Budgeting for a trip to Angkor, Cambodia
“The best part about traveling through South East Asia is the affordability”
As true as this is for the citizens of the western world, the fact remains that for travellers from many other countries, visiting South East Asian countries requires a bit of pre-travel budgeting. And here’s all that we learnt while we explored the ancient temples of northern Cambodia.
- Air Asia is the best airline to get in and out of Cambodia (especially from India)
- If you book well in advance, you should be able to find round-trip tickets for as low as INR 14,000 (USD 200) per person
- Search on Skyscanner and Kayak, and then book on MMT or Goibibo to get the ease of booking on an Indian travel website
Tip: If you are on a single PNR from origin to destination, you will be issued all boarding passes at the origin – you won’t need to worry about transit visas in those cases, generally (for e.g., Air Asia, these tickets are called “fly-thru”) – but it’s best to check with the airline/embassies about requirements for a transit visa
- The most attractive part of traveling in South East Asia is DEFINITELY the hotel pricing!
- A double room at a small boutique hotel usually sells at USD 15 or INR 1,000 a night
- Dorms are even cheaper at INR 300 (under USD 4)
- We stayed at the Mudra Angkor Boutique Hotel
A few more posts:
How many days are required to see the Angkor Wat and other temples? It is very easy to spend upto a week in the region scouting the endless temple complexes.
Tip: Devote at least two to three days for a fruitful experience. Most hotels offer packages to visit the Angkor temples in their own tuktuks; streetside tuktuks offer a variety of day-trip itineraries for you to pick from
The day-trips are of these types:
- Small circuit – covering the Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom (including Bayon, Baphuon and the terraces), Ta Prohm, Phnom Bakheng and Prasat Kravan (a tiny jungle temple) – cost: USD 15 (INR 1,000)
- Big/Grand circuit – Small circuit, you can also visit the Preah Khan temple, Neak Pean, Ta Som, East Mebon and the temple of Pre Rup – cost: USD 25 (~INR 1,600)
- For an additional charge of USD 10 (INR 1,000), the temple of Banteay Srei can also be added to the grand circuit
- Add USD 5 (INR 350) for catching the famous sunrise at Angkor Wat (remember to ask your hotel to pack you a breakfast picnic so you can eat after the sunrise at Angkor Wat)
- Beng Mealea, a marvellous ruin, is about 60 km outside the Siem Reap area – cost USD 40 (INR 2,600) – but believe us, you cannot miss it! This normally includes a visit to the Bakong Temple too.
Apart from the temple-run, you can also do a lot of other fun things in the town of Siem Reap:
- There is a cultural centre in the town
- Apsara dance and buffet dinner
- Visit the floating markets at Tonle Sap, south of Siem Reap
- Cooking classes are held in many hotels, where you can learn a thing or two about cooking Khmer delicacies
- There’s also Pub Street for endless lunches, dinners, beers and fried arachnids (and “happy pizza”)
- If shopping is on your list, you must visit the old market (near pub street) in Siem Reap and its a treasure trove for souvenirs, clothes and books!
To visit the Angkor temples, you will need to buy an Angkor Temple Pass.
- One-day (USD 37), three-day (USD 62) and seven-day (USD 72) passes are available at the counter in the centre of town
- Entry tickets to Beng Mealea are separate (USD 5)
- Similarly, the seven day pass has a validity of one calendar month, out of which you can use it on any seven days, to enter the temples.
- Please be careful with the passes, as losing them can result in a very hefty fine of over USD 100 (INR 6,500)
- If you happen to buy any of these tickets around 5 pm, you can enter the sites free of charge for that day and the ticket validity begins only from the next morning
- The ticket is issued with a photo of the visitors printed on it for identification purposes (not transferrable). You can choose to pay by Visa, Mastercard, cash, etc.
Tip: We got the three day pass for USD 62 (INR 4,200) – its the perfect choice for visiting all the major temples and is more economical than the one-day pass. Its also valid for 10 consecutive days from the date of purchase, out of which you choose a maximum of any three days to visit the temples
Visa for Cambodia
- The Kingdom of Wonder offers visa-on-arrival (VOA) for many nationalities, including Indians
It is fairly easy and simple to get the Visa and takes a couple of minutes to get through with the procedure – cost USD 30 (INR 2,100).
- E-Visa option: very simple, you can do it online from anywhere and you just need to provide some basic information – costs USD 36 (INR 2,500) per person.
This way you will get the visa in your hands before you board your flight to the country.
Keep in mind that it takes three days for issuing the E-Visa (although, we got ours much faster than that)
Bonus for VOA: You get the Visa stamp featuring the Angkor Wat, on your passport page!
Food and Drink
- There is a huuuge variety of food that you can feast on in Siem Reap (read Pub Street)
- Spiders and frogs on skewers and fresh crocodile meat are (apparently) delicacies in town!
We walked past a cart selling those skewers at USD 1.50 (INR 100) a piece
And the vendor even lets you take a photo for free – otherwise, there is a USD 0.50 charge if you just want a picture, and not the food
- Indian, Chinese, American, Sri Lankan, Bangladeshi, Italian, Mexican and traditional KHMER cuisines are available
- We feasted on a very interesting meal at a Khmer barbeque restaurant. Its definitely worth a try!
- We loved Viva, a Mexican restaurant at the corner of Krong street – excellent Nachos there
- You MUST have some tender coconut water in town.. it is really so good!
- On the highway to Beng Mealea, you will find freshly steamed, mildly salted corn-on-a-kob being sold by the villagers
- We already mentioned “happy pizza” above
- Budget about USD 25 (INR 1,600) at most for a day’s lunch and dinner for two people, for a combination of restaurant meals and street-food
Cost of travelling to Cambodia?
Taking into account all that’s mentioned above, a week spent in Siem Reap, Phnom Penh and maybe even Koh Rong should cost about INR 40,000 per person. We spent about INR 55,000 for three days (including flights) for two persons.
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