iem Reap is Cambodia’s base for visiting the famous Angkor Wat Archaeological Complex. It’s an area consisting of over a thousand temples (these temples will look familiar if you have watched Indian Jones movies or have ridden the Jungle Cruise at one of the Disney theme parks). Cambodia has a very low cost of living, even by Southeast Asia’s already inexpensive budget standards. Let’s take a look at our spending in Siem Reap.
(If you prefer to watch a video instead of reading, you can click here).
Our Cost Of Living In Siem Reap
Housing – US$569 Per Month
We stayed in a brand new studio apartment conveniently located in the central part of Siem Reap. Although it was a studio, it was actually larger than the one-bedroom apartments we had in Bangkok and Chiang Mai. The amount we paid included all utilities, internet, free pick-up from the bus station, and the Airbnb cleaning and booking fees.
We saw apartments advertised for as low as $70 per month, although we assume these would be very basic and not include a kitchen or an air conditioner. Although many local Cambodia people live happy lives with just using a fan and no A/C, we know we would have been miserable without air conditioning. It is scorching hot in Siem Reap.
Food (Groceries and Restaurants) – $423
It was a bit surprising to us to see the prices at the grocery stores; we were expecting food costs to be much lower. Although to be fair, the groceries stores contain a lot of imported food items and cater to expats. Food at the local markets are much cheaper. For example, we bought a pack of local fruit at the grocery store for $1.15, but at the local market we got more than twice as much of the same fruit for $1.
We enjoyed eating at many restaurants in Siem Reap, and were very surprised at the variety (American, Chinese, Mexican, Thai, Indian, Italian, Greek, etc.). There is a lot of competition among the restaurants, and the prices are very reasonable (around $6-$7 at a mid-range restaurant). You can read our article on our restaurant experience in Siem Reap by clicking here.
Activities – $197
Our biggest activity expense was the entrance fee to the archaeological park to visit the temples. The cost varies depending on the number of days you plan to visit, and prices range from $37-$72. We bought a three-day ticket, but only spent about a half-day at a time at the site because it was too hot spend the entire day trekking around the temples.
There are other things to do in Siem Reap besides visiting Angkor Wat. There is a acrobatic circus, mini-golf, and excursions to villages.
We spent some of our time in Siem Reap volunteering, an activity that is completely free and a great way to help the local community. The ICF Church has a program that brings children from the surrounding villages to the church for a meal, first-aid, teaching, free hair cuts, activities, music, etc. We also worked with an organization called Touch A Life that prepares meals to be sent to the surrounding villages.
Transportation – $95
The main form of transportation to get around Siem Reap are tuk-tuks (carriages pulled by motorcycles). Costs for a ride ranges from around $2 to get around town, about $5 to get to the airport, and about $20 for a full day visiting the temples. If you don’t like to bargain for the price for a ride you can use Grab, a ride-sharing service with a set cost.
Miscellaneous – $82
Nothing exciting in this category. Our miscellaneous expenses were for things like toothpaste, shampoo, cell phone, etc. The biggest expense in this category was for the $30 per person visa fee to enter Cambodia.
Health – $295
Most of our health expenses was for our health insurance. But we also had a few trips to the chiropractor and bought some basic medicine at the pharmacy. We also bought some Covid-19 masks as the virus was just beginning to spread at the time we were in Siem Reap.
Adding It All Up
Adding up the categories described above, our total spending for one month in Siem Reap came to $1661. Note that the total spending here does not include our transportation from Bangkok (we took the bus) or some donations that we made.
How Much Will Your Cost Of Living Be In Siem Reap?
If you come to live in Siem Reap, your cost of living will probably be different from ours. Everybody has a different lifestyle and it’s impossible to predict the exact costs to live here ahead of time. But we do have some suggested budgets depending on the type of living you expect to have.
- If you live in a cheap but comfortable apartment, skip expensive restaurants, and keep your entertainment to a minimum, we believe a couple could happily live on $1,300 per month Siem Reap cost of living.
- If you want to live a middle-class type of life, we suggest $1,900 per month for two. This will get you a nice one-bedroom and modern apartment, plenty of nights out with friends, and some nice meals.
- At $2,800 per month, a couple could have a nice house, use private taxis to get around the city, and still have some left over for entertainment, a house cleaner, and dinners at upscale restaurants.
Oh yeah, Cambodia uses the US dollar for its currency. So if you are American then there is no need to exchange your money!