Like much of mainland Southeast Asia, Cambodia is incredibly good value compared with destinations in Europe or North America.

Accommodation is fantastic value in hostels, homestays, or guesthouses. Eating out can be a little more expensive than neighboring Thailand and Vietnam, but this is offset by bargain booze, including US$0.50 beers in many backpacker bars, affordable wine, and very cheap spirits and cocktails. 

Transportation is affordable and comfortable, whether you are taking long-distance buses, short hops in tuk-tuks or the occasional domestic flight to save some time. These top tips can make your budget stretch even further.  

Arrange an e-visa in advance if traveling overland into Cambodia

Immigration officials are notorious for overcharging for visas at the Cambodian land borders, particularly those shared with Thailand and Laos. Expect the Thai Baht exchange rate to be calculated heavily in their favor. Take care of your visa before you arrive to save yourself time and hassle.

Check out regional budget airlines flying into Cambodia

There are now lots of regional budget airlines operating out of Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Singapore. Check out fares with airlines like Air Asia and Vietjet Air for heavily discounted fares compared with the national flag carriers. 

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A group of female friends laugh and smile as the boat they're on approaches an island lined with huts and palm trees
Long-stay discounts are available in low season in Cambodia's southern islands © Nopkamon Tanayakorn / Shutterstock

Visit Cambodia in the low season to save money on rooms

Cambodia has a short high season and a long low season. Consider a visit in the April to October period to save money on accommodations, particularly on the southern islands, where long-stay low-season discounts are available.

Buy a local SIM card to save on roaming charges 

Roaming charges in Cambodia are extremely expensive, so plan to pick up a local SIM card on arrival in the country. There are lots of competing mobile networks and all offer very cheap data bundles for visitors. 

Experience a homestay with a local family in rural Cambodia

Some of the cheapest accommodations found anywhere in Cambodia is the homestay experience with a local family. Costs are typically US$4 per night with freshly home-cooked meals available for US$3–4. Popular destinations for homestays include Chi Phat and Stung Areng in the Cardamom Mountains, Koh Trong near Kratie, Chambok near Kirirom National Park, and villages around Siem Reap. 

The long-distance bus is the cheapest way to get around Cambodia

Overnight sleeper buses are generally pretty comfortable in Cambodia and will save the cost of a night's accommodation when traveling longer distances such as Siem Reap to Sihanoukville. Express minivans are a fast and comfortable way to travel between provincial capitals. 

Download a ride-hailing app 

If you hail a tuk tuk or taxi in the street, the chances are you will have to negotiate to get a reasonable fare and still might find yourself paying over the odds. Download one of the many ride-hailing apps in Cambodia, like Grab or PassApp, to eliminate haggling over fares and to avoid the need to pay cash late at night.

Sample the food stalls in local markets to save money on meals 

Eating out in Cambodia is a little more expensive than neighboring countries like Thailand or Vietnam, but it doesn’t have to be if you try some street surfing at local markets and food stalls. Check out where the locals are gathered to ensure the food is fresh and tasty.

Adult couple stand looking up at the stone walls of an ancient temple
There is a special deal on tickets to Angkor in 2022 © Matteo Colombo / Getty Images

Visit the Temples of Angkor in 2022 for a special offer

Angkor Enterprise launched a series of special offers on tickets to the Temples of Angkor during COVID-19 and these are continuing until the end of 2022. Buy a 1-day pass, get 2 days. Buy a 3-day pass, get 5 days. Buy a 7-day pass, get 10 days. Note that 3-day and 7-day passes do not have to be used on consecutive days, but can be used over 10 days and 30 days respectively. 

Look out for happy hours and promotions in Phnom Penh

Alcoholic drinks are generally very cheap in Cambodia, including wine and spirits. However, Phnom Penh has many more sophisticated establishments than the rest of the country, so keep an eye open for happy hours, usually around 5pm to 7pm daily.

See the incredible variety of Cambodia’s wildlife in one location near the capital

Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre is most definitely not a zoo, but a place of refuge for wildlife confiscated from poachers and traffickers. See tigers, elephants, and many more rare mammals at this excellent facility about 45km (28 miles) from Phnom Penh. Entry is just US$5. It is even possible to sign up for some premium behind-the-scenes tours such as "Bearkeeper for a day" in exchange for a fixed donation.

Take a tour of one of Kampot’s most famous pepper plantations

Kampot is famous for its aromatic pepper which now boasts a UN "Geographic Indicator" like Champagne. Visit La Plantation Pepper Farm on an impressive free tour that includes an introduction to all the pepper varieties grown in the region and a spicy tasting session. There is a restaurant on-site with a delicious pepper-themed menu.

Do as the locals do and buy a krama – a checked traditional scarf – for your travels

Krama have a multitude of uses. They are primarily used to protect Cambodians from the sun, the dust and the wind. However, they are also slung around the waist as mini-sarongs, used as towels for drying the body, knotted at the neck as decorations, tied across the shoulders as baby carriers, placed upon chairs or beds as pillow covers and used to tow broken-down motorbikes – the list is as long as your imagination. Just a few dollars gets you a multi-functional item that saves you both money and space in your backpack. 

A couple lean on the edge of a swimming pool looking out towards the ocean. A woman is walking by
Some accommodations will let people use their swimming pools with a minimum spend on food and drink © Roberto Westbrook / Getty Images

Use swimming pools at boutique hotels in leading destinations

If you are staying in budget digs, the chances are you will not have access to a swimming pool unless it is one of a handful of super hostels in places like Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Check out the special deals at boutique hotels around the country that often let outside guests swim for free provided they have a minimum spend of US$5 to US$10 on food and drink. 

A guide to daily costs in Cambodia

  • Hostel bed: US$5–10
  • Local guesthouse room: US$5–15
  • Self-catering apartment: US$20–40
  • Local meals and street eats: US$1–4
  • Long-distance buses (per 100km): US$2–3
  • Local bus in Phnom Penh: US$0.40
  • Local beer US$1–2
  • Coffee US$1.50–3
  • Tuk-tuk ride: US$1 per km

You might also like:
Angkor Wat: everything you need to know about Cambodia's most iconic temple  
Siem Reap: 11 best things to do after you explore Angkor Wat  
An insider's guide to Phnom Penh, Southeast Asia’s new capital of cool  

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