There was a time when the Kingdom of Cambodia was a land of mystery. The lucky few who got to visit this exotic destination became captivated with this beautiful and culturally rich country. Fast forward to today, the home of the Angkor temples is now one of the most popular tourist spots in Asia.
With its increasing popularity among travelers, the local tourism industry has greatly grown. This growth has created a boom in the accommodation sector, and today’s tourists conveniently have a bigger selection when choosing hotels Cambodia has.
If it’s your first time to visit, the Angkor Path online travel planner is a great source of expert information on Cambodia, including good deals on packages to maximize your budget. Just search for what you need on their website and start planning your trip like a pro.
Accommodation Types in Cambodia
A quick online search will give you a good selection of choices of where to stay in the Kingdom, especially in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and Sihanoukville. You’ll find a reasonable number of options even in the smaller towns (Kampot, Kep, Koh Ker, etcetera).
It’s no wonder there are a plethora of hostels, inns, and guesthouses in this country since it is one of the top destinations for backpackers and budget travelers. The quality of accommodation options and facilities vary depending on how much you’re willing to spend and which neighborhood you choose to stay in.
Generally, the cheapest ones are functional rooms with basic necessities, but you can find more modern and equipped establishments offering Western comforts in most major tourist areas. Don’t expect all budget accommodation to provide air conditioning and concrete structures. Sometimes, you’ll find wooden bungalows and fans are the available options.
TIP: If you plan to stay long-term, try to bargain for a lower rate.
Mid-Range and Luxury
If you’re going to bigger towns and major tourist centers, search for mid-range or luxury hotels Cambodia has for an upgrade from budget accommodation. Although some mid-range options may not have significantly different facilities from what some guesthouses or hostels provide, they usually have a pool, gym, and/or on-site restaurant. The rates can include breakfast and airport transport. Plus, the rooms are more stylishly designed and furnished and better equipped. Some also offer amenities suitable for long-term and self-catering stays, such as YK Art House in Phnom Penh.
For the upscale market, most of the luxury hotels and resorts are found in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, and a few other tourist hotspots in the country. You can choose from five-star chic accommodation to luxury boutique resorts using traditional Khmer designs.
TIP: Check if service fees and taxes are already included in the given room rate when booking with upscale establishments.
The Riel is the official currency of Cambodia, but a majority of transactions are actually done in US dollars (especially in deals involving tourists/foreigners). You’ll find that most room rates and other things are priced in USD, but if you’ll pay with big bills, expect to receive Riel as change. Also, most of the locals prefer to be paid in dollars because they place a higher value on the currency. It’s better to have a stash of smaller bills ready to avoid accumulating a big bundle of Riel which you might not end up using.
When paying with a credit card, make sure to inquire about additional fees. There is usually a 2-3% charge.
TIP: Avoid using damaged bills (torn or old-looking) since Cambodians can be particular about the quality of the dollar bills they receive. You can swap damaged money for crisper or better-looking bills at banks or at currency exchange dealers (although expect a charge here). Also, make sure to check ATM fees and avoid multiple transactions as much as possible if you don’t want to keep paying expensive charges.
Is it customary to tip in Cambodia hotels?
It’s actually not expected, just like in restaurants and almost anywhere else in the country.
However, most Cambodian don’t have very high wages, including those working in hotels (compared to their counterparts in other parts of the globe). Make it customary to give even just $1 for each bag carried by your bellhop and for each of the cleaners too. If any of the other hotel employees impress you, feel free to leave a tip for them as well.
TIP: Take note that the more expensive establishments do charge a service fee.
Some accommodation providers also offer assistance with arranging tours. You can book a full package, find a guide, or just hire transportation with the help of their travel desk or one of the staff. In smaller or more budget-friendly places, sometimes even the owners themselves offer their help in making travel arrangements for their guests.
TIP: Check with reliable resources how much the average prices are for tours and fares so you have an idea if you’re charged too high. There are plenty of tour providers and tuk-tuk drivers around the country who offer fair prices so you never have to settle for overcharging.
When booking any of the hotels Cambodia offers, ask if they provide airport pick-up and drop-off (for free or with an extra charge?) and make sure to inform them how many guests they should expect with your party. If they’ll be sending a tuk-tuk instead of a car, you want to make sure they send enough tuk-tuks if there are more than two of you.
It also helps to do a bit more research on which neighborhoods offer the best places to stay in Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville, and other towns you plan to visit in the captivating land of Cambodia. This is especially helpful when you want to be in a more central location, avoid noisy or crowded areas, or want to be nearer to a certain attraction.