When traveling to Southeast Asia, people usually expect low prices. Cambodia does not make the exception. There, the cost of living is low, and traveling to Cambodia is cheap. But what are the reasons behind this? Why is Cambodia so cheap?
Cambodia is extremely cheap because it is a developing country where most daily expenses are cheaper than in developed countries. The prices of groceries, meals, and hotels are lower than in developed countries, making Cambodia a very cheap travel destination. You can live one day in Cambodia for $40.
How much does one day in Cambodia cost?
Living one day in Cambodia costs $40. This is for one day in Phnom Penh eating 3 meals, taking 2 tuk-tuks, sleeping in a hotel, and visiting one temple. On a budget, one day in Cambodia can cost less than $20 if you choose to sleep in a hostel and eat street food.
How cheap is Cambodia?
In order to break down how much one day in Cambodia costs, we need to make some assumptions. To do so, I will run a virtual experiment from my desk in France. I will pretend to live on tourist day in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, and sum all the expenses at the end of the day. Then, we will compare it to other tourist destinations to see if it really cheap traveling in Cambodia.
So let’s run the experiment. Let’s say that we travel on our own (prices only for one person), that we sleep in a tourist hotel, that we eat meals in restaurants, that we take transportation between the hotel and the attractions, and that we visit one temple this day. How cheap will that be?
First, the hotel. I was able to find a hotel room for two people for 20$. This is a really cozy hotel but it is a bit far from the city center. Then, the breakfast in the hotel costs $3. I take a tuk-tuk to the city center which costs me $5. I wander in the streets of Phnom Penh until noun when I eat a meal in a restaurant for $3. In the afternoon, I choose to visit a temple. The entrance fee is $1. Finally, at the end of the day, I eat diner for $3 again, and I take another tuk-tuk for $5.
When you add up those numbers, you arrive at $20+$3+$5+$3+$1+$3+$5=$40. This is the kind of price range you can expect when traveling to Phnom Penh. Of course, this did not take into account the visa and the flight tickets. The latter will probably be the biggest expense of your trip. Then, it is also important to mention that some temples cost more than $1. For instance, Angkor Wat charges higher fees ($37 for one day).
How cheap can you live in Cambodia?
As you just saw in the experiment I ran, Cambodia is cheap. But can you get even more greedy? This is totally possible because, in the experiment, we were sleeping in a great hotel, eating breakfast directly at it, and eating in restaurants. Now, if you choose to eat street food, for instance, this could lower the prices. So, how cheap can you live in Cambodia?
You can live for as cheap as $5 per day in Cambodia. This is taking into account that you will eat two meals a day for $1 each, and sleep in a $3 dorm room. You cannot expect to sleep in a hotel in Cambodia for such cheap expenses.
Other travelers had the chance to live the experiment (and not only run it from their desk). This is the case in the following video. That person chose to live as cheaply as possible for one day. He is the one who lived the $5 a day Cambodia life.
In the long run, this is not the kind of life you want to live as a traveler. Of course, it always feels good to save money while traveling, but eating 2 meals a day and sleeping in dorms is not possible to do all life long. It is all about the way you want to travel.
Why is Cambodia cheap for tourists?
Speaking of traveling to Cambodia, we can now dive deeper into the exact cost of traveling to Cambodia. We saw that Cambodia was relatively cheap for tourists, and extremely cheap when you limit yourself. But why is Cambodia cheap for tourists?
Cambodia is cheap for tourists because the exchange rate is favorable for your country’s currency if you come from Europe or the United States. Cambodia accepts both USD and Riels, with one USD being equal to around 4,000 Riels.
Of course, it is all about the point of view. As a local, living in Phnom Penh is not cheap because you earn less money. But it is interesting to compare Cambodia to other countries in Asia.
Is Cambodia cheap compared to other Asian countries?
When it comes to price comparison, we always need a standard. Here, we will use Cambodia as our standard. So, we figured out earlier that it costs $40 per day to live in Cambodia. I already ran similar experiments in Thailand, Bali, the Philippines, and the Maldives. Let’s see the differences. Is Cambodia cheap compared to other Asian countries?
Living one day in Cambodia is %100 cheaper than in Thailand, 100% cheaper than in Bali, 61% cheaper than in the Philippines, and 690% cheaper than in the Maldives. This is mostly due to the low cost of hotel rooms, and to the fact that the attractions are cheaper. For instance, we are not renting a boat like in the Philippines or sleeping in a water villa like in the Maldives.
What is the cost of living in Cambodia?
The cost of living in Cambodia is relatively low. What I invite you to do is to directly watch the video I put. If you simply click the play button, the video should begin at 7 minutes, when the traveler heads to a restaurant and reveals the prices of every meal. Then, he heads to a supermarket and shows the exact cost of groceries.
Other travelers tips in Cambodia
Finally, what is best than a little dose of inspiration to finish the article? Well, it is exactly what I propose to you right now. For me, this is the best travel report in Cambodia I could find. Brett Conti goes into the details and shows everything. He gives his best tips to experience Cambodia the best way possible.