Backpacking Cambodia: How Much Does It Cost? [On A Budget]

 

Cambodia, the third country on our journey around the world and also a beloved destination for budget travelers and backpackers. For our journey through SE Asia we set a daily budget of €40 or $50. In Laos we had no problem sticking to that budget so we thought Cambodia would be the same but before we even crossed the border we were shocked.

Sunset in Kampot, Cambodia.  Photography by    Joris Hermans.

Sunset in Kampot, Cambodia. Photography by Joris Hermans.

We wanted to go to Angkor but found out that the entry fee is A LOT OF DOLLARS these days. Wow, we thought Cambodia would be cheap. Even though we really wanted to see Angkor we decided not to. We wouldn't be able to enjoy it for such a hefty fee so we decided to change our itinerary and we didn't regret it because we had a great time in Cambodia.

Related read • 48 Hours in Cambodia's Friendly Capital: Phnom Penh

The cost of traveling Cambodia on a budget

The most significant thing we noticed was that the price for accommodation in Cambodia was lower than for example Thailand or Laos but for the same level of comfort. We kept our daily average for a night in a room below €10 for the first time. So, Angkor might be pricey but traveling on a budget in Cambodia is still easy. Cheap food and renting a motorbike to avoid tours and expensive transportation also kept our daily average down.

Dolphin spotting on the Mekong River. One of our favorite experiences in Cambodia...

Dolphin spotting on the Mekong River. One of our favorite experiences in Cambodia...

These are the total amounts for two people for each category. We didn't stay long in Cambodia to avoid rainy season further on in our itinerary. Here's a breakdown of the costs for 11 days in Cambodia in 2018.

Accommodation

Total: €98 or $113
Average: €9 or $10.5 / night

One of our rooms in Cambodia.

One of our rooms in Cambodia.

We really had some nice places in Cambodia. From a guesthouse with pool table and awesome restaurant in Kratie to staying in probably the best location in Phnom Penh. Every room had a private bathroom. We found that the value for money Cambodia was really good and it makes traveling on a budget in Cambodia easy.

Food

Total: €124 or $143
Daily Average: €11 or $13

While the food is not as awesome as Thai food there are still some great dishes to try and it's not expensive. Stick to local restaurants or street stalls and have a cup of instant noodles once in while (or more). Like Laos, Cambodia also has some good cheap beers to try but don't exaggerate; one beer turns into five fast and then it gets expensive and will definitely kill you budget.

Fried chicken is everywhere!

Fried chicken is everywhere!

Transportation

Total: €82 or $95
Buses are around $7 for one ticket and tuk tuks range from $2 to $6.

Like Laos, traveling on a budget in Cambodia means a lot of buses or minivans. Roads used to be bad in Cambodia but these days it's a lot better and no need to worry. All the bus rides we had were pretty comfortable although one minivan broke down 5 miles from our destination. But well, shit happens and in a way it was a fun experience as we got pushed down hill for the last few miles...

Activities

Total: €56 or $65

There's a lot of cool stuff to do in Cambodia as there is lots to learn about the history. Spotting Irrawaddy Dolphins on the Mekong was one of our favorite activities. Hiring a guide and boat for the two of us costed $20 for an hour and we had a great time on the river watching the dolphins and sunset.

Another must do is visiting The Killing fields and Tuol Sleng or S21 Museum to learn about the history and genocide that took place in the seventies. Make sure to get the audio guides as they really add value and they're really well made. 

View from one of the buildings of the S21 prison in Phnom Penh.

View from one of the buildings of the S21 prison in Phnom Penh.

From The Killing Fields to the Tuol Sleng Museum is a 30 min tuk tuk ride so start early. The easiest way is to hire a driver for have a day and let him take you to both. We hired one for $20.

Entrance fees are $5 and another $3 for the audio guide but totally worth it!

Other important costs

VISA: Officially $30 but corruption says $35. Up to you to try and go for 30. We watched one couple stand ground and it worked!

The total cost of backpacking in Cambodia as a couple

If to all this you add some random things like laundry, toothpaste or some batteries then the grand total and daily average for backpacking in Cambodia for two people traveling on a budget is...

Grand Total: €450 for 11 days
Daily Average for Cambodia: €41 or 47$