Travel budgeting for Cambodia

I’ve recently moved to Sydney, Australia from Melbourne. I’ve spent the last few days going to countless interviews, trial runs, and house walkthroughs. I’m exhausted to say the least, running at full speed and head first into my new life here, but I am so excited for the day when everything comes together and I can breathe a little easier.

I’m no stranger to getting up and leaving everything behind, and starting over in a completely new place, it’s invigorating, it keeps me focused and on my feet. With that said, I’ve missed my blog and the peace writing brings me, so without further ado, here’s my third installation for Southeast Asia budgeting, Cambodia! In Cambodia I traveled to Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville, Koh Rong Samloeum, and Siem Reap.


Note: All prices are in US dollars, and I rounded when necessary to keep things nice and easy. 

The currency in Cambodia is technically the Cambodian Riel, but everyone uses US dollars for the most part, even the ATMs dispense money in US dollars.  You do sometimes get riel back as change, the conversion rate comes to about $1US = 4,128 Cambodian Riel.

Time spent = 11 nights, 12 days


Phnom Penh (2 nights) = $6/night ($12 total). A mixed dorm bed at Top Banana Guesthouse (Highly recommended).

Sihanoukville (2 nights) = $4/night ($8 total). Shared bungalow for two people at The Big Easy.

Koh Rong Samloeum (3 nights) = Accommodation included in my Open Water PADI Certification.

Siem Reap (3 nights) = $2.50/night ($7.50 total). A mixed dorm bed at Garden Village Guesthouse.

In Phnom Penh, I stayed at one of my favorite hostels of my whole trip at the Top Banana. And although we didn’t have the best roommates (stories to come soon), it didn’t change the fact that I loved this hostel. It’s a bit pricey for accommodation in Cambodia, but I think the set-up, cleanliness, and location of the hostel more than makes up for the slightly higher price.

In Sihanoukville, we were approached as soon as we jumped off the bus by a European looking surfer dude, who gave us a flyer for The Big Easy. We went to go look at the rooms, which were decent enough, the location was perfect (right next to the Dive Shop for my certification), and at $4 each for our own room, we were sold.


In Koh Rong Samloeum, my accommodation was included in the price for my PADI Certification. At $330, I received free accommodation and transportation to the island, free breakfast and lunch, and one-on-one instruction for my 4 day Open Water PADI course.


In Siem Reap, we found the cheapest accommodation of our trip at $2.50 a night. It was a huge dorm but actually not too bad in terms of noise and obnoxious roommates. Every bed had its own fan and reading light as well, which was very much appreciated.

Transport = $3/day ($37.50 total)

Most of our transportation costs consisted of tuk tuk rides from the bus stations and an overnight bus (which was a good way to save on accommodation if you don’t mind lack of sleep).


Food = $9/day ($108.50)

Free breakfast wasn’t included in any of the accommodations (except for my certification), but it was easy enough to find inexpensive food, either in the budget hostels or surrounding streets. Siem Reap was the best in terms of cheap food, the street outside our hostel had breakfast and lunch menu items for $1-2.

Smoothies/juices = $8 total

I still dream about the passionfruit mango smoothie I had my first night in Phnom Penh.

Water (1500ml) = Around $0.50-$0.75 each/$5.60 total for 9 bottles

Alcohol = $7.25 (Cambodia, where $0.50 beer exists)


Misc = $71.75 ($401.75 including my diving)

Breakdown of my miscellaneous purchases:

  • Killing Fields and Genocide Museum entry and tuk tuk driver for the day = $15.50
  • Postcard and stamps = $5
  • Doctor (to get a physical for my diving) = $10
  • Seasick medication = $3
  • Assorted toiletries = $6.50
  • Laundry = $3
  • Temple pants = $7.50 (never pay this much for temple pants, $5 is plenty)
  • Bracelet = $1
  • Cambodia sticker = $0.25
  • Angkor Temples Pass = $20
  • PADI Open Water Certification = $330


Including everything, I spent about $22 a day, or $266 total ($596 including my diving).

Overall, Cambodia turned out to be one of the most affordable places I traveled to in Southeast Asia, and as an added bonus, it was also probably my favorite country. Siem Reap was the cheapest, with Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville coming out to about the same general prices. The island of Koh Rong Samloeum was relatively expensive compared to the rest of Cambodia, especially in terms of food. Luckily, most of my meals were included in my certification, but dinner was a bit costly at around $7- $9, which I guess is to be expected for an island with only two restaurants. In any case, I loved Cambodia.


Mimi McFadden
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