Ancient temples and white-sand beaches. Tortuous history and welcoming people. Delicious food and cheap beer. Cambodia is a country full of fascination and beauty. As one of the major stops for most people travelling to Southeast Asia, primarily to visit the ruins of Angkor Wat, tourism numbers are booming. For backpackers it also offers a cheap place to hang out and more than a few activities to keep you busy for months. Your budget for Cambodia doesn’t have to be massive. We ended up spending only $27 per person, per day during our whole time there.
Of course as a couple, things can be cheaper by sharing a private room instead of paying for two dorm beds. We also like to have a few beers every day, so our budget for Cambodia could have easily been cheaper.
If you are thinking about heading off on a backpacking trip around Cambodia, but want to know how much money to save, then enjoy our daily breakdown of our budget for Cambodia.
All amounts are in Australian dollars unless otherwise stated. At the time 1 AUD = 0.90 USD approximately.
- We travelled to Cambodia in 2014. Prices may change in the future.
- We had our motorbikes when in Cambodia. We only took a bus once and a ferry once. Please be aware that your transport budget pay be higher or lower depending on how you travel. Our transport amount was for petrol and repairs on both motorbikes.
Stats For Our Budget For Cambodia
- Amount of days in the country: 59
- Number of people: 2
- Total cost: $3296
First 30 days: $1467
Second 29 days: $1829
Tourist visa – US$20
Business visa – US$25 + $5 for passport photo (we ran out when we got ours)
- Average per day: $56 ($28 per person)
Breakdown Of How We Spent Our Money
- Accommodation – $703 (average $12 a night or $56 each)
- Food – $1195
- Drinks – $203
- Alcohol – $301
- Transport – $450
- Attractions – $338
- Misc – $106
- TOTAL = $3296
Budget For Our First Month In Cambodia
We laid pretty low during our first month in Cambodia, as Jazza was heading to Europe for the World Nomads Travel Writing Scholarship. We spent a lot of time in Kampot, with a couple of days in Kep. Then we headed to Sihanoukville (Otres Beach) and then chilled out on Koh Rong for a while. As a result we weren’t moving around too much and could keep our costs down.
- Accommodation – $307
- Food – $620
- Drinks – $78
- Alcohol – $177
- Transport – $157
- Attractions – $78
- Misc – $50
- TOTAL = $1467
Budget For Our Second Month In Cambodia
We moved around a lot more in the second month, taking our motorbikes all over the country and visiting some of the best attractions around. From Phnom Penh we returned to Kampot to pick up our motorbikes, then cruised towards Battambang with a stop in Kampong Chhnang. Siem Reap was next, and the famous temples of Angkor. We stayed longer than expected at the Mad Monkey Hostel, simply because it was so damn awesome. Then the road beckoned and we smashed through to Kampong Thom, Kampong Cham, Snoul and finished in Sen Monorom. Afterwards we crossed the border back into Vietnam.
- Accommodation – $396
- Food – $575
- Drinks – $125
- Alcohol – $124
- Transport – $293
- Attractions – $260
- Misc – $56
- TOTAL = $1829
Finding Cheap Accommodation In Cambodia
If you are travelling as a single person, then the cheapest options will either be staying at a hostel in a major town, or trying to find a very basic room in a locally-run guest house. As a rule of thumb, expect to pay between USD $5-$10 for a dorm bed. You can find cheaper, but they might not be safe or secure.
We never booked anything ahead of time, but we also had the luxury of being able to ride around on our motorbikes to find something. If you are catching buses around, have a list of places in mind and go check them out in person. You can usually get a better price than using an online booking agent, and you get the added bonus of physically seeing the rooms before you commit.
We highly recommend staying with the Mad Monkey Hostels, in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Kampot and soon to be Koh Rong Samloem. These guys run one of the best hostels in all of Southeast Asia (and in fact some of the best ones we have EVER stayed in), and they are big advocates for responsible travel. It is also very social, and the perfect place to meet other travellers. Do yourself a favour and check in when travelling around Cambodia.
Catching Transport In Cambodia
As we mentioned, we rode our motorcycles all around Cambodia. Personally, we think this was the best way to explore the country. You can pick up a motorbike in Phnom Penh or Siem Reap quite easily. If you are interested in this, read our guide to buying a motorbike in Southeast Asia.
If you prefer to catch public transport, Cambodia has a decent tourist bus network connecting all the major destinations. We only ever caught one bus from Kampot to Phnom Penh, but it was clean, safe and even had wifi. The bus company was Giant Ibis, the cost was US$9, and we have heard great things about them over the rest of the country.
Tuk-tuks are available everywhere as well. Be sure to negotiate a price before jumping in.
The Average Cost Of Food In Cambodia
We never really splurged out on anything (except for the Dining In The Dark experience in Phnom Penh – A must do in our opinion), but we also didn’t only eat the cheapest street food. This is a pretty normal food budget for Cambodia for backpackers.
Note – All these prices are in USD, as that currency is still king in Cambodia.
- Local meal (curries, fried rice, etc) – $1-$5
- Western meal – $4- $7
- Burger – $4 – $5
- Pizza – $4 – $6
- Pasta – $4 – $6
- Sandwich – $3 – $5
- Seafood – $3 – $15
There is a a variety of local dishes and prices are much better for your budget. Try the amok curry. It is a local dish that the was made up especially for foreigners, just like the Pad Thai in Thailand. But it is delicious!
The Average Cost Of Drinks In Cambodia
If you’re a young backpacker, you are probably going to be living on happy hour beers and bottled water. Places like Pub Street in Siem Reap and in Sihanoukville have amazing drink specials that will get you well and truly tanked for almost nothing. If that isn’t really your scene then luckily all the other drinks in Cambodia are pretty cheap too.
Note – Again, prices are in USD here.
- Coffee – $1 – $2
- Bottled water – $1
- Sugar cane juice – $0.25
- Beer – $0.50 – $1
- Glass of wine – $2
- Fruit shake – $1 – $1.50
- Fresh coconut – $0.50 – $2
Cost Of Attractions In Cambodia
Naturally most people think of Angkor Wat when they think of Cambodia. Of course there is good reason for this – The temples are incredible! However there are a lot of other very worthwhile attractions in Cambodia, and most of them are pretty cheap.
You can make your own tour in Phnom Penh by hiring a tuk-tuk driver and heading out for the day. Negotiate a price and don’t pay the full amount until the end of the day.
- Tuk-tuk – $15-$20 (one payment)
- S- 21 Museum – $3 per person
- Killing Fields – $6 per person
- Grand Palace – $6.50 per person
- Dining in the Dark – 3 course meal, $15-$20 per person
The amazing island of Koh Rong was one of our true highlights in Cambodia. It does cop a lot of criticism for being a party island, and in a way this is true. Still it is beautiful and it easy to avoid the crazy night life if you want to. Make sure you set aside a couple of days to chill out here.
- Ferry to Koh Rong -$18 per person from Otres Beach (Included taxi into town)
- Snorkelling/ Fishing Tour – $15 per person
Battambang often gets skipped by travellers who would prefer to go straight from Sihanoukville to Siem Reap. If you have the time, there are plenty of attractions to keep you occupied for a few days. Read our full article on Battambang before you head there.
- Tuk Tuk/Tour Guide – $25 (one payment)
- Bamboo Train – $5 per person, minimum $10 total
- Multiple entrance pass – $3 per person
- Phare Circus – $10 per person
Ah yes, Siem Reap. The one place that no one misses on their trip to Cambodia. While you absolutely must check out the temples of Angkor, don’t miss some of the other things around the city.
- Angkor Temples – 3 Day pass: $40 per person
- Phare Circus – $15 per person
- Phnom Kulen Mountain – $20 per person
Average hire for a scooter was around $5 a day. Do be aware that the price can be higher in very touristy areas. There is only one company in Siem Reap that hires scooters for the day at $16, so it is usually better value to get a tuk tuk. Another thing to keep in mind for Cambodia is that the police are very corrupt. If they see a foreigner driving a scooter or motorbike, they are very likely to pull you over and ‘fine’ you. If this happens, just give them $1, act like you have nothing else, and then head off. Always be polite and smile. Never get upset or yell, as this won’t help the situation. Read our tips for renting a scooter or motorbike in Southeast Asia.
To hire a bike, it is about a $1 for the day. We know in Siem Reap some would hire bikes out for $2 a day. The best thing to do is just ask around at hostels.