Travelling on a budget doesn’t necessarily equate to not being able to see the best of each place. As a matter of fact, we like doing it because we get to have the time of our lives without worrying about spending too much or doing too little. Our last visit to Siem Reap, Cambodia was memorable, and believe it or not, for 4 nights and 3 days, we only spent less than $115 (5,750 Php) each. This already includes accommodation, transportation, food, activities and more for 2 people. This is our DIY itinerary, that we laid out just for you!
To read about our tricks and tips for your next visit to Siem Reap, Cambodia, click on this. You can also read about our hotel, how we got around and how to make sure you get your money’s worth through that link.
Our accommodation package came with a free pick up from the airport to our hotel. We arrived the night before our first day, but since we could no longer do much by the time we landed in Cambodia, we just decided to grab a quick bite, before heading straight to bed. We wanted inexpensive authentic Cambodian dishes and since we realized that the staple food being sold on the streets was fried rice and noodles, we ordered 1 of each for 1.5 dollars per person. This even came with free soup.
We enjoyed the beef fried rice as it did not only taste good, but was also a filling meal by itself. What we didn’t enjoy so much was the noodles, because although the serving size was pretty big, we found it to be kind of sour, and not really to our linking.
After getting so full, we walked back to the hotel and got ready for our long first day ahead.
Angkor Archaeological Park
We woke up at 4:00am, to prepare for our trip to the Angkor Archaeological Park. We got up early because we still had to buy tickets and wanted to see the famous sunrise in the Angkor Wat. To ensure that we’d be able to do this, we asked the hotel to arrange an early morning Tuk Tuk ride for us. Once we got to the ticket booth, the lines were already pretty long. We finished a little passed 5:30am, then headed to our destination of choice. We made it just in time for the sunrise, with a ton of minutes to spare. The view was spectacular.
Tip: Note that the ticket booth is not right outside the park. They are in 2 separate locations that aren’t so near each other either. Best to buy a ticket ahead of time or wake up early, like we did, if you wanna catch the sunrise.
We didn’t hire a guide during our trip as it was hella expensive, so we read up on the temples instead. We visited the Angkor Wat, the Bayon, the Ta Phrom and the Phnom Bakheng.
We hired 1 Tuk Tuk driver for the entire day and he even provided us with water after every stop as part of his service. This is Soht. You can find his contact number at the end of this blog post.
Money Saving Tip: Food inside the park costs about $5. If you’re saving, you can eat outside like we did.
One of the most memorable experiences we had in the Angkor Wat was when we were chased by a wild monkey. We put our things down to take pictures, and afterwards, we were surprised to see a monkey beside our items. We tried to get our bags but were chased. We never ran so fast in our lives.
Tip: When this happens, just run! Then walk back Slowly. You can either try to get your stuff gently or wait for the monkey to leave. The later option is safer.
After our visit to the temples, we decided to head back to the hotel, rest a bit, then ride a tuk tuk to the ever famous Pub Street. It was so full of life, with visitors from all over the world.
We ate at Cambodian BBQ and tried their 7 – Meat Degustation which included shark, kangaroo, snake and crocodile meat. You can change the kinds of meat on the dish too as they have 14 options to choose from. It was such an interesting experience.
Afterwards, we decided to walk around. While passing by one of the restaurants, we stopped to watch people who were dancing in the middle of the street. To our surprise, they suddenly pulled us to dance with them and so many others joined in. Everyone was randomly dancing together and tons of strangers were getting to know each other. It was so fun! There’s no way we’re gonna forget that experience!
Finally we took a Tuk Tuk back to the hotel and had a good night’s rest.
Expenses for Day 1
Our accommodation package came with free breakfast, so we started the day with that. We then prepared to leave, and hyped ourselves up for our second day in Cambodia.
DIY City Tour
Since we found transportation to be a bit expensive, we decided to use our map and walked around the city the entire day instead. We visited the Lucky Mall, Buddhist Temples, the Royal Residence, the Royal Garden, almost all of the markets, convenience stores, and more.
When we got hungry, we looked for a small canteen that and again enjoyed a filling meal for just $1.5 each.
Our final stop for that day was the Angkor Artisans, where we participated in the stone carving, and wood carving workshops. All of these were completely free! Apart from the workshops, we also got to see how statues and souvenir items were made in Cambodia. We were given the option to have a guided tour, which was free of charge or to go our own way.
The best part of the tour was getting to talk to the workers about what they were doing. We were told that the little figurines that people usually just take for granted takes 3 months to make. Big statues on the other hand, take 7 months at the most! So much hard work. It really made us appreciate Cambodian art even more.
Since we walked the entire day and it was getting pretty late, we decided to call a Tuk Tuk to bring us back to our hotel and just grabbed a quick rice meal from the streets for dinner.
Expenses for Day 2
We started our last day with a nice breakfast, then decided to make use of the pool in our hotel. Early morning swim.
When we finished freshening up, we walked back to the Angkor Artisans and got on the free shuttle to see the silk farm. They have daily scheduled visits, and we went for the earliest time so we could do more things in the afternoon and evening. Again, this gave us greater appreciation for silk products, which Cambodia has a lot of. Everything was 100% free!
Cooking Class + Trip to the Market at Temple Balcony
Once we got back from the farm at 12 noon, we headed to Temple Balcony in Pub Street for a cooking class at 2pm. We had tons of time to spare so we played pool there and chilled for a while.
What sets them apart from other cooking classes that are offered in the area, is that theirs comes with a free shirt, a certificate, the recipes and a free drink. On top of that, they have really friendly people working there!
We made a ton of dishes because everyone enrolled in the class can pick a different appetizer, main course and dessert. We were taught how to make authentic Khmer food and the best part was that we were able to eat everything afterwards. It was a meal good for 4-5 people! We had so much extra food that we got to eat it for both lunch and dinner!
We then went to the market with our teacher and she showed us the different types of fruits, spices and vegetables, some of which were so different from the ones back in the Philippines! Here’s a picture of their eggplant
After this, we went back to the Temple Balcony and waited for the cultural show to begin. We enjoyed watching the traditional Khmer dances.
Once the show was finished, we checked out the bean bag area, then left to buy some stuff for our trip to Phnom Penh.
In the process of doing so, we stopped by the Angkor Night Market and Noon night Market.
Expenses for Day 3
We did so much in 3 days and 4 nights even if we were on a budget! If we had more time, we would have also taken a trip to the countryside or tried hiking. Maybe next time! So that’s our budget itinerary for you guys! Watch out for our next article, which will be about our trip to Phnom Penh!
Contact Person for TukTuk: Soht
Contact (WeChat): soth008