BARE FACTS: CAMBODIA
It's a scary thing telling other people how beautiful Cambodia is, you just know if you do the place will be overrun by buffoons within the year. I guess sometimes it's just too hard to keep your mouth shut, it's just too damn beautiful. Paralyzed for years by the rule and recovery of the Polpot regime, Cambodia hasn't developed in the same enormous ways that other cities have. For travelers wanting a more unique and raw experience this offers plenty of opportunity.
VISA WHAT NOTS
Cambodia is a fairly easy place to cross a border but due to the corrupt border officers it can range in expenses. Usually a $5 USD bill does the trick but some bus companies try for $50 USD for bogus documents. Expect around $30 for a prearranged E-Visa, just head to the Cambodian Embassy for more details. Reminder it can only be used on some land crossings.
WHERE TO STAY
Cambodia is set up for all travelers not matter their budget. A lot of hostels are quite nice and kept clean. Expect between $4 USD-$9 USD a night for dorm rooms and about $15-$20 USD for privates. A lot of the popular beach areas have fancier hotels and resort spaces for a much fairer price than the Western world.
Use Tuk Tuk's for a few USD, make sure you agree on a price before the trip and haggle. It's fun and cheap and let's you see the landscape through a new set of eyes. Major cities such as Siem Reap will see you ordering a Tuk Tuk driver for a few days. Overnight/long distance bus's for the most part are ok. Ask hotel or expat staff who to buy from to avoid being ripped off.
If you have one thing to see in Cambodia then it's these amazing temples constructed by Khmer King Suryavarman. While it's completely packed with tourists there are plenty of moments to break away from the crowd. No matter how big, small, restored or rustic, each temple has a story and will impress the senses.
Whether you stay on Otres 1 or 2, they both offer the tropical beach experience. Enjoy a quieter atmosphere to Sihanoukville's main party spot, Serendipity Beach. With cheap beach front accommodation, fresh seafood sold on the beach and beautiful sun, it really is paradise
Often bypassed by tourists, this sleepy little town is a great place to explore. The Killing caves and Bamboo train are great attractions and there is plenty of expat spots to sit back and people watch. Be ready to see some authentic Cambodian living.
A big hostel in a safe and convenient location, Mad Monkey has a good set up. Rooms and bathrooms were fairly clean, downstairs restaurant served really great food at 'Westernish' prices. Rooftop bar and the bar crawls are a great highlight and really helped to make new friends and see some night life. Prices range from $6.50-$30 USD for a dorm to a villa.
There is something truly unique about staying in a jungle tree house like hostel on the banks of the river in Kampot. Arcadia definitely has the prime location, a great restaurant and a slice of serenity. While it wasn't the friendliest or most social hostel we visited it's worth a visit. Dorms start at $6 USD
HERE BE DRAGONS,
Perhaps one of the best hostels we stayed at in Cambodia, it was everything you could want. Great food and bar with fun, friendly staff and plenty of themed activity nights. We enjoyed an amazing BBQ ribs evening, trivia night and evenings in the hammocks. Rooms were cheap,simple and clean although they did get very hot during the day. Rooms range in price from $3-$10 USD and are worth it.
$20-$30 USD A DAY
You know the drill..dorm beds in hostels with fans (if you're lucky) and street food, local restaurants and only a few beers and luxuries. Make the most of your legs and get walking to explore and keep costs down.
A LIL SWAGGER
$35-$50 USD A DAY
Enjoy a few extra perks with your budget such as private rooms, en-suite and air con. Mix in a few nicer/Western meals to the local food markets and enjoy a few nights out. Treat yourself to a few cool activities and a tuk tuk ride after a long day.
$55+ USD A DAY
The world is your oyster when you can make it rain! Enjoy nice hotels, air con and perhaps a pool. Food choices are a plenty but don't get sucked in by too much Western food. Massages every few days and awesome activities to keep you entertained. Unwind with cocktails, beers and clubbing.
Local food eaten at markets/ street food stalls or small restaurants should come in at $5-$7 with a beer or soft drink.
Beer will cost between $.50-$1.5 depending on where you buy.
Accommodation should cost between $5-$12 pp for a dorm bed. Some tourist areas such as Sihanoukville might be a little pricier.
Getting from A to B on tuk tuks will cost about $3-$6 a day depending on the distance. Use local buses to get from destinations but expect it to take longer with all the stop, expect between $4-$7 USD.
The best part of backpacking is there is a lot to see for free. With a few big sights in most destinations budget $60-80 per week you're staying to include Ankgor Wat, water activities and Polpot sights.
With a bit more wiggle room you can afford a private room with a fan and en-suite from between $9-15 pp. We paid $20 USD for a hut on the beach at Pappa Pippo in Otres 1.
Explore a few nice but modest restaurants and splurge on a few Western home comforts. Food will usually come in at $8-$10 with a beer or soft drink.
Make sure you enjoy a few cocktails or buckets, usually ranging from $3-$6 and super strong!
If you're working with a bit more cash, travelling from city to city will be comfortable. Longer bus journeys will range from $5-$15
Aside from the major sights you'll be able to add a few other cool things in the mix like fishing trips, snorkeling and maybe cooking classes.
$50 USD a night will get you a beautiful modern room, air con and en-suite. You'll often get breakfast included plus a lot of hotels will have a pool to combat the heat.
Eat like a King! You can afford to eat out every evening with a mix of nice local restaurants. Average meal will cost $10-$15
Wash it down with some wine, a rather expensive and rare beverage choice in South East Asia.
If money is no object then ride in style and hire a person driver to get you from A-B, prices vary but it's usually between $25-$50 a day depending on how Westernised the service is.
See it all and then some. Get personal tours of each destinations, you'll almost have too much to do everyday! IF that's the case treat yourself to a spa day.
Despite the unpredictable wet season, this is still a popular time to travel Cambodia. The countryside is green and nourished and the weather makes sight seeing comfortable.
The best time to travel Cambodia is when the weather is cool and windy and without the risk of heart stroke. Expect plenty of dry, sunny days to explore. Temp is very comfortable 25-30°C
Most countries are full of tourists when the weather is hot, not Cambodia. Scorching sunshine and hot temperatures makes seeing Cambodia extremely uncomfortable, unless you're on the beach.>
Tipping is not expected but throwing a few extra dollars to your driver, massage therapist, server or cocktail waitress will go a long way. We always shouted our driver a soft drink/ water or snack on long trips.
The rough number is about 15.87 million people living in Cambodia which makes up again .21% of the world's population.
The local Cambodian currency is the Cambodian Riel however the USD is widely used and accepted most places. Just be careful to do the math when using them both at the same time.