The Moon and Sixpence: Prices in Cambodia

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As far as prices and taxes are concerned, Cambodia is a great destination, because it offers a very wide range of services. The dual nature of the country, where poverty and extreme luxury coexist, translates in a great variety of services, depending on your budget. The list below is an approximation of the general costs in Cambodia. You should expect slightly higher costs for Phnom Penh and Siem Reap and during the season.

Prices for Transport

One bus ticket is $0.75. The taxi start is $2. The difference is pretty high as far as comfort is concerned so you should only consider buses for long rides or for organized trips.

Cost of Food

Prices for food vary according to number of stars, level of complexity, location, and moment of the year. You can have a snack for $2 – $3 and a reasonable meal for $5. A two-person meal at a reasonable restaurant starts at $12 – $15. Prices go higher if you order drinks (wine and strong beverages are generally expensive). On the other side, beer is cheap (as low as $1 for a pint of local beer). A hot chocolate is around $1. Soft drinks start at $0.60.
vegetables

Market

If you want to stick to a budget, shop at local markets. In general, in Cambodia ¾ of the price represents the service and ¼ is the product itself. You should be able to buy local food at very cheap prices in markets. As a special note, make sure you only buy clean, safe food, with good packaging. One egg is around $0.10, although you might be able to buy it even cheaper ($0.90 for 12 eggs). 1 kg of potatoes is $0.25; water, 1.5 l bottle, is $0.90, etc.

Clothing and Accessories

Especially during the season, clothes are rather expensive (as much as $50 for a pair of original jeans), but you should be able to find good prices at boutiques selling local accessories. As long as you’re not very picky, you can have a decent summer dress for $7 or a pair of shirts for $5. Prices go higher if you’re interested in purchasing special traditional accessories, but the quality is different and some of those pieces are just superb. In other words, $20 for a scarf made of Khmer silk is a good deal.

Special services

You should stick to those special services that are implicit in the offer. For example, one massage is much cheaper back at the hotel ($5 – $10) than it is at a professional massage and spa center. If you want to rent a special bicycle, if you want to sail on a boat, if you want a guide for a private trip in the North, consider four times the standard price. This applies to most of the services that are not listed as part of the offer.

Truth is you should be able to spend as low as $10 (accommodation not included) per day for a reasonable vacation, and $25 for a decent one. The best way to keep your budget low is to visit Cambodia at the end of the season (for example in March), when prices and services go low and you can take advantage of contextual offers.
Psar O Russei (Orussey Market)