Cambodia is a land so different from what most people in America are used to that it is almost mystical. Like the Indian subcontinent or the rest of Southeast Asia, it is wreathed in greenery, color, and culture.
References to Cambodian peoples and politics stem from the beginning of the first millennium CE, recorded in Chinese and Indian annals.
Temples from almost a thousand years ago still stand, gracing many parts of the country – and many a vacationer’s travel album. Its food is spicy and steamy, flavorful and bright.
In other words, this is a country well worth seeing, as I can tell you firsthand. Of all my travels, it was one of the most surprising and magical places to which I’ve ever been.
And when you factor in the fact that it comprises quite a cheap international adventure too? Well, what’s not to like?
Of course, even the most affordable vacation requires careful planning. That is, after all, the best way to keep a trip affordable. In today’s comprehensive guide, we’ll take a look at what you need to know about accommodations, flights, dining, activities, and more.
Grab a bowl of the national Cambodian dish, amok trey, and read on!
Average Trip to Cambodia Cost in 2023
An average one-week trip to Cambodia for two people will cost around $4,200:
- Average Accommodation Cost: $50 per night
- Average Flight Cost: $1,300 per person
- Food, Drink & Activities: $75 per person, per day
- Transportation: $200 total
- Total Cost: $4,200
In addition to being beautiful, Cambodia is an extremely affordable country in which to travel. Because it is an impoverished country, it’s cost-of-living is very low.
Although that is not something to celebrate, it does make your journey lighter on the bank account. If you have a few extra dollars to spend on your trip, the best thing you can do is use them to support local guides and artisans.
The only place you’ll have to spend big when traveling to this stunning tropical locale is on the flights.
Because Cambodia is located on the opposite side of the world from the United States, and because it’s impossible to get a direct flight to the capital of Phnom Penh, you’re going to have to shell out quite a bit.
We’ll take a look at some hacks for making them more affordable below. However, for the most part, this is a very doable vacation. You can pack light and travel light, because it almost never gets cold there and the country caters to tourists at every stop.
All you need is your backpack or suitcase, a small daypack, and a game face in order to enjoy the heck out of Cambodia.
It’s very easy to shave money off your food, activity, and lodging costs as well, which we will discuss below. Now let’s take a closer look at the basics.
Cambodia Trip Cost: Average by Item
The following costs are averages. While they are fairly representative of a trip to Cambodia, do keep in mind that costs vary quite a bit depending on when you visit, who you travel with, where you stay, and what activities you enjoy.
However, they’ll offer a good starting point for you to plan a 7-day trip for two!
Staying in Cambodia is very affordable. You should expect to pay about $50 a night for a couple in Phnom Penh and about $30 a night in Siem Reap, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country.
These prices are for nice hotels with private rooms and bathrooms. If you’re more interested in the hostel experience, good news: you can find a cozy bed for only $5 a night. This includes a pool and dining, and often WiFi.
Note that prices will be in higher in the popular traveling season, between November and March when weather is cooler and less humid. Overall, if you want to be on the safe side or plan for a little luxury, opt to budget for an average of about $50 a night.
There’s no way to mince words: flights to Cambodia are expensive. From New York City, you will pay about $1,400. From Los Angeles, you’re looking at closer to $1,100 because it’s closer.
A good average price is about $1,300, which takes into account seasonal variation and additional hops to major hubs. As flights are easily going to comprise your main expense, it pays to search smart.
When looking for flights, always use incognito mode. This prevents annoying popups from previous visits. It also hides your searches from browsers, so they can’t serve you new and higher flight prices based on prior interest.
When you’re ready to book your flights, it’s fine to use your regular browser for saved credit card information. With international flights, always book well ahead of time.
This will prevent any nasty surprises that can derail your trip and is necessary before you book lodgings. However, you might want to wait on domestic flights. These are often readily available and much cheaper right before you leave.
Food, Drink & Activity Costs
We don’t want to say “There’s no point in going to Cambodia if you’re not going to see Angkor Wat,” but like … basically.
Famous for its inclusion in the Tomb Raider franchise, this cultural landmark is the old palace and temple grounds of 12th-century Khmer kings. It’s an absolute must-see, with acres upon acres of beautiful stonework, giant tree roots, and reflective waters.
However, if you’re not careful, you can spend way more money than you need to getting here. For one thing, you don’t need to fly to Siem Reap from Phnom Penh, which can cost around $200 per person.
Instead, take the boat from the capital city, which will only run you around $35 one way, then take the bus back (or onward to another destination) for $10.
Just make sure to bring LOTS of food, as last time we were there, the journey took most of the day and concessions were lacking in the extreme.
You should also avoid Angkor Wat tours. These “start at” around $1,200 for 7 days or so, but that’s just a base fee. If you source your own food and accommodations, you’ll save beaucoup bucks.
Also note that, while 3-day passes are available for about $65, you can do the deal in one day, which will cost you $40 or less. Since Cambodia is generally low-cost, the same extends to food and drink.
If you eat at street carts, roadside stands, and small family restaurants, you can get by on about $15 per person, per day.
Add in a fancy meal or two, and you would raise that to $20. Note that you MUST buy bottled water in Cambodia, so plan about $5 per day, per person for that.
With activities included, you’ll be fine on $60, assuming most of your experiences are simple sightseeing. If you like activities such as parasailing or guided hiking, expect to pay a bit more. Overall, a good average for per-diem food and activity costs is around $75.
In Cambodia, transportation is dead cheap. Tuk-tuks – motorcycle cart taxis – are a fun and affordable way to travel. Getting across town only costs $5 or so, maybe a bit more in rush hour.
A short jaunt from your hotel to a restaurant is only a buck or two. When seeing the sights, try to hire a driver for the day.
They’re happy to wait around while you explore for a negotiated daily fee, and then you always have guaranteed transportation. All told, including a few bus tickets and boat rides, expect to spend about $200.
Things to Consider
Here are a few other things to consider when planning your trip to Cambodia:
- Cambodia’s currency is the riel, but the majority of the transactions in the country actually take place in dollars. It is, of course, always important to have the local currency on hand just in case. However, you can carry most of your cash in dollars. Just be aware that you’ll need hard currency of some kind in many places, especially when paying for incidentals.
- Many Cambodians don’t speak English, unlike in Thailand. Have a phrase book or translation app handy for when you need it.
- It is considered polite to cover your knees and shoulders when visiting sacred sites. If you’re a man, plan to wear long shorts or pants. If you’re a woman, plan to wear a long skirt or pants as well. All genders should cover their shoulders.
- If you have extra time, go ahead and buy the multi-day pass for Angkor Wat. With a driver and several days to spend, you can explore the hundreds of acres that make up the palace and temple complex.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Cambodia expensive?
No, Cambodia is quite affordable. Just watch out for price gouges when buying airline tickets.
How long should I stay in Cambodia?
A week is enough time to really see and enjoy Cambodia, but if you have longer, you certainly won’t get bored. That way, you can visit some of the beaches and islands as well as the major cities and cultural destinations.
Is it safe in Cambodia?
Yes, it is mostly safe in Cambodia. According to the US Department of State, you need only exercise normal precautions when traveling there. However, the site cautions that “Street crime, particularly phone and bag snatchings, occurs frequently in areas where foreigners gather; resistance can result in injury.
Be aware of your surroundings at all times and be extra vigilant when displaying items like jewelry, bags and cell phones in public.” More concerningly, “Violent crime, such as sexual assault and homicide, is common, sometimes against foreigners.”
As always, you should take extra precautions if you are young, solo, female, or in a queer relationship. While Cambodia does not have anti-LGBTQ+ laws, neither do they support same-sex or transgender relationships and people.
Lastly, cautions the State Department, “Do not physically resist any robbery attempt. Use caution when walking or driving at night.”
Where should I go?
Foreign travelers typically fly into Cambodia’s capital city of Phnom Penh, which is worth staying and exploring for several days.
One of the most common destinations after that is Siem Reap, where the famous Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom ruins lie, so you should definitely plan to spend a few days there. Other beautiful destinations include Koh Rong, a lively and lush tropical island, and Bokor National Park.
When is the best time to visit Cambodia?
Most travelers opt to visit Cambodia between November and March. At this time of year, it is warm (still around 70 or 80 degrees Fahrenheit) but less buggy, muggy, and rainy. If you go then, prepare to pay a premium in flights and lodging, though not much.
Cambodia’s rainy season is from about mid-May through October. The country gets 75 percent of its precipitation during this window, making it a wet experience indeed.
However, much of the rain is “monsoon style,” falling in the afternoon and evening and leaving mornings clear or overcast. If you like that kind of experience and want to save a little moolah, consider going then.
Is it easy to get around?
Yes, it’s very easy to get around in Cambodia. Tuk-tuks and taxis are readily available and cheap. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can climb on the back of a motorcycle – though you should always wear a helmet.
Buses, trains, and boats are all affordable and leave frequently. Overall, the country caters to tourists, so you shouldn’t have any problem getting from A to B.
So, What Is the Average Cost for a Trip to Cambodia?
|🛎️ Average Accommodation Cost||$50 per night|
|✈️ Average Flight Cost||$1,300 per person|
|🍽️ Food, Drink & Activities||$75 per person, per day|
|🚕 Transportation||$200 total|
|💲 Total Cost||$4,200|
The average cost of a one-week trip to Cambodia is around $4,200 for two people. However, this is a very liberal estimate.
You can potentially shave off $500 or even $800 by traveling during the low season, price-shopping for tickets, eating on the cheap, and avoiding costly activities.
No matter how you approach your trip, though, it’s guaranteed to be one for the history books. Grab that suitcase and sunscreen, book those tickets, and go have fun!