Whether you are volunteering or travelling in Cambodia, finding a place to sleep is crucial. Since many of our volunteer positions take place over a few months, volunteers are required to find short-term accommodations, which may seem like a daunting task. One of our current volunteers Helen, who has recently gone through this process, has some tips to share that will be useful for volunteers and travellers planning to come to Cambodia!
Typical Types of Lodging
There are mainly five types of lodging you may consider in your search:
Hotels that are rated four stars or above tend to be in good conditions. One of the perks of renting a hotel room is that the prices include amenities, such as swimming pools and gym. Many hotels provide breakfasts as well for no additional cost.
Price: A four-star hotel rooms averages to more than USD 30 per night.
Swimming pools and breakfasts are also typically available in guest houses. However, the rooms may not be well lit and the pipes may be old, resulting in rust in the running water. Some guest houses may only have fans rather than air-conditioning in the rooms, which could cause discomfort during the hot days of Cambodia, depending on how well you tolerate heat! You may also find many insects in the rooms, such as ants and geckos. All in all, due to the lower prices of guest houses, many still find it to be a great value for money.
Price: USD 8–20 per night.
Swimming pools and breakfasts may not be available in hostels. There are typically three types of rooms in hostels: female dorm, mixed (female and male) dorm, and private rooms. Rooms in hostels are typically very nice and clean with air conditioning. Hostels are also typically in great locations, not far from the city centre where locals and other tourists hang out.
Price: USD 1.5–4 per night.
Shared / Whole Apartments
Many apartments only accept longer stays of at least over three months, and some for at least over six months. Generally, apartments are available in relatively distant areas (perhaps at least a 15–30 minute walk to the city centre). These residential areas become quite dark at night, and an apartment that is any more than a 30-minute walk to the city centre is not recommended for lone volunteers or travellers.
Price: A Khmer-style room that doesn’t include a fan costs USD 50–150 per month (USD 1.5–5 per night).
A wester-style room with air conditioning costs USD 150–450 per month (USD 5–15 per night).
Villas / Houses
Cheap villas or houses are available if you come in a group of two or more. Villas come equipped with regular amenities that you find in a house, such has a kitchen, a living room, washer and dryer, and air conditioning. Many villas in Cambodia also include a nice swimming pool that you can cool off in at the end of the day. Villas are absolutely great if you are coming with friends or family.
Price: A two-bedroom villa would cost approximately USD 500 per month (USD 17 per night), and would increase accordingly as the number of rooms increases.
How to Find Available Accommodation
3 months or longer
It’s easier to find apartments if you stay for 3 months or longer. There are public Facebook groups where locals post ads on apartments and rooms for rent. For example, the following three groups contain ads for longer-term accommodation in Siem Reap:
- Expats and locals living in Siem Reap, Cambodia
- Cheap Rent Siem Reap
- Siem Reap Real Estate (Buy, Sell and Rent)
Shorter than 3 months
For stays that are shorter than three months, you’ll likely have more success finding accommodation in hotels, hostels, and guest houses. Booking sites like booking.com, airbnb.com, and hostelworld.com are your friends. The great thing about these kinds of lodging is that tax, water, and electricity fees are always included in the rental price.
The following hotels are ones that we recommend in Siem Reap, where it may be possible to negotiate for a cheaper stay for a particular number of nights. Note that in Cambodia, high season typically refers to September 16–March 15, and low season is June 15–September 15.
Steung Siemreap Thmey Hotel
A four-star hotel with experience hosting volunteers.
Location: Pub Street
Room type: Single / Twin / Double
Price per night: USD 32 (low season) / 45 (high season)
Contact: [email protected]
An air-conditioned guest house that is within walking distance to Pub Street, Old Market and the Angkor Night Market.
Location: End of Sok San Road
Room type: Twin / Double / Triple / Suite Family / Large Family
Price per night: USD 12–45 (low season) / 22–50 (high season)
Contact: [email protected]
A centrally-located hostel with helpful staff. Rooms are clean with nice common areas such as a garden, a terrace, and a lounge.
Location: Pub Street
Room type: Double / 4-Bed Private Room / 10-Bed Female Dorm / 14-Bed Mixed Dorm
Price per night: USD 4
Contact: [email protected]
A party hostel!
Location: Sok San Road
Room type: Double / Female Dorm / Mixed Dorm
Price per night: USD 2–15
Criteria to be Considered
Here are some criteria you may want to consider when you’re looking for your room and board:
Distance to the city
As a volunteer, you’re working on weekdays, but you would still like to explore the city centre during your off-hours. Living close to the city centre would make your nightly outings much safer, since other residential areas may not be well-lit enough at night for you to safely venture on foot or by bike alone. You may opt to take a tuk-tuk or PassApp (Cambodia’s equivalent of Uber) at night, but ultimately it may be cheaper to simply rent a place closer to the centre.
Distance to food and shopping is also a factor you may want to consider. You want plenty of opportunities to try the local food in Cambodia!
Facilities in the room
You may want to check for:
- Air-conditioning. It’s highly recommended, as it could get very hot in Cambodia.
- Good water drainage. You would particularly want to check for this in guest houses, where it’s not uncommon for shower drains to be blocked. Check the shower drain before renting!
- Insects in rooms. This is harder to verify, but do at least look for ant nests in ceilings.
- Comfortable bedding. Instead of a proper duvet, some home owners may simply place a blanket between two sheets, which may not make for a comfortable sleep.
Potential for Socialising
Regardless of whether you’re a social butterfly, it’s always nice to meet new friends, particularly when you’re abroad. Roommates and room neighbours are potential socialising buddies. If not, living close to the city centre certainly makes it easier for you to go out and meet people.
Hostels are certainly excellent for meeting people, but they’re not necessarily great for getting a good night’s sleep once a party gets going!
Helen’s Recommendations for Siem Reap
For the city of Siem Reap, Helen personally recommends the following areas:
- Pub Street / Old Market area, if you prefer a more central area that is bustling with activity.
- Sok San Road, if you like being close to the action (i.e., Pub Street) but would like something cheaper.
- Wat Bo area, if you like being in a quieter area that is still not too far from the centre.
We hope these tips are helpful in your search for your home in Cambodia. There are certainly many options to choose from!
Happy house hunting!