Traveling to Cambodia when on a budget is completely reasonable, and we have the tips on how to make your money stretch, but still have a great time!
Hostels and Hotels
The consensus is that hostels are much cheaper and this is usually true. However, you can get a hotel room with fans for only a few dollars per night. Unlike Hostels that may be booked up later, you probably won’t have to switch hotel rooms during your vacation.
Whether you find a hostel or hotel room that’s in your budget and travel area, you should ask if there’s a discount for staying longer. Because tourists in Cambodia usually prefer to bounce around the country, many hotels and hostels only handle guests for a night. You might be in for a sizeable discount if you’re staying for a week in one place.
Getting your visa ahead of time or applying for it online as a Cambodia e-visa will save you money for a few reasons. First, if you get a visa after you land you’ll lose time and scammers who scope out the airports will possibly set your sites on you as a target.
Secondly, if you want to get your visa when you arrive, you’ll need to have 2 passport photos, and if you don’t, it can be a costly pain. Save yourself the time, money, and energy and just apply for a Cambodia e-visa.
Watch Your Drinks
If you prefer a beer with your meal, it doesn’t seem too bad that you’re spending a dollar per drink. However, in some areas through Siem Reap or Phnom Penh, you can pay as much as $8 per beer. That adds up fast!
Keep an eye on places where beer is cheap, and where you should just get water. There are a lot of money saving tips when it comes to food and beverages, but the best one is not to pay more than a dollar for a beer.
When you’re trying to get around in a city, it’s reasonable to be suspicious of both tuk-tuks and taxis. There’s a great, and little known, alternative: bike rental. In most major cities you can rent a bike for as little as $2 a day. You can save tons of money by renting a bike, rather than taking a tuk-tuk or taxi.
Now, if you’re traveling from one major city to another, you’ll want to take a bus. Always check the reviews on the bus company, but where a taxi might cost you $80, a bus ride will probably cost you less than $8.
Although many temples are free to enter, getting into the city or generalized area might come with a tax or fee. Angkor Wat usually has a multiday pass that you can get for much cheaper if you’re going to be in the area for more than a day.
But once you’re in you can participate in free meditation workshops, and guided tours. If you don’t feel comfortable calling them free because you paid an entrance fee, consider it a great deal.
Knowing When to Visit
Although early November might not seem like the best time for a holiday if you’re on a budget, it’s “off-season” for most parts of the world. It’s also the best time to visit Cambodia because the Bon Om Touk festival begins on November 2nd.
The country may have its flaws and slight signs of its recovery from long-term corruption, but during Bon Om Touk most of that is set aside. The signs of the aftermath usually are still present, causing many people to visit Cambodia to understand their culture and recent history.
But, the Water Festival is the opportunity to see the culture through celebration. It’s also your chance to take part in a major event and see the culture of Cambodia while staying in one part of the country, which will cut down on your travel expenses.