Cambodia was one of the cheapest countries that I visited in Southeast Asia. Accommodation, food and transportation are inexpensive and its easy to travel around.
I could only travel in Cambodia for 2 weeks due to some time limitations but still managed to visit the places that I had in mind. If you are traveling around Southeast Asia, this country should be on your list definitely.
Scroll down to read about the places that I visited, my daily budget, visa on arrival content and prices and costs.
Hope that you find this information useful and helps you during your travels!!!
Phnom Penh is the capital of Cambodia and a good place to learn about the recent history of the country. In case you are not aware, the people from Cambodia suffered the dictatorship of Paul Pot and the Khmer Rouge which ended in a massive genocide where thousands of people were tortured and killed.
When I was in Phnom Pehn, I visited the Killing Fields and S-21 Museum, also known as Toul Sleng.
Toul Sleng is a museum that explains how the genocide took place. Before becoming a museum, S-21 used to be a high school that was transformed into a prison during the regime of Paul Pot. While you walk around, you will be able to see the prison cells, torture tools used and many pictures and paintings that illustrate what occurred in Cambodia.
When we visited S-21, we took one of the guides on a donation base. Most of the guides were victims of the genocide and are keen to tell their story. In our case, the woman that showed us around was very humble and she told us the story of how her family was separated and killed during the dictatorship of Paul Pot. It was not a pleasant moment but it opened my eyes to this dark reality.
If you have a student ID, you can go inside S-21 for free.
After visiting S-21, we went to the Killing Fields, the place where many Cambodians and foreigners were tortured and killed during the regime of Paul Pot. You can rent an audio guide to go around listening to the story. Again, it was not the best experience but it makes you aware on how far human beings can go.
Besides S-21 and the Killing Fields, you can also visit the Royal Palace which hosts the King of Cambodia. This beautiful complex is located near the waterfront and can make a nice day tour.
I stayed at Lovely Jubbly. This hostel has great staff, a swimming pool, happy hour and good AC dorms. The location is very convenient since its near the bus station. They offer transportation service but its cheaper if you go by yourself to the bus station and buy your ticket.
Sihanoukville is a party town located on the south of Cambodia. Serendipity Beach is usually the place where backpackers that want to party stay because there are many bars around and its close to the pier (so you can go to the islands).
If you want to relax during your time in Sihanoukville, head towards Otres Beach which is more quiet and has “chilled” vibe.
Sihanoukville is a mandatory stop if you are planning to head towards Koh Rong islands, so plan at least one night in here. Beaches are not as beautiful and they are far too crowded. Nonetheless, you can still enjoy them.
I stayed in a dorm at the Big Easy Hostel. It is located at Serendipity so be prepared for some noise. I found that the dorms were more comfortable and had better AC than the private rooms. There is a pool table and a bar with cool staff.
Koh Rong Island
I took a slow boat from Sihanoukville towards the touristy Koh Rong Island. The boat was really cool, they had free coffee and a huge deck to relax and take a nap. The cheapest places to stay are on the main strip (normally on top of the bars) or on the small alleys (more quiet). Beware of bed bugs (I got some there and it was not a good experience).
Koh Rong is beautiful, specially if you do the 40 minute hike towards Long Beach. You will pass through a jungle and then find a beautiful and still empty white sand beach with turquoise water. On the evening you can spot plancton.
After relaxing in Koh Rong for a while, I went north towards Siem Reap. I took a bed-style night bus with AC from Sihanoukville. I traveled by myself, which meant I would be laying down next to a complete stranger. Gladly, it ended up being a cool guy from Spain. He introduced me to his group of friends and we managed to book our transportation to Angkor Watt together.
The most popular attraction in Cambodia is located in Siem Reap. It is called Angkor Watt, a beautiful and massive Hindu temple built during the Khemer dynasty that still remains intact (most of it). The sunrise in Angkor is incredible, although be prepared to share your space with thousands of tourists.
After sunrise, head inside the temples before they start getting too crowded. Don’t miss Ta Prohm Temple, where they filmed the famous Tomb Raider, the scenery is amazing.
As I mentioned before, I rented a tuk tuk with the group of Spanish travelers for the whole day for USD 6. The entrance fee of Angkor Watt is USD20 (for a one day visit) and you have to purchase it the night before.
I stayed at the Garden Village. This is one of the best hostels in Cambodia, if not the best. They have a swimming pool with a bar inside, decent restaurant prices with good food, good quality AC dorms and a small sand soccer field. Everything for a very good price. Definitely recommended.
Daily Budget: between USD 10-14 per day. Cambodia is a cheap country with cheap food, cheap beer and some places have really good accommodation. You can also pay with USD so it can be a bit confusing when you calculate the rate or when the locals approximate the price in Riel (usually, higher up) to the dollar.
Visa: most nationalities can get a visa on arrival for Cambodia for about USD 25-30. I took an AC Bus from Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam to Phnom Penh in Cambodia for USD 10 and they handled the visa process. Its a hassle free process and they stamp the visa in the border in a couple of minutes. The bus company where I got the ticket is located on the street opposite to Sunny Saigon at Ho Chi Mihn City.
Prices and Costs:
- Entrance fee S-21 Tuoul Sleng Museum USD 3. If you have a international student card you can enter for free.
- Entrance fee Killing Fields with audio guide USD 6.
- Public Bus from Phnom Pehn to Sihanoukville USD 5.
- Slow Boat from Sihanoukville to Koh Rong (return) USD 15.
- AC Bus from Sihanoukville to Siem Reap USD 12.
- Entrance fee Angkor Watt USD 20 for a one day visit.
Please feel free to leave your comments and questions!!! Thanks for following the adventure!!