With my depleting funds, I decided to do this crazy backpacking extra challenge where I need to survive the next 4 days in Siem Reap eating healthy meals on a budget of $6. And that amount should cover my backpacking food expenses for the next 4 days.
My travel buddy had to exit Siem Reap. Since we will be travelling north in a couple of days to meet up with his gf, he decided he’ll just wait for me in Bangkok. I decided to stay behind due to financial reasons. Spending a night in Bangkok would cost me a minimum of 150 THB (~5USD) whereas staying in our guesthouse in Siem Reap will only cost me 4 dollars. Staying in Bangkok would also tempt me to splurge on Thai food. I am running low on funds and I may not resist the call of my teasing tummy and echuserang eyes once I see those yummy foods that ruined my budget last month. hehehe
My balance sheet tells me that I only have 124.50 USD left. $10 will cover for my extended stay and $8.50 will cover my fare from Siem Reap to Bangkok. As much as possible, I don’t want to spend my 100-dollar bill since the exchange rate of big bills in Bangkok are higher compared to small bills. So with only $6 left in my wallet, I had to do this extra challenge.
Oatmeal – $2.20, pineapple – 3000R, 1/2 kilo pork – 75000R, baguette – 700R, egg – 500R, garlic – 300R*
*1 USD = 4000 Cambodian Riel (R)
Cooking on a budget, I decided to buy oatmeal and pineapple for snacks, a half kilo pork and garlic that should take care of the next three days; and egg & baguette, which will cover Day 1 of the challenge. We still have a half kilo of rice and other spices so cooking won’t be a problem.
I went home happy knowing I still got change from the $6 and I am confident that I could survive eating budget meals in the next coming days. I hope.
Extra Challenge: Day 1
When I arrived in Siem Reap [a month ago], I bought this bacon for $7.50. It had 44 bacon strips and it was my tummy-saver food when I felt lazy going out to eat. I never thought I would see the day that I’d consume all of those bacon! I cooked the last strips of bacon yesterday and paired it with a sunny-side-up egg and baguette.
I also divided the pork into 3 meals. I plan to cook adobo (pork cooked in soy sauce, vinegar and garlic) as this will not require many ingredients. I also marinated a portion of the pork for frying. The third dish I intend to cook would be an experiment with potato and tomato, 2 vegies I need to get rid of before I leave Siem Reap.
note: always pay attention to what you’re toasting. hehehe
I survived Day 1 by eating this meal for lunch and dinner. I tore the bread in 2 pieces and divided the bacon and eggs. I had dinner before 6 and by 9, my tummy grumbled. I was so tempted to go out and buy biko (rice cake) or noodles but I was glad I resisted the urge. Instead, I prepared oatmeal.
Some may react negatively to this challenge. Who wouldn’t? To survive with less than $1.50 worth of food per day on this backpacking trip and spread that out for 3 meals for the next four days is not something one would dream of. Then I remember a friend who told me that I’d need to budget $5 per day for food. I said I can do $2. Now I’m stretching it to $1.50 and I know I’m going to eat
almost healthy meals on a budget
I realized that anything is possible, especially to one with an almost empty wallet. It’s really a wonder how your mind works to come up with budget meals when placed in a tight situation. hehe
For those who are planning to go on a backpacking trip with a very tight budget, consider getting a guesthouse which offers a kitchen, shared or not. Also, better start learning how to cook your own backpacking meals if you don’t know how. Be familiar with the basics of cooking on a budget. That’s all you need. Preparing your own food will be one great budget-saver for your journey.
When I started with this backpacking trip almost 2 months ago, Flip of flipnomad.com insisted we get a guesthouse with a kitchen. I now fully understand the importance of his tip. Thanks for the great advice Flip!
Today is Day 2 of the challenge. I already had oatmeal for breakfast. I will now experiment on the pork, potato and tomato. Wish me luck!