Living in Phnom Penh

I’ve lived in Phnom Penh since the 1980s. I’ve witnessed a tremendous transformation of the city. In the late 1980s, schooling was not about affordability. There was just no choice. Just some years after the Khmer Rouge regime, being able to go to a public school, about five minutes walk from home, was a luxury. Back then, unofficial playgrounds were everywhere. As a kid, I could spend most of the time outdoor with other kids in my neighborhood.

Fast forward to today, public schools are publicly known for providing lower, if not poor, quality than private ones. There are many choices when going through the long list of private schools. It’s about affordability. These days, kids are very protected for safety and security reasons. Increasingly, kids spend time in their homes playing games on their iPad.

Getting a job in Cambodia?

Now Phnom Penh is one of Asia’s cosmopolitan cities. It’s more than just the capital city of Cambodia. Simply, Phnom Penh is a hub of everything.

Among the many Asian and local countries, Phnom Penh is a well-known capital for welcoming most visitors to the Kingdom of Cambodia. Phnom Penh is located at the intersection of the Three Great Lakes, on the 4th of the Mekong River, Tonle Sap and Bassac River, on the right side of the Royal Palace.

The Cambodian capital city has cultural and historical attractions including the Royal Palace, the Temple of Parnak and the National Museum. Also, there are five-star hotels, guesthouses, international restaurants, local noodle shops, local entertainment clubs, and international disco clubs.

In this post, I’m going to list down some of the things you should know.

Phnom Penh’s Best Place to Live (A Mini Guide)

Which district in Phnom Penh is the best place to live? Tuol Kork means the ground hill. Tuol Kork, which literally means ground hill in Khmer, is becoming more and more an ideal choice to live a relaxing life in Phnom Penh. The district is largely known for villas and quiet life.

In the 1990s, Toul Kork (or Tumnub Toul Kork) was also infamously known as one of Phnom Penh red light districts. However, brothel houses and prostitutes are no longer the case here as private schools, clinics, and restaurants are taking over the area. Read: Phnom Penh nightlife

This blog post will discuss why Toul Kork is the best place for those who want to move to Cambodia and settle in Phnom Penh, the largest capital city.

From Phnom Penh with Love
Glen Felgate has lived in Phnom Penh for years. In this novel, the former foreign correspondent told about a journey into the heart and darkness of Cambodia, a country he felt in love with.

What is it like to live in Phnom Penh as a foreigner?

Some good things:

Phnom Penhers are great people. They’re generally helpful. Khmer people are friendly and hospitable.
Speak Khmer language (even a bit), you can quickly become their friends. You will have more advantages if you can speak the language.
Getting more convenient with growing digital technology solutions: mobile banking (ABA) and getting around with Grab or Passapp (if you don’t want to get a motorcycle or a car).
Cheap cost of living (maybe not cheaper than Saigon, but cheap).
Young locals mostly speak English language fluently.
Relatively safe (safer than your city)
To have fun and memorable experience living in Phnom Penh, it will depend on you.

Some bad things:

Pollution and constant construction noise
Police traffic trap and Tuk-Tuk (it happens when you hit the street)
Some Khmer people see foriegners as walking ATMs.

Hospitals

One of the first things for many people when moving to live or stay long term in Cambodia is health care services. While Phnom Penh is way behind Bangkok, the city has more offerings now than the past decade. In Phnom Penh, there are several international standard hospitals your should know. Here’s a good list of hospitals and clinics in Phnom Penh.

CamKo: Phnom Penh satellite city

The new apartment buildings, Borey, and even the Aeon mega mall, the second one, are good addition to the Toul Kork neighborhood. At the CamKo area, people enjoy jogging, cycling, and breathing their early evening time. This area is a good place for your outdoor exercise.

University areas

Royal University of Phnom Penh, the Institute of Foreign Language, and Institute of Technology of Cambodia are some good places to walk the dog and sit down to breath good of Phnom Penh air.

There are about 100 universities (both public and private) in Cambodia. And which one is the top best?

Phnom Penh’s English schools

Getting a Motorcycle?

If you’re a fan of Honda Super Cub, chance is that you can easily get a good, reliable one in Phnom Penh. There are just so many wholesalers and shops in the heart of the Cambodian capital city. In Phnom Penh, when talking about motorcycles, we must think of the Khlaing Rumsev, which is home to many Japanese motorcycle depots and has been famous for decades.

In the meantime, I would like to mention Japan motorcycle warehouses/shops you should check out before go there in person:

ម៉ូតូឃ្លាំងពីជប៉ុន (Motorcycles from Japan)

One of the great thing is about this place is you can find so classic, old models of Honda Super Cub. Its location is just opposite to Phnom Penh Sport Club.

Sakura Motor Shop

Immediately after the container arrives, Sakura Motor Shop broadcasts live motorcycles imported from Japan on its Facebook page. Viewers can ask about motorcycles and prices before going to see for themselves. In addition, Sakura Motor Shop (Sakura Enterprise) also accepts orders for motorcycles from Japan according to customer needs by simply visiting the website: https://motorjapan.jp/en/

Arigato Cambodia

Located in Sensok district, this warehouse for importing and distributing motorcycles from Japan. This warehouse always broadcasts live every time a motorcycle is dropped from a container.

Lee Auto

Located near the entrance of CamKo city, Lee Auto warehouse collects motorcycles from Japan. So if you want a good used motorcycle from Japan you can consider Lee Auto. You should follow the Facebook page for information about motorcycles that have just entered the warehouse.

If getting a great quality motorbike if your key consideration, then you should take a look at this shop. The price is a bit a higher than others, but you will get what you pay for.

Japanese Motorbikes CKH

Buy motorcycles in Japan and sell directly in Cambodia Always show pictures of motorcycles in Japan that will be imported. So you can book in advance before your favorite motorcycle arrives in Cambodia.

FUJIMA Corporation

The latter should not be overlooked because FUJIMA Corporation is rich in motorcycles imported from Japan, especially Honda Today and PCX Japan.

Price guide: Most of the 50cc Super Cub motorbike prices are starting $500 up (based on the condition). Usually, it depends on the conditions of each bike.

Tips & tricks

Before visiting a motorcycle shop, you should check its presence online. Most shops have their Facebook Page with latest photos and live videos. You can take this time to compare price before going there to see your wanted motorbike and negotiate.

If you have a friend with in-depth knowledge of second-hand motorbike, you have great advantage to select the best of the best. These mentioned shops are reputable in Cambodia. You can expect to get the most genuine spare parts of the motorcycle you’re buying.

Getting one of the used Japanese motorbikes from a Phnom Penh shop, you’re entitled to get a tax paper. This official document is for making the plate number for its legality on the road.

A Honda Super Cub motorbike is very affordable for most Phnom Penhers. It’s easy and low cost to maintain. There are many spare parts available for replacement. After years of use, you can also sell it without losing much as other new, expensive bikes.

Why I recommend a Super Cub instead of others? I’ve owned all used Honda Cub imported from Japan. It’s easy to trust this world’s great brand name from the Japanese maker. I like the older editions, those made in the 1960s and 70s.

Delivery Services in Cambodia

This is a quick guide to sending your stuff, parcels, documents, and products to anyone in any province in Cambodia. While DHL and FedEx have built their reputation for their fast shipping and delivery from one country to another, these local delivery services (below), offer a convenient and reasonably fast delivery service here in and across Cambodia. For those who live in Phnom Penh, it’s really easy to send goods and small packages to Siem Reap, Sihanoukville and other places. It’s also easy to send stuff without even location address, but a mobile phone number of the person you want to get your gifts.

Also popular: Coffee shops with fast Internet in Phnom Penh?

J&T Express

I have used this delivery service provider for sending small parcels and boxes within Phnom Penh and to Siem Reap. J&T Express will give you receipt with a QR code to keep tracking your package. It’s quite reliable and convenient. A small box for Phnom Penh delivery costs $1.

Kerry Express

is probably the largest courier service in Cambodia. Sending goods or products from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap today, the recipient will get them tomorrow. The delivery trucks usually leave the capital city at the night time. A Kerry Express courier would call the recipient before delivering the item at their resident. I usually Kerry Express to send small packages from my Phnom Penh home to Siem Reap. It’s only $1 for a small item. Kerry Express cooperates with state-owned Cambodia Post. So its coverage of delivery is big. You can also track your items with a smartphone app: Kerry Express Cambodia on Playstore. Address: #101BCE, St 516, Sangkat Boeung Kak I, Khan Toul Kork, Phnom Penh Tel: 023 222 778 Website: www.kerryexpress.com

Joonaak

Many shop owners in Phnom Penh use this courier delivery service to have their products delivered to the customers. It’s a door-to-door product delivery service. Joonaak mobile tracking application is coming soon! Address: Joonaak Delivery Co., Ltd No.4 , Street 572 Phnom Penh Tel: 010 984 988 Website: http://www.joonaak.com/

Cambodia Post

Over the past few years, Cambodia Post has been improving and expanding a lot. In addition to Express Mail Service for both domestic and international, Cambodia Post also provides door to door service for sending letters, mails, small packages, parcels, and cashes. You can also rent a post office box. Address: Corner Street 13 & 102, Sangkat Wat Phnom, Khan DaunPenh, Phnom Penh, Cambodia 12000 Tel: 023 725 533 Website: http://cambodiapost.post/en/

KH Transportation Express

This is another Cambodia courier service you can trust. Address: #443, Street 271, Sangkat Phsar Dam Thkov, Khan Chamkarmorn, Phnom Penh, Cambodia Tel: +855 89 888 222

Cambodia-based Startups You Should Know

What these startups have in common is: the adoption rate among local users remains low. The major users who adopt the tech-driven solutions are non-Cambodian. Is it the English language issue or payment method.

Most Cambodians don’t have access to Visa or Master card, not to mention Paypal or standard payment option.

However, here’s a long list of mobile money operators available to many fragments of users across Cambodia: Wing, E-money, True Money and Smart Luy; bank-managed mobile financial services such as ACLEDA, Prasac, AMK, and more.

In this blog post, you’ll learn about Cambodia’s startups that offer tech solutions to users in Cambodia. These Phnom Penh-based startups take on old and new challenges facing the local population. From optimizing how you commute to work to an easy way to hop on a bus to getting your ordered grocery at your door step.

We tried to pick startups that:

  • help people to travel and commute easier
  • have technology-driven solutions or at least tech-enabled
  • have similar hiring needs to a typical silicon valley startup, small and agile
  • are focused on fulfilling basic needs of ordinary people

Successful Startups in Cambodia

BookMeBus.com Phnom Penh, Cambodia What they do: As in its name, this is a local startup that helps travelers to book bus tickets easily and quickly.

As BookMeBus has a growing list of bus operators on its online service, it’s so convenient to check bus schedules, compare prices, and order the ticket over the Internet or through your smartphone. Think of this as Cambodia’s Uber for bus.

This startup keeps expanding; book a ferry ticket from to Koh Rong and Koh Rong Sanloem from Sihanoukville was introduced recently. Soon, you can even book a train ticket.

Why you should know about them: Before founding this BookMeBus, Chea Langda was frustrated by how hard it’s get a bus ticket.

Getting to the agent for the ticket in person. Not so much information about the bus of choice, departure schedules to plan the trip well. This startup has attracted attentions from those in bigger cities like Bangkok and Yangon.

Airbnb in Cambodia & Why You Should Be a Host

I’ve been a part-time Airbnb host since late 2016. So this blog post is an ongoing update of my experience as an Airbnb host in Phnom Penh. During that period, for about 6 months, I learned a great deal to be a better host. If you want to become an Airbnb host, you can easily start it out.

When you search Airbnb Cambodia on Google, you won’t find much information just yet. Probably this concept is still relatively new to a country like Cambodia and Khmer people. In September 2015, The Phnom Penh Post’s Natalie Leung discussed how Airbnb as an online home rental site is taking on hotels in Phnom Penh in Siem Reap: Hospitality jumps on the Airbnb bandwagon. Again, not so much you can get a lot of information about the Airbnb’s offering in Cambodia apart from Airbnb’s own take like Top 20 Cambodia Vacation Rentals, Vacation Homes: Rent from people in Cambodia from $24/night.

This entire apartment (near the Russian market) B4-10 is one of the most popular places to stay. It’s about $18 per night.

On Facebook, there is a Facebook Page called: Airbnb Cambodia. But it’s not so active. But this Facebook Group looks better: Airbnb Hosts in Cambodia, which is a place for Airbnb hosts to share experiences and idea, a place to connect and ask each other questions.

2017: more Cambodian Airbnb hosts

One of the most important parts about Airbnb as a platform is building trust for the host and the guest. Both sides review and rate each other. As a new host, you may feel not comfortable or nervous to have a stranger coming and staying in your home. However, before confirming your guest’s booking, you have the chance to go through his/her profile with some detailed information from various sources, including previous hosts who gave their reviews.

Airbnb’s system and process were built to ensure key factors such as improving safety and condition in most aspects. In our digital age, this concept offers a good solution to everyone: the host, the guest, and Airbnb itself.

As there are more housing projects, construction of apartments and condominiums, some Phnom Penh residents will find Airbnb as a good way to start earning extra money by hosting travelers from many parts of the world.

Airbnb, what?

For starters, Airbnb is a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world. In Cambodia, especially in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap what you can do: list your space or home. Airbnb users from other parts of the world will be able to book and stay at your apartment room at a more affordable price than most hotels.

If you’ve got a nice, clean, simple home in Phnom Penh or anywhere in Cambodia, you can earn extra money by becoming an Airbnb host. Want to start hosting on Airbnb? You can use my referral link.

Cambopedia.com provides local insights, practical tips and advice to travel and live the life like Cambodian people when in Cambodia. On this website, you’ll find useful travel information and local living experience in this beautiful country in Southeast Asia.

You may ask: is it safe to live in Cambodia? Is Cambodia good place to live? You’ll find the answers to your questions in this post.

First of all, you may ask why would anyone want to experience this local lifestyle. Well, it’s really easy to visit Cambodia as a tourist, or a traveler, or an expat. However, it’s a rare, unique experience to feel and breathe this lovely country and city like Phnom Penh as any local here.

Being a local here, it means that you eat, sleep, and enjoy the way of living like the majority of Cambodians. Not only that you learn about culture and traditions, but you do really feel and experience them. So are you ready to start? You won’t regret for a second after all.

Cambodia is a safe destination and place to travel and live! Actually, there are problems due to extreme poverty and inequality, but people are generally super friendly and trustworthy. Most Cambodians are very kind and generous, and they’re are hospitable and helpful to tourists, travelers, backpackers, and expatriates.

Kids on the street may call you foreign traveler a “Barang,” which means a French. Or “Ta Barang” to refer to an older Westerner. “Ta” means grandfather, a way of saying with respect to an elder.

Getting into or out of Cambodia by bus is the cheapest option, although there are many direct flights to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Travel across Cambodia is also getting easier. What amazes most travelers and visitors to Cambodia is high-speed Internet and free Wi-Fi everywhere, either on the bus, in a cafe, or in a budget guest house for backpackers.

Mobile Internet? You can easily buy a 3G or 4G sim card. How to describe Cambodia? Believe it or not, Cambodia is about the same size to Oklahama of the United States of America. Khmer people are super friendly and gentle people. Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and Sihanoukville all have its own unique characteristic. If you’d love to know and learn about Cambodia, visiting one of these cities is not enough.

This is a list of reasons people from all over the world fall in love with Cambodia, a charming country in Southeast Asia. Before you continue reading this, please make sure that you’ve been to Cambodia before. Or at least you’ve heard about Cambodia from you friends or family members. After reading this, it’s time for you to decide to make your first visit to Cambodia. If not, you may regret it.

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.

Getting a visa to Cambodia?

If you’re a planning to visit Cambodia, this page is all you need to know about the Cambodian visa. Currently, international tourists can obtain a Cambodian visa upon arrival at the Visa On Arrival or international tourists can apply for a Cambodian visa via the ambassadorial office in other countries.

Visa On Arrival (VOA)

Foreign tourists can obtain a Cambodian visa after arrival at the airport and any international border checkpoint (Visa on arrival). The Visa On Arrival (VOA) has been issued officially at the following entrances:

  • Phnom Penh International Airport
  • Siem Reap International Airport (Angkor Temples)
  • Land: Passengers can travel to / from Cambodia by land through the Aranyapat-Poipet border or Trat- Koh Kong border of Thailand and the Moc Bai-Bavet border in Vietnam and the Trapiang-Kilil border checkpoint in Lao PDR.
  • At the Cambodian-Vietnamese border checkpoints, there are 9 gates.
  • Along the Thai-Cambodian border, there are six gates.
  • Along the Cambodian-Lao border, there is only one checkpoint.

The Cambodian visa is valid for thirty (30) days from the date of issue of the visa, not from the date of entry.

Conditions required to obtain an entry visa Make sure the following documents are properly prepared:

  • Valid passport valid for at least four (4) months.
  • A new photo slips off the visa application form, the same size as a snapshot.
  • Pay visa fees.

Visa Fee (only in US Dollar)

  • Tourist Visa Type: US $ 20.00
  • Business Visa Type: US $ 25.00

K Visa

Is issued to Cambodians entering the Kingdom of Cambodia holding foreign passports (Applicants must provide proper documentation as proof that the applicant’s father or mother is a Cambodian). The visa is only issued once and is free and valid for unlimited access to the Kingdom of Cambodia.

Visa Extension

Passengers wishing to stay in Cambodia for a long time can extend their visas at the immigration department located opposite Phnom Penh International Airport or by going to a travel agency.

Visa-Free Travel Arrangement for ASEAN Member Countries

The Cambodian government first announced the arrangement of visa-free travel arrangements with the following ASEAN Member States: Singapore, Laos, Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Myanmar and Thailand.

Electronic Visa

Currently, electronic visas are available online via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. Please complete the online application form via:

e-Visa Website of Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation. There will be a credit card charging requirement for payment.

Tips When Crossing the Cambodian Border

  • Make sure you check the opening hours of the crossing point ahead of your trip.
  • Be aware of the Visa application (which are different depending on your citizenship). First primary source is your embassy.
  • Be cautious about your visa validity: if you overstay, you’d be fined 10 USD per day in Cambodia. In neighboring country Vietnam, for those who have two weeks free tourist entry, you have to wait a month before coming back after you leave the country.
  • Be cautious of the time you will cross the border (night or day time)
  • Crossing the Cambodian border, it’s better to patient and polite. You will avoid problems with this tip.

Addition Questions & Answers

As an Asean national, do I need a visa to visit Cambodia? Asean: the nationals of the Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia do not need a tourist visa and may stay in Cambodia for 21 and 30 days respectively. As a tourist, can I get a visa on arrival in Cambodia?

Most visitors to Cambodia require a one-month tourist visa (US$30). Most nationalities receive this on arrival at Phnom Penh and Siem Reap airports, and at land borders, but citizens of Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka and Sudan need to make advance arrangements.

How long can you stay in Cambodia without a visa? The tourist visa is an ideal option if you know you will be staying 30 days or less. The 30-day tourist visa is available to travelers in advance or on arrival (for most nationalities) for a cost of $30. The tourist visa is single entry only, and can be renewed once for an additional 30 days for a fee of $45.

One of Cambopedia’s readers asked: “Last year I was 7 days over time for my visa. This time I am staying 5 weeks. Last year i paid 7 x USD 5 (5USD per day) I think at the customs at the airport. Is this still common practice? Or should I better get an extension visa ?” Answer: It’s always a good idea to get an extension visa. You don’t want to run into inconvenience or difficulty with the penalty (can be unpredictable from time to time).

With a 30 day tourist visa, can I leave the country after a week and come back on the same visa with in the time limit? Answer: In the visa, it says it’s only for single entry. You must get new visa. You can actually get another single visa for $30 upon arrival at the border or airport. You need to have a passport sized photo with you or they will charge you for photocopying your passport. For a 3 or 6 month multi entry get an ordinary visa on arrival then go to a tour agency and in 3 days they will get your multi entry visa. More expensive then 2 single entries though.

More discussions about getting a Cambodian visa on Quora:

The capital of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Phnom Penh is the largest city in a country of nearly 2 million people in 2017. The city is also the center of commerce, industry and the largest labor force in Cambodia. Phnom Penh has a large collection of large buildings, including the largest market and shopping mall in Cambodia, the largest university for international students, international airports, ports and water ports for the supply, transportation and storage of other goods. And second-largest national tourist attractions, after the city Siem Reap.

Phnom Penh, the largest and most vibrant capital city of Cambodia, is sandwiched by Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh (Saigon), Yangon, and Vientiane. Basically, Phnom Penh is a safe city in Southeast Asia. Phnom Penh is not largely known as a city of burglary, theft, robbery, or vandalism.

However, beware of having your handbag snatched by a motorcycle driver while you are riding in a Tuk Tuk. Don’t wear valuable jewelry and ride motorbikes. You just need to not go out at night alone at a quiet place. Keep your wallet or purse under close surveillance in crowded markets. It’s always good to avoid dark and lonely areas at night or groups of drunk youths.

Phnom Penh was once regarded as Paris of the East and the Pearl of Asia. Phnom Penh is becoming one of the most beautiful cities in Southeast Asia.

The infrastructure is getting better every year. It’s not very clean, but people start to realize this importance of a livable city. Unlike Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok, Phnom Penh is a cheap city to live and work. There are nice, friendly people who speak English and Chinese, too.

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