Living in Cambodia
Cambodia is generally considered safe for tourists and expatriates
What you need to know before coming to Cambodia
- Visa Requirements: Most nationalities can enter Cambodia for up to 30 days without a visa, but some may require a visa for longer stays. It’s best to check with the Cambodian embassy or consulate before traveling.
- Currency: The local currency is the Cambodian Riel (KHR), but US dollars are widely accepted. It’s best to have a mix of both currencies when traveling.
- Transportation: Taxis and tuk-tuks are widely available in the major cities, but it’s best to negotiate the fare before starting the journey. Buses and flights are also available for travel to other parts of the country.
- Safety: Cambodia is generally considered safe for travelers, but it’s best to exercise caution when traveling to remote areas and to be aware of pickpocketing and other petty crimes.
- Language: The official language is Khmer, but many people also speak English, especially in the major cities and tourist areas.
- Business customs: Business cards are important and should be presented with two hands. It is common to shake hands upon meeting, but it is not considered necessary to bow or to use formal titles.
- Business hours: Business hours are generally from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Some businesses may also be open on Saturdays, but closed on Sundays.
- Dress code: Dress code for business meetings is formal, with suit and tie for men and formal attire for women.
- Time Zone: Cambodia is in Indochina Time (ICT) which is GMT+7
- Tipping: Tipping is not expected but is appreciated in restaurants and hotels.
Is Cambodia safe country to live?
Cambodia is generally considered safe for tourists and expatriates to visit, but it’s worth noting that crime and safety can vary depending on the location and time. In general, crime rates are low, but pickpocketing, bag/phone snatching (even from a Tuk Tuk) and other petty crimes can be a concern in tourist areas. It’s important to be aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded areas and at night.
However, the political situation in the country is not stable and protests and demonstrations are common, especially in the capital, Phnom Penh. These protests can sometimes turn violent and it’s important to avoid them.
It’s also worth noting that some areas in Cambodia are affected by landmines, which are remnants of the country’s past conflicts. These areas are generally well-marked, but visitors should exercise caution and stick to main roads and well-trodden paths.
In general, if you are planning to live in Cambodia, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks and take steps to stay safe. This includes familiarizing yourself with local laws and customs, being aware of your surroundings, and staying informed about any potential security risks.
It’s always a good idea to check the U.S. Department of State website or the government website of your country for the most up-to-date information on safety and security in Cambodia before planning a trip or move there.
Moving to and living in Cambodia?
5 potential reasons someone might consider moving to Cambodia:
- Cost of Living: Cambodia is known for being one of the most affordable countries in Southeast Asia. The cost of living is significantly lower than in many developed countries, which can make it a great option for retirees, digital nomads, or others looking to stretch their budget.
Friendly People: Cambodians are known for being friendly and hospitable towards foreigners. The culture is generally laid-back, and people are happy to help newcomers adjust to life in the country.
Natural Beauty: Cambodia is home to some of the most beautiful landscapes in Southeast Asia. From the lush jungles in the east to the pristine beaches in the south, there is plenty to explore and enjoy.
Rich Culture: Cambodia has a rich and storied culture, with a long history dating back to the Angkor era. The country is home to many ancient temples and other historic sites, and traditional Khmer culture is still very much alive and celebrated today.
Growing Economy: Cambodia’s economy has been growing rapidly in recent years, driven by a combination of tourism, manufacturing, and services sectors. This has created new job opportunities and business opportunities for those looking to move to the country.
It’s worth noting that as with any country, living in Cambodia may have its own set of challenges, such as language barriers, limited infrastructure, and cultural differences. But for those who are open to new experiences and willing to adapt, Cambodia can be an incredibly rewarding place to live.
Q: What is visiting Cambodia like?
Food and housing are essential costs of living in Cambodia. If you choose to live in the heart of the capital city of Phnom Penh, $800 per month is approximately a good enough budget. If you move a bit further away (but not too far), you can spend just half of that ($400–600), maybe in the Sen Sok district.
For good enough food, $200–$250 per month should suffice.
Siem Reap, Cambodia is internationally known for its temples of Angkor, where you can have a breathtaking view of the sunset from the top of Phnom Bakheng.
Khmer People Are Super Friendly in Asia
Cambodians are the most friendly people in Asia. Khmer people are very hospitable. If you receive a formal or informal invitation to visit their home, consider yourself very fortunate because Khmer people consider you a nice person. In the urban cities like Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, or Sihanoukville, most Cambodians are able to have a conversation with you in English.
Cambodia’s tourism: the backbone of the economy
The tourism industry is the second largest source of the country’s hard currency, after the textile industry. Between January and December 2007, there were 2.0 million arrivals, an increase of 18.5% from the same time period in 2006. Most tourists traveled through Siem Reap (49%), followed by Phnom Penh and other destinations. Other popular destinations include Sihanoukville in the east, which has a beach resort, and the area near Kampot and Kep, including Bokor Station. Tourism has increased steadily each year during a stable period, compared to the 118,183 international tourists in 1993 and the 2,161,577 international tourists in 2009.
Q: What things should you do and see when you travel to Cambodia?
One of the best things to do when visiting Cambodia is to get to know the local people, who are typically friendly and kind. Getting to know Cambodians personally allows you to learn about Cambodia in a way that you don’t find in a travel guide book. A must-visit destination is Angkor Wat and the many other ancient temples in Siem Reap.
Q: When is the best time to visit Cambodia?
The best time to visit Cambodia is from November to March, as this is the dry season. April is the hottest month of the year, although Cambodians celebrate the Khmer New Year during this time.
In December, the weather is typically dry, sunny, with low humidity and cool temperatures (average temperature: 26°C) throughout the country. Not surprisingly, December is one of the most popular months to travel to Cambodia.
Q: What are the best islands in Cambodia?
Both Koh Rong and Koh Rong Sanloem (as recommended by Lonely Planet writer Jessica Lee) are located on the south coast of Cambodia. In Sihanoukville or Kampong Som alone, there are nearly 20 islands. However, these two islands, Koh Rong and Koh Rong Sanloem, have been praised by travelers for their cleanliness, beauty, and serenity. Another good choice that is closer to Phnom Penh is Rabbit Island (Koh Tonsay).
There is no better way to get into Cambodian culture than through Khmer music, which is a part of Cambodian daily life. Cambodian legendary singer Sin Sisamouth is often referred to as the “Elvis Presley” of Cambodia. In this blog post, you can find some selected YouTube music videos to listen to.
Logistics in Cambodia can be challenging due to a variety of factors, including poor infrastructure, underdeveloped transportation systems, and a lack of skilled labor. However, the country has made significant progress in recent years to improve its logistics capabilities. Here are a few key points to consider when discussing logistics in Cambodia:
The main means of transportation in Cambodia is by road, but the road network is not well-developed and can be in poor condition. Additionally, there is a limited railway system and a small number of airports. This makes it difficult to move goods efficiently within the country.
The main port in Cambodia is Sihanoukville Port, which handles the majority of Cambodia’s imports and exports. However, the port is facing capacity constraints and has limited infrastructure, which can slow down the movement of goods.
The process of customs clearance in Cambodia can be time-consuming and bureaucratic. This is due to a lack of automation, inadequate training and a shortage of customs officials. This can cause delays in the clearance of goods.
There are a number of logistics providers in Cambodia, but they are generally small and lack the resources and expertise of larger companies. As a result, they may not be able to handle large or complex logistics projects.
The government of Cambodia has been making efforts to improve logistics in the country by investing in transportation infrastructure and streamlining customs procedures. It also aims to increase the number of logistics providers and to improve the skills of logistics workers to make the sector more competitive.
Overall, logistics in Cambodia is still a developing sector, and it still has a lot of room for improvement. However, in recent years, the country has been making progress to address its logistics challenges.
How to get a tourist visa to Cambodia
To get a tourist visa to Cambodia, you will need to follow these steps:
- Gather required documents: These include a valid passport, a passport-sized photo, and proof of onward travel (such as a flight reservation).
- Obtain the visa application form: This can be obtained from the Cambodian embassy or consulate in your country, or you can apply online.
- Fill out the application form: Be sure to fill out the form completely and accurately, providing all required information and documents.
- Pay the visa fee: The fee for a tourist visa to Cambodia is typically around $30. Payment can be made in cash or by credit card, depending on the embassy or consulate.
- Submit the application: Submit the application form, required documents, and payment to the Cambodian embassy or consulate, or online.
- Wait for the visa to be processed: Processing times vary depending on the embassy or consulate, but it typically takes a few days.
It’s important to check the specific requirements and procedures of the Cambodian embassy or consulate in your country, as they may vary. Some nationalities are eligible for e-visa which can be obtained online, it is recommended to check the official website of the Cambodian government before applying.
Why you should not visit Cambodia?
These are general considerations and many people still choose to visit Cambodia and have a positive experience. Visitors can take steps to minimize negative impact, such as choosing sustainable accommodations and supporting local businesses.
There are a few reasons why some people may choose not to visit Cambodia:
While the country has been relatively stable in recent years, there is still some political uncertainty, and protests or demonstrations may occur.
Cambodia has a legacy of landmines from past conflicts, and there are still areas in the country where landmines are present. Visitors should be aware of this danger and stick to well-traveled paths.
Poverty and begging
Cambodia is still a developing country and visitors may encounter poverty and begging in some areas.
Human rights issues
There have been reports of human rights abuses in Cambodia, including forced labor and human trafficking. Visitors should be aware of these issues and consider the ethical implications of their travel.
Over tourism can put a strain on natural resources, local culture, and infrastructure. Visitors should consider the social and environmental impact of their travels.
What exciting developments are happening in Cambodia right now?
- Phnom Penh’s cityscape is changing. Getting taller and taller everyday. More and more skyscrapers in are everywhere now in the heart of Cambodia’s largest capital city.
- More Chinese money and people
- Going digital. Digital payment, e-commerce, and everything in between. Not going digital means lagging behind. Entrepreneurs are keeping up with the trend.
- Private international English schools in Phnom Penh are going to be for the elites. In just a couple of years, Phnom Penh’s international English schools will be comparable to ones in Hong Kong.
- Coffee shops are everywhere.
- Tech startups are growing. If you’re a digital nomad, then you may find Phnnom Penh as a new home.
Logistics service providers in Cambodia
There are a number of logistics service providers in Cambodia that offer a range of services, including transportation, warehousing, customs clearance, and freight forwarding. Here are a few examples of logistics service providers in Cambodia:
- SCG Logistics: This company is a subsidiary of the Thai company Siam Cement Group and offers a range of logistics services, including transportation, warehousing, and customs clearance.
- Expeditors: This is an international logistics company that offers a range of services, including transportation, warehousing, and customs clearance.
- DHL: This is a global logistics company that offers a range of services, including transportation, warehousing, and customs clearance.
- UPS: This is a global logistics company that offers a range of services, including transportation, warehousing, and customs clearance.
- KGL Logistics: This company is a logistics provider that offers a range of services, including transportation, warehousing, and customs clearance.
What you need to know about obtaining a Cambodian citizenship
The Ministry of Interior is the government institution that processes the applications for Cambodian citizenship. Back in 1996, a foreigner had to spend as much as $500,000 to to be a Cambodian citizen? Not now. Not anymore.
Why Does a Foreigner Want to Get Khmer Citizenship?
- You can get a Cambodian passport. So you don’t need a visa each time you get into Cambodia. You can visit any Asean countries without a visa.
- You can own property and land in your name
- You can vote
To become a Khmer citizen, you have
- to behave well
- good moral conduct
- no crimes in the past
- lived in the Kingdom of Cambodia for at least seven years with a residence card
- to be able to speak and write Khmer language
- to accept good Khmer custom and tradition
How to obtain a Khmer citizenship
Fri, 26 July 1996 Ker Munthit
How to Get a Cambodian Passport (for Cambodian Nationals)
Getting a new Cambodian passport is easier now for Khmer nationals. As time goes by, the administration services have been improved significantly. New to the Phnom Penhers is that it’s very convenient to apply for a new passport, issued by the Ministry of Interior, inside the AEON mall 2 in Sen Sok district. This location of the passport office is more convenient than the one near the Niroth Pagoda.
To obtain a normal passport, it takes only 2 weeks, down from one month-long. It’s stated on the wall that it’s only $100, not $130 or $140. Starting since 2014, the Cambodian government adopted the new biometric passport (valid for 10 years). The table below shows the price ranges for the types of passports, prices, and duration to obtain.
If you had an old, expired passport, you have to visit the Passport Office in Niroth district. If you obtain a new passport, it’s easier to go Passport sub-office in Aeon Mall Sen Sok city.
Cambodian Movies You Should Watch
Most people who have been to Cambodia told me that they fell in love with country and her people. For those who have visited Cambodia for just one time or multiple times and long for some movies about Cambodia, here’s a curated list for you and your nostalgia.
Cambodia is a beautiful country with resilient people. Over the past few decades, there have been an amazing number of Khmer movies made in Cambodia. Not surprisingly, more and more films about Cambodia are available.
In addition to books on Cambodia, the greatest way to learn more about a country like Cambodia is by watching Cambodian movies and films. In this blog post, I’m going to share with you my list of selections. In my recommendations, you will have a number of choices to quickly decide. These must-watch movies are either available on YouTube, Netflix, or Amazon Prime Video.
- movies filmed in Cambodia
- movies about the Khmer Rouge and Cambodia war
- video documentaries
Are you ready? Let’s get started:
One of the newest that bring Cambodia to the international stage, White Building is an award-winning film by Kavich Neang, a companion of well-known director Davy Chou.
Cher & the Loneliest Elephant
Directed by Jonathan Finnigan, the documentary tells a story about how a team of vets, trainers, and one iconic diva moved an elephant from a rundown zoo to a wildlife sanctuary.
Asia’s Monarchies: Cambodia
King Sihanouk ‘retired’ in 2004, giving way to his son, Sihamoni - a ballet dancer.
First They Killed My Father
When Netflix launched its business for Cambodia-based users, this movie, based on the acclaimed book by Loung Ung, was the first one to grab the attention of Cambodians worldwide.
The film features a story of 5-year-old girl who embarks on a harrowing quest for survival amid the sudden rise and terrifying reign of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. Angelina Jolie is the film director and friend of book author Loung Ung.
Enemies of the People
Thet Sambath has a personal story to tell. In the Enemies of the People, the former Cambodian journalist.
The Missing Picture
The Killing Fields
The Road to Freedom: Year Zero
Globe Trekker - Cambodia
S21: Khmer Rouge Killing Machine (English Subtitled)
Websites that help visitors to discover Cambodia
- TripAdvisor: A popular website that offers reviews, photos, and information on hotels, restaurants, and attractions in destinations around the world.
- Lonely Planet: A well-known travel guidebook publisher that also has a website with detailed destination information, including travel tips and suggested itineraries.
- Expedia: A popular online travel booking website that offers a wide range of travel services, including flights, hotels, car rentals, and vacation packages.
- Booking.com: An online travel and accommodation booking website where users can book rooms in hotels, resorts, and other properties.
- Airbnb: An online marketplace that allows users to book unique accommodations, such as apartments, vacation homes, and even treehouses in destinations around the world.
These are some of the most popular websites that help visitors discover a country but there are many more out there that cater to different travel needs and styles.