- In most towns touts meet incoming transport and will take you free of charge to their favourite establishment. If you don’t like the accommodation, feel free to go elsewhere. Sometimes tuk-tuk and moto drivers get a dollar or so in commission for dropping you off at a particular guesthouse – this premium may be added to your room rate.
- In Sihanoukville some drivers may resist taking you to a guesthouse of your choice, asserting that it has closed or is full of prostitutes or some such excuse in the hope of being able to take you to a place that pays them commission. Mostly, however, they’re just keen to introduce themselves and to secure work driving or guiding you for the duration of your stay.
- If you’ve booked accommodation in advance, some hotels and guesthouses will send someone to pick you up from the bus, boat or plane for no extra charge.
- Note that camping in Cambodia is technically illegal and also potentially dangerous due to the risk of land mines.
Tips for finding accommodation in Cambodia
Budget accommodationBudget accommodation in Cambodia is generally excellent value, available in a range of guesthouses and hotels (note that many places which call themselves guesthouses are actually more like small hotels). Most places are functional concrete boxes, rather lacking in character, although a few livelier establishments geared towards Western backpackers can be found in the major tourist centres. Sihanoukville and the islands have a plethora of bungalow resorts; these are very simple timber affairs (usually with shutters rather than glass windows) perhaps with a fan (although this is rare on the islands), that can cost as little as $5 for a simple room.
Most budget rooms cost in the region of $7 a night (slightly more in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap) and are usually clean and tidy with cotton sheet(s), basic toiletries and towels, a TV and ceiling fan, and sometimes with optional air conditioning for an extra $5 or so a night. A lot of budget guesthouses and hotels also have fancier rooms with air conditioning for around $15 a night.
Virtually all except the very cheapest budget rooms come with en-suite bathroom with Western-style toilet and sometimes hot water as well. Wi-fi is now available in the vast majority of places, although mosquito nets are only rarely provided – bring your own. A few places also have dorm beds, typically costing around $3–10 per night, and there are a couple of hostels in Siem Reap.
On the islands a number of establishments offer hammocks for a few dollars, and tents ($6–25), the most expensive of which are crafted into spacious “rooms”.
Note that you might also be able to bargain down your room rate if you’re going to be staying in one guesthouse or hotel for a few nights or longer, especially in more downmarket places.
Mid-range and luxury accommodationMid-range (roughly $25–75 per night) and luxury ($75 and upwards per night) accommodation is found only in major towns and tourist hotspots. Mid-range accommodation ranges from smart business-style hotels to lower-end boutique hotels and resorts. Facilities are often not significantly different from those in more expensive rooms in budget hotels and guesthouses (with a/c, hot water, minibar and perhaps tea- and coffee-making facilities), although rooms are likely to be more comfortably and stylishly furnished, and you’ll probably also get a pool plus in-house restaurant and perhaps other facilities including a gym or spa. Breakfast may also be included in the price.
Luxury accommodation is widely available in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Battambang, Sihanoukville and Kep, with even a few places elsewhere. It’s worth making a reservation if you want to stay somewhere particular, and you should always check online for special deals. Accommodation in this price bracket ranges from international five-star chain hotels through to chic boutique hotels and idyllic resorts constructed in traditional Khmer style. Many top-end establishments offer memorable style and luxury at far lower prices than you might pay in other Asian countries, although rates at the very best places still commonly run into hundreds of dollars per night.
At more expensive places be sure to check whether government tax and service are included in the rack rate, as these can add as much as 20% onto the bill.