It's worth booking accommodation in advance in popular destinations during peak-season months of November to February and around Khmer New Year in April or other major holidays.
Guesthouses Usually family-run, locally owned places and offer good-value rooms.
Hotels Cambodia offers everything from cheap business pads to luxury heritage hotels.
Hostels Hostels are popular with backpackers and offer a mix of dorm beds and private rooms, sometimes with a pool, but are concentrated in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and the South Coast.
Homestays These usually involve staying with a family in a village and involves a basic sleeping set-up and rustic facilities.
It's worth remembering that rates are pretty reasonable by international standards before trying to bargain the price down, particularly at the budget end where competition is fierce and margins are small. Generally speaking, the Cambodian people are happy to bargain a little, but they are not keen on protracted negotiations or arguments over price.
Room rates may continue to rise, as inflation and cost of living are real issues for the everyday population.
In Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and the South Coast, which see a steady flow of tourist traffic, hotels improve significantly once you start spending more than US$15 a night. If you spend between US$20 and US$50 it is possible to arrange something very comfortable with the potential bonus of a swimming pool. There has also been an explosion of boutique hotels in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, Kep and Battambang and these are atmospheric and charming places to stay in the US$50 to US$100 range. Most smaller provincial cities also offer air-conditioned comfort in the US$10 to US$20 range.
There is now a host of international-standard hotels in Siem Reap, several in Phnom Penh and a couple on the coast in Sihanoukville and Kep. Most quote hefty walk-in rates and whack 10% tax and 10% service on as well. Book online for a lower rate, including taxes and service.
Hotel rates in tourist centres such as Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, the southern islands and Phnom Penh tend to be substantially discounted in the low season (May through September). Discounts of 50% are common, as are specials such as ‘stay three, pay two’. Check hotel websites for details on any promos or offers.
While many of the swish new hotels have lifts, older hotels often don’t and the cheapest rooms are at the top of several flights of stairs.
Budget guesthouses used to be restricted to Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville, but as tourism takes off in the provinces, they are turning up in most of the other provincial capitals. Costs hover around US$5 to US$10 for a bed, usually with fan, bathroom and satellite TV. Most guesthouses in this range do not have hot water, but may offer at least a few more expensive rooms where it is available.
There has been a surge in backpacker hostels in recent years, particularly in popular destinations such as Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville. These are lively and well-run, but the dorms are not always the best value and are often the same price as a private room in a locally owned guesthouse. However, most hostels also offer private rooms and some have bonus draws like a swimming pool.
There are several organised homestays around the country in provinces including Kompong Cham and Kompong Thom, as well as lots of informal homestays in out-of-the-way places such as Preah Vihear. The Mekong Discovery Trail includes several homestays between Kratie and the Lao border. There are also plenty of easily accessible homestays in Siem Reap Province.