Cambodia Budget Guide – How Much Does It Really Cost To Travel In Cambodia?

Angkor Wat, Cambodia, the largest religious monument in the world.  

Cambodia is a land of contrasts…the horrific history of the Khmer Rouge, the stunning ancient architecture of Angkor Wat and the glorious tropical islands to the south.  

Whether you want a dose of history, some of the cheapest beer Southeast Asia has to offer, or a relaxing stay on a picturesque beach, Cambodia has you covered!

Koh-Rong, Cambodia
Cambodia’s islands are a haven for backpackers!

But how much does it cost to travel in Cambodia?

We asked thousands of our readers what they thought was the most budget-friendly place to travel in Southeast Asia and Cambodia was comfortably voted as one of the cheapest!

Further reading:

  • If you are about to set off on your trip to Cambodia, make sure you’ve read our budget travel tips for general advice about saving money on the road.
  • If you aren’t quite able to sack off your job and head off abroad, just yet, check out this guide on saving money before you travel!

Cost Of Backpacking In Cambodia – Quick Answers!

  • Cost of Street Food: 2,000 – 8,000KHR (50 cents – $2USD)
  • Cost of Local Food in a Restaurant: 8,000 – 40,000KHR ($2-$10USD)
  • Cost of Western Food in a Restaurant: 12,000 – 40,000KHR ($3-$10USD)
  • Cost of Water: 1,000 – 8,000KHR (25 cents – $2USD) per litre
  • Cost of Beer: 2,000 – 12,000KHR (50 cents $3USD)
  • Cost of a Hostel Bed: 5,300 – 51,000KHR ($1.30-$12.50USD) per night
  • Cost of a Private Room: 20,000 – 200,000+KHR ($5-$50+USD)
  • Cost of a Tuk Tuk Ride: 4,000 – 40,000KHR ($1-$10USD)
  • Cost of Scooter Hire: 20,000 – 80,000KHR ($5-$20USD) per day
  • Cost of Long Distance Buses: 4,000 – 10,000KHR ($1-$2.50USD) per hour of travel

Suggested Budgets For Travelling In Cambodia

Shoestring Backpacker: $20-$30 USD per day

A shoestring backpacker will love life in Cambodia! Even the low end of this budget is enough to allow you to stay in decent dorms, eat great Southeast Asian street food, go on tours and even have the odd beer. Even the more expensive transport, like boats between Sihanoukville and Koh Rong, won’t push you too far over your budget!

Also see – The Best Hostels in Siem Reap, Cambodia – from $2 USD!

Pool Party Hostel, Siem Reap.
Pool Party Hostel, Siem Reap – Dorms here start at $3 US a night!

Living It Large Backpacker: $35-$45 USD per day

If you fall into the livin’ it large backpacker category, welcome to your new promise 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 you’ll have your pick of the best tours throughout Cambodia. 

Flashpacker: $60+USD per day

For flashpackers, Cambodia is your 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 $60 USD per day!

Navatu Dreams Resort – Wellness retreats like this one won’t be out of budget for flashpackers!

Currency In Cambodia

The currency used in Cambodia today is the Cambodian 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. For most countries, you can look back at their history and get a rough idea of when their economy became so weak but with Cambodia, you can almost pinpoint it to an exact moment. In 1975, the Khmer Rouge took control of Cambodia and in the process, sought to be the first country in the world to abolish money. And they were successful. In a way… 

After literally blowing up the central bank and watching millions of people’s life savings go up in smoke, Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge set about building a no money society. As we now know, this was probably the least egregious of his crimes but it may have had the longest-lasting effect. 

The Riel was reintroduced in 1980 and has been in circulation since. Sadly, Cambodians today have very little trust in their currency and many people will only have around $50 USD worth of Riel saved before they transfer it into US dollars or gold and silver. People have already seen their life savings destroyed once before and they do not want to see it happen again. Transferring their wealth into commodities or 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, 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!

US dollars
The US dollar is commonly used in Cambodia.

Cambodia Currency Conversions

Currency conversions correct as of September 2020. Unless something drastic happens between then and now, these conversions will give you a good idea what your money is worth in Cambodia.

  • $1USD = 4,100KHR
  • £1GBP = 5,500KHR
  • €1EUR = 4,900KHR

How Much Does a Trip to Cambodia Cost?

Cost of Street Food in Cambodia

2,000 – 8,000KHR (50 cents – $2USD) per meal

Cambodia is a country often overlooked when it comes to must-try street food dishes but that is not to say there aren’t tasty options. You’ll find as many street food vendors in Cambodia as in Thailand or Vietnam, they’re just not quite as good. That said, if you are on a strict budget, you can get by only eating street food without too much of a problem!

A simple rice dish will set you back around $1USD and a small baguette, similar to a Vietnamese Banh Mi is about 50 cents. 

Some travellers report the sanitary conditions of street food carts in Cambodia are not as high as other countries in the region but I have never had an issue eating street food in Cambodia!

Street Food in Cambodia
Bugs! You might not find all of the street food in Cambodia! so appetizing

Cost of Restaurant Food in Cambodia

8,000 – 40,000KHR ($2-$10USD) 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 options, you’ll be limited to a few major cities like Phnom Penh and Siem Reap

Most affordable restaurants will be between $2-$5USD per meal but some nicer places reach closer to $10USD. Very popular tourist spots, such as Siem Reap’s Pub Street, will also have higher than average prices. 

A delicious and cheap fish amok curry -Cheapest Place in Southeast Asia
A delicious and cheap fish amok curry in a restaurant in Siem Reap.

The good news, for those of you craving a little slice of home, is that western fast food is common across Cambodia, with fried chicken being one of the most popular meals there is! 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

1,000 – 8,000KHR (25 cents – $2USD) 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, rather than buying single-use plastic bottles, consider investing in a filtered water bottle. These make tap water safe to drink, stop you buying more plastic that only ends up in our oceans and will save you a ton of money over an extended trip. Our favourite is the Grayl Geopress.

Grayl Geopress Close Up
The Grayl Geopress is our favourite filtered water bottle!

It is also worth noting that many restaurants and hostels throughout Cambodia will have water refill stations available. Water from these spots may cost as little as 10 cents per litre and is perfectly safe to drink. Just don’t forget your reusable bottle!

Cost of Beer in Cambodia

2,000 – 12,000KHR (50 cents $3USD)

Thankfully, Cambodia is a country that doesn’t skimp on cheap booze. A large bottle of locally brewed beer from a shop is unlikely to cost you more than $1USD while 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! I’m not greedy but I can’t see the logic in spending more to get less. If like me, you can’t help but have the odd tipple when travelling, stick to the local stuff to see your money and buzz stretch on a little longer!

Happy Hour in Cambodia.
Budget backpackers – Look out for Happy Hours in Cambodia!

Cost of Accommodation in Cambodia

  • Hostel Dorm (per night)

5,300 – 51,000KHR ($1.30-$12.50USD)

Cambodia is the land of cheap hostels, many of which cost little more than $2 USD 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 on Booking.com and TripAdvisor before booking and if you don’t like the look of a place, don’t go! 

If you are arriving in a popular spot in low season (May – September) you’ll more than likely not need to book anywhere. Just turn up, have a wander around and pop into a few hostels, you may well get better prices this way!

Relaxing in Koh Rong, Cambodia
Mad Monkey Hostel, Koh Rong Samloem – Finding cheap hostels is easy in Cambodia!
  • Hostel Double Room (per night)

20,000 – 125,000KHR ($5-$30 USD)

It is common for Cambodian hostels to have private rooms as well as dorms. If you need a break from communal sleeping or just don’t fancy giving it a go, book yourself into a private room for as little as $5 USD per night. You may find a room even cheaper in low season!

  • Double Hotel Room (per night)

20,000 – 200,000+KHR ($5-$50+USD)

Much like the rest of Southeast Asia, hotels in Cambodia vary in price dramatically. At the low end, you’ll be able to find a decent place to stay for $5-$10 USD per night but flashpackers will be able to sneak themselves into some beautiful hotels for around $25-$50 USD. 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

2000 – 3000KHR (50 -75 cents) plus 400-800KHR (10-20 cents) per minute of your journey 

In Phnom Penh, most taxis are metered but the costs vary slightly depending on the time of day and the time of year. You may find some drivers will refuse to use the meter and would rather you haggle for your ride. If you’re confident with how much the journey should cost and have been brushing up on your haggling skills, then give it a go. If not, just 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 at your accommodation to find out how much your journey should be before you search for a taxi. 

  • Buses

2,000 – 4,000KHR (50 cents – $1USD) per ride

Outside of Phnom Penh, city buses are rare in Cambodia. 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 50 cents per ride but can rise as high as $1USD. 

Unlike the rabbit’s warren of bus routes through some Southeast Asian cities, 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

4,000 – 40,000KHR ($1-$10USD)

A ride in a Cambodian tuk tuk will usually set you back $1-$2USD 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 pretty much be $7-$10USD from anywhere in the city. 

tuk-tuk Cambodia
Tuk Tuk drivers will take you on and off road in Cambodia!

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 $20-$30USD for the day and is a great idea you’re short on time!

Some Tuk tuks in Cambodia aren’t like their counterparts in Thailand. They are more like carriages roughly affixed to the back of small capacity motorcycles and towed along like trailers.

Cambodian tuk tuk
The Cambodian tuk tuk – A cheap sociable and fun way to get around!

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!

cool tuk tuk
One cool tuk tuk driver in Siem Reap has his marketing down!
  • Scooter Hire 

20,000 – 80,000KHR ($5-$20USD) per day

Hiring a scooter or motorcycle in Cambodia is a great way to get away from the crowds and explore the country at your own pace. There are two real options for where to hire your bike from and they each come with pros and cons. 

  1. You can hire from a large chain or expat run business. These will always be the most expensive choices but will often come with insurance and breakdown cover. These places will often end up on the high end of this budget.
  2. Small local businesses also rent scooters from small huts on the street. These are often way cheaper but the reliability of the bikes is nowhere near as high and you are unlikely to find anywhere offering helmets as part of the deal.

Long Distance Transport

  • Buses

4,000 – 10,000KHR ($1-$2.50USD) per hour of travel

Buses in Cambodia can be quite a luxurious affair. My first ever ride on a “hotel bus” was in Cambodia. We could lay completely flat on thin, plastic mattresses, nestled in warm blankets for the entire journey. After squashing my 6 foot 2 frame into the cramped buses of Thailand and Laos, this was a welcome change!

While you won’t always find buses that comfortable, generally Cambodian buses 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 1 passenger per seat rule, which stops the vehicle from becoming overloaded and gives you room to breathe! 

  • Planes

125,000 – 410,000KHR ($30-$100USD)

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 $100 on a flight that is going to take less than an hour? 

Rather than flying in Cambodia, stick to overland transport to protect your budget as well as the planet. A bus journey between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh is around 7 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

Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of activities in Cambodia but 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! – Visit the Elephant Sanctuary at Sen Monorom – This ethical elephant experience is way off the beaten track in Eastern Cambodia and your visit supports the amazing work that this sanctuary is dong to preserve the land, culture and amazing wildlife of this rugged part of the country. An overnight stay costs $140 US with a trek in the jungle to see the elephants, accommodation and meals included.

Ethical Elephant Experiences | Half Day - 1 Week | from SEN MONOROM, CAMBODIA
Seeing elephants in the wilderness of Eastern Cambodia is an amazing experience!

A Visit to 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 or “must do” activities but when it comes to Cambodia’s Angkor Archeological Park, you really shouldn’t skip over it.

Did you even go to Cambodia if you didn’t visit Angkor Wat?

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 $20-$25USD and the drivers will know the best times to visit which temples, in order 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!

You’ll want to visit for sunrise on at least one of the days you enter the park, this usually occurs between 05.00-06.00 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!

It’s clear that the most cost-efficient way of visiting the complex is to buy a 7 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 – 74,000 – 205,000KHR ($18-$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. 

Although very emotionally distressing, a visit to the Killing Fields will stick with you forever. Although it is almost five years since my own visit, I still remember the site in vivid detail, as well as the atrocities that were committed there. 

Killing fields, Cambodia
A visit to the Killing Fields in Cambodia is a harrowing experience.

Entry to the Killing Fields is $3USD per person and includes an amazing audio guide, which explains the harrowing history of the site as well as personal stories from eyewitnesses.

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, S21 is not a cheery day out. When combined with a trip to The Killing Fields, 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 and only 15 people are known to have survived their time there. 

A visit to S21 is heartbreaking, there is no other way to describe it but as with the War Remnants Museum in Vietnam, nobody leaves unchanged. 

Photos of 'enemies of the state' at Tuol Sleng S21 Genocide Museum, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Photos of ‘enemies of the state’ at Tuol Sleng S21 Genocide Museum, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

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 just walk as it is bang in the middle of the city. 

Entry is $5USD with an optional audio guide for a further $3USD. Inside you should get the opportunity to meet two 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 – 61,000 – 185,000KHR ($15-$45USD)Siem Reap

Located about an hour outside of the touristy town of 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. 

Even if you’re not that fussed about the history of the village, just seeing how of floating village operates day to day is fascinating!

As with all tours, make sure you pick an ethical company to visit the lake with. Look out for companies who 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.

The vast Mey Chrey floating village Siem Reap Cambodia.
The floating village of Mechrey, Cambodia – one of the least visited villages.

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. It is estimated that over 35,000 women make their income from sex work in Cambodia, with a decent proportion of these having no choice in the matter. 

A trip to the centre is free but the point of visiting is to eat in their cafe, buy goods from their shop or visit their spa. All proceeds from the visitor centre 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 of the facilities are run by ex-sex workers and thus, only women may use the spa services. Men are allowed to use the shop and cafe though. 

Got a Southeast Asia adventure planned? Make sure you read our overall guide to budgeting for the region…

How much money would you budget for a trip to Cambodia? Head on over to our Facebook community to let us know and join thousands of like-minded travellers sharing hints and tips about travelling in Southeast Asia!

After a life-changing motorcycle accident, Tim decided life was too short to stay cooped up in his home county of Norfolk, UK. Since the incident, he has travelled in South East Asia, walked the Camino de Santiago and is currently backpacking around South America. His first book 'From Paralysis to Santiago' chronicles his struggle to recover from the motorcycle accident that changed his life and will be released later this year.