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Expats Guide Living in Cambodia

So you’ve spent time exploring Cambodia and don’t want the experience to end. A large number of Westerners in recent years have opted to live in Cambodia for a year or two, seduced by the tropical climate, amazing food, gentle pace of life and friendly people.

Starting a new life in Cambodia is simple as there are plenty of jobs for Westerners such as teaching, while those who choose to retire here will find the cost of living very affordable. There are plenty of Western-style facilities in the main towns and cities as well as international standard bars, restaurants and property, which helps make the transition smooth and enjoyable.

Where to settle as an expat in Cambodia
Most foreigners choose to settle in the capital city of Phnom Penh, as there is a large expat community here as well as plenty of jobs available for Westerners. Living in Phnom Penh can be pretty comfortable as there are plenty of Western-style nightlife, dining and accommodation options.

Phnom Penh is quite a small city and getting around on foot is pretty simple. The English language newspaper the Phnom Penh Post is a good source of local information as it includes accommodation listings, what’s on, jobs and other information. The hospitals here are of a reasonable standard, while communications such as the Internet are also good. More information on Phnom Penh

Another good option is Siem Reap as there are plenty of decent facilities here. Life in Siem Reap is slower than in Phnom Penh, making it easier to meet local people.

Those who want to sun themselves on the beach should start their new life in Sihanoukville. Blessed with golden sandy beaches, bars and seafood restaurants, those who stay here will really be living the life of Riley.

Visas for Expats in Cambodia
Standard tourist visas last for 30 days and can be extended only once. However, the good news is that business visas in Cambodia are easier to come by than in countries such as Thailand, Singapore and the West. Once obtained, these business visas can be extended every three, six or twelve months as many times as required, meaning than staying in Cambodia indefinitely is pretty simple.

Costs of living in Cambodia
Of course, this depends entirely on the type of lifestyle you want to have and what you plan to do in Cambodia. With a little planning and a lot of budgeting, it is possible to live quite comfortably in Cambodia for as little as US$500 a month, although this budget allows little extra money for luxuries such as gourmet meals and first-class travel. Those who are happy to eat cheap meals on the street and stay in budget accommodation will be happy on this budget, while those who need a few creature comforts should allow US$700 a month. More on costs in Cambodia.

Buying property in Cambodia
If you live in Cambodia buying property is a good option as costs are quite low and there are plenty of places to choose from. At present, land ownership in Cambodia is against the constitution, although the government is currently considering changing the law to permit foreigners to purchase and fully own property. Until the new law is brought into play, foreigners can take out long renewable leases from local companies, and this is a cheap and comfortable way to live in Cambodia.

Health and safety in Cambodia
The standard of healthcare facilities are much lower in Cambodia than in Western countries and although it is possible to find decent hospitals and clinics in cities such as Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville, finding medical treatment in rural areas can be tricky. Medical care in Cambodia can also be costly and it is important to take out a health insurance policy before entering the country and ensure that you are covered for the duration of your stay.

There is a risk of contracting diseases such as malaria and hepatitis in Cambodia and visitors should make sure their vaccinations are up to date. Obtaining medication can also be tricky and it is best to obtain a supply of medication for diarrhoea, malaria and other medication that you usually take.

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