Continuing with the series of travel costs in Southeast Asia, today I’m breaking down what we spent our money on in Cambodia.
After spending three weeks traveling through Vietnam, we headed over to Phnom Penh, Cambodia by bus. Immigration was easy, but it was our first time experiencing the “stamping fee” which would make an appearance again in Laos. We stayed in Phnom Penh for 3 nights in an air-conditioned private room. We went to the National Museum, shopped at some of the markets, and learned about Cambodia’s dark past at the S-21 Prison and the Killing Fields. We then took a day bus down to the beach town of Sihanoukville and stayed in a fan-cooled room for 3 nights. We checked out Serendipity, Occheuteal and Otres (the best!) Beaches and enjoyed the most delicious beachside seafood dinners for a measly $5 a pop.
We wanted to check out one of the nearby islands, so we hopped on a boat and heading out to Koh Ru. We stayed for 3 nights in a very rustic beach hut with shared bathrooms, and came the closest to finding paradise on our secluded little island. We spent one more night in Sihanoukville before catching one of our worst bus ride experiences to Kampot.
Thankfully, Kampot was absolutely charming and we stayed for 4 nights along the west bank of the Teuk Chhou River in modest little rooms and huts. We had a fantastic time relaxing by the river, learning to paddle board, jumping off bridges, trying Pastis for the first time, and renting a motorbike to check out the pepper plantations and the nearby town of Kep. We would have stayed longer if it wasn’t for a certain ancient ruin calling our names.
We decided to split the travel time up to Siem Reap by stopping over in Phnom Penh for one more night. The following day we made the long trek up to Siem Reap and settled in for 7 nights. Our first two days in Siem Reap were spent checking out the city, shopping at the main market, planning our visit to the Temples of Angkor, and securing a tuk tuk driver for our 3-day pass. We wrapped up our time in Cambodia feeling mesmerized and in awe of the spectacular and captivating ancient ruins of Angkor. We were completely exhausted after 3 full days of temple hopping, but left feeling elated and inspired.
Once again, to breakdown our costs, I’ve split our spending into these categories:
- Visas: the cost to get into the country
- Accommodations: places we stayed
- Transportation: everything from buses within a country and to another country, to bicycle/motorbike rentals, to ferry rides, and subway fares
- Food: everything we ate and drank
- Sites: entrance fees to museums, temples, ruins, day trips, overnight trips, cooking courses, and even a scuba diving course
- Entertainment: seeing cultural performances, going to the movies, etc
- Laundry: laundry was available everywhere we went for very affordable prices, we really didn’t feel like washing our clothes in the sink
- Miscellaneous: all our souvenirs, massages, parcels shipped home, and toiletries
Prices are shown for two (2) people and are in Canadian Dollars, unless otherwise specified.
Cambodia: 22 Days, $54.16/day
($1 CAD = 4,000 KHR, though USD is widely used)
- Visas: $50 (USD)
- Accommodation: $209.10
- Transportation: $185.03
- Food: $564.93
- Sites: $102.00
- Entertainment: $0.00
- Laundry: $7.24 (we had it done twice)
- Misc: $72.16
- Total: $1,190.46
So in total, we spent $1,190.46 for 22 days, averaging $54.16/day.
Big-Ticket Item: 3-Day visit to the Temples at Angkor and a private tuk tuk driver for those days, about $130.
Our cheapest accommodation was our room at Olly’s Place in Kampot ($5/night, fan cooled, shared bathroom) and our most expensive accommodation was our rustic, private beachside bungalow on Koh Ru ($15/night, no fan, shared bathroom).
American dollars are widely used throughout the country, as the Cambodian Riel is not a strong currency. Being one of the poorer countries in Southeast Asia meant that prices for accommodation and food were naturally cheaper. For an extra $5 a night you could easily have warm water and AC in your room, though we opted to save costs wherever we could.
While we really enjoyed exploring the Temples of Angkor, wandering through the remnants of French Colonial buildings and even educating ourselves about the Khmer Rouge and its horrendous activities, there was one aspect of Cambodia that really tested our patience; transportation.
It seemed all of our experiences were never how they were sold. An “express” bus would repeatedly stop, seats would be oversold and you’d just have to squeeze in, and music videos or CDs would be blasted at ungodly decibels. I still cringe at the thought of some of the long hours traveling around Cambodia, but it’s just the nature of the beast. Yes you’ll pay more than the local sitting next to you, just charge up your iPod, bring a good book, and don’t expect to get anywhere fast.
Comments or questions? Leave them below!
This post is part of a 7-day series on travel costs through Southeast Asia. Tomorrow I’ll breakdown the costs for traveling through Laos.