Cambodia is a land of contrasts…the stunning ancient architecture of Angkor Wat, the frenetic capital of Phnom Penh and the glorious tropical islands in the south. Offering nature, history and culture in abundance, it’s no wonder Cambodia is such a favourite among backpackers!
But exactly how much does it cost to travel in Cambodia? This budget guide will tell you everything you need to know, from suggested backpacker budgets to the cost of essentials – like beer!
Related: (opens in new tab)
Cambodia Budget Guide
Cost of Backpacking in Cambodia – Quick Answers!
- Cost of Street Food: 4,000-16,000KHR ($1-4USD)
- Cost of Local Food in a Restaurant: 10,000-50,000KHR ($2.50-12USD)
- Cost of Western Food in a Restaurant: 12,000-50,000KHR ($3-12USD)
- Cost of Water: 2,000-10,000KHR ($0.50-2.50USD) per litre
- Cost of Beer: 3,000-12,000KHR ($0.70-3USD)
- Cost of a Hostel Bed: 6,000-65,000KHR ($1.50-16USD) per night
- Cost of a Private Room: 30,000-200,000+KHR ($7-50+USD)
- Cost of a Tuk Tuk Ride: 6,000-60,000KHR ($1.50-14.50USD)
- Cost of Scooter Hire: 28,000-80,000KHR ($7-20USD) per day
- Cost of Long Distance Buses: 10,000-30,000KHR ($2.50-7.50USD) per hour of travel
Suggested Budgets for Travelling in Cambodia
Disclosure: Some links on this page are affiliate links. We always write our articles before checking if affiliate links are available.
Peak or Off-Peak?
Shoestring Backpacker: $25-35USD Per Day
A shoestring backpacker will love life in Cambodia! The low end of this budget is enough to allow you to stay in decent dorms, eat great street food, go on tours and enjoy the odd beer. Even the more expensive transport, like boats between Sihanoukville and Koh Rong, won’t push you too far over budget!
Also read: The Best Hostels in Siem Reap, Cambodia!
Living It Large Backpacker: $35-60USD Per Day
If you fall into the living it large backpacker category, welcome to your new promised land! There will be very little you cannot afford across the country. You can easily afford to stay in cheaper private rooms, drink to your heart’s content, eat whatever you want and have your pick of the best tours throughout Cambodia.
Flashpacker: $70+USD Per Day
For flashpackers, Cambodia is a paradise. You’ll find hotels, resorts and spas well within your price range and be able to head off on as many trips as you like! You will want for nothing in Cambodia with a budget of $70USD per day!
SafetyWing is the travel insurance of choice for scores of backpackers!
- Subscription style insurance
- Cheap and flexible
- Available after your trip has started
The currency used in Cambodia today is the Cambodian/Khmer Riel (KHR) and much like in neighbouring countries, (I’m looking at you Vietnam and Laos), the exchange rate is absolutely bonkers!
Although having a great exchange rate is good for us backpackers, it is often a symptom of a weak economy and an impoverished nation. Sadly, Cambodians today have very little trust in their currency and many people will only have around $50USD worth of riel saved before they transfer it into US dollars or gold and silver.
People saw their life savings destroyed during the reign of the Khmer Rouge and they do not want to see it happen again. Transferring their wealth into a more reliable currency is the only way Cambodians know how to keep their finances safe.
Because of this, the US dollar is used interchangeably with the riel across Cambodia. As a general rule, for any purchase over a dollar, use dollars and for any purchase under a dollar, use riel. You can use dollars for smaller purchases but you’ll get the change in riel and the exchange rate will always be in the favour of the vendor!
If you want to tip a local and really make their day, hand them a $1USD note. Even though it is not much to you, the value of the dollar will fluctuate less than the riel – meaning it is worth more in real terms.
Cambodia Currency Conversions
Currency conversions often fluctuate and the below are approximations. You should always seek out the latest figures when planning for your trip.
- $1USD = 4,115KHR
- £1GBP = 5,387KHR
- €1EUR = 4,628KHR
How Much Does a Trip to Cambodia Cost?
Cost of Street Food in Cambodia
4,000-16,000KHR ($1-4USD) per meal
Cambodia is often overlooked when it comes to street food but that’s not to say there aren’t tasty options. A simple rice dish will set you back around $2USD and a small baguette, similar to a Vietnamese Banh Mi, is just under $1USD.
Some travellers report the sanitary conditions of street food carts in Cambodia are not as high as other countries in the region but we’ve never had an issue. Keep an eye out for a high turnover of customers, this ensures that the food is fresh.
If you are on a strict budget, you can get by only eating street food without too much of a problem!
Cost of Restaurant Food in Cambodia
10,000-50,000KHR ($2.50-12USD) per meal
Eating out in Cambodia doesn’t have to be all about street food carts surrounded by hungry dogs! There are plenty of restaurants catering to all budgets throughout the country, although if you’re looking for high-end, you’ll be limited to a few major cities like Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.
Most affordable restaurants will be between $2.50-6USD a meal but nicer places reach closer to $10USD. Very popular tourist spots, such as Siem Reap’s Pub Street, will also have higher-than-average prices.
For those of you craving a little slice of home, the good news is that western fast food is common across Cambodia, with fried chicken being one of the most popular! Because of the popularity of burgers, chicken and pizza, the prices are only a touch higher than eating local dishes.
Cost of Water in Cambodia
2,000-10,000KHR ($0.50-2.50USD) per litre
Tap water in Cambodia is not safe to drink. Heavy metals leech into the water through the ageing pipes which move water around the country. Rather than risk getting sick, you can purchase a bottle of water for around $1USD on average but the price will fluctuate depending on where you are.
If you are keen to reduce your impact on the environment, consider investing in a filtered water bottle. These make tap water safe to drink and will save you a ton of money over an extended trip. Our favourite is the Grayl Geopress.
Cost of Beer in Cambodia
Thankfully, Cambodia is a country that knows how to do cheap booze. A large bottle of locally brewed beer from a shop is unlikely to cost you more than $1USD and from a bar, it may be as little as $3USD.
Imported beers are around the same price, usually a touch more, but the bottles are less than half the size! If you can’t help but have the odd tipple when travelling, stick to the local stuff!
Cost of Accommodation in Cambodia
Hostel Dorm (per night) = 6,000-65,000KHR ($1.50-16USD)
Cambodia is the land of cheap hostels, many of which cost little more than $2USD per night! Of course, some of them will be real dives but that’s to be expected when you’re spending so little. Do as you always do, read the reviews before booking and if you don’t like the look of a place, don’t go!
If you are travelling during in low season (May-September) you probably won’t need to book anywhere. Just turn up, have a wander around and pop into a few hostels – you can sometimes get a better price this way but beware, it’s a gamble!
Hostel Double Room (per night) = 30,000-125,000KHR ($7-30USD)
It is common for Cambodian hostels to have private rooms as well as dorms. If you need a break from communal sleeping, book yourself into a private room for as little as $7USD per night. You may find a room even cheaper in the low season!
Double Hotel Room (per night) = 30,000-200,000+KHR ($7-50+USD)
Hotels in Cambodia vary in price dramatically. At the low end, you’ll be able to find a decent place to stay for $7-20USD per night but flashpackers will be able to sneak themselves into some beautiful hotels for around $35-50USD.
Of course, you could spend even more if you wanted to but with the options being so great already, there is little point in throwing more money around. Besides, unless you’re hiding a tuxedo under those elephant pants, you probably don’t meet the dress code!
Cost of Transport in Cambodia
Short Distance Transport
Taxis = 3,000-4,000KHR ($0.75-1USD) plus 1,200-2,000KHR ($0.30-0.50USD) per kilometre of your journey
In Phnom Penh, most taxis are metered but the costs vary slightly depending on time of day and year. You may find some drivers will refuse to use the meter and would rather haggle for your ride. If you’re confident with how much the journey should cost and have been brushing up on your bartering skills, then give it a go. If not, politely refuse and find another taxi, there are plenty about!
Outside of Phnom Penh, things are a little different, especially in more rural areas. Many older taxis don’t have meters so you will have to agree on a price before starting the ride. Make sure you ask your accommodation to find out how much your journey should be before you search for a taxi.
Buses = 1,500-4,000KHR ($0.40-1USD) per ride
Outside of Phnom Penh, city buses are rare. Even Siem Reap only has a handful of lines operating. Realistically, unless you are spending a lot of time in Phnom Penh, you probably won’t have any need to jump on a small inner-city bus. In case you do, prices start at around $0.40 per ride and can rise as high as $1USD.
The Phnom Penh bus routes are all handily laid out in the Stops Near Me app. The English options make navigating different lines, buses and stops super easy!
Tuk Tuk = 6,000-60,000KHR ($1.50-14.50USD)
A ride in a Cambodian tuk tuk will usually set you back around $2-3USD for a short hop through town or a little more if you are travelling through a city. Some rides will always cost substantially more, like going to Phnom Penh Airport for example. This journey will cost between $7-10USD from anywhere in the city.
It is possible to book tuk tuk drivers for the day, especially when visiting Angkor Wat or other more out-of-the-way spots. This will usually cost you around $30-50USD for the day and is a great idea if you’re short on time!
Cambodia also has a ride-hailing app called PassApp (one of the best backpacking apps out there!). You can use this to arrange rides with taxis or tuk tuks and you’ll see exactly how much you need to pay before you start the trip!
Scooter Hire = 28,000-80,000KHR ($7-20USD) per day
Hiring a scooter or motorcycle in Cambodia is a great way to explore the country at your own pace. You have a couple of options when it comes to renting bikes. Firstly, you can hire from a large chain or expat-run business. These will be more expensive but often come with insurance and breakdown coverage.
Small local businesses also rent scooters from small huts on the street. These are way cheaper but the reliability of the bikes is nowhere near as high. You’re also unlikely to find anywhere offering helmets as part of the deal.
Long Distance Transport
Buses = 10,000-30,000KHR ($2.50-7USD) per hour of travel
Cambodian buses generally rate very highly. Proper buses only serve the major routes and if you are getting a little off the beaten track, you will have to transfer to a minibus at some point.
If you can, pay a little extra and get the tourist or luxury minibuses. These will operate a one-passenger per-seat rule, which stops the vehicle from becoming overloaded and gives you room to breathe!
Planes = 300,000-1,200,000KHR ($95-300USD)
To be honest, flying in a country as small as Cambodia is a pointless waste of money and greenhouse gases. Unless you are really short on time, why would you drop close to $100USD on a flight that is going to take less than an hour?
Rather than flying in Cambodia, stick to overland transport. A bus journey between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh is around seven hours so you don’t really save all that much time by flying, especially when you include transport to and from the airport!
Cost of Activities in Cambodia
The following prices will give you an idea of how much trips, tours and activities cost in Cambodia. Check out more ideas in our suggested Cambodia itinerary and see all our bookable trips in Cambodia here.
Our Recommended Must-do Activity in Cambodia!
Angkor Wat and the Angkor Archeological Park – 160,000-1,000,000KHR ($40-250USD) – Siem Reap
As backpackers, we often turn our noses up at ‘must-see’ places but when it comes to Cambodia’s Angkor Archeological Park, you really shouldn’t skip over it.
Entry to the park starts at $37USD for one day, $62USD for three days or $72USD for 7 days. Following your entry fee, you’ll need a way to get around the massive complex. Tuk tuks can be hired by the day for around $30-50USD and the drivers will know the best times to visit which temples, to avoid the bulk of the crowds.
If prices are getting a little steep, it is possible to hire bicycles for $2-4USD per day. Be prepared for a hot dusty ride though! A tour guide will set you back roughly $50USD for a small group of up to 1-3 people per day.
You’ll want to visit for sunrise on at least one of the days you enter the park, this usually occurs between 5-6 m and the park is around 30 mins from Siem Reap. It’s a chilly tuk tuk ride at this time so make sure to take a jumper!
The most cost-efficient way of visiting the complex is to buy a seven-day pass for $72USD, then hire a bicycle each day you are there. Providing you have the time, visiting the Angkor Archeological Park this way should set you back no more than $100USD!
It is also worth noting that food is more expensive around this area than in other parts of the country. If you are really strapped for cash, consider prepping some food before you go and take it in your daypack!
Killing Fields – 25,000-205,000KHR ($6-50USD) – Phnom Penh
During the reign of the Khmer Rouge, around 25% of the Cambodian population was slaughtered in killing fields across the country. The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek, located a mere 15 kilometres outside Phnom Penh, was one of the most brutal and efficient of all, accounting for close to 200,000 murders in just four years.
Entry to the Killing Fields is approx. $6USD per person and includes an amazing audio guide, which explains the harrowing history of the site as well as personal stories from eyewitnesses. You can also pay between $10-15USD to get a guided tour (per small group).
Getting to the Killing Fields is easy. A tuk tuk from Phnom Penh will cost around $15USD for a return journey and the driver will wait for you while you visit. You can include a ride to S21 (see below) for just $5USD extra. Essentially, half a day’s transport will cost you $20USD if you do this.
If you want a full guided tour of the Killing Fields, including pick up and drop off to your accommodation, expect to pay $40-50USD per person.
Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S21) – 20,000-60,000KHR ($5-15USD) – Phnom Penh
An old high school transformed into a prison, torture and interrogation centre, a visit to S21 shows the true horror of Cambodian life under the Khmer Rouge. Over 12,000 people were held in the prison before being tortured and killed – only 15 people are known to have survived their time there.
Getting to Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum is super easy, every taxi or tuk tuk driver in Phnom Penh knows where it is. Alternatively, you can walk as it is right in the middle of the city.
Entry is around $5USD with an optional audio guide for a further $3USD. Inside you should get the opportunity to meet survivors of the prison, who spend their days telling their stories and selling their books to visitors. The books will set you back $10USD, with all the money going to the authors.
Tonle Sap Floating Villages – 80,000-185,000KHR ($19.50-45USD) – Siem Reap
Located about an hour outside Siem Reap, the floating villages are found on Asia’s largest lake, the Tonlé Sap. A boat tour usually includes transport to and from your accommodation in Siem Reap, as well as four hours on the water.
During the tour, you’ll learn about the history of the floating villages, including how they came to be. It’s a confusing story of politics, land ownership and an entire population of displaced people.
As with all tours, make sure you pick an ethical company to visit the lake with. Look out for companies that employ local people and give a percentage of their profits back to local communities. You can read which villages we recommend you visit in this guide to choosing an ethical floating village tour.
Daughters of Cambodia Visitor Centre – 20,000-80,000USD ($5-20USD)
Based in Phnom Penh, the Daughters Of Cambodia Visitor Centre is the public face of the Daughters Of Cambodia. This organisation seeks to free Cambodian women from sex trafficking.
A trip to the centre is free but the point of visiting is to eat in their café, buy goods from their shop or visit their spa. All proceeds go straight back to help free women from the sex trade.
The spa offers manicures and pedicures, as well as head, neck, hand and foot massages. All the facilities are run by ex-sex workers and thus, only women may use the spa services. Men are allowed to visit the shop and café though.
To talk more about Cambodia travel budgets, head over to our epic South East Asia Backpacker Facebook Community!