Budget Travel

How to visit Cambodia on a budget: some tips to stretch your hard earned money further

Like a lot of mainland Southeast Asia, Cambodia can be quite value in contrast to destinations in Europe or North America.

Accommodation is fantastic value in hostels, homestays, or guesthouses. Eating at restaurants can be a little more expensive than neighboring Thailand and Vietnam, however this is offset by bargain booze, including US$0.50 beers in many backpacker bars, affordable wine, and very cheap spirits and cocktails.

Transportation is affordable and comfortable, regardless if you are taking long-distance buses, short hops in tuk-tuks or even the occasional domestic flight to save some time. These top tips can make your budget stretch even further.

Arrange an e-visa ahead of time if traveling overland into Cambodia

Immigration officials are notorious for overcharging for visas at the Cambodian land borders, particularly those distributed to Thailand and Laos. Expect the Thai Baht exchange rate to be calculated heavily within their favor. Look after your visa before you arrive to save yourself hassle and time.

Check out regional budget airlines flying into Cambodia

There are actually plenty of regional budget airlines operating out of Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Singapore. Check out fares with airlines like Air Asia and Vietjet Air for heavily discounted fares in contrast to the national flag carriers.

Visit Cambodia in the low season to save money on rooms

Cambodia includes a short high season along with a long low season. Think about a visit within the April to October period to save money on accommodations, particularly on the southern islands, where long-stay low-season discounts can be found.

Buy a local SIM card to reduce roaming charges

Roaming charges in Cambodia are extremely expensive, so plan to get a nearby Sim on arrival in the country. There are numerous competing mobile networks and all offer inexpensive data bundles for visitors.

Experience a homestay having a local family in rural Cambodia

Some of the cheapest accommodations found any place in Cambodia is the homestay knowledge about a local family. Costs are typically US$4 every night with freshly home-cooked meals readily available for US$3 -4. Popular destinations for homestays include Chi Phat and Stung Areng within the Cardamom Mountains, Koh Trong near Kratie, Chambok near Kirirom National Park, and villages around Siem Reap.

The long-distance bus is the cheapest way to get around Cambodia

Overnight sleeper buses are generally pretty comfortable in Cambodia and will save the price of a night's accommodation when you are traveling longer distances such as Siem Reap to Sihanoukville. Express minivans are a fast and comfortable method to travel between provincial capitals.

Download a ride-hailing app

If you hail a tuk tuk or taxi on the street, the chances are you will need to negotiate to get a reasonable fare but still might find yourself paying over the odds. Download one of the numerous ride-hailing apps in Cambodia, like Grab or PassApp, to get rid of haggling over fares and also to avoid the need to pay cash late at night.

Sample the food stalls in local markets to save money on meals

Eating out in Cambodia is a little more costly than neighboring countries like Thailand or Vietnam, however it doesn't have to be if you try some street surfing at local markets and food stalls. Take a look at in which the locals are gathered to ensure the food is fresh and tasty.

Visit the Temples of Angkor in 2022 for any special offer

Angkor Enterprise launched a number of special offers on tickets to the Temples of Angkor during COVID-19 and these are continuing until the end of 2022. Buy a 1-day pass, get 2 days. Buy a 3-day pass, get 5 days. Purchase a 7-day pass, get Ten days. Observe that 3-day and 7-day passes do not have to be utilized on consecutive days, but could be used over 10 days and Thirty days respectively.

Look out for happy hours and promotions in Phnom Penh

Alcoholic drinks are usually very cheap in Cambodia, including wine and spirits. However, Phnom Penh has numerous more sophisticated establishments than the remaining country, so watch open for happy hours, usually around 5pm to 7pm daily.

See the incredible variety of Cambodia's wildlife in one location close to the capital

Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre is most surely not a zoo, but a place of refuge for wildlife confiscated from poachers and traffickers. See tigers, elephants, and much more rare mammals at this excellent facility about 45km (28 miles) from Phnom Penh. Entry is simply US$5. It is even easy to subscribe to some premium behind-the-scenes tours such as "Bearkeeper for a day" in exchange for a set donation.

Take a tour of 1 of Kampot's most famous pepper plantations

Kampot is known for its aromatic pepper which now boasts a UN "Geographic Indicator" like Champagne. Visit La Plantation Pepper Farm with an impressive free tour that includes an introduction to all of the pepper varieties grown in the area along with a spicy tasting session. There is a restaurant on-site with a delicious pepper-themed menu.

Do as the locals do and purchase a krama – a checked traditional scarf – for the travels

Use pools at boutique hotels in primary destinations

If you are staying in budget digs, the chances are you will not have access to a pool unless it's one of a number of super hostels in places like Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Check out the deals at boutique hotels round the country that usually let outside guests swim free of charge as long as they possess a minimum spend of US$5 to US$10 on food and drink.

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

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