Like many other destinations in Southeast Asia, Cambodia offers incredible value for travelers on a budget. Compared to Europe or North America, you’ll find that your money goes a long way here. From affordable accommodation to bargain booze, Cambodia has plenty to offer frugal adventurers. In this article, we’ll share some top tips to help you stretch your budget even further and make the most of your visit to this fascinating country.
Arrange an E-visa in Advance
If you plan to travel overland into Cambodia, it’s wise to arrange an e-visa beforehand. Immigration officials at Cambodian land borders, especially those shared with Thailand and Laos, are known for overcharging for visas. By taking care of your visa in advance, you can save yourself time, hassle, and extra costs.
Check Out Regional Budget Airlines
To find heavily discounted fares compared to national flag carriers, consider checking out regional budget airlines. Airlines like Air Asia and Vietjet Air operate flights from Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Singapore to Cambodia. These budget airlines offer affordable options for traveling to and from Cambodia.
Visit Cambodia in the Low Season
To save money on accommodation, consider planning your visit to Cambodia during the low season. The low season in Cambodia lasts from April to October. During this period, you’ll find discounted rates on accommodations, especially on the southern islands. Take advantage of long-stay low-season discounts and make your budget go even further.
Buy a Local SIM Card
Roaming charges in Cambodia can be extremely expensive. To avoid hefty charges, pick up a local SIM card upon arrival in the country. Cambodia has multiple mobile networks that offer very cheap data bundles for visitors. By using a local SIM card, you can stay connected without breaking the bank.
Experience a Homestay with a Local Family
One of the cheapest accommodation options in Cambodia is staying with a local family. Embark on a homestay experience and immerse yourself in the local culture. For around US$4 per night, you can enjoy a cozy stay and opt for freshly home-cooked meals at an affordable price. Discover destinations like Chi Phat, Stung Areng, Koh Trong, Chambok, and the villages around Siem Reap for authentic and budget-friendly homestay experiences.
Opt for Long-Distance Buses
When traveling long distances within Cambodia, consider taking the long-distance bus. Overnight sleeper buses in Cambodia are generally quite comfortable and can save you the cost of a night’s accommodation. For shorter journeys between provincial capitals, express minivans offer a fast and comfortable mode of transportation.
Download a Ride-Hailing App
To avoid negotiating fares and paying over the odds for tuk-tuks or taxis, download a ride-hailing app. Cambodia has several ride-hailing apps like Grab and PassApp, which make getting around hassle-free. With these apps, you can easily book a ride, avoid haggling, and even pay online.
Sample Local Market Food Stalls
While eating out in Cambodia may be slightly more expensive than in neighboring countries, you can still enjoy affordable meals by exploring local markets and food stalls. Look out for where the locals gather and try the street food there. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also savor fresh and delicious Cambodian cuisine.
Visit the Temples of Angkor in 2022
If you plan to visit the Temples of Angkor, make the most of the special offers available until the end of 2022. Angkor Enterprise has launched discounted ticket deals due to the impact of COVID-19. For example, buying a 1-day pass will give you 2 days, a 3-day pass will give you 5 days, and a 7-day pass will give you 10 days. Take advantage of these offers and explore the wonders of Angkor at your own pace.
Look for Happy Hours and Promotions in Phnom Penh
While alcoholic drinks are generally cheap in Cambodia, Phnom Penh has a variety of more sophisticated establishments. Keep an eye out for happy hours, usually around 5pm to 7pm, where you can find great deals on drinks. Take advantage of these promotions and enjoy a refreshing beverage without breaking your budget.
Visit Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre
For an incredible wildlife experience near Phnom Penh, visit the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre. This facility serves as a refuge for wildlife confiscated from poachers and traffickers. For just US$5, you can witness rare mammals like tigers and elephants. If you’re interested, you can even sign up for premium behind-the-scenes tours and contribute to the center through a fixed donation.
Explore Kampot’s Pepper Plantations
Kampot is renowned for its aromatic pepper, which boasts a UN “Geographic Indicator” similar to Champagne. Take a free tour of La Plantation Pepper Farm and discover the various pepper varieties grown in the region. Enjoy a spicy tasting session and savor a delicious pepper-themed menu at the on-site restaurant.
Buy a Krama for Your Travels
Immerse yourself in Cambodian culture and make a practical purchase by buying a krama. These checked traditional scarves have a multitude of uses, including protecting you from the sun, dust, and wind. You can also use them as mini-sarongs, towels, decorations, baby carriers, pillow covers, and even for towing broken-down motorbikes. A krama costs only a few dollars, making it a versatile and cost-effective travel accessory.
Use Swimming Pools at Boutique Hotels
If you’re staying in budget accommodations without access to a swimming pool, don’t worry. Look out for special deals at boutique hotels across the country. Many of these hotels allow outside guests to use their swimming pools for free, provided they spend a minimum amount on food and drink. Take advantage of these offers to beat the heat and enjoy a refreshing swim.
A Guide to Daily Costs in Cambodia
- Hostel bed: US$5-10
- Local guesthouse room: US$5-15
- Self-catering apartment: US$20-40
- Local meals and street eats: US$1-4
- Long-distance buses (per 100km): US$2-3
- Local bus in Phnom Penh: US$0.40
- Local beer: US$1-2
- Coffee: US$1.50-3
- Tuk-tuk ride: US$1 per km
Discover the best of Cambodia while staying within your budget. With these tips, you can make the most of your money and have an unforgettable experience in this beautiful country.
For more travel inspiration and information, visit Ekilove.