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RTW Budget for Cambodia

How much do you need to budget for Cambodia? Coming at the tail end of my Southeast Asia itinerary, I personally took things fairly easy in Cambodia. Southeast Asia is well known as a budget travel destination, and while my time in Thailand, Laos and Vietnam proved affordable, in Cambodia, my focus was on Angkor Wat – a major attraction for which I knew I’d want a tour guide, driving my overall costs up. Cambodia was also a more challenging place for me to visit as a solo female traveler. Not wanting to stray too far from my hostel at night, I knew I might need a slightly larger food budget to account for dinners at more tourist-oriented restaurants. So how much does it cost to spend a week in Cambodia? Below are my complete costs from backpacking in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.

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Transportation: $40

bus to Phnom Penh $19
bus to Siem Reap $16
tuk tuk to Siem Reap airport $5

Long distance buses aren’t always the most comfortable, but a good travel pillow can go a long way. I prefer to use this inflatable one so it doesn’t take up much room when packed away.

Accommodations: $27.75

3 nights in 6-bed dorm at 19 Happy House Backpacker $15.75
4 nights in 6-bed dorm at Blue Lizard Backpacker Hostel $12
(Note: Blue Lizard has apparently closed since my stay.)

My dining budget for Cambodia had to be a little higher than normal, so I didn’t have to walk a long way from my hostel alone at night.

Dining: $91.45

1 lunch at Cambodian border crossing $2.85
1 lunch at Foreign Correspondent’s Club $10
1 lunch at La Croisette $10
1 dinner at Yike $6
1 dinner at Pepper Tree $3.50
1 dinner at Chiang Mai Riverside $6
1 breakfast at Blue Pumpkin $2.85
1 lunch at Missing Socks Cafe $4
1 lunch at Fifty5 $11.25
1 dinner at Cambodian Soup $6
1 dinner at D-Town Barbecue $5
1 dinner at Red Tomato $9
1 dinner at airport $7
2 snacks at a stall on Pub Street $3.50
2 snacks at Blue Pumpkin $4.50

Entertainment: $86

Angkor Wat tour with Urban Adventures $86

Miscellaneous: $79.03

Cambodia visa $35
restock toiletries at Smile Mart $17.53
laundry at Missing Socks Cafe $5
tips for guide and driver on tour $11.50
gifts/souvenirs at Art Center Night Market $10

I like to budget for a machine wash once in a while, but it’s cheaper to do most of your laundry at your accommodations if possible. All you need are these laundry soap sheets, a universal sink stopper, and something to use for a clothesline. I use a long thing of paracord since it’s multi-purpose. A bright color makes it easy to find in my bag.

Total Budget for Cambodia: $324.23
Average Spent Per Day: $40.52

Temple of Bayon - Budget for Cambodia
My daily budget for Cambodia was higher than other countries, so I could visit the temples of Angkor Wat and Bayon, pictured here.

How I Saved

  • Grinning and bearing iffy accommodations
    My hostel in Phnom Penh was one of the worst I’ve stayed at. At check-in, the staff demanded to keep my passport for the duration of my stay, which I’ve found is often a red flag. (In some countries, keeping a guest’s actual passport isn’t even legal.) It wasn’t clean. It took days of pressure to even get a fan in the room, let alone get the broken AC repaired. I strongly considered leaving and finding somewhere else to stay, and had my time in Phnom Penh been longer, I’m sure I would have done just that. As is, dealing with a substandard hostel allowed me to pinch a few pennies.
    When I do occasionally wind up someplace with questionable cleanliness, I’m so glad I have my own pillowcase and a silk sleep sheet to put over the hostel linens. This Cocoon sleep sheet is totally worth the investment.
  • Keeping a tight footprint
    Though it meant spending more on meals as I was in pretty touristy areas, in both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap I stuck close by my hostels. I quite purposefully booked hostels that were cheap, but also not too far from the bus station (a 10 to 15 minute walk tops), and near areas with restaurants. Being able to get around quickly on foot meant not worrying so much about being out alone after dark and no haggling over tuk tuks. I’m admittedly not a very skilled haggler, so having to use tuk tuks could have blown a huge hole in my budget for Cambodia.
  • Indulging my burnout
    My time in Cambodia came at the tail end of two months hopping around Southeast Asia. I’ll admit I was feeling pretty done with travel. When I feel travel burnout, I don’t force myself through sightseeing only to leave a destination with a bad taste in my mouth. By taking it easy and just being in my destinations throughout the week, I ensured I could enjoy myself at Angkor Wat, and kept myself from spending money on attractions I would not have been in the right mindset to appreciate anyway.

Over the course of the week, my budget for Cambodia proved to be the most expensive of the four countries I visited in mainland Southeast Asia on an average amount spent per day basis. This was mainly because I spent less time in Cambodia than in other countries, so the high cost of my tour to Angkor Wat wasn’t spread out over a longer period. In sum total, spending only a week in Cambodia was less expensive than my two and three week stints in Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos.

How would you save on a trip to Cambodia? Tell me in the comments!

Want to check out budgets for other inexpensive week-long destinations? See what I spent in India.

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10 Comments

  1. I still think you did great with the budget. You saved so much on accommodations that I think that balances out the touring in my mind.

    1. Cambodia definitely had some of the least expensive accommodations of anywhere on my RTW trip. Though I do wish I had spent just a touch more in Phnom Penh.

  2. One night in a dodgy place maybe but that sounded horrible for your whole visit. I’m just not as flexible and more willing to push the budget to have a bit more comfort.

    1. The hostel in Phnom Penh was just for a few days. The place I stayed in Siem Reap was much more enjoyable, so having a tight budget didn’t ruin my trip! Some of that was just bad luck as well. I always travel on a shoestring and rarely have a bad time with my hostel — this place in Phnom Penh was a bit of an outlier. But everyone has their own comfort zone for sure, and it’s really important to know where your priorities lie when you’re setting a budget for travel!

  3. Hey Danielle, thank you for you details and information, travel in Cambodia can be cheap and you really didn’t spent so much money. Great post.

    1. Thanks Tadej – it was more in comparison to some other places I’ve visited that I spent a little bit more in Cambodia. But it was totally worth it to have my wonderful guide Kim show me around the Temples of Angkor!

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