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Cambodia currency to use & Guided trip cost

How much does it cost to travel to Cambodia?

Are you searching the internet but most of the information is from the backpackers who just spend less than $30/person/day?

Some of the advices includes sleeping inside a room with fan only, traveling by train and local public bus, and eating at the street food stalls.

With a little bit more (about $40-50/day), you can have some good meals, travel by air for some long distance, and sleep at an air-conditioned room.

Well, we believe you learned enough to save your pocket, and we do not intend to help you to … save more than that. 

Within this guide, we will help you reveal the cost of some important services of your trip to Cambodia, especially for a pleasant guided trip cost, including your accommodation, meals, activities, or transportation.

Before breaking down your Cambodia vacation cost, we will first guide you through the national currency of Cambodia; hence, you will first have general idea of the money you can spend in the country.

Let's check it out.

Cambodia National Currency

Cambodia’s currency is the riel, abbreviated in our listings to a lower-case ‘r’ written after the sum.

The Cambodian riel comes in notes of the following denominations: 100r, 200r, 500r, 1000r, 2000r, 5000r, 10,000r, 20,000r, 50,000r and 100,000r.

To give you an idea of its worth below is the exchange rates regarding the main foreign currencies:

Australia AU $1 2,815r
Canada C $1 3,096r
European Countries EUR 1 4,522r
UK UK £1 5,096r
USA US $1 4,105r

These are given for information purposes and we advise you to consult the present exchange rates on www.xe.com

Although Cambodia’s official currency is the Riel, foreign currencies are widely accepted throughout the country. This become even more true for large transactions and tourism-related businesses.

Foreign currencies in Cambodia

One of the most common questions we get is: "how to deal with money as a traveler in Cambodia?". You are lucky since there is not a single currency in use and the vast majority of businesses do accept some foreign currencies without adding extra transaction fees.

Cambodia’s second currency (some would say its first) is the US dollar, which is accepted everywhere and by everyone. Most tourist-oriented businesses quote prices in dollars, as do most grocery stores in the larger cities.

Small stores may quote prices in riel, but they will all accept dollars as payment. In the Cambodian countryside the economy is almost entirely in riel, but even so you will always be able to use dollars in small denominations

For the anecdote, you will have to settle the visa processing fees in USD currency and not in the local currency, funny isn’t it? 
Note that because they do not use US dollars coins in Cambodia, you will get change for your purchases in riel.

Prices in towns bordering on Thailand in the west such as Koh Kong, Poipet and Sisophon are often quoted in Thai baht (THB). Thai Baht is the third most common currency in use in the country.

If three currencies seem a little excessive, perhaps it is because the Cambodians are making up for lost time: during the Pol Pot era, the country had no currency. The Khmer Rouge abolished money and blew up the National Bank building in Phnom Penh.

Other foreign currencies such as Pounds or Australian Dollars will likely not be accepted but can be exchanged in main cities, though the rate might be at your disadvantage.

Exchange

Although Cambodia's official currency is the Riel, the US Dollar is used in most transactions, so we recommend taking a supply of US Dollars in cash, including some small denomination notes.

Armed with enough cash, you will not need to visit a bank at all because it is possible to change small amounts of dollars for riel at hotels, restaurants and markets.

Get US Dollars from your home country

While it is obviously easy for U.S. citizens to get US Dollars, you should compare and shop around if you are buying US Dollars from the U.K., Australia or Canada as the exchange rates on offer vary considerably. 

One of the most convenient ways to get a decent exchange rate is to order your currency in advance, and then collect it from the provider's outlet, or arrange delivery.

You can check the best rates available, and suitable providers, on price comparison websites such as moneysavingexpert.com or travelsupermarket.com. 

As a rule, avoid exchanging money at the airport unless you have pre-ordered to secure a favorable rate. 

The Post Office's pre-ordering service is usually competitive and convenient for collection. It is worth requesting some small denomination notes when you order.

Your US Dollars will be rejected if they are ripped, torn, or otherwise overly abused. Old-style US bills are also not welcome, so make sure that the cash you bring is fairly new. It is also worth scrutinizing the change you are given to make sure you do not receive bad bills.

If for any reasons, you could not bring any US Dollars for your trip to Cambodia, do not worry, there are still solutions.

Exchange other foreign currencies

Cash in other major currencies such as Pounds, Australian dollars and Canadian dollars can be changed at banks or markets in major cities. However, most banks tend to offer a poor rate for any non-dollar transaction so it can be better to use moneychangers, which are found in and around every major market.

As it is often the case, larger bills are exchanged at slightly higher rates than smaller bills.

Also note that most banks are closed on weekends and holidays, as well as being closed for a week every April during the Khmer New year.

We do not recommend you exchange money on the streets or through tuk-tuk drivers. This is a great way to get scammed, particularly in Phnom Penh or Siem Reap.

As a last resort, Western Union and MoneyGram are both represented in Cambodia for fast, if more expensive, money transfers. Western Union is represented by Acleda Bank, and MoneyGram by Canadia Bank.

When you leave the country, do not forget to exchange your remaining riel before you take off since you will struggle to get rid of them outside Cambodia.

ATMs in Cambodia

There are credit-card-compatible ATMs (Visa, MasterCard, JCB, Cirrus) in most major cities. There are also ATMs at the Cham Yeam, Poipet and Bavet borders if arriving by land from Thailand or Vietnam. 

Machines usually give you the option of withdrawing in US dollars or riel. However, if you are using a foreign ATM card, you will likely only be able to withdraw dollars.

Single withdrawals of up to US $500 at a time are usually possible, providing your account can handle it. Stay alert when using ATMs late at night.

ANZ Royal Bank has the most extensive network, including ATMs at petrol stations, and popular hotels, restaurants and shops, closely followed by Canadia Bank. 

Acleda Bank has the widest network of branches in the country, including all provincial capitals, but their ATMs generally only take visa-affiliated cards. Most ATM withdrawals incur a charge of US $4 to 5.

Credit Cards in Cambodia

Cambodia is primarily a cash society and the use of credit card is not as common as in western countries. 

Top-end hotels, airline offices and upmarket boutiques and restaurants generally accept most major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, JCB and sometimes American Express), but many pass the charges straight on to the customer, meaning an extra 2% to 3% on the bill.

Cash advances on credit cards are available in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, Kampot, Battambang, Kompong Cham and other major towns. Most banks advertise a minimum charge of US $5.

Several travel agents and hotels in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap can arrange cash advances for about 5% commission. This can be particularly useful if you get caught short at the weekend.

Pre-paid cards

Prepaid credit cards are now the safest way to travel with ‘cash’ and are much more cost effective and convenient than Travelers Cheques which are now slowly becoming obsolete.

We recommend the Caxton FX Global Traveler card which offers a fixed exchange rate at 2.75% below the prevailing interbank rate when spending overseas and withdrawing local currency from ATMs. Unlike credit cards the application process is straightforward, but you need to allow 7 days for delivery of the card. 

How much money do you need to visit Cambodia?

The answer just might surprise you and is subject to debate. 

Although Cambodia is one of Southeast Asia’s least developed countries, it can be slightly more expensive to visit than its more developed, economically successful neighbors.

This is largely because there is less tourist infrastructure throughout Cambodia, meaning the few options that are available come at a slight premium.

But do not get stressed, Cambodia is still a very affordable destination for travelers, especially the ones coming from western countries where cost of living is sensibly higher.

In this article, we will breakdown exactly how much you can expect to spend travelling through Cambodia. We will cover accommodation, food, entertainment, sightseeing, transportation, and miscellaneous items. By the end of this article, you should have a pretty good idea of how much things cost.

Accommodation

While Cambodia does not quite have the huge range of accommodation options you can find in Thailand, it is home to a surprisingly diverse range of hotels, guesthouses, hostels and resorts.

Since tourism is fairly new to Cambodia, many of the mid-priced and luxury hotels you will find in the country are just a few years old, with new rooms and high-quality facilities.

Prices for accommodation in Cambodia vary from city to city. Expect to pay a minimum of US $15 for a comfortable private budget room in Phnom Penh or Siem Reap, and upwards of US $100 for luxury hotels rooms in either of Cambodia’s two largest cities.

Where Cambodia really excels is in the mid-price range. Phnom Penh and Siem Reap have a great selection of small, comfortable boutique hotels offering beautiful rooms for US $30 to US $50 per night.

Hostels are a great option for travelers on a strict budget. In Phnom Penh, dorm beds can be found for as little as US $7 in a mixed dormitory (male and female). 

In general, accommodation prices are 20% higher in Phnom Penh than in Siem Reap, for a similar property.

If you are planning on staying for a longer period in Cambodia, the average rent for a modern apartment in Siem Reap costs between US $350 to 550 / month depending on the size, location and amenities. 

Getting around Cambodia

There are three ways to get around Cambodia — by air, by road and by rail. We’ve listed the cost of each option below, as well as the benefits and downsides of each method of transportation.

Check out the full guide for getting around in Cambodia here

Cambodia Domestic Flights

Flying is by far the easiest way to travel around Cambodia. It’s also the most costly. Cambodia has three international airports — located in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville — with flights available on domestic airlines like Cambodia Bayon Airlines.

Because the domestic airline industry in Cambodia is small and relatively new, there isn’t much competition and prices are generally higher than what you’d pay for equivalent flights in Vietnam or Thailand. Expect to pay $80 or more to fly one way between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.

Cambodia International Flights

There are numerous daily flights from Bangkok to Siem Reap and Bangkok to Phnom Penh. Check Skyscanner for prices and flight schedules. There are also several airlines that now make long-haul international flights to Siem Reap and Phnom Penh – again, check Skyscanner for specific routes to find carriers and prices.

Cambodia Buses

Cambodia’s road network is getting better every year, making it easier to reach small towns and destinations that were once very much off the beaten path. There are two bus options that cover most of Cambodia — large intercity buses and smaller, privately operated minibuses.

Buses are by far the cheapest way to get around Cambodia. You can get from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap for about $6 on the cheapest privately operated buses, while higher quality buses from companies like Mekong Express cost around $10 to $14 each way.

One thing to note is that bus travel in Cambodia can be slow and fairly uncomfortable. Expect to deal with loud movies (and potentially karaoke on some buses), as well as unpredictable traffic and somewhat aggressive driving from most bus drivers.

Food & drink

Food in Cambodia is generally tasty and affordable, with a good selection of both Khmer and international food available in major cities like Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.

Eating local food is one of the easiest ways to save money and reduce your daily spending while in Cambodia.

Popular Cambodian dishes include amoka, a coconut-based fish curry, and noodle dishes. Khmer food is available from as little as US $1 per dish and offers a great way to fill up at a very low cost.

Because of Cambodia’s growing popularity as a tourism destination, you will find a good selection of Western and international restaurants in main cities. Prices tend to be reasonable, with a place of pasta available for US $5 to 10, burgers priced from US $3 to 5 and popular foods like pizza available for well under US $10.

Due to Cambodia’s history as a French colony, you can find bakeries and French restaurants in Siem Reap or Phnom Penh. Cambodia is also significantly cheaper than its neighboring countries for imported foods and drinks like wine, cheese and condiments.

Drinks in Cambodia are very affordable, with local beers such as Angkor available for as little as one dollar a can in local restaurants. Expect to pay US $2 to 5 for a beer in a local bar, and US $5 or more if you drink in a high-end hotel or restaurant.

Wine in surprisingly cheap in Cambodia compared to its more heavily taxed neighbours, with imported wines available from US $3 per glass in many Western restaurants.

Soft drinks, fresh juices and mineral water are available everywhere in convenience stores and street stalls for less than a dollar.

Sightseeing

While you can enjoy most of Cambodia’s marvels for free, some very popular sights require a fee to visit. Here is a list of the prices as of 2019 for the top attractions in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.

Phnom Penh

  • The Grand Palace: US $10 ticket
  • National Museum of Arts: US $5 ticket
  • Tuk tuk to Choeng Ek Killing fields & S21: US $20
  • Tuol Sleng (Genocide Museum S21) Prison: US $3.50
  • Killing Fields: US $3 entrance fee (US $3 additional fee for audio tour)

Siem Reap

  • Angkor Wat 1-day ticket: US $37
  • Angkor Wat 3-day ticket: US $62
  • Angkor Wat 7-day ticket: US $72
  • Tuk tuk to Angkor Wat: US $15 (half day) and US $20 (full day)

Alcohol and Cigarettes in Cambodia

Alcohol in Cambodia is very affordable, with local beers such as Angkor (and the very similarly named Anchor beer) available for as little as one dollar a can in local restaurants. Expect to pay $2-5 for a beer in a local bar, and $5 or more if you drink in a high-end hotel or restaurant.

Buy your beer from a convenience store and you can expect to pay less than one dollar a can, assuming you stick to the local brews.

Cocktails in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap range from just a few dollars at cheap bars to $10 or more at high-end venues. Wine in surprisingly cheap in Cambodia compared to its more heavily taxed neighbours, with imported wines available from $3 per glass in many Western restaurants.

Cigarettes are equally cheap in Cambodia, with imported brands available for a little over 6,000 riels per pack and local cigarettes available for 25-50% less. Imported cigars are also available in Cambodia at similar prices to what you’d pay in neighbouring Thailand or Vietnam.

Overall, nightlife in Cambodia is exceptionally cheap. Provided you stick to local restaurants and popular tourist bars, you can have an enjoyable night out with several rounds of drinks, all while spending less than $15 per person.

Cambodia travel budget for some popular time frames

Below you will find the Cambodia travel budget for some popular time frames (quoted in United States Dollars per group for the whole trip)

Time frames 1 person 2 persons 3 persons 4 persons
10 days 2,370 3,260 4,290 5,040
15 days 3,555 4,890 6,435 7,560
1 week 1,659 2,282 3,003 3,528
2 weeks 3,318 4,564 6,006 7,056
3 weeks 4,977 6,846 9,009 10,584
4 weeks 6,636 9,128 12,012 14,112
1 month 7,110 9,780 12,870 15,120
2 months 14,457 19,886 26,169 30,744
3 months 21,804 29,992 39,468 46,368

Note: The above budget can be changed depending on your travel preference of accommodation, activities on tour, or the mode of transportation. For more detail, feel free to contact us at your own convenience.

Here is our sample Cambodia tour packages for your reference

Frequently asked questions

Q. How much does it cost to live in Cambodia?

According to International Living, the monthly budget for a single expat living in Phnom Penh is about $1,150. Here is the expense breakdown:

Expense U.S. $
Rent: (furnished two-bedroom apartment) $381
High-speed internet $19
Pay TV (standard package) $5
Electricity (including regular A/C) $92
Phone (basic mobile phone and data plan) $10
Water $6
Groceries/wine/beer $229
Entertainment (dining out and other activities) $191
House cleaner (once a week) $31
Healthcare (four $27 visits to a doctor/dentist per year) $9
Emergency insurance $65
Visa maintenance $24
Transportation (regular tuk tuks) $38
Incidentals $50
Monthly Total $1,150

Q. Do you need to tip in Cambodia?

Tipping is not customary in Cambodia but given that it is such a poor country, a little extra can go a long way for those in the service industry. Generally, adding 10% to bills in restaurants and rounding taxi fares up is a good way to show your appreciation.

If you stay in a hotel with room service, it is a good idea to leave a dollar or two per day for the housekeeping staff and bell boys. It is also polite to leave a donation when you visit any of the wats (temples). 

Here is the guide for tipping custom in Cambodia

Q. How to haggle in Cambodia?

Prices are fixed in shops and malls, but you’re expected to bargain in markets and when buying from hawkers. Bargaining is seen as an amicable game and social exchange. The seller usually starts at a moderately inflated price: for cheapish items, with a starting price below $10, expect to be able to knock around a third off; with pricier items you might be lucky to get a reduction of ten percent. To keep a sense of perspective while bargaining, it’s worth remembering that on items like a T-shirt or krama, the vendor’s margin is often as little as a thousand riel.

Here is the shopping guide in Cambodia

Q. When is the cheapest time to fly to Cambodia?

The cheapest time to fly to Cambodia is during the off-season from June until September. As there are not many tourists visiting the country, the airlines and hotels seem to offer promotion to attract more tourist and try to fill-up the plane. If you are ok with the heat and some sudden rain, this is the time for you.

Here is the guide to get the cheapest flight ticket to Cambodia

Q. Is Cambodia safe to visit?

Generally, The kingdom of Cambodia is safe to visit and travel around. The only exception to this rule is remote areas at night. Violent crime in the country is rare. Petty crimes like a bag, purse snatching, pick pocketing and other types of petty crimes prevail. In order to make your trip safe, please follow our safety guide for Cambodia

Check out the safety and precaution for Cambodia

NOT READY YET?

We believe you have the right to arm yourselves with as much information as possible before making any decision.

Check below our detailed tips & guide for every places to visit in Cambodia, recommendation regarding the inclusion in each theme you prefer, and what you can do based on the time frame you have.

PLACES TO VISIT IN Cambodia
Siem Reap
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Tonle Sap Lake
bee-white Tonle Sap Lake

One of the most fish abundant lakes in the world and supports 360 floating villages and thousands of waterbirds.

Phnom Penh
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Battambang
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Sihanoukville
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Koh Rong Island
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Cambodia PLANS BY TRAVEL THEME
Must-see
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Check out all the must-see places and things to do & see

Luxury
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Unique experience combined with top-notch services

Wellness & Leisure
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Easy excursion combined with week-long beach break

Cruise
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The combination of some must-see experience and the cruise tour along the mighty rivers

Cycling
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Explore every corners of the destination on two wheels

Honeymoon
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Easy excursions combined with unique experience making the long-lasting romantic memories

Unseen
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Reveal off-the-beatentrack routes, least explored destinations, and unknown tribe groups

Trek & Hike
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Explore the least visited destinations and unknown experience on foot

Family
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The combination of fun and educational activities

Cambodia PLANS BY TIME FRAME
white-icon About 1 week
yellow-icon About 1 week
white-icon About 2 weeks
yellow-icon About 2 weeks
white-icon About 3 weeks
yellow-icon About 3 weeks
white-icon About 4 weeks
yellow-icon About 4 weeks
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SPECIAL Cambodia TIPS & TOURS

Search for your nationality below to see our special Cambodia travel tips & advice for your country. CONTACT US if you cannot find yours.

Australian
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United States
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United Kingdom
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French
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Cambodia BLOG ARTICLES

After nearly two years of restricting international arrivals as part of Covid-19 prevention measures, Cambodia yesterday become the first country in Southeast Asia to drop the requirements for both pre-travel PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test and on-arrival rapid antigen test for fully vaccinated travellers into the Kingdom.

...more

Cambodia has abolished the need for a PCR negative test obtained 72 hours before arrival and rapid test upon arrival in Cambodia. They also enable to visa-on arrival system on the strike to facilitate the reopening process of the tourism sector as reported on March 17th, 2022.

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Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie, who is well known to Cambodians, has returned to the Kingdom for the first time since the outbreak of Covid-19 in 2020.

In the past, the American film star directed the film First They Killed My Father here after starring in Tomb Raider, released in 2001, which is considered the first international movie in modern times to introduce the wonder of Angkor Wat to a wider, western audience.

...more

The below article is written by Reece Ferguson from Khmer Night about the experience with a visit to Siem Reap recently in the "new normal". Check it out to know what to expect if you are planning to visit Cambodia in the "new normal" in 2022.

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Siem Reap has really gone through the wars lately, with lockdown’s and “Red Zones” seriously impacting the city. The lockdown is though now over, meaning this might well be your last chance to visit a truly empty Angkor Wat.

Every now and again you get a job-perk, so when Khmer Nights were invited to test out a new tourism app in Siem Reap, we jumped at the chance. Visiting the floating village on Tonle Sap and Angkor Wat were duly picked as our personal tour choices and we got ready to embark on a mini-adventure.

When the crisis is over, you need this guide to visit Angkor Wat without the crowds

...more

A Sihanoukville sandbox will be initiated on November 30th, which will allow quarantine-free travel not only to the port city, but also Koh Rong Island and Dara Sakor Resort in Koh Kong province.

This will now allow for quarantine-free travel to and within the Kingdom, but what exactly is in the fine print?

Sit back while we dive into the Sihanoukville Sandbox, outlining how it will work and what to expect. 

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Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Asian countries has taken the cautious approach to inbound travel and has had some of the strictest border restrictions and closures. At the moment, the nations of the region are in the beginning stages of reopening their borders for tourism, with every country introducing its own regulations.

The “unlocking” statuses vary widely. Travelers entering Asian countries may be required to do everything from going into quarantine, submitting negative COVID-19 test results, presenting proof of health insurance, and proof of vaccination (known a vaccine passports).

There is an understandable uncertainty with how you should travel to the Asian region if you are planning to. This is why we present you the list of 19 Asian countries, along with details on the current travel situation. As each country applies precisely defined regulations, you should always check the official websites listed in the article below for the latest government announcements.

...more
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Vietnam
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A land of staggering natural beauty and cultural complexities, of dynamic megacities and hill-tribe villages, Vietnam is both exotic and compelling.
Thailand
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Friendly and food-obsessed, hedonistic and historic, cultured and curious, Thailand tempts visitors with a smile as golden as the country's glittering temples and tropical beaches.
Myanmar
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It's a new era for this extraordinary and complex land, where the landscape is scattered with gilded pagodas and the traditional ways of Asia endure.
Laos
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Vivid nature, voluptuous landscapes and a vibrant culture collide with a painful past and optimistic future to make Laos an enigmatic experience for the adventurous.
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