Expat guide to living in Cambodia



Cambodia is sometimes called the land of contradictions. Here you will find the very rich and the very poor interacting. You will experience rudeness and politeness, most of all you will fall in love with Cambodia as many expats before you have. The great things about being an expat in this country are the beauty of it all, the year round summer weather and the low cost of living. We’ve compiled a guide to get you started as an expat in Cambodia. 


Expat Clubs

Volunteer in Cambodia


This website recruits volunteers to teach at Conversations With Foreigners (CWF), our local conversational English school in Phnom Penh, forming a unique model of learning and cultural exchange to raise money for the Cambodian Rural Development Team (CRDT), a local organisation working to improve livelihoods with rural communities.


Women International Group of Cambodia


Women International Group of Cambodia is an informal voluntary and social group open to women of every nationality looking to meet new friends, socialize and take part in the many activities they organize where the common currency of communication is the English language. WIG is a pro-active and multi-cultural group that throughout the year organizes numerous activities and events including coffee mornings, culture events, charity raising and more. There is something to suit all tastes and all ages. All activities are non-political and non-profit.

International Schools 

International School of Phnom Penh

ISPP is fully authorized as an IB World School, offering the Primary Yeas, Middle Years and Diploma programmes, and is accredited by the Western Association of Schools a Colleges (WASC) and the Council of International Schools (CIS). ISPP is also a member o the European Council of International Schools (ECIS) and the East Asia Regional Council of Overseas Schools (EARCOS), and the Mekong River International Schools Association (MRISA).

Curriculum: UK

Address: Norodum Boulevard (street 158), south of Independent Monument, Phnom Penh

Tel: +(855) 23 213 103 Extension 120

Admissions/General enquiries: [email protected]

Website: www.ispp.edu.kh


Logos International School

Logos is a growing, Christian, international school in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Logos serves nearly 300 students from Pre-School to Grade 12.

Curriculum: American

Address: #928, Street 1015, Phnom Penh Thmei, Phnom Penh

Tel: 017 473 515

Admissions/General enquiries: [email protected]

Website: www.logoscambodia.org


Northbridge International School Cambodia

Northbridge International School Cambodia (NISC) is a privately owned English-speaking international school, catering for students aged between 3 and 18 in Phnom Penh. Founded in 1996, it is one of the largest international schools in the country with over 500 students representing more than 30 nationalities. The faculty is international with teachers representing more than 14 nationalities.

Curriculum: UK

Address: Phnom Penh 3

Tel: +855 23 886009

Admissions/General enquiries: [email protected]

Website: www.nisc.edu.kh


Western International School of Cambodia

Western International School (WIS) is a private secondary school located in the heart of Phnom Penh. We offer an American English curriculum to average Cambodian students from grades K to 12. Our qualified staff members and teachers are mostly from the United States, Canada, and other English speaking countries. We focus on delivering to Cambodian students basic knowledge of English language, western social and economic development and standards, and advanced science and technology.

Curriculum: American

Address: #3, St. 289, Sangkat Boeung Kok I, Khan Toul Kork, Phnom Penh

Tel: (+855) 23 990 699

Admissions/General enquiries: [email protected]

Website: www.western.edu.kh


Hope International School

HOPE International School is a vibrant, nurturing school community with a vision to see students impact the world for Christ. The main campus is in Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia, and they also have a second HOPE School campus in the provincial city of Siem Reap which is where the famous Angkor Wat can be found. HOPE School exists to support missionary and Christian expatriate families working with the people of Cambodia and surrounding regions.

Curriculum: IB

Address: #239 - 243, Street 271, Sangkat Toul Tompoung 2, Khan Chamkarmorn, Phnom Penh

Tel: +855 23 21 75 65

Admissions/General enquiries: [email protected]

Website: www.hopeschool-cambodia.org


CIA First International School

CIA FIRST International School is a non-sectarian international / private school that caters to the needs of all youth without prejudice to their national, racial or religious affiliations. Our primary concern is to enable the "whole child" to master local and global challenges of today and the future. We are committed to providing our students with a stimulating learning atmosphere where they can discover what is essential for their physical, mental, moral and social development and experience the joy and love of learning in their early years.

Curriculum: American

Address: No. 9, Street 2004, Phnom Penh

Tel: +855 (0) 23882088

Admissions/General enquiries: [email protected]

Website: www.ciaschool.edu.kh


iCAN British International School

The school is located in the heart of Phnom Penh, in spacious purpose-built facilities providing children with a caring and safe environment, which encourages learning, creativity and personal growth. iCAN British International School has expanded to over 330 pupils since its opening in March 2003.

Curriculum: English National Curriculum

Address: #85, Sothearos Blvd, Sangkat Tonle Bassac, Phnom Penh

Tel: (855-23) 222 416-8

Fax: (855-23) 222 418

Admissions/General enquiries: [email protected]

Website: www.ican.edu.kh


Golden Gate American School

Golden Gate American School in Phnom Penh is an independent, nonsectarian, Pre-K through Twelfth Grade International School for boys and girls. Our approach is dedicated to educating a core of competencies while meeting the individual needs of every child and its rigorous curriculum.

Curriculum: American

Address: #15Bis, St. 178 S/K Phsar Thmey3, Khan Daun Penh

Tel: (+855) 23 21 21 54

Admissions/General enquiries: [email protected]

Website: www.ggas.edu.kh


Eastwest International School 

Curriculum: UK

Address: #131 Street, Phsar Boeng Keng Kang 3

Tel: 023 998 244

Admissions/General enquiries: [email protected]

Website: www.ewiscambodia.org


Liberty International School

Liberty International School provides a quality international education featuring an American Curriculum tailored to the needs of Khmer leaners of English. Liberty is located in the Tuol Kok area of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. We currently offer Nursery Education & Daycare, Preschool, Kindergarten, and Grade 1. We are for quality, not quantity.

Curriculum: American

Address: #168, Street 156, Toek Laak 2, Khan Tuol Kok

Tel: 023 6312 857

Website: www.libertycambodia.com


Canadian International School of Phnom Penh

The Canadian International School of Phnom Penh (CIS) is an international, accredited, pre-school, opening its doors on August 6, 2012 as pre-school embracing future generations and with a global vision. Our plan is to link with a companion senior kindergarten to grade twelve Canadian International School, to be constructed on Diamond Island. This will give our students a seamless journey from pre-school through to grade twelve.

Curriculum: Canadian

Address: Bassac Garden City, Norodom Boulevard, Phnom Penh

Tel: +855-77-503-778

Admissions/General enquiries: [email protected]

Website: www.cisp.edu.kh


NIRA International School

At NIRA International School, we believe in a quality, international standard education that is affordable for everyone. We also strongly believe that our school is the best assistance parents can get to prepare their children’s future. NIRA International Kindergarten is a multicultural family made of children, parents and teachers.

Address: 17B Street 105, Tuol Kork District, Phnom Penh

Tel: +855 23 45 45 006

Website: www.facebook.com/niraschool


Home of English International

Established in 1997, Home of English International has emerged as Phnom Penh’s leading private children’s English school. Our goal has been and always will be to provide quality English-language education at an affordable price. We offer a wide range of English programs from pre-school to high school, as well as an International Elementary and High School. The student-centered English learning environments at our school produce confident, proficient speakers of English. Visit us and discover why we are the first choice in education among Cambodia’s leading families.

Address: #30, Street 282, Sangkat BKK 1, Phnom Penh

Tel: (855-23) 220 960

Admissions/General enquiries: [email protected]

Website: www.homeofenglish.edu.kh


Heritage International School

Heritage International School (HIS), founded in 2009, meets the ever growing need for excellent, affordable education in Cambodia. This need has quickly become a consuming passion for those involved. Most of the students of HIS are from middle class families. Their parents work for government offices, private companies, NGOs and as government teachers. These people are some of the very hardest working kinds of people.

Curriculum: Cambodia

Address: House 24, Str. 352, Khan Chamkar Morn, Phnom Penh

Tel: (023) 222 890

Admissions/General enquiries: [email protected]

Website: www.heritagecam.com

Local News in English

The Cambodia Daily

The Cambodia Daily is an independent non-profit newspaper published six days a week in Phnom Penh. It was established to provide a foundation for a free press in Cambodia and to train a new generation of journalists.

Website: www.cambodiadaily.com


Phnom Penh Post

The Phnom Penh Post is the oldest existing independent newspaper in any language in Cambodia. First published in July 1992, the Post is read by thousands of foreigners and Cambodians throughout the country and by subscribers in 35 countries around the globe.

Website: www.phnompenhpost.com

Country Information 

Location: Asia

Capital City: Phnom Penh

Other Important Cities: Phnom Penh, Siem Reap

Currency: Riel (CR)

Language: Khmer

Calling Code: +855

Internet TLD: .kh

Electricity: 230V 50Hz

Emergency Numbers: 119

Police: 117 or 118


The weather in Cambodia is typically hot and during many months of the year, quite humid.  The hottest season is in April immediately prior to the start of the Rainy season which is not as bad as it sounds.  When it rains it is a deluge for a short period which is a sight to see, and, in the city, the sometimes up to one or two feet of water in the streets that comes from this downpour quite quickly dissipates.  There are periods in October and early November when it can rain for longer periods but typically, this dries up pretty quickly.  From a westerner’s perspective, late November onwards is a nice time of the year as it gets fairly mild especially in December and January. 


The point of mentioning the weather here is that you really do not need heavy clothing or coats. Even in the milder months, light slacks, dresses and perhaps a wrap for the evenings is all that is needed.*

*Contributed by Tina Sinfield. 

Embassy Information


Residents Visa and Work Permit information

E-Tourist Visa

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has launched e-Visa, which enables you to apply for a Cambodia tourist visa online. Instead of applying through Cambodian Embassy, all you need to do is to complete the online application form and pay with your credit card. After receiving your Visa through email, print it out and bring it along when you travel to Cambodia.

Entry type: Single entry only

Fees: USD20 + USD7 (processing fee)

Validity: 3 months (starting from the date of issue)

Length of stay (30 days, extendable)

Processing time: 3 working days

Documents required:
  • Passport (valid for more than six months at the time of entry)
  • Recent passport-size photo
  • Valid Credit Card 

For more information, please contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation

Tel: (855-23) 22 4973

Fax: (855-23) 22 49 72

Email: [email protected]


Payment information

Tel: (855-23) 21 55 67

Email: [email protected]


Or check the official website here >>


Business, K-Visa and Diplomatic Visa

For those who wish to apply Business Visa, K-Visa or Diplomatic Visa, please contact your nearest Cambodian Embassy for more information. We are unable to accept applications from holders of Diplomatic Passports. More informtion here >> 


Work Permits

Foreign employees must have a valid visa, employment card and work permit issued by the Ministry of Labour which is obtained the employer and these are renewed annually.


There are two (2) types of work permit for foreigners:

a. Temporary work permit for foreigners of the following category (staff and management specialists, skilled workers, technical staff, service providers and other labours)

b. Permanent work permit for foreigners of the following category (foreign immigrants duly recognised by the Ministry of Interior, foreign investors, spouses and dependents duly recognised by the Council for the Development of Cambodia)


Both work permits shall not be issued to children under 18 years old. They shall be registered under the work permit of the parents.


Application for Work Permit procedures

Temporary Work Permit

Documents required:

  • 3 sets of Application Form as issued by the Ministry of Interior
  • Passport copy or any equivalent document with visa
  • 3pc photograph (4x6), taken without hat or glasses
  • Health certificate from a doctor of the immigrant country and written work contract
  • Insurance policy issued by employer or insurance companies
  • Fees for temporary work permit 

Permanent Work Permit

Documents required:

  • Certificate as investor or immigrant
  • Passport copy or any equivalent document with visa
  • 3pc photograph (4x6), taken without hat or glasses
  • Certificate of statement from any banks in the Kingdom of Cambodia verifying a bank deposit
  • Fee for permanent work permit

You can find out more information on Cambodian visas here >>


There are three categories of housing in Cambodia that includes apartments or condominiums, townhouse and villas. Serviced apartments continue to benefit from high levels of demand. In popular residential areas like BKK and Daun Penh, studio and one bed apartments remain in demand. Keep in mind that in Cambodia, expats are allowed to own up to 70% of the total area of a building with the exception of the ground floor.


There are property consultancy firms available in Cambodia to help you find the most suitable place to live. One is Independent Property Services. For more information, visit their website here, contact them through email [email protected] or telephone 077 959 861.

Finding Rental Accommodation 

Over the last few years there has been a boom in the building industry especially in Phnom Penh, with many new apartment blocks and villa complexes being built.  There are a host of Real Estate Agents working here too now and they will assist you with finding somewhere to live whilst working in Cambodia.  Like everywhere though, there are those that are really good and helpful and those that do not always listen to what you’re actually trying to find. There are now some realtors who are western though which helps and they will help guide you through the rental process.  The first ( apart from the one mentioned above) in the following list is one such very reliable agent.






A browse at the websites above will give you an indication of the property market and the types of accommodation available in Phnom Penh.  Costs really do vary depending on the location, whether it is fully furnished, its age and the condition the property is in, as well as, obviously, the size.  It does pay to view as many places as you can and also, to try to negotiate the price as this is not always fixed albeit, the very popular apartment blocks will often not negotiate.  Some places that advertise a property as part furnished can mean just white goods e.g. fridges, cookers, etc.  Be careful too, some unfurnished places can even mean they don’t come with air conditioning units, which is an absolute must here! 


Cambodian Landlords will normally expect a deposit for flats or villa’s/houses, typically anything from one to three months rent.  They will also expect you to sign a formal agreement for the tenancy, normally one year or in some cases, they will ask for more than this but these can be negotiated.  Very few Landlords have the ability to take payment by credit/debit card as cash is the usual method of payment. 


There are also short term apartment rentals available and this is often a good way to start off living in Cambodia, as it will help you to find your fee and appreciate what are the better locations, and those most suited to where you work, socialise, etc. These can be more expensive than longer term rentals but they have the benefit of being fully furnished and most often, fully serviced too which includes linens and sheets which could be important for anyone shipping personal effects as these don’t always arrive at the same time as you.  Some popular short term accommodation follows. *







*Contributed by Tina Sinfield.

Driving License

International driver’s license is not recognised in Cambodia. Expats are required to apply for a Cambodian driver’s license.


Required documents:
  • 5 Passport-size photos
  • Passport with current visa
  • Valid driver’s license from your home country
  • Fee in US dollors $35 

Where to apply:

You have an option to go to the Department of Public Works and Transport or use an agent to apply for your Cambodian driver’s license.


The Department of Public Works and Transport

106 Preah Norodom Boulevard, Phnom Penh

Tel: 023 427 845: 023 427 862


Most expats choose to use an agent instead. The most popular agent is Lucky! Lucky! Which rents cars by day or month. See more details below.


Lucky! Lucky!

413 Monivong Boulevard, Phnom Penh

Tel: 023 220 988; 023 212 788; 099 808 788


For more information on how to get a driver’s license in Cambodia, go to the official website here >>


Insurance in Cambodia

Aetna Global Benefits

This insurance company is based in the US and offers worldwide comprehensive plans that gets consistently high ratings. They will cover you in your home country as well. Options are available if you prefer to cover hospital care only or outpatient care.

Website: www.aetnainternational.com


April International

This is a French insurance company which offers basic option covering medical and maternity care. There is also a comprehensive plan that includes maternity, hospital, and routine health.

Website: www.aprilmobilite.com/assurance/site/fr/lang/en/accueil

Hospitals in Cambodia

Royal Rattanak Hospital

Royal Angkor International Hospital SiemReap Angkor , Kingdom of Cambodia. The first Indochina regional hospital affiliated with Bangkok Hospital Medical Center. Part of the broadest coverage hospitals network in Thailand and the Southeast Asia.

Royal Angkor International Hospital is located on the west side of downtown SiemReap, on the National Route#6 two kilometres from international airport Situated among the millennium-old Historical and Cultural Heritage of the world, Angkor Wat ,Siem Reap , Cambodia. A post-modern style building decorated in neo-classic oriental style and well equipped with up-to-date medical facilities.

Address: No.11, Street 592, Boeung Kak 2, Toul Kok, Phnom Phen

Tel: (+855) 23 991 000

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.royalrattanakhospital.com


Royal Angkor International Hospital

Royal Angkor International Hospital SiemReap Angkor, Kingdom of Cambodia. The first Indochina regional hospital affiliated with Bangkok Hospital Medical Center. Part of the broadest coverage hospitals network in Thailand and the Southeast Asia.

Address: National Route #6 (Airport Road), Phum Kasekam, Khum Sra Ngea, Siem Reap (Angkor)

Tel: (855) 63 761 888

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.royalangkorhospital.com


Sen Sok International University Hospital

Sen Sok International University Hospital is the first International level hospital, run by the highly skilled and well experienced Physicians and Surgeons. All the facilities that you can expect from a hospital of the developed world; you can easily find them in the SSIUH. The prices are competitive with any other hospital in Cambodia and you will fell like a home environment in our hospital. The hospital houses 250 beds capacity, high-tech equipments, Laboratory, Pharmacy and makes use of the outstanding technology in the medical field and is well supported by a highly wholehearted, committed, competent and skilled medical team.

Address: Building 91-96, Street 1986, Sangkat Phnom Penh Thmei, Khan Sen Sok, Phnom Penh

Tel: +855 23 883 712

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.sensokiuh.com


Sonja Kill Memorial Hospital

The Sonja Kill Foundation, a charitable foundation in Germany has partnered with HOPE worldwide to manage a hospital in Kampot in the South of Cambodia to address health care needs with main focus on children and women. The hospital offers access for all patients independent from their ability to pay.

Address: National road #3, The SKMH is located 6 km west of Kampot, close to the road to Bokor Mountain

Tel: 077666752  

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.skmh.org


Angkor Hospital for Children

Angkor Hospital for Children (AHC) is a Non-profit pediatric teaching hospital working in cooperation with the Cambodian government to provide free, quality health care to impoverished children in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Tel: Tep Vong (Achamean) Road & Oum Chhay Street, Svay Dangkum, Siem Reap

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.angkorhospital.org

Dental Care in Cambodia

European Dental Clinic

160 A, Norodom Boulevard

Phnom Penh


+ 855 23 211 363

Veterinary Clinics

There are a few Vets in Phnom Penh and other major cities like Siem Reap. In Phnom Penh we personally use Agrovet who can be found just off Street 214 in Street 111 Villa No. 40.  Their Phone number is 023 216 323. They have a number of European Vets who have done a great job looking after our dogs. In addition, as previously mentioned, PPAWS also have a Vets facility and any money they make helps go towards their work looking after animals in Cambodia. And; for those that want their dogs to be groomed, Happy Dog Shop on Kampuchea Krom (Street 128, No. 233) do a good job too. Their phone number is: 017 321 123 or, 023 642 8484.*

*Contributed by Tina Sinfield


There are many differing opinions on whether you actually need to be vaccinated to travel to Cambodia or not and websites will each say something different.  This is a personal decision albeit for those that are coming with children, perhaps a good precaution.  The website below gives some basic advice in this area.


http://www.worldtravelguide.net/cambodia/health *

*Contributed by Tina Sinfield.

Local Charities


The Phnom Penh Animal Welfare Society (PPAWS) is an organization based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. PPAWS was founded in 2011 by Nicola Scales, since then it has grown in size and now has several employees and volunteers  from around the world. Our aim is to improve the welfare of Cambodia’s cats and dogs.

Website: http://www.ppaws.com

Email:  [email protected]
Local ExpatWoman


Tina Sinfield is an #ExpatWoman who has been living in Cambodia for over five years. She truly offers some expert advice on what life is like is South East Asia:

 I have been living in Cambodia for just over five years.  My husband and I, who is working here, first came to Phnom Penh in February 2010 and whilst he’s been working, I have been spending my time working with a group of ladies called the Women’s International Group (WIG) of Cambodia. This is a volunteer members only group who, in addition to organising various social activities and events for ladies (and sometimes their partners e.g. Sundowner drinks); spends a great deal of time and effort on charitable activities aimed at trying to help the less fortunate and disadvantaged women and children in Cambodia. From a personal level, it is nice to be able to give something back to the community in which we live. I am also very interested in animal welfare and of late, have had the chance to work with PAWS a wonderful group who work tirelessly to try to help dogs and cats in Cambodia, providing a veterinary clinic as well as, trying to find suitable homes on either a temporary or permanent basis. 


Since arriving in Cambodia, from my perspective, there have been a great many changes and improvements in basic things like places to shop, the type and number of restaurants, availability of good accommodation for rental, the number of schools teaching all students levels, as well as, in many other areas of everyday life too.  Looking at simple things like food shopping; when I first arrived this could be a bit of a challenge with many typical western food stuffs either unavailable or, here one day and then not available for weeks and months at a time.  It was also hard to find quality vegetables but I’m pleased to say that is not the case now and there are many supermarkets and smaller shops providing pretty much everything you need including, organically grown vegetables, fresh meats and a wide variety of fresh sea food too.  The local markets are a great place to shop for these with a wide range of fresh vegetables, fruit and fish and other local seafood such as river lobster available at very good prices.  The markets can be off putting though for some given the heat and smells and general hustle & bustle and haggling need but don’t be put off, these are well worth venturing into if nothing else, just for the experience!  


On the subject of experience and ‘intel’, one of the good things about becoming a member of WIG is that you have ready access to some 100+ lady members who all have great experiences of Cambodia to share and can often provide very helpful insights on where to find and buy things as well as, places to stay and visit, etc., within Cambodia. As you probably have heard, Cambodia is a beautiful country and really worth exploring; from Jungle Eco floating lodges through to lovely boutique beach side guest houses ranging from back to nature, simple bamboo type huts through to luxury five star accommodation, there is something that will suit everyone’s budgets. We’ve done a lot of internal travelling and stayed in some wonderful places during our time here as have many WIG members so it really is worth joining in, as you can get all the latest intel on places to go and things to do. 


In terms of life in general and some of the basic things I’ve found out in my time here, I’ve put together a few topics below to give some further details that I hope might be useful to anyone new to Cambodia or, intending to come to Cambodia. Whilst many people who are travelling to live and work here will have undoubtedly done their own research, hopefully this will give some further small insight. 

Arriving in Cambodia 

On arrival at the airport you will require a visa to enter the country.  At this time, this costs $25 USD (which is the currency much of Cambodia uses in addition to the Cambodian Riel).  You should bring with you one passport sized photograph for the visa but if you forget, the immigration people will take one for you but this can cost a further $10.  In terms of the visa application form, hopefully you will be given this one the plane to fill-in prior to landing but if not, forms are available in the arrivals hall.  It is useful to bring more than one passport type photograph too, as you will need them for other things potentially in the first few days, weeks of arriving (e.g. copies for accommodation lease, driving license application, etc.)  


Once you have an extension to your arrival visa you will be able to open a bank account.  There are not too many internationally well-known banks as yet.  Perhaps the most recognisable being ANZ.  One of the larger local Banks that has branches in most towns outside Phnom Penh and probably the largest cash point/ATM network is Acleda Bank. 


The banking facilities here are much the same as you would expect to find them in other parts of the world.  ATM’s are readily available throughout the city and they generally take Visa or MasterCard credit/debit cards too so you can access funds this way if you need to (i.e. before you have a local Bank account).  There is normally around a $4 charge for using international credit/debit cards in these machines but this varies by Bank.  However, there is no charge for using local credit/debit cards associated with local banks. Internet banking is also available in a number of Banks and certainly, from ANZ and Acleda.


As previously mentioned, the currency in Cambodia is the Cambodian Reil but US Dollars is widely accepted all over the country.  It is a good idea to arrive with some USD in your possession or, other main currencies such as GBP, Euro, Australian Dollars, etc.  These can be exchanged in the major banks or, there are many currency exchange offices throughout the city but, rates vary widely in these smaller institutions so it is best to be very sure of what the going exchange rate is from your currency to USD.  Large denominations of currency are typically kept in USD and Riel primarily used for small change.  You will be given change in Riel for example when paying in USD if the amount of change is less than a dollar.  There are circa 4,000 Riel to 1 USD and Riel denominations start from 100 upwards, with 500, 1,000 and 5,000 being the most widely used.*

*Contributed by Tina Sinfield.

Communications and Home Entertainment

Mobile, Landlines & Broadband (Internet) 

For most people nowadays, being connected and online for social media, email, etc., is an absolute must.  Fortunately in Cambodia there are numerous options to choose from for connectivity.  There are currently six main mobile network operators all of whom operate 2G, 3G and in some cases, 4G networks. These include qb, Mobitel (Cellcard), Metfone, SEAtel, CooTel & Smart.  Most people opt for the pre-paid SIM rather than a post-paid contract as is popular elsewhere.  SIMs and top-up scratch cards are readily available throughout Cambodia and in many cases, can also be purchased online and via ATM’s. To get a SIM you will need your Passport to buy one though as new legislation here makes it law for mobile operators to have a Customer ID for every active SIM.  So, to avoid losing your line/number later, make sure you provide your ID when you buy from a Dealer. If you buy direct from the operator concerned they will likely insist on this anyway.


The mobile operators offer a variety of packages that typically include bundled data and many people have multiple SIMs for use in their smartphone’s and, as data only SIMs for tablets (iPads) and USB dongles as well as, MiFi devices.  Most main brands such as Apple, Samsung, Nokia, etc., are all available as well as many others you potentially will not have heard of!  There are authorised service centres in-Country for the main brands and, if you buy from one of these, you will be given warranty too.  Most of the mobile network operators provide very good coverage throughout Cambodia (apart from the remote jungle and mountain areas) so travelling and staying connected internally is typically not a problem at all.  Similarly, the rates for calling locally and internationally are some of the cheapest in the world with costs to call Europe (for example) from Cambodia as low as 5c a minute from your mobile and costs to other numbers on the same network around 3c or lower if you have a bundled tariff plan. Costs to call numbers on other Cambodian networks typically cost around 7c a minute, which is due to the price being fixed by the Regulator. Data costs are also very cheap too with most operators including large amounts within their bundles and even out of bundle, these can be as low as 1c per MB.


For connectivity at home most people rely on their mobiles as there are very few landlines in Cambodia and those that are available expensive and not readily available.  Given that you don’t get your Data from landline providers (albeit Telecom Cambodia do offer Data services), most people simply opt to use a mobile for the home as it is so convenient.  


Similarly, for Data connectivity at home many people rely on mobile networks for this with SIMs in WiFi or MiFi devices and in some cases, USB dongles being used.  Data prices are so low that this is generally an affordable option.  That said, many people (myself included), have opted not to rely on the mobile networks for their data connectivity. Instead, there are around four to five very good Broadband providers some of whom offer fibre to the home which is worth opting for.  Again, standard package are very reasonable with unlimited download options and 1MB or higher speeds pretty standard now.  Packages for 1MB and unlimited data are being offered for as low as $12 a month with higher charges if you opt for the 3Mb or 5MB or more speeds.




There are three cable TV providers who have very reasonably priced packages albeit, the vast majority of the channels provided are not English speaking. PPCTV is one good option with around 10 or so decent English speaking channels including movies, sport, cartoons, news and educational channels bundled as part of their monthly fee of around $20.  There is one Satellite TV provider too but this is not so popular given may people rent apartments and fixing dishes is not allowed.  In some cases the Apartments themselves will provide TV and Data services but these can be at a premium to what you can buy for direct.  In addition, for those that use things like Netflix or Apple TV these are all usable here too as long as you have a decent internet connection obviously. *

*Contributed by Tina Sinfield.

Moving around the city can be quite a hectic affair. You do need to ‘keep your eyes open’ at all times, as there are no such things as pedestrian crossings and the rules of the road are not always followed (in fact, ignored by many road users).  It is best to always expect the unexpected and be prepared to react accordingly as crossings and rights of way are often ignored, lights jumped and moto’s and Tuk-Tuk’s especially can often be seen driving up the wrong side of the road too (and occasionally, cars too!).  Looking at where you expect traffic to be coming from is not always enough.  You do need to look in every possible direction. 


All of that said, there are a variety of ways to get around the city and indeed the country.  Some of these follow to give you some idea of the variety of options available.


This is a local method of transport, which is basically a scooter/moped which tows a small trailer and comfortably seats 4.  A return journey to most places in the city centre will cost around $2-3 but this varies depending on where and how far you want to go and the time of day or night.  These are enjoyable ways to get around and there are 100’s of Tuk-Tuk’s vying for your custom.  You do need to set the price before taking off and also, look for the Tuk-Tuk’s that have partially enclosed the seating area with mesh or other materials and, if you’re here in Rainy season, make sure they have pull down covers to keep the rain out.


Scooter/Moped (Moto’s)

A very popular method for travelling about the city (there are literally millions of them on the roads).  You can purchase a brand new moped/scooter for as little as $700 and can pay up to $2,000 or more for a well-known brand name such as Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha or, Vespa. Moto’s can also be hired rather cheaply on a short or long term basis if you want to first see if you can handle the challenge of driving on the roads in Cambodia.  If you chose to buy a second hand vehicle be aware that they are supposed to be registered and you will need a Cambodian driving licence to be legal on the roads.  Licenses cost circa $35 and you will again need a number of passport pictures to get one issued.  It is best not to buy an unregistered vehicle as these are ones that have not had the tax paid on them when they were brought into the Country.



They can be purchased or hired much the same as scooters or mopeds although they are obviously more expensive.  All the main brand names are available in Cambodia (e.g. in addition to the more well-known Honda, etc., you can also find Ducati, Harley Davidson and many more); and, there are literally thousands of small shops that can service them too along with proper main brand dealer outlets as well. 



Over the last few years quite a few main dealerships have been opened for makes such as BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Range Rover, Jaguar, Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, Hyundai, Kia and a number of others too. In addition, there are numerous second-hand car dealers throughout Cambodia offering everything from Mini’s through to Rolls Royce’s and other supercars such as Ferrari’s, Lamborghini’s, etc., roo.  A popular choice for many remains a four-wheel drive and there are numerous Lexus, Toyota, Range Rover and other such models readily available. As with moto’s they can be purchased or hired and in many cases, you can hire a car with a driver as an all-inclusive package.



Again, over recent years these have become far more readily available and of a far better standard than previously available. They are branded, can be booked by phone and generally, are reasonably priced, and, provided you use a fully licensed taxi service, the experience is likely to be pretty good.  However, it is always a good idea to agree a price from the outset if you get in a vehicle where there is no meter or, if the driver claims the meter does not work.



Not for the faint hearted! LOL. However, that said, you do see plenty of them on the roads and they are readily available in shops to buy or rent.  Most people tend to wear helmets though as navigating the traffic here can be pretty daunting and there are no such things as Bike lanes and cyclists are not given any real consideration by motorists typically.



Last but not least you can definitely walk around the city quite comfortably.  The main business and tourist areas are all pretty close. Phnom Penh itself is not overly large size wise either and most places in the central areas are readily walk-able.  Clearly you need to be mindful of all the methods of transport above when navigating your way across roads but other than this, walking is a good choice to get around especially in the early days of arrival to help familiarise yourself with the city. You definitely see a lot more on foot!


There is also a buy and sell page on the expat advisory website mentioned already, which is good for the purchase of vehicles and household items among other things.*

*Contributed by Tina Sinfield.


In the main, Phnom Penh and Cambodia as a whole is quite a secure place. The Khmer people are very friendly and helpful and walking around the city during the day and early evening is enjoyable and many people can be seen on foot doing so.  Like any country though there is obviously a degree of crime as you will have no doubt seen from the Press and/or, if you have done some web searches.  As such, like you would do in any major city, you need to take sensible care of yourself, your belongings and, importantly, be aware of your surroundings.  As many people will be aware, you can be mugged in many European cities if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time of night (and in some cases, day), which can be the case here too. There have been news reports of such occurrences albeit, thankfully, they are not too frequent. In the main, to date, the most prevalent form of crime that people we know have mentioned is opportunistic thefts. Things like snatching of mobile phones, bags, etc., often by young men riding moto’s as you walk down the street or, in some cases, sit at roadside cafés or, when people have been sitting inside a Tuk-Tuk. Obviously, not a pleasant thing so, it is worth repeating; you need to keep your wits about you and take sensible precautions like you would do in any major city.*

*Contributed by Tina Sinfield.

Shopping and Services


Phnom Penh is a very cosmopolitan city and most items or suitable alternatives can be found in the city.  Over the last few years there have been a number of Mall developments with the first major Western standard Mall being opened in 2014.  Aoen Mall has all the usual food courts, brand name shops, restaurants and things like a multi-plex Cinema offering 3D and 4D experiences. There is also an ice-rink and children’s fun/play area too. Another two large Malls are due to open in 2016 and in addition to Aeon, there are a number of other local Mall variants already open including Sorya and Sovanna.


For grocery shopping there is one large chain called Lucky which has a number of branches in Phnom Penh and nationally as well as, Bayon Supermarket, Tai Huot and Pencil.  None of these are as large as a European hypermarket like Giant or, your typical Supermarkets like Sainsbury’s however, they are pretty big and they pack a lot in. You can pretty much find most if not all that you’re looking for even if you don’t recognise the brand.   All of these supermarkets have meat, fish and fresh vegetable counters as well as quite wide variety and selection of cheeses, milk and other dairy produce and, as normal, tinned goods, wines, beers and soft drinks too.


Local Markets

There are a number of local market places in the city that sell everything from fresh produce to tourist souvenirs.  They are very vibrant and colourful and if nothing else great places to visit and have a look around.  Bartering is commonplace in the markets and off course you have to haggle hard.  You can normally tell when you’ve gone too low though as if they let you walk away, you know they are losing out on the deal.  Buying early morning is often a good thing as many traders believe that if they get a sale early on, they will have good luck for the remainder of the day!


Some of the larger and best options which are very well managed and easily accessible include Russian market, Central market and Orussey market. In addition to these there are many smaller places too such as Beung Keng Kang (BKK) market, Old market and others.  It should be noted that these are not for the faint hearted though as the sights, sounds and smells can be quite daunting.


Hair Dressers  

Phnom Penh has some very good salons but like most things, this is a very personal decision and what appeals to one person, might not appeal to another.  The three that I am aware of and which a number of people I know use (my husband included). These are The French Element (Jerome) which is at the Himawari Hotel, Ariya Von Kim (L’Oréal) located in BBK1 and, in Aon Mall, there is now the first Toni & Guy salon open. 


Gym Facilities

There are a number of very good gyms in the city.  Many of the western style apartment blocks have shared swimming pool and gym facilities so, if keeping fit is your thing then you should not be disappointed.  Most of the hotels will also allow you to use the swimming pool and gym facilities at a cost and some even offer membership to these facilities.  A few sites to give you a flavour of what is on offer are as follows.







Dry Cleaning

There are a number of dry cleaning services to be found in the city.  These range from small independent shops through to the larger hotels such as Cambodiana Hotel which has an exterior small building accessible from the main road where you can drop off and pick-up. Costs are very good with smaller stand-alone shops in the city charging around $5 for a suit to be dry-cleaned and returned in 24 hrs.  Many of these places will also launder your clothing for you and iron too if required.  Many people that I know though either have a full or part-time maid to assist them and general laundry is one of the things that will be provided in addition to standard cleaning duties.


Eating Out 

There are many fabulous restaurants, bars, café’s and clubs in Phnom Penh.  Far too many to list and given everyone has quite different tastes I won’t recommend any per se’. Other than to mention a couple of my personal favourite restaurants, which include Ocean, Artillery, Metro, Luna d’Autunno, Viva, East India, Topaz and, Raffles.  From my perspective, part of the fun of arriving somewhere new is seeking out new places and enjoying the ambience and fare they have to offer.  Suffice to say there are 100’s of options and most culinary tastes and diets can be catered for. There are very good vegetarian restaurants available too.*

*Contributed by Tina Sinfield.