A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Kathmandu vs. Phnom Penh for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Kathmandu or Phnom Penh?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel comparison between Kathmandu and Phnom Penh can help. It includes a travel cost comparison in addition to other factors. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.

Where Should I go: Kathmandu or Phnom Penh?


Kathmandu is the capital and largest city in the country of Nepal. Its metropolitan area forms one large urban area that includes the area of Patan to the south. As of 2011 there were 2.5 million residents in the Kathmandu metropolis and over 3 million in the entire metropolitan area. Kathmandu is likely to be your entry point into Nepal and is a great place to pick up supplies and arrange the details for any treks you hope to do. Many travelers rush through Kathmandu, turned off by the pollution and crowds, but to skip Kathmandu is to miss a major cultural, financial, and influential part of what defines the country of Nepal. The city itself is quite fun to explore if you allow it enough time and an open mind.

Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh is the capital and largest city in the country of Cambodia. It is located at the edge of the Mekong and the Tonle Sap rivers and is the nation's center of economics and industry. The metropolitan area has a population of about 2.2 million.

Phnom Penh was once called the "Pearl of Asia." In the 1920s it was one of the most impressive French built cities in the region and was an important tourist destination. During the Vietnam War, refugees fled to the city and by 1975 the city's population was between 2 and 3 million, most of them being refugees. The city fell to the Khmer Rouge in 1975 and they cut off supplies to the population for over a year. Journalists reported torture and mutilation of the trapped civilians and the Khmer Rouge forcibly evacuated the city in what is known as the death march. The Khmer Rouge was driven from the city by the Vietnamese in 1979 and reconstruction began.

Today, tourism continues to grow in the city and those who visit are greeted by a welcoming and friendly population, a rich culture, and truly rewarding travel experience.

Phnom Penh has a tropical wet and dry climate. It is hot year around with very little temperature variation. Lows are usually in the low 70s Fahrenheit and highs are in the mid to high 90s Fahrenheit. The southwest monsoon brings rains between May and October and the northeast monsoon brings the dry season from November to March.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Hiking & Trekking Tours in Nepal, The Best 10-Day Tours in Nepal, The Best One Week (7-Day) Tours in Cambodia, and The Best 2-Week Tours in Cambodia.

Which place is cheaper, Phnom Penh or Kathmandu?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Kathmandu is $57, while the average daily cost in Phnom Penh is $41. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Kathmandu and Phnom Penh in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Kathmandu $40
    Phnom Penh $12
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Kathmandu $80
    Phnom Penh $24
Compare Hotels in Kathmandu and Phnom Penh

Looking for a hotel in Kathmandu or Phnom Penh? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Kathmandu

Hotels in Phnom Penh

Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.

Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Kathmandu Hotel Prices and Phnom Penh Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Kathmandu $6.95
    Phnom Penh $7.87
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Kathmandu

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in Kathmandu:

  • Taxi Ride

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Kathmandu

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Kathmandu:

  • Day Trip to Water and Amusement Park and Kirtipur sightseeing with Transfer : $87
  • Deluxe Toyota Coaster Mini Bus Transfer From Kathmandu to Pokhara or V. V. : $22
  • From Bungee Jump over Bhotekosi River & Transfer: $160
  • From One-Way Private Transfer to Pokhara: $148
  • From Private car transfer to Pokhara: $117
  • Kathmandu - Arrival transfer from airport to hotel : $12
  • Kathmandu Airport Arrival transfer: $20
  • Kathmandu Airport Private Transfers: $14
  • Kathmandu Airport Transfer: $30
  • Kathmandu Airport Transfer: $16
  • Kathmandu Airport Transfers: $23
  • Kathmandu Airport to Nagarkot Hotel Transfer: $109

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Phnom Penh

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Phnom Penh:

  • Private Phnom Penh Airport Transfers to your hotel in town: $10
  • Try find your better than us ! Airport transfer service Phnom Penh APT-HTL (PNH): $16
  • Private Transfer: Phnom Penh's Hotel to Phnom Penh Airport: $18
  • Phnom Penh Airport Transfers: $19
  • Private Departure Transfer: Hotel to Phnom Penh International Airport (PNH): $22
  • Private Taxi Transfer Phnom Penh Airport to Hotels: $22
  • Phnom Penh Airport (PNH) Pickup/Transfer Private Car: $23
  • Phnom Penh International Airport Transfer (PNH): $23
  • Phnom Penh Airport Pickup/Transfer: $25
  • Private Transfer to International Airport: $25
  • Private Transfer From Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville: $25
  • Private Arrival Transfer: Phnom Penh International Airport (PNH) to Hotel : $25

Is it cheaper to fly into Kathmandu or Phnom Penh?

Prices for flights to both Phnom Penh and Kathmandu change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.

  • Food Meals for one day
    Kathmandu $8.31
    Phnom Penh $13
Typical Food Prices in Kathmandu

Some typical examples of dining costs in Kathmandu are as follows:

  • Dessert
  • Dinner for Two

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Kathmandu

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Kathmandu.

  • Momo Making & Cooking class in Thamel with Pickup: $8.58
  • Half Day cooking class in Kathmandu by Local Chefs & Pickup: $9.36
  • Best Half-Day Nepali Cooking Class & Hotel Pickup: $9.50
  • Best Half day cooking class in Thamel Kathmandu with Pickup: $10
  • Dinner with Cultural Show Kathmandu : $12
  • Cultural Dinner Show with Traditional Dance: $17
  • Nepali Cooking Class in Thamel, Kathmandu with Pickup: $19
  • Half Day Cooking Class in Thamel with Local Market Visit: $23
  • Cooking Class in Thamel Kathmandu by Local Chef with pickup: $25
  • Kathmandu Culinary Adventure: A Cooking Class Experience: $27
  • Private Cooking class with Pickup and Drop: $29
  • Cooking class in kathmandu( Women empowerment project): $30

Typical Food Prices in Phnom Penh

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Phnom Penh:

  • Dinner for Two
  • Breakfast for Two

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Phnom Penh

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Phnom Penh.

  • Sunset Dinner Cruises w/Live Music, 5&7pm; Free Pickup Avail: $9.90
  • Sunset Dinner Cruises w/Live Music, 5&7pm; Free Pickup Available: $9.90
  • 4-hours cooking with us in the Hinterlands of Phnom Penh: $23
  • Khmer Cooking Class Half Day (AM or PM): $36
  • Phnom Penh Evening Food Tour Drinks & Tuk Tuk included: $36
  • Phnom Penh Evening Food Tour - Inclusive over 10 Local Tastings: $44
  • Phnom Penh Morning Market & Food Tour by Tuktuk - Includes All Food & Drinks!: $45
  • Evening Food Tour By Tuk-Tuk in Phnom Penh: $59
  • Evening Cambodian Food Tour: $60
  • Ultimate PP Food Tour by Tuk Tuk - 20 tastings & drinks included: $69
  • Phnom Penh’s Culinary Underground: Local Food Tour by Tuk-tuk: $69
  • Phnom Penh Authentic Food Tour 100% By Local: $69

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Kathmandu $8.04
    Phnom Penh $7.65
Typical Entertainment Prices in Kathmandu

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Kathmandu are as follows:

  • Monkey Temple for Two
  • Patan Durbar Square Entrance for Two
  • Swayambhunath Stupa

Tours and Activities in Kathmandu

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Kathmandu are as follows:

  • 4 UNESCO World Heritage Site Tour Nepal: $0.43
  • Old A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.40
  • City Highlights Bus Tour: $9.55
  • Privet Day Tours in Kathmandu Nepal : $10
  • Sarngkot Sunrise Himalayas Tour in Pokhara: $10
  • Skywalk Adventure in Nepal: $11
  • Nepali Nightlife Experience in Kathmandu's Vibrant Thamel: $12
  • Discovering Full-Day City Highlights Bus Tour: $12
  • Kathmandu to Pokhara Tourist Bus- MNS: $12
  • Bandipur Tourist Bus Ticket: $12
  • Chitwan To Kathmandu Tourist Bus: $13
  • Thamel Rickshaw tour: $13

Tours and Activities in Phnom Penh

Here are a few actual costs in Phnom Penh for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • Mad Monkey Phnom Penh Riverside Walking Tour: $6.00
  • One Hour City Light Cruise-Foods & Drinks available for purchase: $8.00
  • Sunset Cruise on Kanika Boat: $8.60
  • Private Phnom Penh Day Tour : Explore All Highlights Sites: $9.00
  • Sunset Cruise - Your Cruise, You Choose, 3 wonderful Options: $12
  • Sunset Cruise in Phnom Penh - One and a Half Hours: $12
  • The killing field and Toul Sleng Genocide museum (S21) Tour: $15
  • From Killing Fields and Prison S21 Tour: $15
  • Sunset Cruise with unlimited beer & soft drinks -English speaking guide on board: $16
  • Sunset Cruise with Unlimited Beer and Drinks: $17
  • killing field and Toul Sleng genocide museum tour: $18
  • Half-Day Tour of the Killing Field and S21 : $18

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Kathmandu $5.77
    Phnom Penh $4.33

Sample the Local Flavors in Phnom Penh

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Phnom Penh:

  • Mad Monkey Phnom Penh Pub Crawl: $10

When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Kathmandu and Phnom Penh, we can see that Kathmandu is more expensive. And not only is Phnom Penh much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Phnom Penh would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Phnom Penh and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Kathmandu would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Kathmandu than you might in Phnom Penh.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Kathmandu Expensive? and Is Phnom Penh Expensive?.

Which is Bigger, Kathmandu or Phnom Penh?

Phnom Penh has a larger population, and is about 9% larger than the population of Kathmandu. When comparing the sizes of Kathmandu and Phnom Penh, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.