Traveling to a new destination can be a bit of a gamble, if not prepared for the unexpected. When traveling to a new destination, it is essential to plan for c but also, for emergencies. Usually, flights to Cambodia, from different destinations in the United States, range from $550 to $1500 US dollars, depending on the time of year you travel. It is cheapest to travel to Cambodia in the rainy season, when plane ticket costs are minimized, due to low demand. Depending on how long one intends their stay to last, it is important to plan ahead for where you want to stay. Costs can be a bit higher if you are staying in the center of Phnom Penh versus only $8-12 dollars if you are visiting Moldulkiri for a night. The smartest, inexpensive way to plan your hotel or hostel stay is to pay by week or by month, where most hotel owners are willing to discount the rooms.
If you intent your stay to last a bit longer, it may be wise to rent a room or house, instead. With many tourists still returning back to Cambodia (after 1.5 years of COVID precautions), many houses are still empty and with landowners desperate to pay their payments on time, they are willing to work with you. Sometimes, this can mean even bypassing a deposit down. Most travel plans for tours can costs $15-40 dollars a day, therefore, it is important to book your tours in advance. I also suggest asking about specific tour times to catch a sunset, sunrise, or avoid busy hours of a tour. If you want to visit Kampong Chhang or Kep, you may need to plan for a bus ride so there is the choice of taking a bus during the day or taking a “sleeping bus,” so you need to estimate whether a cheaper day ride, while sightseeing along the way, or a bouncey sleep in a bed with a blanket better fits your needs. The difference is only around $8. Of course, staying with family or friends may be the most price-efficient way to proceed.
Usually drink prices for a night out are based on location, which is wise to consider when on a budget. You can purchase a “fish bowl” or “bucket” for $10 to $20 (depending on happy hour times) on Pub Street, or a .50 cent beer a few minutes walk away at Silk Garden, or if you are looking for a night out, Bassac Lane might be more your style with a fancy cocktail. Needless to say, you have all options available to you in Cambodia or if you choose to stay in for a night, there is Nham 247 Delivery Services, which delivers food or alcohol.
When exploring the town, it is wise to take a tuk tuk to have a good view of the country. The other options are rikshaw ride, motorbike, or taxi/car rental. Taxi’s and car rental prices vary so I would get pricing from different drivers. Thankfully, you can hire a driver almost anywhere but when on a tight budget, I suggest downloading Pass or Grab App for rides to have a fixed cost on your travel. You can also rate your driver and allow a friend to see your route. Hiring a driver from an app may not be supporting all drivers in the economy but it will guarantee that your driver has a map and knows how to get you to your destination.
Dinner prices by the offshirts of town can be as low as $1.50 or $2 for a decent, local Khmer meal. If you plan to eat American food or any other delicacy from other countries (except Thai food, that is still usually priced similar to Khmer food), you may end up paying American prices for meals, which could be from $5 to $14 a meal. The most expensive meal I have paid for was $20 at a country club, which was an American buffet. Thai and Khmer food are most affordable. You can even enroll in a local cooking class to learn how to make some traditional Khmer dishes.
There are many options on how to spend your valuable money in Cambodia but I personally suggest bringing atleast $25 – 35 a day, or bringing more if you like to drink heavily. One thing to consider is that on vacation, it is kind and considerate to pay for others, like tour guides, although not required. The other thing to mention is that tipping is not required, but it is always appreciated. Many locals are working on a low fixed income so even offering a cold water bottle or a soup is sometimes not in their budget, if they are supporting a large family. No matter how much money you intend to travel with, you will have a fulfilling and life-changing trip.