Are you planning a trip to Cambodia, but you’re not sure how much to save for a realistic travel budget?
Look no further!
Glenn and I spent 3 wonderful weeks traveling through Cambodia while documenting the full cost of our trip. And even though it may sound a bit neurotic that I brought a pen and paper to a bar, so I could write down the money we spent on beers, it means that I can share our exact full and daily travel budget from Cambodia with you!
In this blog post I’m going to share our full travel route for 3 weeks in Cambodia, how much money we spent on food, accommodation, transportation, and more, plus I’ll share the final travel budget (both the daily and full 3-weeks budget).
In the end, I’m also going to give you a few tips on how you can save money and travel in Cambodia on a budget. So, you’re hopefully 100% ready to start planning your own trip budget once you’re done reading ours.
Cambodia is such an incredible place in Southeast Asia, it’s what I call a “diamond in the rough.” The country is still very underdeveloped, but it has a lot of potential and an enormous beauty! So I’m psyched that you’re here, reading about how much it cost to travel in Cambodia, while you’re hopefully planning your own budget and trip. Now let’s get started!
Our travel route in Cambodia
Before continuing with our travel budget in Cambodia, I would like to show you our route. Because your travel budget and cost will depend on the route you take in Cambodia. The islands in Cambodia are for example much more expensive than the inland destinations.
This is our route and the number of nights we spend in each place.
Phnom Penh (3) – Kampot (4) – Kep (3) – Koh Rong Samloem (6) – Siem Reap (5)
In just 3 weeks, Glenn and I travelled to 5 destinations within Cambodia, and we believe that each one of these places have something special to offer.
We spent 3 days in the capital of Cambodia. In my honest opinion, I wasn’t super fond of the city but I still think it was an important stop on our trip.
We went to the S21 museum and learned about the dark past with Khmer Rouge and the horrible mass genocide of Cambodia. I will recommend everyone to spend at least a day in the capital to learn about the history in order to really understand the country’s present state.
We took a cramped minivan from Phnom Penh to Kampot, and spent 4 days exploring abandoned buildings in Bokor National Park, riding around Kampot on a scooter, and enjoyed some funny drunk nights in our hostel.
Kampot is also known for their pepper farms, we never got to go but we hear that it’s worth it. However, we did taste the Kampot pepper and it’s delicious!
Related post: Exploring the Hill Station in Bokor National Park
We went to Kep after Kampot and spent 3 nights in this quiet beach town. Kep is known for having the best fresh crabs in cambodia! So naturally we had to share a delicious crab curry, and we can confirm that Kep lives up to it’s crab reputation.
However, you can do more than eating crabs in Kep. You can for example go for a good hike into Kep National Park and find some stunning viewpoints along the way!
Koh Rong Samloem
We spent 6 nights in Koh Rong Samloem, Cambodia’s little paradise, as I like to call it.
The island has poor wifi, No ATMS and stunning beaches! I cannot recommend this place enough if you want to go offline and enjoy raw island life for a couple of days.
However, the islands are more expensive than inland Cambodia. So prepare your travel budget to go up if you want to go to paradise in Cambodia.
Related post: Things to do in Koh Rong Samloem
The MUST visit destination in Cambodia – better save room for this one in your travel budget!
You cannot go to Cambodia without visiting Angkor Wat – it’s the world’s largest temple complex for Pete’s sake! The place is so big that you could easily spend a full week exploring temples.
While Siem Reap is not my favorite place in Cambodia, it’s still a MUST because you just have to experience Angkor Wat at least once in your lifetime.
Related post: Small circuit Tour of Angkor Wat
We also found that Siem Reap also has a great nightlife, maybe too great since Glenn got spiked… You can read the story in the blog post below.
Related post: Our funny and unlucky travel stories
Full trip cost explained – Cambodia travel budget stats
During our trip in Cambodia, I tracked our travel budget categories by USD even though the official currency in Cambodia is KHR, Riel. It might sound a bit confusing but in Cambodia it’s normal to use USD instead of KHR. You can also use both at the same time. This is the conversion rate: 1 USD = 4000 KHR.
While I always like to know how much money we spend during our travels, I find it more exciting to know exactly what we spent our money on.
Therefore, I always divide our travel budget into 5 specific categories of living costs, and same goes for our trip in Cambodia. This is our spending categories:
- Accommodation = 254,5 USD
- Food & Drinks = 735,94 USD
- Activities = 90 USD
- Transport = 220,5 USD
- Other Stuff = 144,8 USD
1) Accommodation refers to the places we stay during our travels such as hotels, hostels, guesthouses, etc. 2) Food and drinks is everything from snacks, supermarket groceries, restaurant visits, and alcohol. 3) Activities covers things such as the entrance fee to the S21 museum or the Angkor Wat entry pass. 4) Transport refers to the minivans, tuk-tuks and boat rides we took in Cambodia. However, flights are excluded here. 5) Other stuff is our miscellaneous category. Everything from toothpaste to visa fees to a new computer mouse (Glenn’s mouse broke down in Kampot).
I made this diagram over our cost of living in Cambodia, so you can get an idea of what we spent money on, and what you should budget for.
Food & Drinks
If you have read any of our other travel budgets, you will know that we always spent most on food and drinks. A total of 51% of our total travel budget from Cambodia went to the food and drinks category.
In my opinion, the food in Cambodia was often more expensive than in Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia, and it doesn’t have a better kitchen to make up for it.
The drinks on the other hand were super cheap. You could often find Happy Hour beer to the price of $0,5-0,75 which is much cheaper than countries such as Thailand and Malaysia.
Our second biggest spending category in Cambodia was accommodation. Hotels and hostels are fairly cheap in Cambodia, so don’t expect to spend big amounts of money in this category if you plan to travel on a budget.
The cheapest place we stayed at was in a dormitory in Phnom Penh for 7 USD/night for 2 people. Although, what an awful place! There was so many mosquitoes, smells, and a lot of jizz in the showers… UGH! So sometimes it’s better to spend a little extra and get some proper sleep.
The most expensive place we stayed at was in Siem Reap. We stayed in a big Double room in a hostel with a bar and a pool for as little as 17 USD/night for 2 people. SO luxurious compared to the horrible experience in Siem Reap.
Transport is our third largest spending category in Cambodia, and I can honestly say that transportation in Cambodia is sh**. Like, it’s really bad to travel from A to B in Cambodia.
The country simply doesn’t have the infrastructure for a good public transportation system, yet. There are no big highways in the country, and sometimes the “highway” is just a one-lane dirt road.
Going anywhere always takes double the amount of time that Google Maps tells you. There also aren’t really any bus companies, if you want to travel somewhere in Cambodia on a budget, you will most likely have to sit in a cramped, hot minivan for hours.
I also found that transportation in Cambodia is more expensive than its neighboring countries.
We never spend a lot of money on activities. In fact, we only spend money on the S21 museum and the Angkor Wat entrance fee.
We actually went to a few national parks in Cambodia, but they were all free, or maybe we were just lucky there was no guard the day we visited?? – you never really know in Cambodia.
We didn’t spend a lot of money on Other Stuff in Cambodia, except for the visa which was $30 USD/person.
Summary of our Cambodia travel budget (2 people)
TOTAL = (254,5 + 735,94 + 90 + 220,5 + 144,8) = 1445,74 USD
DAILY = (1445,74/21 days) = 68,85 USD
This is how much our travel cost came to as a couple traveling for a 3-week trip in Cambodia on a tight budget. If you want to know how much it will cost to travel solo in Cambodia, then break our daily budget in half, and you’ll get an estimated amount that you can work with for your own trip.
With this this travel budget we managed to visit 5 destinations in Cambodia. We learned about the past of Cambodia in Phnom Penh, explored an abandoned national park in Kampot, ate the best crab in Kep, enjoyed the white sand beaches and turquoise water in Koh Rong Samloem, and saw the biggest temple complex in the world in Siem Reap. Not a bad itinerary for that price!
Traveling in Cambodia is fairly cheap, and it’s super easy to do on a budget. Our biggest expense was definitely the food… which would be my main advice for you to budget extra for, unless you’re planning to eat $1 pancakes every day.
Money saving tips to travel Cambodia on a budget
Before wrapping up this blog post, I want to share some ways to save money in Cambodia, so that your travel budget has more room for fun.
- Eat Street Food: The street food culture in Cambodia isn’t as big as in Thailand and Vietnam, however, you can still find street food vendors in all cities. For $1 you can often get a full meal from a little cart. A little warning: I found that the hygiene isn’t as good as in Thailand, so please, make sure you don’t eat raw vegetables and meats. Ask for something grilled or fried.
- Happy Hour Beers: As I said, beer is often very cheap in Cambodia. However, this doesn’t count for all restaurants and bars, so go have a look around before you settle for a place. Why drink $1 beer next to a bar where the price is $0,5? Wow I really sound like a cheapskate, but everything counts when you’re on a tight budget.
- Stay Longer in Places: Since the transportation costs can be a bit steep, you should aim to stay at least 3-4 days in one place. Also, getting from A to B sometimes takes a full day, and who wants to spend their whole trip in a minivan?
- Learn the currencies: Learn to calculate in both USD and KHR so you will not get ripped off. Tourists are often confused about the money in Cambodia, and it makes you an easy target for scamming. Like I said 1 USD = 4000 KHR. It’s not unlikely that someone gives you money back in both USD and KHR at the same time.
- DIY Tours: I didn’t see many tour companies in Cambodia, but I did see a few, and I learned that every activity is often doable without paying a third-party to take you around. Like our scooter trip to Bokor National Park or our day exploring Angkor Wat. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t book a tour. If you find the right one to the right price, then go ahead!
This is my advice on how to lower the cost and travel Cambodia on a budget. However, please remember to support the locals and not be too much of a cheapskate. Cambodia is one of Southeast Asia’s poorest countries and a lot of family dinners depend on travelers like you and me who support their local businesses.
I hope my travel cost and budget from Cambodia helped you get an idea of how much you have to save up for your next Cambodia trip. Thanks for reading!
Check out my other travel budgets from Southeast Asia: