Your friends might all be flying off to New York or London for the holidays, but if you’re broke don’t despair. For under $450, you too can go on a holiday that will make your Instagram followers jealous.
With ancient temples, quaint markets and charming restaurants, Siem Reap is one of the most exotic destinations you’ll find within 3 hours of Singapore. And best of all, an entire week there will cost you less than an iPhone.
The cheapest tickets to Siem Reap are almost always on budget airlines, which means booking your seats well in advance (like 3 months or more) will almost definitely save you money.
Sign up for the newsletters of the budget airlines, book your tickets during flash sales and you might be able to snag return tickets for under $100. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself paying about $160 to $240 for a return flight.
If you intend to explore Phnom Penh and take a bus over to Siem Reap, flying into or out of Phnom Penh is usually about 30% cheaper.
Cost: 180 SGD
This is where the real cost savings happen! If you’re used to paying $30 for a bed in a crummy dormitory filled with copulating backpackers, you’ll be pleased to know that 10 USD can get you a private room with a queen sized bed.
It is highly advisable to travel during low season, as prices everywhere fall. Most budget accommodation comes in the form of guesthouses, where a private room with a toilet and shower will cost you around 8 USD to 10 USD. One with air conditioning might cost about 10 USD to 15 USD. Each room sleeps two, so travel with a friend if you want to really drive the cost down.
Cost: 8 USD a day / 56 USD (73 SGD) for a week
To visit the temples at Angkor, unless you’re extremely gung ho and intend to cycle all the way from Siem Reap (many people do this actually), you’re going to want to hire a moto or a tuk tuk. Your driver will drop you off at all the main sites and then waits till you’re done so he can take you to the next one. Hiring a moto basically means you ride pillion on a local guy’s moped, and is cheaper if you’re alone. Just make sure he hands you a helmet.
If you’re travelling with a friend, a tuk tuk will be cheaper and more comfortable. How much you pay for the trip to Angkor depends on your bargaining skills, whether it’s high or low season and whether you choose to take the shorter tour or the longer one. Most visitors opt for the short tour, and you’ll be charged more if you want to take the long tour.
Prices can range from 12 USD for the short tour during low season if you’re an excellent bargainer to 20 USD during high season if you don’t secure a ride in advance. If you intend to engage the driver for multiple trips to Angkor, you can usually get a discount.
In my experience, the short tour tends to be enough for first-timers with only a day ticket. If you want to take the long tour, you should probably get a 3-day ticket or risk dying of temple exhaustion.
Tuk tuk drivers are usually a friendly bunch and some will distribute name cards or email addresses so you can recommend them to your friends. Sam, who’s based in Siem Reap, is one such driver, and very hospitable to boot. Check out his Facebook page here and send him a message if you’re heading to Siem Reap.
Siem Reap town isn’t very big, and you can explore most of it on foot or by renting a bicycle for 1 USD to 2 USD. A tuk tuk ride within the city should cost no more than 2 USD to 5 USD.
Cost: 40 USD (53 SGD) for a 3 day trip to Angkor + miscellaneous costs
Most people go to Siem Reap to explore the temples at Angkor, and the average person purchases a US$20 day pass. The temples are amazing, but be warned that your visit will also involve sweating it out under the hot sun. If you’re spending a whole week at Angkor, I would recommend a 3 day pass as you won’t have to cram too many temples into a single day.
After the visit to Angkor, most visitors like to chill out on Pub Street in the old town of Siem Reap or shop at the Old Market.
- Day pass – 20 USD (26 SGD
- 3 day pass (to be used within a week) – 40 USD (52 SGD)
Cost: 40 USD (52 SGD)
If you’re on a major budget, you can purchase fried noodles or noodle soup from the pushcart vendors outside the old market for 0.70 USD (0.90 SGD) to 1 USD (1.30 SGD). On the other hand, a meal at a small restaurant near the old town will cost about 2.50 USD (3.25 SGD) to 5 USD (6.50 SGD).
Cambodia is also famous for its French restaurants, where you’ll be wined and dined for a fraction of what it would cost anywhere else in the world. A proper sit down meal might set you back maybe 15 USD.
Cost: 10 SGD a day / 70 SGD for a week
Total: 428 SGD
If you are looking to get away this holiday season, make sure you’re able to travel with peace of mind with a good travel insurance plan. You can check out all the best plans available on MoneySmart’s new Travel Insurance Comparison Page now!
Are you inspired to see Angkor Wat now? Let us know in the comments!