Cambodia had a dark history but a bright and promising future. Having suffered a brutal genocide under the rule of Pol Pot in the 1970’s this country is still in recovery, but the hospitality of the Cambodian people is genuine and amazing. The country is rich in culture, the countryside stunning and there are tropical islands that give Thai islands a run for their money. Every city of Cambodia offers something new to discover and learn about this country’s cuisine and topography.
Cambodian accommodation is both cheap and good value for money, hostel dorm rooms start from $3 but expect to pay an average of $5 a night. Hostels with swimming pools tend to be a bit more expensive at $7-8 a night, if you need to escape the heat it’s worth the extra money. For double rooms with a fan in basic hotels rates start at $8, for A/C rooms expect to pay $12-15. All hostels on the mainland have fairly good Wifi and most provide a decent enough breakfast, on the islands Wifi is very hit or miss.
Money Saving Tips
Cambodia is still a developing country with top notch value for your budget, it is easy to travel on a budget here, but remember to always try to negotiate for everything, Tuktuks, souvenirs and even tours.
Buses are the easiest way to get around Cambodia, generally speaking it will cost around $2 per hour you travel. The overnight bus from Siem Reap to Sihanoukville which takes around 12 hours will cost around $14. The quality of buses varies and if you’re travelling solo on night buses you might get pretty comfortable with the person next to you in the tight quarters. While traveling keep your valuables close or hidden as we’ve been warned about random people getting on the bus in the middle of the night to steal while people sleep.
Local transportation consists of Tuktuks or local taxis, all of which are pretty cheap but make sure you agree the price before you set off. In the bigger cities you’ll be able to get an Uber.
Renting a motorbike is inexpensive, generally costing $4 a day. If you are an inexperienced driver, check the quality of the roads before renting a bike, some cities and regions have very poor roads and it can be dangerous road conditions.
Where & What To Eat
As with most SE asian countries the cheapest places to eat are on the street, decent street food costs between $1-2. In a small local restaurant you can eat well for $2-3. If you’ve got a hankering for western food this will set you back $6-8 for a good quality meal.
Be sure to try Bai Sach Chrouk which can be found in the mornings on both street corners and in cafes. This local dish is grilled pork over warm rice garnished with scallions, green onions and whatever else the chef may choose. Simple, but absolutely delicious.
Beer: Angkor / Anchor / Klang are the three main beers, all of which cost less than $1 in a shop and between $1-2 dollars in a cheap bar
Local spirits: you can find a bottle of vodka or whiskey for as little as $4, imported brands are between $10-15
Best Time To Visit
High season is between December and February, the weather is great but the popular spots will be crowded. Rainy season is between May and October. The shoulder months of high season are a fairly good choice, October/November you risk rain and March/April it can be extremely hot but the reduced crowds make it worthwhile.
4G coverage is surprisingly good across Cambodia, Sim cards are cheap for Internet coverage and for the sake of directions and staying connected they are worth picking up:
Smart: Excellent coverage, 5GB of Internet for $5 valid for 30 days
You’ll have to pay for your Visa to Cambodia, so check with your government travel website. Generally it costs $30 for a 30 day visa.
Hello: Sous dey
How are you? Sokh sabbay chea teh
How much is it? Tlay bonmaan
All of the museums and cultural centers in Brunei, Bandar Seri Begawan are free. In 2 days we spent less than $45 (USD) per person. Accommodation and food are the only major expenses.
Cambodia is a Buddhist country, almost 95% of the population practice Theravada Buddhism, similar to Thailand and Myanmar.
Khmer is the official Cambodian language but English is widespread and frequently spoken.
This is the number one attraction in Cambodia. In our opinion the other temples that make up part of the complex are extraordinary and far less crowded, Angkor Thom is epic, you can channel your inner tomb raider at the temple where the movie was filmed or visit the many faced temple of Bayon. The entrance ticket is pricey at $37 for the day but it is a must-do attraction in Cambodia.
Head for the beaches of Koh Rong
Off the coast from Sihoukanville you’ll find the beautiful islands of Koh Rong and Koh rong Samloem. When visiting Koh Rong avoid the busy, party beach of Koh Toch and head to one of the quieter beaches like Long beach or coconut beach, here you’ll find your own slice of paradise. Cheap beach bungalows, beautiful white sand beaches and crystal clear turquoise waters.
The countryside around Kampot
Our favorite spot in all of Cambodia, exploring the countryside around Kampot is breathtaking. Hire a motorbike and drive through Bokor National Park, the roads are incredible to drive and the national park is epic. Don’t forget to check out the pepper plantations in the area and laze around on the river.
The capital of Cambodia is full of surprises. You can learn about the solemn history of Cambodia at the Killing Fields or S21 prison. There are excellent markets to buy incredibly cheap knock off items, and the nightlife is lively with great views along the riverwalk.
The Mekong in Kratie
A less visited town sitting right on the Mekong river great for relaxing for a few days. Head out on a boat to see the Irrawaddy dolphins, the best place in SE Asia to see this rare creature or spend the day exploring Koh Trung: an island in the middle of the Mekong best explored by bicycle. Don’t forget to check out the 100 Pillar Temple while you’re there.
Jungle Trekking Mondulkiri
In the North of Cambodia you’ll find some excellent jungle trekking Mondulkiri province is pretty much all jungle and the town of Sen Menoram is the place to set off on your trek. You can do two day one night treks staying with a local tribe or just a one day trek exploring the dense jungle and visiting a few waterfalls. The tours are pretty expensive so we’d recommend searching for a local guide who will take you out for a fraction of the price.
Get lost on a Deserted Island
There are several deserted islands to get lost on, here you’ll find no running water, no Wifi, no electricity at night, but sheer peace and quiet. There are two worth looking into Koh Takiev and Koh Tonsay (Rabbit Island). If you are looking for those Robinson Crusoe vibes then these are the places to go!