Friday, September 21, 2012

Cambodia Budget and Takeaway Thoughts and Tips

Before this Indochina adventure, I was convinced that it was dirt cheap to backpack around the Philippines for foreigners. Cambodia proved that it can be more affordable. The accommodation, tuktuk rental and meals were relatively cheap. The expensive ones were the Angkor Wat Entrance fee and the guide.

Siem Reap thrives on foreigners. I guess that explains why people are hospitable. They also speak good English. I was impressed that some of the local Angkor Wat guides can speak in Spanish and French.

And here's the expenses of our Cambodia leg of the Indochina trip. Some costs are divided by two because I have a travel buddy this time. This covers Phnom Pehn and Siem Reap.

Day 5: HCMC to PP, Killing Fields, Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum
Depart HCMC

Arrive PP

Lunch: Paid in VND - 30,000

Tuktuk rental for tour - $15
Killing Fields
Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum - "night charge"
Accomodation: Fancy Guesthouse, twin room - $15
Bus going to SR
Dinner at Friends Restaurant

Day 6: PP to SR, Tonle Sap Lake, Apsara Dance Show

Breakfast in PP: Noodles
Snack: Grass Jelly drink in can
Snack: Biscuit Stick
Aspara Show with Buffet Dinner
Drinks in Apsara Show
Tuktuk Rental - $4

Day 7: Angkor Wat Tour: Explore near temples (small circuit)
Angkor Wat-3 day pass
Tuktuk rental - $12
Angkor Wat English Tour Guide

Day 8: Explore far temples

Tuktuk rental - $20
Angkor Wat English Tour Guide
Room - $16 twin room, 3 nights, 10% discount
Apple Shake
Snack: Oreo

Day 9: SR to BKK via bus

Depart SR
Total Expenses in USD
USD rate (rate that I bought my USD)
Total Expenses in PHP

Some takeaway thoughts and tips:
  • Cambodia has their own currency but USD is accepted in Cambodia. 4,000 Cambodian Riels = 1 USD. This conversion rate does not change.
  • If you pay in USD and you have less than $1 as change, they will give your change in riels. E.g. You buy something worth 3,000 riels. You pay $1. Your change will be 1,000 riels
  • Use all your Riels before you leave Cambodia.
  • Thank you in Khmer: "Ah-kun”
  • Haggle!

Around the Angkor Wat Complex:
  • Prepare your sun-survival battle gear: SUNBLOCK, sunglasses and sarong
  • Some parts of the Angkor Wat require some dress code – e.g. shoulders have to be covered (sarong as cover not allowed). I wore a dress + leggings + bolero/cardigan. You can take off the cardigan if it gets too hot. But I kept it on because it prevented sunburn from my back and shoulders.
  • Carry a bottle of water while going around temples.
  • Do not give money to a kid. Once you do, dozens will rush to you asking for money too.
  • Hire an Angkor Wat Tour Guide. Some would balk at the cost ($25/day) but I found their services valuable. They can show you the ins and outs of the temple and entertain you with the country’s history. Exploring the Angkor Wat is not just about the taking awesome photos.
  • To take awesome photos, set your camera to “Vivid Colors” setting. Else, the glorious ruins will just look like rubble.
  • There will some moments where the temple will look just like blah and “same same”.  Get off the normal tourist route and explore other angles.
  • Watch your step and watch your head. 
  • It helps if you have some creative poses up your sleeve. If you put on a standard pose all the time, it gets old quickly. Do some glam shots!

My fave Wushu pose. I train in Wushu Discovery.

1 comment:

  1. I stumbled upon your blog while I was taking a study break from my CPA exams a year ago. I've always wanted to do some more traveling and do it on a budget too. I promised myself that once I passed the exams, I would go to four different places ( one for each section passed) that are totally different cultures from mine. I visited Turkey last month. Siam Reap looks very promising for the next year!

    I love seeing your adventures, and am inspired by them! Please keep doing what you do! You're an inspiration.


    Seattle, USA


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