Cambodia, a land of captivating contrasts, beckons travelers with its allure of ancient architecture, bustling cities, and tropical paradise islands. It’s no wonder that Cambodia has become a favorite destination among backpackers seeking nature, history, and culture in abundance. But let’s dive deeper into our pockets and discover how much it truly costs to explore this enchanting country.
Suggested Budgets for Traveling in Cambodia
Shoestring Backpacker: $25-35USD Per Day
Calling all shoestring backpackers! Cambodia is your promised land. With a budget as low as $25USD per day, you can embrace a life of adventure. Stay in decent dorms, relish in the flavors of delectable street food, embark on captivating tours, and indulge in the occasional beer. Even transportation, like boats between Sihanoukville and Koh Rong, won’t break the bank!
Living It Large Backpacker: $35-60USD Per Day
If you fall under the category of living it large backpackers, congratulations! Cambodia offers you endless possibilities. With a budget of $35-60USD per day, you can afford to stay in more affordable private rooms, savor your heart’s desires, relish in diverse culinary experiences, and explore the best tours throughout Cambodia.
Flashpacker: $70+USD Per Day
For the flashpackers out there, Cambodia is your paradise. With a budget of $70USD per day or more, you can immerse yourself in a lavish experience. Indulge in luxurious hotels, resorts, and spas that cater to your every whim. Embark on countless trips and excursions, making the most of your stay in Cambodia.
The currency used in Cambodia is the Cambodian/Khmer Riel (KHR). Similar to neighboring countries, the exchange rate is quite unique. While a great exchange rate benefits us backpackers, it also reflects the challenges faced by Cambodia’s economy and its people. Due to a lack of trust in the local currency, many Cambodians convert their savings into US dollars or precious metals. As a result, the US dollar is widely accepted and used interchangeably with the riel throughout Cambodia. For larger purchases, it’s advisable to use dollars, while for smaller transactions, riel is the preferred currency.
How Much Does a Trip to Cambodia Cost?
Cost of Street Food in Cambodia
Price Range: 4,000-16,000KHR ($1-4USD) per meal
While Cambodia may not be renowned for its street food scene, don’t underestimate its flavors. A simple rice dish will cost you around $2USD, and a baguette similar to Vietnamese Banh Mi will fill your belly for less than $1USD. Some caution about sanitary conditions has been raised, but with a high turnover of customers, street food vendors ensure freshness. If you’re on a tight budget, you can satisfy your hunger without breaking the bank by solely indulging in street food.
Cost of Restaurant Food in Cambodia
Price Range: 10,000-50,000KHR ($2.50-12USD) per meal
Eating out in Cambodia doesn’t have to be limited to street food carts. Restaurants catering to all budgets can be found throughout the country. While high-end options may be limited to major cities like Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, there are plenty of affordable restaurants offering meals between $2.50-6USD. Popular tourist spots like Siem Reap’s Pub Street may have slightly higher prices. Additionally, if you yearn for a taste of home, western fast food options are also available, with prices only slightly higher than local dishes.
Cost of Water in Cambodia
Price Range: 2,000-10,000KHR ($0.50-2.50USD) per liter
It’s important to note that tap water in Cambodia is not safe to drink due to heavy metal contamination. To quench your thirst without risking your health, purchasing a bottle of water is the safest option, costing around $1USD on average. However, for those looking to reduce their environmental impact, investing in a filtered water bottle is a wise choice. It not only purifies tap water but also saves you money during an extended trip.
Cost of Beer in Cambodia
Price Range: 3,000-12,000KHR ($0.70-3USD)
Thankfully, Cambodia knows how to do cheap booze right. Locally brewed beer in large bottles won’t cost you more than $1USD from a shop, and even less from a bar, making it an affordable indulgence. Imported beers are slightly more expensive but still well within reasonable prices. If you enjoy the occasional tipple while traveling, sticking to local beer is a budget-friendly choice.
Cost of Accommodation in Cambodia
Hostel Dorm (per night): 6,000-65,000KHR ($1.50-16USD)
Cambodia is renowned for its affordable hostels, with prices often ranging between $2-16USD per night. While some hostels may be less glamorous, it’s expected when you’re spending so little. Prioritize reading reviews before booking to ensure a comfortable stay. If you’re traveling during low season (May-September), you might be able to find accommodation without prior booking. Simply explore the area, check out a few hostels, and you may even snag a better price.
Hostel Double Room (per night): 30,000-125,000KHR ($7-30USD)
Many Cambodian hostels offer private rooms in addition to dormitories. For a break from communal sleeping, you can book a private room for as little as $7USD per night. In low season, you may even find rooms at a cheaper rate.
Double Hotel Room (per night): 30,000-200,000+KHR ($7-50+USD)
Hotels in Cambodia vary in price, offering a wide range of options. Affordable hotel rooms can be found for $7-20USD per night, while flashpackers can treat themselves to beautiful hotels for around $35-50USD. With such great options available, there’s little need to spend excessive amounts on accommodation. Embrace the local flair and dress comfortably for your adventures.
Cost of Transport in Cambodia
Short Distance Transport
Taxis: 3,000-4,000KHR ($0.75-1USD) plus 1,200-2,000KHR ($0.30-0.50USD) per kilometer
In Phnom Penh, most taxis are metered, but prices may slightly vary depending on the time of day or year. Some drivers may prefer to haggle instead of using the meter, so it’s essential to be aware of the typical costs for your journey. Outside of Phnom Penh, especially in rural areas, older taxis may not have meters, necessitating pre-agreed prices. Consult your accommodations for guidance on the expected costs before searching for a taxi.
Buses: 1,500-4,000KHR ($0.40-1USD) per ride
City buses are rare outside of Phnom Penh, with few operating lines even in Siem Reap. If you’re not spending much time in Phnom Penh, small inner-city buses may not be necessary. However, if you do need a bus, prices start at around $0.40 per ride and can reach up to $1USD. Conveniently, the Stops Near Me app provides comprehensive Phnom Penh bus route information for easy navigation.
Tuk Tuk: 6,000-60,000KHR ($1.50-14.50USD)
Embark on a picturesque journey through Cambodia on a tuk tuk. Short hops through town will cost around $2-3USD, while longer rides within cities may be slightly more expensive. Certain rides, such as heading to Phnom Penh Airport, may demand higher fares, ranging between $7-10USD from anywhere in the city. For longer journeys or visits to distant attractions like Angkor Wat, you can hire tuk tuks for the day, typically costing $30-50USD. For convenience, consider using the ride-hailing app PassApp to arrange your transportation and know the exact fare beforehand.
Scooter Hire: 28,000-80,000KHR ($7-20USD) per day
For exploring Cambodia at your own pace, renting a scooter or motorcycle is an excellent choice. You’ll find large chains or expat-run businesses offering rentals at higher prices but with insurance and breakdown coverage. Local businesses set up small huts on the street for cheaper scooter rentals, but bike reliability may not be as high, and helmets are generally not provided.
Long Distance Transport
Buses: 10,000-30,000KHR ($2.50-7USD) per hour of travel
Cambodian buses are highly regarded and serve major routes. However, for more remote areas, you may need to transfer to a minibus at some point. Opting for tourist or luxury minibusses is worthwhile, as they typically enforce a one-passenger per-seat rule, ensuring comfort and avoiding overcrowding.
Planes: 300,000-1,200,000KHR ($95-300USD)
Flying in Cambodia, considering its small size, may not be the most practical or eco-friendly choice. Unless time is of the essence, it’s more cost-effective to stick to overland transport. For example, a bus journey from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh takes approximately seven hours, not much longer than a flight if you factor in transportation to and from the airport.
Cost of Activities in Cambodia
Here’s a glimpse of the prices for trips, tours, and activities in Cambodia:
- Angkor Wat and the Angkor Archeological Park (Siem Reap): Entry fees range from 160,000-1,000,000KHR ($40-250USD) depending on the duration of your visit. Hiring a tuk tuk for a day costs around $30-50USD, ensuring you experience the best times to visit different temples, avoiding large crowds. Bicycles can be rented for $2-4USD per day, offering a more budget-friendly option. For a comprehensive exploration, tour guides charge approximately $50USD for small groups.
- Killing Fields (Phnom Penh): Entry fees vary from 25,000-205,000KHR ($6-50USD) per person. The audio guide, priced at around $6USD, provides a harrowing account of the site’s history and personal stories. Tuk tuks offer convenient transportation for approximately $15USD round trip.
- Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S21) (Phnom Penh): Entry fees range from 20,000-60,000KHR ($5-15USD) and include an optional audio guide for $3USD. The museum is easily accessible and a short walk from the city center.
- Tonle Sap Floating Villages (Siem Reap): Boat tours of the floating villages typically include transportation to and from Siem Reap, as well as four hours on the water. Prices range from 80,000-185,000KHR ($19.50-45USD). Choose ethical tour companies that support local communities.
- Daughters of Cambodia Visitor Centre (Phnom Penh): While entry is free, supporting the center’s mission is highly encouraged. Indulge in their café, purchase goods from their shop, or treat yourself to their spa. All proceeds contribute to freeing women from the sex trade.
For more exciting ideas and comprehensive itineraries, head over to the Ekilove website. Remember to join the South East Asia Backpacker Facebook Community for engaging discussions and insightful travel advice.
Embark on an unforgettable journey through Cambodia, where adventure meets affordability. Discover an alluring blend of history, nature, and culture, all while keeping your budget intact. From the majestic temples of Angkor to the vibrant floating villages, Cambodia awaits your exploration. Start planning your affordable adventure today!