your are shooting in burst mode. I also spent $5 for a ridiculously cheap 3GB data plan for my phone.
Although my daily budget is slightly higher than most even with free accommodation on some instances, i believe that the cost of travel in Cambodia can be achieved for under $30 per day.