Cambodia – Itinerary and expenses

Cambodia fits the pocket well in terms of expenses on food and accommodation. One can find stay options for as low as $5-10 per night. And a 3 star hotel with good amenities can cost between $15-20. Of course there is no limit to luxury. I was in Cambodia for 4 nights and 5 days – in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh.

I flew between Singapore and Phnom Penh (which formed the bulk of my expense) and traveled to Siem Reap from Phnom Penh in a bus (as this was way cheaper than directly flying to Siem Reap). I stayed at the Angkor Pearl Hotel in Siem Reap. Would  recommended it as it is walking distance to the Pub Street and has good ameneties. In Phnom Penh I stayed at Kambuja Inn Рagain walking distance to Central Market, National Museum Рa decent, affordable place.

This was my expense list:

Plane Tickets

Siem Reap
Hotel – $40 for 3 nights (can be lower)
3 Day temple pass – $40
Tuk tuk and guide daily charge – $20
Floating village trip – $20
Tuk tuk for Banteay Srei (it is far and costs extra) – $20
Food and drinks – Can have a meal between $4-5. Drinks are as low as $1.
Sim card – $7
Foot massage (a must!!!) – $8-10
Bus to and fro Siem Reap – $25-30 each way. As it is a 4-5 hour journey, its better to go for something comfortable
Misc Tuk tuk rides during stay – $1-2 per trip

Phnom Penh
Hotel – $10 aprox
National Museum – $5
Killing Fields -$3
S-21 -$2

Misc Tuk tuk rides
Phone connection – Pretty cheap. We took Hello

The most convenient currency to be used is the US Dollar. Cambodia has its own currency Riel, but it is used only as a change. Dollar can be used for transactions everywhere.

And this was my itinerary:
Day 1
Arrival in Phnom Penh
Night bus to Siem Reap
Day 2 (Temple visits)
Baksei Champrong
Angkor Thom
Royal Palace, Elephant Terrace
Ta Prohm
Phnom Bakang (For sunset)
Pub Street
Day 3
Sunrise at Angkor Wat
Banteay Srei
Landmine museum
Floating village
Pub Street
Day 4
Early bus to Phnom Penh
National museum
Day 5
Killing Fields
Flight back to Singapore

Suggested itinerary
For Siem Reap, I wish I had a day more. If you have limited time, spend at least 3 full days in Siem Reap. A lot of people complain about temple burnout as the temples all start to look similar after some time. It can be avoided by planning the itinerary in a way that a day is divided between different kinds of temples. A suggested itinerary is as follows:-

Day 1
– Angkor Thom area (and surrounding temples – Bapuon, Bayon etc) – Spend 4-5 hours for a decent visit
Ta Prohm – Try to visit in late afternoon, maybe around 2-4 pm. The sun is not so strong and provides a great atmosphere. Can also be done early morning to avoid crowds
– Sunset at Phnom Bakang

Day 2
– Sunrise at Angkor Wat & exploring the temple. For the sunrise it is best to reach as early as possible (around 5). This will allow you to not just get good spots for the pictures but also see the changing colors in the sky. For exploring the temple, really a whole day is not enough, but something like 6 -7 hours (including sunrise) should be satisfactory!
Banteay Srei. The late afternoon sun plays out beautifully on the red sandstone of this oft ignored temple. Also, the ride through the countryside is beautiful. On way is a Landmine museum which is recommended to learn more about Cambodia’s brutal past
Floating village on the Tonle Sap lake (sunset view)

Day 3
– Sunrise at Preah Khan. I missed visiting this one I read its another temple which has its own mystique
Roluos group of temples lie a bit further away from the majority of temples and should be visited
Sunset at Angkor Wat – Sunset, sunrise all looks beautiful here. So if there is time, a sunset at Angkor Wat should not be missed

For Phnom Penh, around 2 days should suffice. Following itinerary is suggested:

Day 1
Royal Palace – 1 hr ( its closed during the day so important to check the times before visiting)
National museum Р1-1.5 hr (check the opening hours before visiting)
Russian Market and Central market – for some shopping
Dinner at riverfront

Day 2
S-21 – 1-1.5 hrs
Killing Fields – 2 – 2.5 hrs including travel as it is a bit further away (check the opening hours before visiting)
You can follow this up with an evening cruise on Mekong River

The guides provide great inputs on planning temple visits. But I recommend the above as it includes visits to the unique temples of Siem Reap. Would also recommend to read up a bit on Cambodia’s history – it has a rich cultural heritage and very strong influences from Hinduism which can be overwhelming at first. Also don’t cram too much in a day and try to space out temple visits otherwise there is the danger of temple burnout.

Bon voyage!!

Cambodia diaries: Race to Siem Reap
Cambodia diaries: Temple Run in Angkor Thom
Cambodia diaries: Ta Prohm
Cambodia diaries: Pub Street
Cambodia diaries: Sunrise at Angkor Wat
Cambodia diaries: Bantaey Srei, Landmine museum
Cambodia diaries: Floating Village
Cambodia diaries: Phnom Penh

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