If you haven’t read any of the prior expense reports from our trip, check them out below:
- Chiang Mai
- Luang Prabang
- Chiang Rai
- Hanoi and Ha Long
- Da Nang, Hoi An, and Ho Chi Minh
- Kuala Lumpur
We spent 9 days and 9 nights in Cambodia split between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, arriving on the afternoon of November 4th in Siem Reap from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and leaving from Phnom Penh on the morning of November 13th headed to Hua Hin, Thailand. We thoroughly enjoyed Cambodia and were amazed at the massive, ancient temples in Siem Reap. Siem Reap is also where we had some of our favorite food on this trip so far, and the fact that it was so cheap was also a bonus. Siem Reap was a pretty busy town based almost completely on tourism for people coming to see the temples. We knew this going in, but even so we didn’t expect it to be so westernized. Phnom Penh is the capital of Cambodia and as we expected, it was a pretty large city. Most people we encountered in both places spoke English pretty well and the US dollar is widely accepted in both cities as well at a surprisingly decent exchange rate. Learning about the dark history of the Cambodian genocide while in Phnom Penh was eye opening for both of us. We were horrified that something so terrible could happen, and it was only about 40 years ago.
Stay tuned for Whitney’s next post about all of our adventures on this part of the trip, but for now I’ll focus on the expenses incurred while in Cambodia. Keep in mind that all of the expenses that I’ll talk about below are my expenses only, since Whitney and I have quite different spending habits. We split all shared expenses evenly, so I calculate the numbers below with my half of the shared expenses and then my individual expenses.
Accommodations: We stayed in very nice AirBnB places in both Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. Our place in Siem Reap had a pool that we spent a couple afternoons lounging around, and both places offered free breakfast which was a good perk. Both locations were close to ideal for us, and we needed very little transportation to get around, choosing mostly to walk the short distances for food, to sightsee, or to go to convenience/grocery stores. Even for good locations and amenities, the prices were pretty cheap at around $14/day ($7 each/day).
- Total for my expenses: $65
Food and drink: We were a little worried about Cambodian food because we didn’t know what to expect. That worry turned out to be unfounded though, as it was very similar to Thai and Vietnamese food. Every place we ate in Siem Reap was wonderful and in my opinion really outdid the Thai and Vietnamese food we had. Phnom Penh wasn’t quite as good as Siem Reap, and it was slightly more expensive, but we expected that since it is the capital of the country. Even so, we did find some good food there for reasonable prices.
- Total for my expenses: $74
Transportation: The flight from Kuala Lumpur to Siem Reap was very cheap at only $32. To get from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh we took a bus that we were a little nervous about, but it ended up being close to Greyhound quality. We paid a little more for the better quality bus, but it was still reasonably priced at $16 each. Cambodia requires a Visa on Arrival to get into the country, which cost an additional $30 each. We hired a Tuktuk driver for an evening and then the entire next day while in Siem Reap to visit some of the temples. Besides that our only other transportation costs were a couple of tuk tuks around Phnom Penh to get to some places that were further away.
- Total for my expenses: $104
Activities: Our biggest activity expense for this portion of the trip was the day pass to get into Angkor Wat in Siem Reap. This pass cost $37 each, but it also included entry to any of the surrounding temples as well as long as it was on the same day. There was even a loophole we learned about where if you purchased your ticket after 5pm the day before, you could use it that evening to see the sunset at one of the temples (Pre Rup). It was nice to be able to see one the night before and break it up a little because our full day of temple hopping was exhausting. Even though the cost was a little high, getting to see the sunset over one of the temples as well as sunrise over the amazing Angkor Wat definitely made it worth it. In addition to Angkor Wat and Pre Rup, we also visited Angkor Thom and Ta Prohm as well as some smaller temples on our full-day. All of theses temples were massive and took quite a bit of time to fully explore.
In Phnom Penh we paid to go to both the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek. In both places we paid for the guided audio tour which was more than worth the $3 price. Tip: we were able to save on the cost of each getting an audio guide by having a set of headphones with us. The audio player had plugs for 2 headsets and they only give you one, so if you bring your own headphones, two people can use the same one. This did mean we had to explore each area side by side which can be a little frustrating, but it wasn’t too bad. Both the Genocide Museum and the Killing Fields were horrific places to visit, but we were glad that we did so in order to remember the victims of the atrocity that occurred there.
In addition to visiting those sites in Phnom Penh, we also visited a more modern temple, Wat Phnom, in the city, which was only $1/each to enter, and one night we took a sunset boat ride on the river near the place we stayed which was $5/each. We also did quite a bit of walking around and sightseeing for free in Phnom Penh.
- Total for my expenses: $56
My total expenses for 9 days and 9 nights in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, Cambodia, including accommodations, transportation, activities, and food were approximately $299!
Running total for entire trip to this point (my expenses only): $4,782.
We headed to Hua Hin, Thailand next, so stay tuned for my next update. Keep an eye on the Facebook page where we are posting much more frequently about the trip including our favorite pictures!