Welcome to another post in my ‘How Much to Budget…’ series! This time around, I’m talking about Cambodia and any thrifty folk out there will want to listen up for this one. It’s a lovely place to visit with the friendliest people and is also the cheapest country I’ve ever visited.
We spent 18 days there and were tempted to stay for even longer! Especially for the sake of this blog (dedication, I know) I kept track of all our spends in order to create a comprehensive guide of how much to budget for travelling Cambodia. So let’s get stuck in…
Note: All figures shown below are based on two people so if you’re travelling solo, just halve the figures shown. The exchange rate at my time of travel was around 1.28 USD : 1 GBP.
Accommodation = $127.75 or £99.65
Accommodation in Cambodia is really cheap. Here, we stayed in the cheapest hostels across our entire trip in South East Asia with a double ensuite rooms for less than $8 per night.
Be warned though: unlike other parts of South East Asia, air con and hot water don’t necessarily come as standard in Cambodia. Depending on the time of year, you may want to spend a little more for that extra bit of comfort. I can’t even tell you how uncomfortable those rooms are with just one small fan to keep you cool in 40 degree heat. At least the freezing cold showers came in useful then! Luckily, the guesthouses are so cheap that you can still bag a A/C room with hot water for under $15 per night.
To find the best deals, I searched through sites like Hostelworld, Expedia, Agoda, and Booking.com. We booked accommodation a day or so in advance so it’s likely that we could have found even cheaper prices. In most places, we ended
Average nightly cost per person = $3.76 / £2.94
Transport = $63 or £53.13
Getting around Cambodia is easy and cheap. Our only major journey was an 8 hour bus ride between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap as in the cities, we could reach everywhere we wanted on foot.
Bus from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap: $26
Tuk Tuk to Killing Fields / S21: $20
Tuk Tuk around Angkor Archaeological Park: $17
The only other transport we needed was getting to the Killing Fields and Angkor Wat. The tuk tuk drivers in Cambodia are really patient and much less pushy than in other places we visited in Asia. You can negotiate with a driver to visit a number of attractions in one go and they’ll patiently wait for you while you look around.
I haven’t included our costs for getting in and out of Cambodia in this total, although budget backpackers will be happy to know that the bus network is pretty great. We took the bus from Vietnam to Phnom Penh and then another from Siem Reap to Thailand for a total of $62 – just $13 per journey! While the journeys are fairly long, the visa process is simple and it saves a ton of money on expensive flights.
NB: If you apply for an e-visa, keep hold of your visa for the duration of your trip. Despite having my passport stamped with my entry date, I was asked for a copy of mine before leaving Cambodia and it was only through pure luck that I had a copy scrunched up in my backpack. That’s a stress that I wouldn’t wish on anyone!
Food = $358.12 or £279.78
We spent a lot on eating out in Cambodia – we easily could have eaten for about half the price each day! But after a few months in Asia, we did end up getting a bit sick of eating noodles for most meals and splashed out on delicious meals at great NGO Cafes in Siem Reap. So, while we spent a little more than planned on food, at least our money went to support some good causes. We were also in the mood for relaxation, opting for plenty of Game of Thrones marathons instead of heading out to Pub Street.
Eating out: $307.30
Supermarket snacks and water: $38.82
If you want to slash your food budget in Cambodia, head to the night markets. Here, you can grab a plate of noodles for just $1 and wash it down with a fresh fruit smoothie for the same price. Don’t miss the ice cream rolls – I’d never seen these before visiting Cambodia and we enjoyed quite a few of these sweet treats in the evenings.
Average daily cost per person = $21.07 / £16.46
Activities = $98 or £75.56
While my ideal Cambodian itinerary would involve heading to the coast for some beach time, we were on a serious budget by this part of our trip. Luckily, we both wanted to see the same main sights – the Killing Fields, Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and of course, Angkor Wat. While Angkor Wat have almost doubled their entry fees in the last year or so to a hefty $37 each for a one-day pass, the other two museums are a very reasonable $6.
Visiting these places had a real impact on me for very different reasons and I’ll remember those days for the rest of my life. I’ve written more detailed posts about both of them so if you’d like to read more, peruse away…
Other = $30.10 or £23.52
As always, this is filled with random bits and bobs that you don’t particularly expect before you go away – for example, replenishing toiletries and laundry. I also had the worst haircut of my life…but then I did pay just $4 so really, should I have been surprised?
Total spent = $676.97 or £545.94
Average daily cost per person = $19.91 or £16.05
It’s the cheapest daily total yet and a seriously impressive one – living on just £16 per day would mean you could spend a month in Cambodia for under £500! Now that’s a budget trip that I can get on board with…
Is Cambodia on your bucket list of places to visit? Or do you have any great tips for travelling on a budget? Let me know!
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