Tips to Travel Cambodia on the Cheap
How to Save Money and Keep Costs Down in Cambodia
Cambodia is already ridiculously cheap, and this is just one of the reasons why it’s such a great country to travel. The people are friendly and welcoming and there is a distinct lack of rules, which for me means more fun. But for now, here are a few cool ways to keep your costs down when travelling Cambodia.
If you’re doing the border from Thailand into Cambodia and want to avoid being scammed. Read this article.
How to Do Angkor Wat on the Cheap
Hire Bicycles. Bikes are $1 per day and Angkor Wat is relatively close to the centre of Siem Reap. If you were a regular cyclist it would be easy-peasy. But maybe a little tiring if you haven’t cycled much. I would recommend do not do this option if the weather is ridiculously hot or raining.
Bargain hard for your tuk tuk, but not too hard. And then share the tuk tuk with other hostel-goers you find in the common area. The night before we wanted to do the Angkor temples we walked the streets getting the best possible prices from all the drivers, telling the price of the last one to encourage the next to beat it. We were also getting a gage of their personalities, as we wanted an entertaining guide. We found one who was a great fit and cheap price and locked him in. The next day he didn’t turn up and we had to take a random guy. He did pass on a message to us that morning that he’d gotten a better price with some other tourists. Fair enough, that’s the game. We just got played well that time!
BYO lunch to the temples (but don’t let the ants in!). We got our tuk tuk driver to take us to a “good but cheap” place to buy some food to take into the park. You can eat your lunch at in the shade of your tuk tuk or at any of the restaurants if you buy a drink, and that’s what we did. It saved us paying the expensive temple prices and we still got a nice seat in the shade.
Buy the 3 day pass for the price of 2 days. One day really isn’t enough, two is good, but three is great. You may like to use the 3rd day for an extra sunrise or sunset if the other 2 days weren’t good, or use it to head to some of the farther away, more obscure temples.
Eat Cheap in Cambodia
Don’t eat western food! It’s far too expensive, and the local food is absolutely DELICIOUS anyway!!!
When eating at local places don’t buy a drink. Drink the delicious tea they give you with ice for free!
Eat at the pork bread roll street food stalls. It shouldn’t cost you more than 2000 kip ($50c) and it’s uber-tasty
$1 soup stalls are your friend. These limey, chickeney bowels of goodness are just too good.
Lok Lak – marinated strips of beef with rice and cucumber – was my absolute favourite Cambodian dish. You could get it as cheap as $3 in local restaurants around Cambodia.
Accommodation de Budget
Look around for the cheaper locally run places. They aren’t going to have the backpacker vibe, but they have a local vibe, and they are always cheaper.
Negotiate for a cheaper price for a long-term stay. It doesn’t really matter how long (it could be a week) they will sometimes be happy to give a discount if you ask.
Head to a meditation and yoga retreat for a detox at all-inclusive prices. A lot of people will head to a yoga and meditation retreat at some point in their trip in Cambodia for a number of reasons; they are cheap at around $23 USD per day (especially since they are all-inclusive), travellers may need a detox after all the heavy drinking in Cambodia, or because other places on the trail such as Vietnam are less likely to have them.
For accommodation and activities suggestions check out my Budget Guide.
Transport so Low
Sometimes taxis are cheaper than buses if you have two or more people. For example, from the Thailand border to Siem Reap it was only $8 USD for a taxi each or it was going to be a $5 bus that we would need to wait three hours for. If you can rustle up a full taxi, it’s almost always cheaper than the tourist buses.
Haggle for all tuk tuks. If you have no idea about what the price should be, ask how many kilometres away it is, and pay no more than 50c per kilometre. Another good trick is the pay a third of the asking price.
NOTE: Be wary of the vans though as they go FAST on very narrow roads and it’s terrifying!
How much did I spend?
Lets do the math! I was in Cambodia for three months in total. I spent one week and a yoga retreat, a month working in Siem Reap and the rest of the time I travelled around. I purposefully picked an expensive day to itemise, just to show that even the expensive days in Cambodia are still quite cheap!
Daily Cost of Cambodia Budget Breakdown:
|PLACE||Daily Average in USD|
|TOTAL Daily Average||$24.74|
|Kampot & Kep||$33.83|
Example of Itemised Expenses (One Day Sightseeing in Siem Reap):
|Expense||Cost in USD|
|TOTAL Daily Expenses||$28.40|
|Angkor Temples 3 Day pass ($40 ÷ 3)||$13.30|
|2 Day Tuk Tuk Tour with three people (28 ÷ 2 ÷ 3)||$4.60|
|Buffet Breakfast at Hostel||$2|
|Takeaway street food lunch (we brought this into the park from Siem Reap and left in the tuk tuk until lunch)||$2|
|Drink at Angkor Restaurant. Young coconut.||$1|
|Margaritas and Tacos at Viva Mexican||$2.50|
|Coconut Curry Dinner at Karos||$3|
Currency: 2 Currencies – USD and Cambodian Riel (KHR, ៛)
$1 USD = ៛4, 000
I was here: September & December 2013