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The Real Cost Of Travel In Cambodia


by Madelle Flowers



Traveling to Cambodia is an exciting and enriching experience for budget-conscious adventurers. With its rich history, stunning landscapes, and vibrant culture, Cambodia offers an array of attractions that won’t break the bank. However, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the cost of travel in Cambodia to plan your budget effectively.


While Cambodia is known for its affordability, it’s still essential to consider various expenses such as visa costs, transportation, accommodation, food, and activities. This article will delve into the real cost of travel in Cambodia, providing you with valuable insights to assist in planning your budget and making the most of your trip.


From the magnificent temples of Angkor Wat to the bustling markets of Phnom Penh, Cambodia offers an incredible range of experiences for travelers. To make the most of your time in this captivating country, it’s crucial to have a realistic understanding of the expenses involved. Whether you are a backpacker on a shoestring budget or a traveler seeking a more luxurious experience, Cambodia can cater to all budgets.


Throughout this article, we will explore various aspects of the cost of travel in Cambodia, including visa costs, transportation expenses, accommodation prices, food and drink expenses, sightseeing and activity fees, shopping and souvenirs, health and safety costs, tips and gratuities, and miscellaneous expenses. By delving into these categories, you will be well-equipped to plan your budget and make informed decisions during your visit to this captivating Southeast Asian destination.


So, let’s dive in and discover the real cost of travel in Cambodia!


Visa Costs

Before embarking on your journey to Cambodia, it’s important to understand the visa requirements and associated costs. Most travelers will need a visa to enter the country, unless they are from a select few countries that are exempted from the visa requirement.


There are two main types of visas for Cambodia: the eVisa and the visa on arrival. The eVisa can be applied for online in advance and costs $36, plus a $6 processing fee. This visa allows for a single entry into the country and is valid for 30 days. It is recommended to apply for the eVisa at least a week before your trip to ensure a smooth arrival process.


If you didn’t apply for an eVisa in advance, you can also obtain a visa on arrival at the international airports in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, as well as at some land border crossings. The cost for a visa on arrival is $30, and it requires one passport-sized photo and a completed visa application form. Be prepared for long queues at peak travel times, as visa on arrival can be a time-consuming process.


For those planning to stay in Cambodia for an extended period, it’s possible to apply for a business visa or a long-term visa. The costs and requirements for these visas vary, so it’s best to consult the Cambodian embassy or consulate in your home country for detailed information.


It’s essential to factor in the visa costs when budgeting for your trip to Cambodia. Make sure to allocate the appropriate funds and plan your visa application process in advance to avoid any last-minute hassles.


Transportation Expenses

Getting around in Cambodia can be an adventure in itself, with a variety of transportation options available to suit different budgets and preferences. Let’s explore the transportation expenses you can expect during your visit to Cambodia.


One of the most common modes of transportation for travelers in Cambodia is the tuk-tuk. These motorized three-wheeled vehicles are a popular choice for short distances within cities and towns. Tuk-tuk rides typically cost between $2 to $5, depending on the distance traveled and your bargaining skills. It’s always a good idea to negotiate the price upfront to avoid any misunderstandings later on.


For longer journeys between cities or tourist destinations, buses are a convenient and affordable option. There are several bus companies operating in Cambodia, offering both standard and VIP buses with varying levels of comfort. Bus fares can range from $5 to $15, depending on the distance traveled and the class of bus chosen. It’s advisable to book your bus tickets in advance, especially during peak travel seasons, to secure your preferred departure time.


If you prefer a more comfortable and private transportation option, you can hire a taxi or a car with a driver. This allows for greater flexibility in terms of itinerary and stops along the way. Taxi fares vary depending on the distance and negotiation, but a rough estimate would be around $30 to $50 for a 3-hour journey.


For the more adventurous travelers, renting a motorcycle or a scooter is a popular choice. This allows you to explore the country at your own pace and venture off the beaten path. Rental prices for motorbikes start at around $6 per day, excluding fuel. However, it’s important to note that driving in Cambodia can be challenging due to the hectic traffic conditions and lack of adherence to road rules.


Another mode of transportation to consider is the boat. Cambodia is home to stunning rivers and waterways, and traveling by boat can offer a unique and scenic experience. Boat trips are available for destinations such as Tonle Sap Lake and the Mekong River. The prices for boat trips can vary depending on the length of the journey and the type of boat.


When planning your transportation expenses in Cambodia, it’s essential to consider both the cost and the convenience. Each mode of transportation has its pros and cons, so choose the option that best suits your budget and travel preferences.


Accommodation Prices

When it comes to accommodation in Cambodia, there is a wide range of options available to suit all budgets and preferences. From budget hostels and guesthouses to luxury resorts, you can find accommodation that fits your needs. Let’s explore the typical prices for accommodation in Cambodia.


If you’re a budget traveler looking for affordable accommodation, guesthouses and hostels are the way to go. Guesthouses typically offer private rooms with shared bathrooms, while hostels provide dormitory-style rooms with shared facilities. Prices for budget accommodations can range from $5 to $20 per night, depending on the location and the quality of the facilities.


If you prefer a more comfortable and private experience, mid-range hotels and boutique guesthouses are a good option. These accommodations usually offer private en-suite rooms with additional amenities such as air conditioning and Wi-Fi. Prices for mid-range accommodations can range from $20 to $60 per night.


For those seeking a luxury experience, Cambodia is home to a range of high-end hotels and resorts. These establishments offer luxurious amenities such as swimming pools, spas, and fine dining options. Prices for luxury accommodations in Cambodia can vary significantly, starting from around $100 per night and going up to several hundred dollars per night for the most exclusive resorts.


It’s important to note that accommodation prices can vary depending on the location. Major tourist destinations such as Siem Reap and Phnom Penh tend to have higher prices compared to smaller towns and rural areas. Additionally, prices can also fluctuate depending on the time of year, with peak tourist seasons often resulting in higher rates.


When booking accommodation in Cambodia, it’s advisable to do some research and compare prices online. Popular booking platforms such as Booking.com and Agoda.com can provide you with a range of options and allow you to read reviews from previous guests. This way, you can find the best deal that suits your budget and preferences.


Overall, Cambodia offers a wide range of accommodation options at various price points. Whether you’re a budget traveler or seeking a luxurious stay, you can find something to suit your needs and make your trip to Cambodia comfortable and enjoyable.


Food and Drink Expenses

One of the highlights of visiting Cambodia is indulging in its delicious and diverse culinary offerings. From traditional Khmer dishes to international cuisine, there is something to satisfy every palate. Let’s explore the typical expenses for food and drinks in Cambodia.


For budget travelers, street food stalls and local markets are the go-to options for affordable and authentic meals. You can find a variety of local dishes such as Khmer noodles, fried rice, and flavorsome curries for as little as $1 to $3 per meal. These street vendors often offer generous portions, making it an excellent choice for budget-conscious travelers.


If you prefer a sit-down meal or want to try international cuisine, there are plenty of cafes, restaurants, and eateries to choose from in Cambodia. Prices for mid-range restaurants can range from $5 to $15 per meal, depending on the type of cuisine and location. This includes popular dishes like amok, a traditional Khmer curry, and lok lak, a Cambodian-style beef stir-fry.


For fine dining experiences and upscale restaurants, you can expect to pay anywhere from $20 to $50 per person for a meal. These establishments often offer a fusion of international and Khmer flavors, paired with a sophisticated dining ambiance.


When it comes to drinks, Cambodia is known for its cheap and refreshing options. Cambodian beer is a popular choice among locals and tourists alike. A bottle of local beer can cost as little as $0.50 to $1 when purchased in local markets or small bars. Imported beers and cocktails are available in upscale establishments and are priced accordingly.


Water is an essential part of staying hydrated during your trip. It is recommended to drink only bottled water or filtered water to avoid any health concerns. A 1.5-liter bottle of water typically costs around $0.50, making it an affordable and readily available option.


It’s important to budget for food and drinks during your stay in Cambodia, taking into consideration your dining preferences and the type of establishments you choose. Keep in mind that prices can vary depending on the location, with popular tourist areas often charging slightly higher rates. Nevertheless, Cambodia offers a wide range of affordable and delicious dining options, allowing you to explore the local cuisine without breaking the bank.


Sightseeing and Activities Fees

When visiting Cambodia, you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to sightseeing and activities. From exploring ancient temples to immersing yourself in the natural beauty of the country, there are numerous attractions to discover. However, it’s important to plan and budget for the sightseeing and activity fees to make the most of your experience. Let’s explore the typical expenses you can expect for sightseeing and activities in Cambodia.


One of the most iconic attractions in Cambodia is the Angkor Archaeological Park, home to the magnificent temples of Angkor Wat. The entrance fee for a one-day visit to Angkor Wat and the surrounding temples is $37, while a three-day pass costs $62. It’s advisable to allocate a significant portion of your budget for this must-visit destination, as exploring the temples can take several days.


In addition to Angkor Wat, there are other notable temples and historical sites in Cambodia that require admission fees. For example, the entrance fee for the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh is $10, while the entrance fee for the Banteay Srei temple is $20. These fees contribute to the maintenance and preservation of the cultural heritage sites.


Aside from temples, Cambodia offers a range of other activities and experiences. If you’re interested in exploring the natural wonders of the country, activities such as jungle trekking in Cardamom Mountains or boat tours on Tonle Sap Lake will incur additional fees. Prices for these activities can vary depending on the duration and level of customization.


For those seeking adventure and outdoor activities, Cambodia offers options such as zip-lining, quad biking, and boat trips to remote islands. These activities come with their own set of fees, so it’s advisable to research and book in advance to secure your spots.


It’s worth noting that some attractions and activities include the services of a guide or require additional transportation fees. If you prefer a guided experience, it’s best to factor in the cost of hiring a guide or joining a group tour when planning your budget.


When planning your sightseeing and activities in Cambodia, it’s important to research the fees in advance and include them in your budget. This will ensure that you can fully enjoy and explore the diverse attractions and experiences that Cambodia has to offer.


Shopping and Souvenirs

Shopping in Cambodia can be a delightful experience, with a wide range of unique crafts, textiles, and souvenirs available for purchase. Whether you’re looking for traditional handicrafts, stylish clothing, or vibrant artwork, Cambodia offers an abundance of shopping opportunities. Let’s explore shopping and souvenir expenses in Cambodia.


When it comes to traditional crafts and souvenirs, Cambodia is renowned for its wood carvings, silverware, textiles, and intricate stone sculptures. The prices of these items can vary depending on their size, intricacy, and quality. Small wooden figurines or handmade bracelets can cost as little as $1 to $5, while larger and more intricate pieces can range from $20 to several hundred dollars.


Textiles are another popular purchase in Cambodia, with silk scarves and traditional krama (checked cotton scarves) being widely available. The prices for these textiles vary depending on the quality, design, and craftsmanship. A silk scarf can cost between $10 to $30, while a krama can be purchased for as little as $2.


When it comes to clothing and accessories, Cambodia offers a diverse range of options. From stylish clothing boutiques to bustling markets, you can find everything from trendy garments to traditional Khmer attire. The prices for clothing can vary greatly depending on the location and the quality of the items, ranging from as low as $5 for a t-shirt to over $50 for designer garments.


For those interested in artwork and paintings, Cambodia is home to a thriving art scene. Galleries and markets offer a wide selection of paintings, both traditional and contemporary, created by local artists. The prices for artwork depend on the size, medium, and reputation of the artist, with prices ranging from $20 to several hundred dollars.


When shopping in Cambodia, it’s essential to practice your bargaining skills at the local markets. Bargaining is a common practice, and you can often negotiate a lower price for your desired items. However, in more formal establishments or shops with fixed prices, bargaining may not be possible.


When planning your shopping expenses, it’s important to allocate a specific budget for souvenirs and take into account the type of items you wish to purchase. It’s also worth considering additional costs such as shipping or luggage space if you plan to bring larger or fragile items back home.


Shopping in Cambodia allows you to support local artisans and bring home unique and meaningful souvenirs. So, don’t forget to set aside some time and funds for exploring the vibrant markets and boutiques, and enjoy the experience of finding the perfect memento to commemorate your trip to Cambodia.


Health and Safety Costs

Ensuring your health and safety while traveling in Cambodia is of utmost importance. Taking necessary precautions and being prepared can help prevent unexpected expenses and keep you safe throughout your journey. Let’s explore the health and safety costs to consider when visiting Cambodia.


Before traveling to Cambodia, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional to discuss any necessary vaccinations or medications. The cost of vaccinations and preventative medication can vary depending on your home country and healthcare system. Be sure to allocate a budget for these health-related expenses.


Travel insurance is also a crucial component of your health and safety costs. It’s highly recommended to have comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical expenses, emergency evacuation, and trip cancellation. The cost of travel insurance depends on factors such as your age, duration of travel, and the coverage you choose. Be sure to compare different insurance providers and policies to find the most suitable and affordable option.


When it comes to maintaining good health during your trip, it’s important to stay hydrated and consume safe and clean water. While bottled water is cheap and widely available, it’s advisable to budget for these costs to ensure you have access to clean drinking water throughout your stay.


In terms of safety, it’s essential to take precautions to safeguard your belongings. Investing in a sturdy lock for your luggage and using a money belt or a secure bag can help prevent theft and protect your valuables. Additionally, consider budgeting for expenses such as securing a safe deposit box at your accommodation or using a reputable storage service for your important documents.


When exploring outdoor and adventurous activities, it’s advisable to rent safety equipment such as helmets for motorbike rentals or life jackets for water-based activities. These additional costs can contribute to your overall safety and peace of mind during your adventures.


Lastly, it’s important to be prepared for any unforeseen circumstances or emergencies. Keep a small emergency fund for unexpected expenses such as medical treatments, transportation in case of emergencies, or alternative accommodation arrangements if necessary.


By factoring in health and safety costs into your travel budget, you can ensure peace of mind and be well-prepared for any unforeseen circumstances. Remember to prioritize your well-being and safety while exploring the beautiful country of Cambodia.


Tips and Gratuities

When traveling in Cambodia, it’s customary to show appreciation for good service by giving tips or gratuities. While tipping is not mandatory, it is a common practice in many establishments, especially in the tourism and hospitality industry. Let’s explore the guidelines for tipping and gratuities in Cambodia.


In restaurants, it is common to leave a small tip for good service. Leaving a 10% to 15% tip is considered generous in Cambodia. However, before tipping, it’s advisable to check the bill to see if a service charge has already been included. If it has, there is no obligation to leave an additional tip.


When it comes to hotel staff, tipping is appreciated for exceptional service. It’s customary to leave a few dollars for the housekeeping staff to show appreciation for keeping your room clean and tidy. Additionally, if the hotel staff goes above and beyond to assist you, such as carrying your luggage or providing exceptional service, you may consider giving them a small tip as a token of gratitude.


Tipping tour guides and drivers is also common in Cambodia, especially if they have provided you with a memorable experience. For tour guides, a tip of $5 to $10 per day is considered appropriate, depending on the length of the tour and the level of service. Similarly, for drivers, a tip of $2 to $5 per day is a generous gesture.


It’s important to note that tipping amounts can vary depending on your budget and the level of service provided. While there are no set rules, it’s always courteous to acknowledge and appreciate good service by leaving a gratuity.


Aside from individuals in the service industry, it is also common to give small tips to street performers or musicians who entertain you during your visit. These small gestures can go a long way in supporting local artists and performers.


When giving tips, it’s advisable to use small denominations of local currency, such as Cambodian Riels or small U.S. dollar bills. It’s also helpful to have a small amount of loose change on hand for situations where tipping is appropriate.


While tipping is not mandatory, it can make a positive impact on the livelihoods of individuals who rely on tourism for income. By tipping appropriately and generously, you can show your appreciation for the service provided and support the local community.


Remember, tipping should always be discretionary and based on the quality of service received. It’s a way to show gratitude and acknowledge the hard work of individuals who have contributed to making your trip to Cambodia a memorable one.


Miscellaneous Expenses

When planning your budget for a trip to Cambodia, it’s important to consider miscellaneous expenses that may arise during your travels. These expenses can vary depending on your personal preferences and circumstances. Let’s explore some common miscellaneous expenses you may encounter in Cambodia.


First and foremost, it’s important to have some cash on hand for small purchases, street food vendors, and places that may not accept credit cards. While credit cards are widely accepted in larger establishments and tourist areas, there are still many places in Cambodia that prefer cash transactions.


If you plan on using local transportation, such as tuk-tuks or motorbike rentals, it’s essential to budget for fuel costs. Remember to factor in the cost of fuel for your daily transportation needs, especially if you’re planning on exploring different areas or taking longer journeys.


Internet and mobile data expenses may also be a consideration. While many hotels, restaurants, and cafes offer free Wi-Fi, there may be situations where you need to purchase a local SIM card or mobile data package to stay connected. These costs can vary depending on the provider and the amount of data you require.


When visiting attractions or participating in activities, it’s important to budget for any additional fees that may not be included in the standard admission cost. Some attractions may charge extra for audio guides, photography permits, or access to specific areas within the site. Additionally, certain activities may have associated costs for equipment rental or additional services.


If you plan on mailing postcards or sending packages back home, it’s important to budget for postal or courier service fees. These costs can vary depending on the weight, size, and destination of the item you wish to send.


It’s also wise to set aside a small contingency fund for unexpected expenses or emergencies. While you may have an overall budget in place, unexpected situations or unplanned activities may arise, and having a bit of extra cash can provide peace of mind.


Lastly, it’s always good to factor in some funds for leisure activities such as massages, spa treatments, or socializing at local bars or clubs. These costs can vary depending on your preferences and the level of indulgence you seek.


By considering these miscellaneous expenses and incorporating them into your overall budget, you will be better prepared to navigate the financial aspects of your trip to Cambodia. Remember, it’s always a good idea to have a balance between structured planning and leaving a bit of flexibility for unexpected opportunities and experiences.



Traveling to Cambodia on a budget is not only possible but also incredibly rewarding. By understanding the various expenses involved in your trip, you can plan your budget effectively and make the most of your experience in this captivating country.


From visa costs to transportation expenses, accommodation prices to food and drink expenditures, sightseeing and activity fees to shopping and souvenirs, health and safety costs to tips and gratuities, and miscellaneous expenses, it’s important to consider all aspects of your trip.


With careful planning and budgeting, you can explore the mesmerizing temples of Angkor Wat, indulge in delicious Khmer cuisine, embrace the rich history and culture, and create unforgettable memories in the stunning landscapes of Cambodia.


Remember to research and compare prices, utilize bargaining skills when appropriate, and prioritize your safety and well-being throughout your journey. Support local artisans by shopping for unique souvenirs and appreciate the hard work of individuals by leaving tips when deserving.


Ultimately, the real cost of travel in Cambodia will depend on your personal preferences, travel style, and the level of luxury you seek. Whether you’re a budget backpacker or a traveler looking for a more upscale experience, Cambodia offers something for everyone.


As you plan your trip, consider your preferred accommodations, modes of transportation, and dining options. Keep in mind that prices can vary depending on the location and the time of year, so it’s always a good idea to research and book in advance when possible.


Traveling on a budget doesn’t mean sacrificing experiences or enjoyment. With careful planning and a bit of flexibility, you can have an incredible adventure in Cambodia without breaking the bank.


So, embrace the spirit of budget travel, immerse yourself in the rich culture and history of Cambodia, and get ready to create memories that will last a lifetime.