I’ve been slowly adapting the ideology of slow travel due to a lot of reasons. First, it’s less exhausting compare to the “move-every-three-day” kind of travel that I have done in the past. Second, I get to see more and soak it all in without rushing myself to immediately go to another place. Third, I get to meet and get to know some locals and learn a lot from them. Fourth, I get to have enough time to do some sightseeing, relaxing and at the same time work on my online projects. And lastly, it’s cheaper to stay longer in one place.
If you’re a location independent nomad like me, I’d like to share a few tips on how you can save some money if you stay longer in Siem Reap. I stayed for around 6-7 months in Siem Reap this year and was able to minimize my cost of living without sacrificing my basic needs.
I have rented a hostel room in some other towns and cities in the countries that I’ve been to in the past and this was the second time that I actually rented an apartment while traveling (first one was also in Siem Reap – last year). The cost will definitely vary depending on the facilities that they offer and the location of the apartment. For a small basic room with a bed, dresser, toilet, a small kitchen, expect to pay around $60 – $150 per month (excluding utilities). There are even cheaper options available the farther you are from Pubstreet and of course there are more expensive apartments as well that could go as high as $1000+++. The expensive ones are usually villa type houses or modern condo units. If you’re on a tight budget like me, check out a short post that I have written on How to Find Cheap Apartments in Siem Reap.
In case you decide to stay in an apartment with a small kitchen, you might as well prepare your own food. You can save a lot of money if you do so and at the same time you can eat more and eat healthier. There are supermarkets in Siem Reap and also a lot of local markets where you can find fresh ingredients. Cooking your own food will also make you less homesick as you can prepare foods that you’re used to eating back home.
Bicycle rental in town usually cost around $1 and up depending on the kind of bike. If you rent a bike for a month then it’ll cost you $30. Moto rides around town usually averages at $1 and more for a remorque (tuktuk) ride. If you buy a brand new basic Japanese style bike, it will just cost you around $30-$45 (be sure to ask for freebies like basket, bike lights and bike locks). If you buy a second hand bike then it’ll just cost around $20-$30 or more if it’s a mountain bike.
Imagine the savings that you can accumulate when you stay for a few months in Siem Reap with your own bike. Before you leave, you can also resell your bike to the Expat Community in town. Here’s the FB page for the Buy and Sell Group of Siem Reap.
Having your own bike gives you the flexibility to travel around town anytime you want without spending money on transportation plus it’s also a good exercise to keep yourself fit. Just a word of caution though, be careful when you cycle around town. It’ll be great if you have an insurance that could cover you in case of an accident. Also, make sure that you have bike lights as the streets are not well lit (areas outside of the main tourist district).
Getting medical treatment abroad can get very expensive and the best way to avoid spending money on hospital bills is to keep ourselves healthy. Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables and drink plenty of water especially during the summer months when it can get as hot as 40 degrees in town. Avoid getting expose to the sun for a long time to avoid getting dehydrated. Also, make sure to put on some sunscreen and mosquito repellant lotion to help protect your skin form sunburn and mosquito bites.
There are numerous Cambodian banks that serve Visa, Mastercard and Cirrus and I frequently use Canadia bank (dispenses US Dollar) as it‘s known in the expat community not to charge a bank fee on withdrawals (your own bank will still charge you though for a fee). You could save a few dollars by using this bank’s ATM when you withdraw for cash. There is a Canadia Bank ATM in Lucky Mall, Canadia Bank branch along Sivatha Road and also one beside the Old Market.
I do recommend that you withdraw in Lucky Mall (especially at night) since it feels much safer than the two other ATMs.
Hopefully these tips help you save some money when you decide to stay for a few months in Siem Reap.