I received a couple of emails from fellow digital nomads about the cost of living in Siem Reap, Cambodia. These were timely messages as I stayed in this city with a friend for one month. I figured I’d share important factors to consider to help other lifestyle designers who bring their work with them.
Here’s a breakdown of what to expect when you plan to stay in Siem Reap.
Note: Expenses are based on a two-person budget. Prices may vary if you plan to go solo or if you want a little luxury.
Depending on the amenities and how far it is from the town center, the cost of a room per day ranges from 4 to 5 USD for one person. If you plan to stay longer, say for a month, you can negotiate with the owner and get a discount.
Fan Room for 2 with own bathroom and with WiFi
We were able to get a fan room with two beds and our own bathroom near the town center (Old Market, Angkor Night Market). The original price was 180 USD but we haggled and brought it down to 120. The room also came with WiFi signal. By the way, that’s 120 USD divided by 2 persons. This means that I only paid 60 USD for my share of the hostel. 60 USD or 2400 Php for a month in Cambodia is not bad at all!
Be advised that discounts may vary according to your haggling skills. Here are some of the places we’ve stayed that I recommend for their affordable accommodations.
We met a few people in Cambodia and they told us that there are cheaper options. Maybe when we come back, we’ll check those places out.
Food and Water
My friend and I normally ate two meals a day on most days. It’s not something that I advise but we had goals in mind. We wanted to stretch our budget and we also wanted to lose weight (another story to be shared in another blog post).
Meals from nearby restaurants normally cost 2 to 3 USD. These are rice or pasta meals that don’t include a beverage.
Spaghetti Bolognese – 2 USD
Beef Loklak with Rice – 2 USD
Amok Chicken with Rice – 2 USD
When we wanted to eat light, we share a plate of noodles that costs a dollar. When we wanted to eat out, we drop by a KFC shop or a 4 to 7 USD buffet and feast on their food. For snacks, there are banana fries and rice cakes made by locals near the Angkor Night Market.
4 USD buffet (excluding drinks) – hot pot!
Other than those instances, we buy our own food from the Old Market. We made use of our guesthouse’s kitchen and fridge. My friend knows how to cook so she prepares food for us. We can’t get enough of fruits so we always had them in our meals. Nothing beats home-cooked food!
my breakfast – oatmeal with fruits and raisins
bacon baguette by Doi
Sautéed peppered chicken with potato and carrots by Doi
A water tank costs 1 USD per 10 Liters which we buy from the hostel.
Internet is an important part of my routine as I rely on it to work on my freelance jobs. I don’t have other sources of income so it’s a must that I have fast and secure WiFi connection every time. I brought my laptop with me as we searched for affordable places to stay in Siem Reap.
Depending on the hostel and how many people are sharing the network, internet speed can go as high as 0.6Mbps. Not fast but it’s alright for writing and blogging work.
You can also drop by hotels or other restaurants and order food so you can use their internet. I normally stop by the KFC shop to spend hours online. At least the air condition’s free too. They have outlets if you need to charge your laptop. Don’t forget your universal charger!
If you want to have your clothes laundered, they only cost 1 USD per kilogram. It’s not expensive but since every dollar counts, we decided to buy laundry soap and wash our clothes by ourselves. It was summer season (March 2012) and clothes would be ready in 2 hours. Thank heavens for quick-drying clothes!
Speaking of clothes, I love the fact that I don’t have to “dress to impress”. I usually wear a comfortable tank top and my shorts plus the complimentary slippers from the hostel whenever I go out to walk or get a bite to eat.
I brought more than 10 shirts, 4 shorts, and 2 pants for this whole backpacking trip. I ended up using 3 sandos, 2 shirts, and 2 shorts for a month in Siem Reap. It made me realize I should’ve packed less.
The hostel offers free bike usage and I took advantage of it by biking in Siem Reap every other day. Whether I do it for errands or for sightseeing, I make use of the complimentary bike for exercise. I especially love it that there are open spaces outside the town center and I’m free to pedal till my legs hurt.
* Regular bikes cost 1 USD per day. Mountain bikes cost 5 USD per day.
free bike from the hostel!
I also go to the gym to work up a sweat. In my goal of getting back to an active lifestyle, I visit a no-frills gym for 1 USD per hour. I wanted to get back in shape and lose excess pounds I gained from too much eating.
Speak Nean Gym II
With not a lot of pressure on my hands, here’s my routine on most days.
8am – Wake up and Take a Bath
9am – Go Online and check for Updates
10am – Bike Exercise
11am – Buy and Prepare Food
12noon – Lunch
1pm – Work Online
5pm – Gym Exercise
7pm – Buy Food for Dinner or Eat Out
8pm – Work Online
10pm – Sleep
Pretty boring eh? Sometimes, I’d interchange my schedules whether I go out and bike first, or go online to get work done for a deadline. It depends. The good thing is that I don’t have to report at a certain time so long as I get my tasks accomplished.
Here are some random thoughts that I don’t know how to categorize but I’d like to share them anyway:
- A line of rust formed on my toenails; it must be the water. I’d take a photo of them but I’d gross you out if I did.
- Mosquito lotion is a must! However, we use mosquito coils at night for economical reasons.
- If your country is an ASEAN member, there’s no need for a Visa. Cambodia allows you 21 days of entry if you travel by land. I travelled to Bangkok in between which refreshed the number of days. If you plan to stay longer, you will need a Visa (tourist, business, etc.)
- My friend sprained her leg and ankle due to a bike accident; thanks to my girlfriend for buying me a first-aid kit!
- Meeting strangers and newfound friends is always a welcome treat.
- I still don’t know how to cook.
- Knowing how to speak numbers in Khmer language helps when buying items from shops.
- I wasn’t able to visit the temples on my bike as I had to pay for tickets. But you can go to the temples around 5:30pm when there are no more officers manning the area.
To give you an idea, here’s an approximate budget per person just for basic needs. This budget doesn’t include the tour to the Angkor Temples (around 35 USD per day – tickets and tuktuk) or the border run if you plan to reenter to extend your stay (around 15 USD for bus and taxi fares back to and fro the border in Aranyaprathet).
60 USD = Rent (good for two)
2 USD = Water Tanks at 10 Liters Each
180 USD = Meals 3 Times a Day at 2 USD/meal – given that you buy your meals at an affordable restaurant.
That’s a total f 212 USD per month. It’s a lot cheaper if you cook your own meals and not spend on unnecessary items You don’t have to buy a bottle of water every time; you can buy once every week and have it refilled with the water from your hostel.
Just make sure you think about what you spend.
I want to tally how much my total expenses were, but they’re still in my notepad and I’m too lazy to compute them. I’ll probably update this post once I’ve added all my expenses. Again, if you can budget the food, you wouldn’t have to pay as much.
So is it expensive to stay in Siem Reap for one month? Not at all. It’s even more expensive if you stay elsewhere.
I’ll be back!
When I visited this city last year, I fell in love with it that I told myself I’ll stay here longer when I start this whole digital nomad lifestyle. Now that I have lived here for a month, I’ve grown even fonder of the place.
Life is simple and the people are friendly. I don’t have to worry about dressing up or looking good. I’m away from the noise a city brings. Though I’m online most of the time, I still have a few moments where I can disconnect and just be thankful that I’m alive. Siem Reap, I’ll be back!
Here’s a couple of comprehensive guides about Siem Reap:
- Tips and Things to Know about Siem Reap, Cambodia
- Digital Nomad Life: One Month in Siem Reap, Cambodia
Check out my other adventures here:
- Quick Update from Bousavy Guesthouse in Siem Reap, Cambodia
- Siem Reap and Bangkok Chronicles
- Getting There: Cebu to Manila to Clark to Bangkok to Aranyaprathet to Siem Reap
- No Ordinary Train Ride From Bangkok to Aranyaprathet
- Bangkok to Siem Reap: Avoid Scammers from Aranyaprathet to Poipet Border
- Where to Stay: Bousavy Guesthouse in Siem Reap, Cambodia
- Where to Stay: Victory Guesthouse in Siem Reap, Cambodia
- Cambodia Trip: Angkor Thom Gate, Bayon Temple and Elephant Terrace
- Cambodia Trip: Trees in Ta Prohm Temple, Siem Reap
- Cambodia Trip: Walking Barefoot at Angkor Wat Temple
- Cambodia Trip: Pre Rup, Banteay Srei and East Mebon Temples
- Cambodia Trip: Haggling Prices in Angkor Night Market
- Cambodia Trip: Those Khmer Kids Selling Merchandise
- Cambodia Trip: Chill Out and Relax at Pub Street in Siem Reap
- Cambodia Trip: Insightful Conversations Over a Fish Massage
- Cambodia Trip: Land Mine Victims
- Cambodia Trip: A Guide to Eating Cheap Khmer Food in Siem Reap
- Cambodia Trip: Engrish and Random Sights in Siem Reap
- Cambodia Trip: Shuttle Bus from Siem Reap to Bangkok, Thailand
- Total Budget Expense in Siem Reap, Cambodia
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soloflightEd.com is a travel blog by Edcel Suyo. He enjoys performing headstands and crazy stunts during his trips in the Philippines, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. Now based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and working to earn a living, he takes time to enjoy the city and travel during weekends.
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58 thoughts on “Digital Nomad Life: One Month in Siem Reap, Cambodia”
bookmarked! thanks for this, ed. now really considering living in siem reap. 🙂
Cool! Very very useful post as always. Nasagot mo lahat ng tanong ko kahit di ko pa tinatanong, LOL. I guess the challenge would be when you decide to transfer to Cambodia's more expensive neighbors like Thailand, for example. Anyway, sige lang ng sige. You are doing all of us a huge favor. Hopefully marami-raming maka try ng ganitong lifestyle following your example. 🙂
very helpful post Ed for those who are interested to live in SR 🙂
@paul: thanks paul! haha, didn't have to email you about this post!
@ihcahieh: yep, BKK in Thailand is a bit more expensive since we're only allowed 14 days of entry. travelling back and forth can sometimes be such a hassle. Also, BKK's food is really good so it's hard to resist eating there! not sure if i'll be able to write about Bangkok, hehe or yung ibang lugar. but so long as makasulat, ok pa rin. hehe. thanks!
@flipnomad: thanks flip! thanks as well for the tips! 😀
Definitely looks interesting! Some of that foods looks pretty good! Love that bottom picture as well.
thanks for sharing this Ed. This is very informative and comes in handy as I am thinking of visiting Siem Reap and crossing Thailand from there. I've been to Phnom Penh only in 2008 since the bus travel was more than we could handle in such a limited time. But Siem is still a destination for me though it was on a back burner for a lil while hehe
Affordable ang hotel ah..when's the best month to go? I'm planning for a 2-3 days trip.
60 USD for a month? Parang half lang sa rented room namin sa Cebu. Ideally how many days/night should we spend in SR? We only want to visit Ankor Wat and do night shopping. This is our plan BKK> SR> PP> HCM…
Beautiful beautiful beautiful! Ed you're adventure and story really inspires a lot of us. For those of us who spent more than half of our lives at home, someday I wish to follow your example and be one with a foreign land.
Na guilty ko sa 'dress to impress' kay ing-ana baya ko usahay labi na kung ciudad akong adtuan. HAHAHA
@Austin: thanks for reading!
@mheanne: thanks atty! you should go and check out SR! I've only dropped by Phnom Penh, but will probably stay there one of these days too.
@killerfillers: it depends on the hostel. there are cheaper ones if you just look. i think January would be a good month.
@joey: haha, di ba? mas mahal pa nga sa ibang lugar dito sa Pinas. I think 3-5 days is good. 3 days is just right.
@The Photoblogger: Thanks EJ! You'll be able to do that in time.
@Renz Bulseco: It's alright Renz! No need to be guilty! I'm like that too at times. The great thing when living in an unfamiliar territory is that you get to set your own rules. and there's not a lot of pressure of trying to fit in. 😀
i so envy you 🙂 but i thought i saw nemo in the hot pot!
wow 😀 i got worried about the water though 😀 nonetheless, this has been very helpful! we're planning to go to cambodia this year, got super excited just reading your blog! do u recommend to go there on "ber" months? 😀 thank you for the "how-to-lengthen-your-stay" advice ang kulit! 😀 and also the "tipid tips!" grabe! 😀 have fun on your up and coming trips! 😀
@McRICH: no need for the envy, i notice you're living in Dubai? I wish I was there! thanks for dropping by this blog!
@JANET: water is cheap if you buy it in gallons. as for the Ber months, not really cause i think it's rainy season and for me, SR is best experienced when it's summer. thanks for dropping by this blog Janet! 😀
very amazing! makes me wanna go there and experience all of these ^^ avivah!
The foods made my mouth water. Seriously. *drools*
Wow, that's pretty cheap for a month's stay! Mas expensive pa mag-stay sa bahay, dahil sa bills. :)) The last photo is so special. I was in SR for only 3 days but it was enough time for me to fall in love with it as well. How was the tap water? In the B&B I stayed in, it was orange! Maybe that's how you got your "rusty" toenails. Please post a photo of that…for your readers who have foot fetish. :p
@hana banana: drop by SR one of these days! it's a great place to reflect! 😀
@Hoobert the Awesome: haha, imagine how my friend and a kitchen can come up with great wonders!
@AJ: haha, foot fetish talaga?! hahahahaha. yep, it's more expensive to stay elsewhere. I remember paying 4K for my own room here in Cebu nung naglayas ako. hehehe. as for the tap water, i remember your blog post about the rustic water of SR. hehehe. but yeah, I think there's rust talaga sa tubig nila. and nope, di na magpopost ng photo with my humungous feet! hehe thanks AJ!
Hat's off to you and Doi! Magagawa ko din yan someday 🙂
ang galing! congrats!!! hehe ang ganda ng mga photos lalo na yung last one…see you soon!
@Angel: hope to see you on the road again, gel!
@Jerome: thanks jerome, kitakits sa SR one of these days! thanks!
Are medical facilities readily available? Even if you double your month's expenses, it is still a cheap deal.
@bertN: haven't checked that out. thanks for mentioning it bert! there are hospitals in the area but I'm not sure about the standards of their facilities.
ang bilis lang one month na kayo diyan. mosquito coils! hahaha… i would definitely choose that over the lotion.
@dong ho: haha, onga. I'm back pala sa Pinas, naiwan dun si Doi. But I'll be back there by June. 😀
Ive been a fan of your blog Ed since… 2009? hehe (dugay2x na gyud, bata pa sad ko ato… :P)… karon lang ko ning attempt og comment… (lurking mode ra sige)…. just want to let you know that your site is really very helpful and informative…. (labaw pas wikipedia…. hehehehe)…. payr! larga!
Nakakamiss ang Siem Reap! Hehe gusto ko rin bumalik dyan. I really love Alley West so much and ang saya mag-tuktuk at maglakad-lakad lang dyan. I love the locals too kahit na puro nagbebenta lumalapit sa akin =))
Hey Ed! Ikaw na talaga ng Nomad. Mag-aral ka na rin magluto. It can save souls. Char! Naka naman nagpapalaki ng katawan. Epekto ba ng gutom? hahah! joke lang. good for you… (and the girls. lol!)
Gusto ko yung last pic by the way. As usual, napapabilib na naman ako. Hindi ko keri ang ginagawa mo. Sa edad kong to kasi, ayoko pang lumayo sa comfort zone ko. Goodluck and God bless. Teka? E nasan ka na ngayon?
@onig: wow 2009 pa? hehe. thanks for leaving a comment! ay, kahadlok anang mukontra sa Wikipedia. but i appreciate the kind words! 😀
@micamyx: hahaha balik kana dun! ako biking talaga ang trip ko dun! 😀
@kura: hahaha, di ah. yep, im learning to cook. I tried cooking adobo, kaso walang soy sauce dun! they only have parang Knorr na toyo so ang kinalabasan ng adobo, parang paksiw! hehe. last month, nagpapayat actually dahil sa mga pagkain ng Lakbay Norte. but next month, more on strength-building. hehe. nasa Pinas pala ako ngayon. dito ako for a month. pero babalik naman dun sa SR by June. 😀
i like this ed hehe
"you can go to the temples around 5:30pm when there are no more officers manning the area."
Your posts always inspire me. Way to go Ed on becoming a full-pledge digital nomad. 🙂
@christian: hahaha, I haven't tried it, but Drew has. I'm always too lazy to bike in the afternoon. hehehe. maybe next time. 😀
@Ryan Mach: hi Ryan! Thanks a lot!
When I was in SR, I also ate at the market to save up on food. Puro one dollar one dollar hehe. I'm also planning on staying a month somewhere in Asia, but I would rather do that in Thailand than in Cambodia. I find Thailand cheaper and the food's better.
Ed, when I read lifestyle designers, the first thing that popped in my mind is that you've read the 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris.
And with you backpacking around Asia and the world, you can be the next Tim Ferris or even better.
Thanks for this informative post about Siem Reap. It will definitely help in my future travel.
@Aleah: hehe, food's definitely better in Thailand. medyo talo lang kasi kami sa number of days before the passport expires since 14 days of travel by land lang yung sa Thailand.
@Dylan: haha, I haven't read the 4-Hour Workweek, Dylan. But I've been influenced by another businessman about this whole location-independent lifestyle. thanks!
Absolutely helpful! I really salute digital nomads like you. You can live anywhere, everywhere Siem Reap is the place to be
OMG. I'm so jealous. I've been to Siem Reap but only stayed for like two days. Thanks for sharing your experience.
@edmaration: thanks Edmar!
@Vikki: no problem! thanks for reading! 😀
Late reply! just been doing my reading now! 😛
im delaying this one a bit since I want to take tonie here. Great place to learn how to ride a bike! 😀
@eileen: haha. yeah, nice and serene place.
Wow. This is very inspiring. I super love to go to Cambodia. With this post, I can now convince hubby that we'd go to SR. The prices you reflected on the post are very helpful for budgeting. Thanks for sharing.
Im a big fan!
@Sam: thanks for reading! 😀
@rey: salamat! 😀
wow.am a big fan. galing. see you on the road. ingat. idol
ed, cge gyud kog basa sa imu mga blog ehhehehhe,…..nice kau
ed, ask unta ko advice bah plan mi ako friend anha siem reap this July 19 abot ana 7:30 pm sa gabie then heading to bangkok ng 21 sa hapon or 22 sa morning kay amo plan balik mi manila ng 24. kahibaw ko gamay ra kau ako days ed but ako 1 month vacation kay nahati sa lain na mga places mao 6 days ra ako plan para sa siem reap and thailand.
question 1. pde namu ma tour ag 3 ka temples na sikat for 1 whole day?mga pila kaha na ka oras ed?
2. gusto unta mi mg ferry ed kay gusto namu tanawon tong tonle-sap bah maigo kaya na sa isa ka adlaw ed?
3. i try namu ag helicopter ride sad ed mao ra ni amo mga gusto buhaton ed sa cambodia maigo kaya na sa isa kaadlaw?
4. kailangn ba mi mg hire ug guide ed?gusto namu naa ra mgkuha kuha namu picture bah na akmi duha.
5. ng abot namu thursday night ed sa 9:30 sa gabie naa pa kaya open na stores like night market?
thanks daan ed hah 2 weeks na wla pa na finalize amo itinerary.hope mo reply ka ed sorry if dili wla na ni nako tarunga ako mga big letters and small letters ed hah kay gikan pako work kapoy kau mg tinarung ug suwat mn gud ma informal kau ni cya.
@ayan: thanks ayan!
@jo-an: thanks for the comment! 6 days can be done in SR and BKK so ok lang sya.
1. you can tour the (3) temples in half a day – Ta Prohm Temple (tree temple), Bayon Temple (face temple) and Angkor Wat.
2. sorry, not so sure about the ferry and tonle-sap, haven't tried that. but i think you can.
3. i think dili na musobra sad ug usa ka adlaw ang helicopter ride. but haven't tried it pa.
4. kung nahan ka naay magkuha-kuha sa inyo ug picture, mas maayo naay guide. otherwise magtake turns mo sa imong kauban.
5. open pa ang Angkor Night Market at 10pm to 12 midnight. actually open pa ang pub street and other bars didto. so ok pa sya. maybe mga 1am lisud2x na pero naa pa gyapon mga open na shops.
good luck s a trip!
#1 on my bucketlists this year. Thanks for the very informative post. 🙂 Bookmarked! 🙂
@Riz: go to SR! it's cheap there. thanks for reading this article! 😀
Hi ed. I've read your blog last year for my Vietnam-Cambodia trip. It was really helpful. I'm just checking your blogs and I'm inspired by this post. I really fell in love with Siem Reap and I'd like to add that on my bucket list, stay on SR for a month when I resign/retire from work.
@Gayle: Hi Gayle, thanks a lot for visiting my site. Thanks too for the kind words! Do drop by SR one of these days. I miss the city already! 🙂
I've been reading your blog for 4 straight hours now since my friend gave me a link to one of your posts! Hehehe kaka-adik!
Full of great stuff! Nai-inspire na akong mag-travel at magsulat din and will do it soon! But sisimulan ko muna sa travelling part siguro… Hahaha! Galing mo mag-blog! Very engaging, info-packed and you almost seem to answer most of the questions na naiisip ko when I'm reading your blog!
And agad akong na-inlove sa Siem Reap!
Kudos! For doing what you love and for inspiring people to do the same!
@Jules: thanks for the kind words! Hope you also get to travel the way you want to and pursue your passions in life. You should check Siem Reap out, it's not expensive there at all. 🙂
Very nice post!
I would follow some advices when I get there!
@Noelfly: Thanks! Siem Reap is definitely not expensive! A great place to hang out. Good luck on you trip! Wrote 20 articles about the city so you should be fine. 🙂
Yes, I agree to you ed.. I love this place, visited this place twice already..Tuktuk driver are very friendly as well as tour guides and khmer people..
Hello Edcel, very detailed journey. In 2013 I did the same thing but I was looking for professional workspaces because cafés are too noisy. That is why I started a Coworking Space in Siem Reap, A/C Fast Internet (here it’s mostly 30-50 Mbps, not 0.8 lol ). Next time you pass by Siem Reap come and see us at AngkorHUB Coworking Siem Reap. Always look for coworking spaces with you travel as a digital nomad, often unlimited coffee but also the chance to network with other professionals and make more business!
Another good hack is to work in the cafés or restaurants of luxury hotels, always empty during the day, good coffee and fast Internet (but no one around you).
Jeff @jflaflamme @angkorhub
Hi Jeff! This is AWESOME news!!! This was something I was looking for in Siem Reap! When I go back there, I’ll definitely drop by! Don’t know when that will be as I’m currently in Dubai now. But surely, thanks for the heads up!