Cambodia is known as a backpacker’s paradise due to its cheap eats and lodgings, but it’s also the perfect place to get a taste of how the 1% live. Cambodia is so cheap that you can truly indulge yourself without breaking the bank. Here are a few things you should try for that high-roller experience.
Splurge on your hotel
First things first, you’ll need a place to stay. My friend and I opted for Le Meridien Angkor Wat, a 5-star establishment. During the dry season in early April, a standard room is priced at only $86 USD. Yep, that’s right. For what you’d pay for a Super 8 at home, you can stay at a 5-star hotel in Siem Reap. My friend was so excited about the prices that he insisted we stay in the Corner Suite, which was $195 USD after taxes.
Go to the spa
Get a massage. Or two. Or three. My friend had one every night at our hotel. Theirs were priced at about $30 for an hour to an hour and a half, depending on the treatment. There are plenty of other spas in the area that provide a variety of options at about half that price.
Hire a driver
Sure, riding in a tuk-tuk may be amusing if you’ve never done it before. At night, they’re even surprisingly comfortable when moving fast enough to generate a breeze. But during the day, you may find it worth your while to pay for a private driver with an air-conditioned vehicle. This was recommended to us by a friend who had backpacked through Cambodia. He and his friends found it tiring to try to find a tuk-tuk and haggle for a price every time they needed a ride. Our hotel was able to provide us with an air-conditioned car and a driver for $35 a day, and there are probably independent drivers who offer the service for less.
Eat, drink, and be merry.
Gone are the days of the $1 lobster dinner. But you can still eat like a king in Cambodia for very little money. In Siem Reap, you can find a large variety of restaurants on Pub Street that cater to tourists, so the food is quite clean. Local Khmer dishes are featured alongside Western and other Asian cuisines, and you can expect to pay as little as $5.00 for your dinner entrée. A full-sized cranberry mojito cost me only $2.00, a glass of wine only $3.00.
One more thing. Cambodia is a poor country. While living lavishly, don’t forget to tip the people who provide you with services. Some guides may tell you that Asia doesn’t have a tipping culture. This may be true for the locals, but the people you interact with are in the tourism industry. A few dollars here and there may not be a lot to you, but can make a huge difference to them financially.