Cambodia is an extraordinary beautiful country on absolutely one of my highlights of our backpacking tour through Southeast Asia. I can just highly recommend everyone to go and see this magnificent country for yourself.
With this post, I want to show you that a trip to Cambodia on a budget can be quite simple by just keeping some little tips in mind. But before you can learn the secret of saving money in Cambodia I want to tell you exactly what we spent in our 27 days there to give you an idea for your own Cambodia Budget.
What to find out in this post
- 1 Expenses Cambodia (27 days)
- 2 Total expenses in Cambodia in 27 days
- 3 Expenses in Cambodia per day (27 days)
- 4 How to save money during your travel through Cambodia
- 5 Your first time in Cambodia?
- 6 General advice
- 7 Don’t know what to pack for your trip to Cambodia?
- 8 Transport
- 9 Tuk Tuk and Taxi
- 10 Food
- 11 Water
- 12 Entries & Activities
- 13 Accommodation
- 14 Should you book in advance?
- 15 Random
- 16 Alcohol
- 17 Sim Card
Expenses Cambodia (27 days)
All the given prices below have been paid in the main currency of the given country (Riel & US-Dollar). The prices only have been converted into Euro and US-Dollar for better understanding. Any discrepancies may result from rounding and converting. State of the exchange rate Riel & USD to Euro: June/ July 2017 and Euro to US-Dollar: October 2017.
Total expenses in Cambodia in 27 days
Total: 396,74€/ $466,24 per person
Transport: 80,94€ ($95,12)
Breakfast: 34,01€ ($39,97)
Lunch: 25,52€ ($29,99)
Dinner: 59,05€ ($69,39)
Water: 7,14€ ($8,39)
Entries & Activity: 78,28€ ($91,11)
Random: 33,94€ ($39,89)
Accommodation: 77,27€ ($90,81)
Expenses in Cambodia per day (27 days)
Total: 14,64€/ $17,48 per person
Transport: 3,00€ ($3,53)
Breakfast: 1,26€ ($1,48)
Lunch: 0,95€ ($1,12)
Dinner: 2,19€ ($2,57)
Water: 0,26€ ($0,31)
Entries & Activity: 2,90€ ($3,41)
Random: 1,26€ ($1,48)
Accommodation: 2,86€ ($3,36)
How to save money during your travel through Cambodia
While we have used some “tricks” (Couchsurfing and Hitchhiking) while traveling Japan we traveled “the traditional way” while being in Cambodia. As always we haven’t missed anything and enjoyed all the experiences and still saved a lot of money while doing so. In the following post, you can learn how to travel Cambodia on a budget and still spare some money.
Your first time in Cambodia?
Everything you need to know before and during your travel through Cambodia, you can read here.
In general, it always saved us some Cents to pay in Riel instead of in US-Dollar. This can add up really fast when you constantly pay in Riel. Especially, bigger expenses, such as your accommodation. Anyway, some things, such as the entrance ticket to Angkor or the Visa Fee have to be paid in US-Dollar.
Don’t know what to pack for your trip to Cambodia?
Find my post about what to pack for your trip to Cambodia on a Budget here.
When traveling through Cambodia, you can reach your destination usually the easiest and fastest by bus. Not every route is covered by a bus though. But usually, you will find a mini van going.
When buying the tickets there is one main rule for getting the best deal: Compare prices!
Often the prices between the different agencies differ strongly. So, so you might wanna check in different offices. Don’t just buy the ticket in your accommodation. Often they get a high commission for their services.
For some routes you can even choose between different standards, in case you prefer traveling a little more comfortable, e.g. the night buses are usually way more expensive than the day ones.
Tuk Tuk and Taxi
The key here is: to bargain. If you agree with the first given price, you might most probably pay much more than the ride is worth.
Rule of thumb is not to pay more than $1/km for short routes.
For popular routes, you can even look up the prices on the internet (e.g. on this blog? 😉 ) or ask in your accommodation for prices to make sure you won’t get overcharged.
Even if you are not a pro in bargain (like me), there are some easy guide lines to follow.
Start with a price that is less than what you are willing to pay for the service/product.
Ideally, the driver agrees immediately. (If it is that easy though, usually there is something wrong with the price).
Most probably though, he will give you another price that is way higher than the one you just mentioned. And most probably, it is also higher than what he will actually expect you to pay.
So keep on going like that until you meet in the middle. Hopefully, at a rate that you are both happy with.
When it comes to food, there are two main ways to save a lot of money when traveling Cambodia. And the best is, there are pretty easy to follow.
Avoid tourist restaurants
Especially, in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh you will find a lot of restaurants that have prices that make you wonder whether you are really in Southeast Asia or still at home. If you find those prices you are most likely in a restaurant for tourist.
Step 1: Leave this place immediately!
Step 2: Walk a little bit. Maybe go around the corner or into another street which doesn’t look like it is just made for tourists and start to look again.
Step 3: Most probably you will find restaurants that charge only half the price of the tourist restaurants. And most probably, they also offer better quality. Because if the main visitors are locals, the restaurant actually depends on people to return. (unlike tourist restaurants)
Most restaurants have their menu card displayed outside of the restaurant. So you can check the prices before even entering.
If you want to save even more money on food, then street food is the keyword! It is not only cheap but most of the time also super delicious.
I know, many travelers try to avoid street food. And I’ve heard many “horror stories” before. But I have never felt bad after eating street food. And I have eaten a lot of it already.
It is actually pretty easy to find out which food is good. Just have a look at the street food stall and check whether many locals are eating here. If it is full of locals they probably have made good experiences with this street food in the past. Therefore, it is also safe for you to eat.
Just have a try. And next time probably you will want to have even more street food. 😉
Staying hydrated is important. Especially, when you walk around in the heat of Cambodia. Unfortunately, there are not many options when it comes to saving on water when traveling Cambodia. It actually is quite pricey if you compare with other prices, e.g. for food.
Some accommodations offer free or cheap options to refill your bottle with drinking water. This not only helps you to save some money but also it helps the environment, as there will be less plastic waste.
It can also help to buy big bottles (1,5 l) rather than small bottles (0,5 l) in order to save some Cents per bottle.
Or how about not spending money on water at all?
Yes, you have read correctly. You can actually travel through Thailand without spending money on drinking water. Of course, I don’t want you to die of thirst.
The trick? Tap water! But please don’t trink water directly from the tap! There is a way to make this tap water drinkable. It’s called Lifestraw! This super practical invention disinfects and filters the tap water in order to make it drinkable. This way, you can save a lot of money and do something good by not producing more plasting waste. Amazing, right?
Entries & Activities
Saving on entries and activities in Cambodia is not easy either, to be honest. Since the prices are usually fixed, it doesn’t make much sense trying to bargain. If you want to see something there is no other way than paying for it.
Often, the entrance fees are not really high though. The big exceptions are Angkor Wat, with an entrance fee of $37 for one day, the Royal Palace, such as the National Museum in Phnom Penh for $10 each. The only way to save money on that is to ask yourself whether these prices are worth the experience. You can also check blogs and TripAdvisor what other people say and how they rate the experience. We just did without these two attractions in Phnom Penh as we heard there are not quite worth the price.
Obviously, we didn’t want to miss Angkor Wat though, so we paid the entrance of $62 for three days. But if you compare it to our total expenses for entrances and activities of $91,11 you can tell that the rest of the month wasn’t that expensive.
If you have traveled through other countries in Southeast Asia you will realize that the accommodation in Cambodia is even cheaper than in the other countries. We usually didn’t pay more than $6 or 7 per night for a double room with fan.
In Battambang, we paid only $5 per night and we even had a private bathroom. That is just $2,5 Dollar per person. Crazy, right?
Thus, it is recommendable to share your room with someone else. Double rooms are often way cheaper than Single rooms or even dorm beds. Ideally, you are already traveling with two or more people. If not use forums and facebook groups to find other travelers which also want to save some Dollars.
Should you book in advance?
If you are traveling during the raining season there are usually always free rooms. You can look around and find the cheapest price on-site. Normally, you are also allowed to take a look at the room before you decide. This way, you can not only make a good deal but also already check location and quality of the room. Many accommodations have special offers for people that directly book a room on-site.
Moreover, there are still many accommodations in Cambodia that cannot be booked from the internet yet.
Want to book in advance?
If you wanna be sure to not have to spend the night on the street (Never happened to me but just to make sure) you can just book your room in advance. Usually, you can find the best deals on booking.com. The benefit of booking is that you have many different accommodation to choose from. So, you will find something suitable whatever your budget is.
Click here to reach booking.com.
(PS. I would highly appreciate if you could use this link to book your next accommodation. For you, the price will stay exactly the same, but booking.com will share their commission with me. This helps to cover the costs for this site. Thank you so much for your help! ♥)
The rest of our money we mostly spent on fresh coconuts and fruit juices.
We just couldn’t get enough of it. The fruits in Cambodia taste so much better than the ones I am used to from Central Europe. And also, it is just so cheap. Well, obviously it adds up anyway within 27 days.
Another big expense we made was the After-sun-lotion we had to buy after we returned from our Island hopping tour in Sihanoukville with a big sunburn. Sunscreen and After-sun-lotion are super expensive in Cambodia as the main customers are tourists. If possible, just bring enough of it from your country.
Alcoholic drinks can be really cheap in Cambodia. Especially, on the night market in Siem Reap or Phnom Penh you can buy cheap cocktails and long drinks. But also in other cities, such as Kampot, you can find cheap options like 2-for-1 or Happy hour offers. But please keep in mind that when you buy for low prices you will most probably not receive high-quality alcohol either.
If you want to have a beer with your food it usually is quite cheap in any restaurant or supermarket.
We had working wifi in all of our accommodations. That’s why we didn’t perceive it as necessary to buy a sim card for our time in Cambodia. And we didn’t actually miss it. Anyway, most people traveling around have bought sim cards. But to be honest, most people weren’t quite happy with it as it often didn’t work properly.
However, buying a sim card with mobile internet is pretty cheap in Cambodia. So whatever you decide to do won’t affect your budget strongly.
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