Travel and Food Living

Life's tastier adventures on the road and flavor

Budget Travel to Vietnam and Cambodia

By January 10, 2015

My recent trip abroad taught me a whole new experience in budget traveling. Despite visiting two countries simultaneously, I did not go overboard with my budget limit, I even managed to save.

Budget limit: Php12,000 Actual amount spent: Php9,678.00




Budget Travel is always possible if you stay focus with your budget plan, just prepare your itinerary concisely and set your limit, and, yes, don't cheat with your budget plan. When you create a budget, put an estimated amount for each item so that you have an idea how much amount to prepare and how to work things out while waiting for the schedule of your trip.

Saigon (one night): Lan Lan 2 Hotel
Address: Ben Thanh, Quan 1, Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam
Phone: +84-8-3822-7926

 The room we occupied at Lan Lan 2 Hotel
Each bed can accommodate two persons
Php720.00 for each per person, per night

Lan Lan 2 is a 3-star hotel and located just across Ben Thanh market and closer to the best attractions around Saigon: Notre Dame cathedral, Central post office, Independence palace. Amenities and freebies include cable television, electric kettle, hair blower, refrigerator, free wifi, telephone, pair of slippers, bath towel, face towel, bottled water for each person, free breakfast, toiletries: shampoo, toothbrush kit, bath soap and shower gel. Very clean and elegant room and accommodating staff.

For below expenses, I used the conversion rate of .0025 Vietnamese dong (VD) per one Philippine peso. If you want to convert VD into US dollar, selling price of dollar currency in Vietnam and Cambodia is Php50.00

VISIT AGODA SITE HERE TO SCORE HOTEL DEALS LIKE WE DID.


VD
Php
DAY 1-Saigon


Travel from airport to Ben Thanh
  5,000
    12.50
Hotel accommodation-1 night

  720.00
Lunch-full meal
  61,000
  152.50
Snacks at the Independence Palace
  10,000
    25.00
Entrance fee to Independence Palace
  30,000
    75.00
Siklo ride from Ind.palace to hotel
150,000
   375.00
Grocery (toiletries, food, drinks)
  45,000
   112.50
Total expenses for Day 1

1,472.50

For the above itemized expenses, you might notice I did not include my breakfast and dinner, it's because I brought food from Manila, good for breakfast on the day of our arrival and dinner, but if you don't want to bring packed meals, you may allocate budget for your breakfast and dinner for day 1. Take note also that there's no item for a city ride except for siklo, it's because we just walked on foot while visiting attractions. 

Important reminder: In Saigon, siklo ride is a lot expensive and if you want to try this ride for an experience make sure you make a clear arrangement with the siklo driver to come up with a reasonable fare, we were not able to negotiate clearly with the 3 drivers (I guess, the right term is---there was a miscommunication) because we're extremely tired to think about arrangement. If you hate walking around the unfamiliar streets, choose taxi instead, flag down rate in Vietnam is only VD12,000 - Php30.00, there's an additional VD3,000 (Php7.50) per kilometer.

Important Tip: When crossing the border or when traveling to another town/province in Vietnam or Cambodia, make an arrangement with the hotel receptionist to buy you a bus ticket, this is more convenient because the arrangement includes free pick up at the hotel with no additional charges.

Phnom Penh city (two nights): Hotel Luxury world
Address: #35 Street 200, Sangkat Boeung Rang, Khan Daun,
Phnom Penh city, Cambodia

The actual room we occupied at Hotel Luxury world
Php720.00 each person per night

Hotel Luxury world is 3-star hotel with freebies and amenities similar to Lan Lan 2 hotel (minus electric kettle). They have nice and accommodating staff, the location is just within the city. For travelers who may want to buy dollar currency or Cambodian currency, there's a western union nearby, around two blocks. Unlike in Lan Lan 2 hotel, at Hotel luxury world, you are required to present a meal coupon when availing the free breakfast, you can get it from the receptionist.


US$
Php
DAY 2-Phnom Penh City


Bus fare (Capitol Tours bus)
 
 825.00
Hotel accommodation-1 night

 740.00
Tuktuk ride from bus stop to hotel
1.5
   75.00
Dinner – along the city road
1.5
   75.00
Total expenses for Day 1

1,715.00

We crossed the border without any Cambodian currency nor dollar so we were not able to buy for our lunch, we just consumed biscuits which we brought from Manila.

Siem Reap city (one night): Rithy Rine Angkor Hotel
Address: #0509, Wat bo village, Siem Reap city, Cambodia
Phone: +85-5-12-237-456
The actual room we occupied. 
We paid Php550.00 each for one night. Pretty cheap rate isn't it? You can avail this rate too, just make your reservation at AGODA SITE through this LINK

Rithy Rine Angkor hotel is also a 3-star hotel located at Wat bo village, this area is closer to Koulen II restaurant and souvenir shops. It has wonderful staff, I was so touched with their kindness, very pleasant! We spent dinner at Koulen II restaurant, Rithy Rine staff recommended it to us, they also arranged our reservation at the restaurant.


US$
Php
DAY 3-Siem Reap City


Bus fare (Sorya bus)
10.00 
  500.00
Hotel accommodation-1 night

  520.00
I bought pinipig on the road
  1.00
    50.00
Tuktuk ride from bus stop to hotel
  1.5
    75.00
Dinner – Koulen II restaurant
13.00
  650.00
Tuktuk ride at night
  1.33
     66.50
Total expenses for Day 1

1,861.50






US$
Php
DAY 4-Siem Reap, Angkor, Phnom Penh


Tuktuk ride to Angkor complex – One day
10.00
   500.00
Angkor Pass for one day tour
20.00
1,000.00
Bus fare going back to Phnom Penh
 8.00
   400.00
Stop over meal – Sieam Reap province
 1.00
     50.00
Tuktuk ride from bus stop to hotel
 1.40
     70.00
Hotel accommodation – 1 night
 
   740.00     
Dinner
 1.00
     50.00
Total expenses for Day 1

2,810.00


US$
VD
Php
DAY 5- Phnom Penh and Saigon



Bus fare going back to Saigon
10.00
  
   500.00
Taxi to Ben Thanh market

30,000
    75.00
Dinner in front of Ben Thanh market

50,000   
   125.00
Taxi to airport from Ben Thanh market

45,000
   112.50
Total expenses for Day 1


   812.00


VD
Php
Souvenir Items shopping


Saigon
584,000  
1,460.00
With this amount, I already bought:
1 embroidered casual bag
4 embroidered cloth pouches
1 mini sling pouch with embroidery
2 cloth coin purses
2 T-shirts with nice embroidery
3 metal key chains
3 magnetic holders
2 ceramic figurines


  
Siem Reap city
$5.00
   250.00
With this amount, I already bought:
1 T-shirt
2 magnetic holders
1 glass miniature



Total amount I spent in shopping

 1,710.00

Expenses in both Vietnam and Cambodia
Php


Hotel accommodation (4 nights)
2,750.00
Food, transportation, entrance fees, others
5,138.50
Shopping
1,710.00
Tips – hotel service staff (carrying bags)
     80.00


Total expenses for this adventure
 9,678.00

Airfare/transpo/requirements
Php


Round Trip airfare (Manila-Saigon-Manila)
  8,575.00
Travel Tax
  5,138.50
Terminal Fee (NAIA only)
  1,710.00
Departure - Fare from the city to airport
     153.00
Arrival – Fare from airport to Taft (bus)
       20.00
Taft to Mandaluyong (MRT)
       20.00
TOTAL
15,616.50


Grand Total for this 5-day foreign trip
25,294.50

IMPORTANT TIPS/GUIDE/REMINDERS: 

When visiting Vietnam and Cambodia:
  • Do research online what attractions you prefer to visit.
  • Learn from other travelers' experience by reading reviews/sharing online
  • Prepare your itinerary ahead of time
  • English is not widely spoken in both Cambodia and Vietnam, so write the address of each destination and hotels in a piece of paper and show it to the locals.
  • If you want to cross the border and need to buy a bus ticket, just tell the receptionist of your hotel, they will be the one to make an arrangement with the bus company, there’s no additional fee with this as this is part of their service. What made this arrangement very comfortable is that it includes free pick up at your hotel without additional payment.
  • Bus companies going to and from Cambodia and Vietnam provide free bottled water for each passenger and one wet tissue. All bus facilities have comfort room and television. Other bus companies have free wifi on board.
  • When visiting Cambodia, make sure you bring US dollar instead of Cambodian currency, most stores and establishments there prefer US dollar than their local currency.
  • Siklo (similar to a trisikad in the Philippines) is very expensive, if you want to experience this ride in Vietnam, make sure you make a clear negotiation with the driver how much you will going to pay before embarking on a ride.
  • In Cambodia, means of transportation is Tuktuk (similar to tricycle in the Philippines), normally the fare is only $3.00 for a single ride within the city, this rate is not per head, it’s the total payment for a single ride, so you can divide the amount among yourselves if you're with a group. If the destination is far, they will collect $5.00 for the ride.
I have only one regret with this trip, we're not able to cross Thailand when it is just 7 hours away from Siem Reap city. Actually, when we first created our itinerary we never thought of visiting Cambodia because our initial plan was to visit Da Lat in Central Vietnam and Hoi An in the North but travel time to these places is the same as crossing Cambodia, thus we revised our itinerary and decided to include Angkor Wat, too late we already booked a round-trip ticket.

For a smooth trip and to make most of your time visiting Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, you may either choose to enter Saigon then cross to Cambodia via Phnom Penh then to Siem Reap and exit in Bangkok or vice versa.

WANT TO GET THE PRICE RATE SIMILAR TO THESE HOTEL DEALS FOR YOUR NEXT ADVENTURE? VISIT AGODA SITE HERE TO AVAIL HUGE DISCOUNT!


READ THE REST OF OUR ADVENTURE HERE

To give you an idea how we prepared our itinerary for this trip, here's the actual time table:

Plan/Date
Destination/Place
Time
Transportation
DAY 1 – Jan.2, Friday
SAIGON, VIETNAM


Arrival from Manila
Tan Son Nhat airport
12:30am

Rest
Airport
1:00-7:00am

Breakfast
Airport
7:00am

Travel from airport to Ben Thanh
Ben Thanh market
7:30am
Bus #152
Lan Lan 2 Hotel
Across Ben Thanh


City leisure around Saigon




(we were not able to visit all the attractions listed in our original itinerary: History Museum, Jade Emperor pagoda, War remnants museum and Suo Tien amusement park)
Public parks
Notre dame cathedral
Central post office
Lunch – Diamond Plaza
Independence Palace
Back to hotel
Dinner
9:30am
10:30am

11:30am
1:00pm

3:00pm

6:30pm



Stroll, walk, siklo ride
DAY 2 – Jan.3, Saturday
PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA


Breakfast – Lan Lan 2 hotel - free

7:00am

Free pick up at the hotel

8:30am
Bus shuttle
Depart for Phnom Penh

9:00am
Bus
Arrival
Phnom Penh city
5:30pm

Travel to hotel luxury world

5:30pm
Tuktuk
Check-in hotel

5:45pm

Dinner

7:30pm

DAY 3 – Jan.4, Sunday
SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA


Breakfast – Hotel - free

7:00am

Free pick up at the hotel

8:30am
Bus shuttle
Depart for Siem Reap

9:00am
Bus
Arrival
Siem Reap city
5:30pm

Travel to Rithy Rine Angkor hotel

5:30pm
Tuktuk
Check-in hotel

5:45pm

Dinner
Koulen II restaurant
7:30pm
Tuktuk
Back to the hotel

9:30pm
Tuktuk
DAY 4 – Jan.5, Monday
SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA


Depart for Angkor complex

5:10am
Tuktuk
Destination 1:
Apsara ticketing
5:20am
Tuktuk
Destination 2:
Angkor Wat
5:30am
Tuktuk
Destination 3:
Angkor Thom
7:40am
Tuktuk
Destination 4:
Ta Phrom Temple
9:30am
Tuktuk
Back to hotel
Rhity Rine hotel
11:00am
Tuktuk
Free pick up

11:30am
Pick up shuttle
Depart for Phnom Penh

12:30pm
Bus
Arrival
Phnom Penh city
8:00am

Travel from bus stop to hotel
Hotel luxury world
8:10pm
Tuktuk
Check-in hotel

8:25pm

DAY 5 – Jan.6, Tuesday
SAIGON, VIETNAM


Breakfast – hotel free

7:00am

Free pick up shuttle bus

8:30am
Shuttle bus
Depart for Saigon

9:00am
Bus
Arrival
Saigon
4:00pm

Travel to Ben Thanh market
Ben Thanh market
4:10pm
Taxi
Shopping
Ben Thanh market
4:25pm

Dinner
Around Ben Thanh market
7:00pm

Travel to airport

8:00pm
Taxi
January 7, Wednesday
Fly back home




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