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Best cities to live in Cambodia

Hi,

It’s not always easy to decide in which area to settle in when moving to Cambodia. According to you, what are the best cites to live in?

Which regions offer most of the job opportunities, a good quality of life, an affordable cost of living?

Share with us the cities you would recommend to expats and soon-to-be expats in Cambodia.

Thank you in advance,

Julien

Nice topic.

I think it is best to look at different groups and advise accordingly.

For retirement, in my opinion Sihanoukville is the best place. I live there myself and it's a great place to live retired.

For jobs I think Phnom Penh is the place to be, the capital, with the most businesses, schools, opportunities for jobs.

For the utmost tranquility seekers I would recommend Koh Kong and specifically Koh Kong Island. Very quiet and a beautiful nature.

My two cents (equals 40 riel :) )

Like Joe said. PP for work and SH for relaxing.

A good analysis by Joe and Phnom Penh English Tutor.

Battambang. Idyllic and at the same time vibrant

We loved Koh Kong most of all but I think job opportunities are more limited there. Beautiful wilderness area close to Thailand.
John and Julie

As a retired 68 year old and have lived in several towns in Cambodia, for some one my age Phnom Penh would be the best as plenty and better medical facilities and more activity.

I couldn't say until I knew exactly what the reason was of the why that person wants to be here. Next their interests, health, style. amenities, income, wealth or the whatever intangibles they prefer. What is best for one could be the worst for another. This way to open a question. I know, I know.... thanks for saying nothing! :)

Hi,

I cannot recommend any given city regarding work. I am retired and living in Battambang. But, I would imagine employment would be found easier in Phnom Penh, than anywhere else?

Otherwise, it all depends on the person. If you are here and want to live in a peaceful town, one that (typically) rolls up the sidewalks before too late, one that is more family oriented without tons of nightlife, bars and prostitutes, then Battambang is your town. It's more family oriented.

If you are seeking party life, etc., then you need to head to Sihanoukville, or on a larger scale, Phnom Penh. Siem Reap would be in that list as well, I would imagine. I haven't been there as much, though.

Cost of living, I am fairly certain, would be higher in Phnom Penh.

HTH

Paul

No 1 Kampot  No 2 San Reap. No 3 Phnom Penh. No 4 Sihanoukville no 5 Kep.

Hi !  -  answering your request...

...for everybody :  Welcome to Cambodia, one of the most interesting countries in South East Asia.

In my opinion, the best place to live in cambodia is Phnom Penh, cause of infrastructure and facilities up to hospitals and health treatments.
as No. 2  I would recomment the beautiful Siem Reap with the famous cultural offer "Angkor Wat" and all necessary facilities
. - and No 3  for visiting as holidays I would reccomment also Sihanouk Ville, which has its own charm as a small village but with all beaches around - only problem there is missing qualified hospitals and doctors in case of necessary treatment and in case of emergency.
as No 4  Kep,
and as No 5  Kampot.
So - this is my experiance, living in Phnom Penh / Cambodia since 2004.
With kind regards
Werner W. Both
(Ex-Diplomat at German Embassy in Phnom Penh)

One correction to your post, Sihanoukville is not a small village, it is a coastal town with about 100,000 inhabitants, with a diverse international community as well. It is the only deep-sea port and as such very important and has become the leading national center of trade, commerce, transport and process manufacturing. The string of beaches at the Gulf of Thailand plus its mostly unspoiled islands make it a real "Seaside Resort". Still it is not overpopulated nor over-visited, it has remained its charm as a seaside town with lots of places to enjoy one's stay.

As the town only exists since 1964, indeed infra structure and health care need to get updated, but the existing health care is sufficient for people that don't need regular complicated medical treatment.

txs for your replay. No problem with your upgrading to a town - but besides the upgrade of the streets and street lights and some more new hotels, it is still a kind of sleeping Village, acive just over the tourist season!And since I know S V -  there is still not a real upgrade to a town or city full of life and opportunities for business - that will take probabely still up to 10 ears - but there is a hope for it...!
with kind regards
Werner W. Both

Not for a bar Guest house or Restaurant business too many for sale and dodgy lease agreements that many have lost their whole investment because of this. I am a legal Advocate i have heard many bad stories from people that have suffered these things. Then there is the General Crime factor to contend with. But yes the beaches Islands and Bar Girls are great. I agree. No Bar Girls in kampot. Except khmer Karoke bars. Cheers.

People that don't know anything about a place have the weirdest and most generalizing comments. In the whole of SE Asia you will find bars, karaoke joints (brothels for locals), bar girls, freelancers and prostitution. The difference is if you will be/are annoyed by it or not. In a place like Pattaya in Thailand it is annoying, as you cannot avoid to be harassed by prostitutes, ladyboys or pimps.

Sihanoukville has its bars, karaokes, bar girls, freelancers. But it is restricted as the town is not overloaded with sex tourists. So it is there, mainly at the beach areas, and easily to avoid. If you stay downtown for an excellent meal, a good chat with expats or locals, nice music, then you won't be bothered by anyone. If you visit a bar you can choose to sit alone with a drink, or have company, no girl is expecting anything, they are grateful if you offer them a drink, play pool or just chat, it's all up to you, it's the choice you make, nobody forces you.

Sihanoukville is a great place to live, no matter retired (like me) or else wise.

Oh, for your info: there are no bars and/or bargirls on the islands....

Cheers

It depends on what you need.  If you're a Westerner and need a "good" job, then Phnom Penh is your best bet.  If you have experience in the hospitality industry I would add Siem Reap, Sihanouk and Battambang as candidates.  I am lucky in that I am retired (USA).  In my opinion, to live a modest lifestyle (by Western Standards) then ANYWHERE in Cambodia is affordable.  Living here IS different from living in The States, but, hey, that's a fine reason for living here.

Where are the good health care facilities in Phnom Penh - hospitals with qualified doctors???  Where???  Non-existent -- I have lived here for 4 years - even the Khmers that can afford it go to Ho Chi Minh City or Bangkok for medical care.

I wasn't addressing that issue because "good" health care, i.e. to Western standards is NOT available in  Cambodia. One MUST travel to Bangkok, Singapore (maybe Vietnam?) to obtain such care.  A person contemplating a move to reside in Cambodia should know that BEFORE moving here.

Let me try to be clear about my position. IF you want a standard of living that is on a par with that in the West, then you should be very careful about living in ANY "Third World" country.  I have looked into health insurance that would cover my needs here and the cost is OUTRAGEOUS (I am old, diabetic and not wealthy, by Western standards).

Despite the health care issue, it is MY opinion that Cambodia is the place I want to live.  I am grateful that I have a wonderful Cambodian family that I know will take care of me to the best of their ability.

I need to say something here:  I had a cat when I lived in The States and one time I took her to the vet.  I asked the vet if I should let Trixie go outside [as she wanted to] or should I keep her inside.  He said that if I kept Trixie inside, she could live a long and relatively boring life.  If I let her go outside, she would probably live a shorter, but more exciting life.  I opted for the latter and I think Trixie was happy with my choice.  MY choice for living in Cambodia is similar........it may be riskier for a long life, but it will be MORE fun.  That's good enough for me!

I visited Battambang a few years ago and couldn't agree more with its appeal. The city was clean, orderly and located near a large inland waterway.

Yeah,

I have visited Battambang 4 times and it is hard to pinpoint what makes it my favorite "city" in Cambodia.......I just feel comfortable there.  I also like Kratie and Kampot, but they are much smaller and would not qualify as "cities."

JoeKhmer :

People that don't know anything about a place have the weirdest and most generalizing comments. In the whole of SE Asia you will find bars, karaoke joints (brothels for locals), bar girls, freelancers and prostitution. The difference is if you will be/are annoyed by it or not. In a place like Pattaya in Thailand it is annoying, as you cannot avoid to be harassed by prostitutes, ladyboys or pimps.

Sihanoukville has its bars, karaokes, bar girls, freelancers. But it is restricted as the town is not overloaded with sex tourists. So it is there, mainly at the beach areas, and easily to avoid. If you stay downtown for an excellent meal, a good chat with expats or locals, nice music, then you won't be bothered by anyone. If you visit a bar you can choose to sit alone with a drink, or have company, no girl is expecting anything, they are grateful if you offer them a drink, play pool or just chat, it's all up to you, it's the choice you make, nobody forces you.

I beg to differ. You haven't noticed, I suppose. But, SHV is trying to be a "Little Pattaya".

To say, "... you won't be bothered by anyone," is not entirely accurate. You can't be seated at a bar in SHV, without some taxi girl walking up to you, "Massa, Sir? Massa?" (Massage, Sir, Massage?) They constantly tap on your shoulder. Even after I had lived there for almost a year, too much.

That was one of the reasons I left that trashy little city.  That and petty crimes (watch your motorbike like a hawk, if there) were reasons enough for me to leave.

I beg to differ. You haven't noticed, I suppose. But, SHV is trying to be a "Little Pattaya".

To say, "... you won't be bothered by anyone," is not entirely accurate. You can't be seated at a bar in SHV, without some taxi girl walking up to you, "Massa, Sir? Massa?" (Massage, Sir, Massage?) They constantly tap on your shoulder. Even after I had lived there for almost a year, too much.

That was one of the reasons I left that trashy little city.  That and petty crimes (watch your motorbike like a hawk, if there) were reasons enough for me to leave.

A very flaw and superficial post. As I said there are bars, bar girls, hostesses. If you choose to visit those bars, the girls that work there are supposed to talk to you and maybe get you to spend them a drink. That is their job. But, if you are not interested you just say you only want to drink and sit alone, they leave you alone. That is the difference with Pattaya.

If you mean the massage ladies (not taxi girls) at the beach, yes they ask you if you are interested in massage, many people like a massage at the beach and those women live from that. What is wrong with it? You don't want? Just used that very short but clear word: No....

Let me put it this way: in SHV everything is available, if you wish to use it, do it, if you wish to refrain from it, refrain from it. It is your own choice and nobody is upset by whatever you choose.

Motorbike theft. Sure, everywhere in SE Asia you have to be careful with your belongings. If you leave your motorbike with the key in it in front of the bar you are drinking you more or less give opportunity to those that look for such silly motorbike owners. If you lock your motorbike nothing happens. If you have an expensive big bike you can install a gps system that tracks the motorbike in case it is stolen. Some systems even prevent to start the engine if not the right pin is used.

The comments you make are spot on. The other guy is promoting Sihanoukville because he does not have the same life style as a tourist.  Maybe he has a business there?

frank peter david :

The comments you make are spot on. The other guy is promoting Sihanoukville because he does not have the same life style as a tourist.  Maybe he has a business there?

You are right in one aspect: I have a different life-style as a sex tourist or even a normal tourist.
I live here in Sihanoukville, retired, have no business or financial investments, I just enjoy my life here.
Now, Mr. David, if you would have looked at the title of this topic, you would feel silly. The title is "Best cities to LIVE in Cambodia. Live means something totally different than visit for 2 weeks as a tourist. So your (and any other) tourist experience is irrelevant.

So again: Sihanoukville is a great place to live, but as I stated in my first post, if people are looking for a job, or excellent health care, PP is a better place. If you're healthy and retired SHV is a great place to be. Of course my personal opinion, I respect any other opinion, each to his own, as they say.

JoeKhmer :

A very flaw and superficial post. As I said there are bars, bar girls, hostesses. If you choose to visit those bars, the girls that work there are supposed to talk to you and maybe get you to spend them a drink. That is their job. But, if you are not interested you just say you only want to drink and sit alone, they leave you alone. That is the difference with Pattaya.

If you mean the massage ladies (not taxi girls) at the beach, yes they ask you if you are interested in massage, many people like a massage at the beach and those women live from that. What is wrong with it? You don't want? Just used that very short but clear word: No....

Let me put it this way: in SHV everything is available, if you wish to use it, do it, if you wish to refrain from it, refrain from it. It is your own choice and nobody is upset by whatever you choose.

Motorbike theft. Sure, everywhere in SE Asia you have to be careful with your belongings. If you leave your motorbike with the key in it in front of the bar you are drinking you more or less give opportunity to those that look for such silly motorbike owners. If you lock your motorbike nothing happens. If you have an expensive big bike you can install a gps system that tracks the motorbike in case it is stolen. Some systems even prevent to start the engine if not the right pin is used.

You can say what you wish about my post. However, I am well aware of the differences between the girls. I am talking about freelancers who walk into bars, like Charlie Harper's for example, or elsewhere in town. They walk up to bar customers, irritating the hell out of them. I lived there long enough to know how they work. I am not talking about girls at the beach. BIG difference.

You should get out more, if you think theft is the same all over. There is a huge difference in motorbike theft here in BTB, than in SHV, for example. I don't have to lock the rear wheel of my motorbike when I park it outside a bar here. I don't have to concern myself with someone walking off with it while I am trying to have a meal, or a beer just trying to relax. Petty theft here is almost non-existent, unlike SHV.

There is another superficial and flawED post.

Hello everyone,

Can we please calm down? We are not here to argue on each others posts, who is right or not. Everyone one can share his or her opinions.

Can we please get back on the topic? The subject here is :

"Best cities to live in Cambodia"

Thank you.
Christine

livingincebu :
JoeKhmer :

A very flaw and superficial post. As I said there are bars, bar girls, hostesses. If you choose to visit those bars, the girls that work there are supposed to talk to you and maybe get you to spend them a drink. That is their job. But, if you are not interested you just say you only want to drink and sit alone, they leave you alone. That is the difference with Pattaya.

If you mean the massage ladies (not taxi girls) at the beach, yes they ask you if you are interested in massage, many people like a massage at the beach and those women live from that. What is wrong with it? You don't want? Just used that very short but clear word: No....

Let me put it this way: in SHV everything is available, if you wish to use it, do it, if you wish to refrain from it, refrain from it. It is your own choice and nobody is upset by whatever you choose.

Motorbike theft. Sure, everywhere in SE Asia you have to be careful with your belongings. If you leave your motorbike with the key in it in front of the bar you are drinking you more or less give opportunity to those that look for such silly motorbike owners. If you lock your motorbike nothing happens. If you have an expensive big bike you can install a gps system that tracks the motorbike in case it is stolen. Some systems even prevent to start the engine if not the right pin is used.

You can say what you wish about my post. However, I am well aware of the differences between the girls. I am talking about freelancers who walk into bars, like Charlie Harper's for example, or elsewhere in town. They walk up to bar customers, irritating the hell out of them. I lived there long enough to know how they work. I am not talking about girls at the beach. BIG difference.

You should get out more, if you think theft is the same all over. There is a huge difference in motorbike theft here in BTB, than in SHV, for example. I don't have to lock the rear wheel of my motorbike when I park it outside a bar here. I don't have to concern myself with someone walking off with it while I am trying to have a meal, or a beer just trying to relax. Petty theft here is almost non-existent, unlike SHV.

There is another superficial and flawED post.

I guess you can give a link with stats re theft in the different cities? Would be interesting.
I have many contacts here, both expats and locals, and I'm not aware of a higher than average theft of motorbikes. Btw I always lock my rear wheels, whether motorbike or mountain bike, just a matter of being careful.

The freelancers you are talking about can be a nuisance after midnight, but they mainly stay at the beach clubs, the backpacker joints (pun intended). Their number is very limited though.

The reason that SHV is by far not comparable to Pattaya is that there are not enough sex tourists arriving. Tourism is growing, but the main groups are Vietnamese, Chinese, Laotians, and obviously beaten by the large number of domestic tourists. So during next week (Chinese NY) SHV will be loaded with tourists, but the expat-owned bars will still be half empty, as too many bars for too little tourists.

Btw drinking and driving is not a very safe combination!

I wanna hear what christine has to say!!

Christine you are right this guy's opinion about Sihanoukville promotion is Not What this tread was about. And i think people should be able to decide for themselves after reading these posts by talking to other people about this topic.

Frank.. i dont trust anyone w/  3 first names!! . haha just kidding..  i suppose big brother is watching everything??

JoeKhmer :

I guess you can give a link with stats re theft in the different cities? Would be interesting.

I have many contacts here, both expats and locals, and I'm not aware of a higher than average theft of motorbikes. Btw I always lock my rear wheels, whether motorbike or mountain bike, just a matter of being careful.

The freelancers you are talking about can be a nuisance after midnight, but they mainly stay at the beach clubs, the backpacker joints (pun intended). Their number is very limited though.

The reason that SHV is by far not comparable to Pattaya is that there are not enough sex tourists arriving. Tourism is growing, but the main groups are Vietnamese, Chinese, Laotians, and obviously beaten by the large number of domestic tourists. So during next week (Chinese NY) SHV will be loaded with tourists, but the expat-owned bars will still be half empty, as too many bars for too little tourists.

Btw drinking and driving is not a very safe combination!

Are you serious? Actual statistics - anywhere near accurate statistics for Cambodia? Surely you jest?

Dude, get out more. Talk with people. The numbers of thefts are astonishing, and have been for years.

Try doing an internet search. Use search terms to compare the numbers of results for Sihanoukville, in comparison to Battambang. I assure you, without doing one myself, the results will be quite noticeable.

Glad to see you lock your rear wheel on your bike. If you lived here in BTB, it wouldn't be necessary to be THAT careful. Please stop helping me prove my point.

I don't think any of us have to worry about SHV being quite the sh*thole that Pattaya is. However, I give them an "A" for effort. Oh, don't forget the Russians and Koreans in SHV.

I agree, regarding drinking and driving. My dearest friend was murdered by a drunk driver many years ago. Drinking and driving is not safe - it's pretty stupid. However, people do it, even in SHV, all the time. Tony (owner of charlie Harper's) died not long ago in a motorbike accident - driving drunk.

Now, for those who think this little debate isn't on topic, it most definitely is. Would any of YOU wish to live in a city where petty crime is rampant? To live in a bar infested city, where hookers - whatever you choose to call them, are all over the place? Or, would you prefer to reside in a city / town that is more focused on family living?

Each of us does have choice. I choose the latter. If I wanted a prostitute, which I don't, I would have to actively go looking for one. They are only in the more seedy areas of BTB, not all over. That is all I was trying to say here.

I have made my point, clearly.

Feel free to post what you wish. I am done with this topic.

Good evening / day to all.

LOL - I gotta get to Snooky and see this for myself. Personally I am a potato and generall like doing nothing for nothing. Hell even a trip to Angkor Wat, a whole 7km away in Siem Reap is a major production for or from me. Yet I  still enjoy the people, love being around the people, I just don't wanna be in among the people.... if ya can understand that.  My idea of living now is to sit up on a balcony, drinking a cold beer and watching a whole crowd and with a bunch of action going around me without being in it. (Kind of like watching TV). 99% of the crime in Camboland is of the petty non-violent type. The khmers seem to just ignore it - but I think that is from the attitude they have gained from their recent past. Hell after watching one of three people you may have known or most of your familty be murdered, petty theft is nothing to even take a sideways glance at. Though I see where that attitude is going to cause a severe problem for the Khmers as the younger set in 20's and 30's raise their families with that same attitude and beliefs. What is good about Siem Reap is almost a 'big' city with most of the amenities and yet not too big. As I said crime is everywhere - just mostly nothing to truly worry about. Also here in SR, I am surprised to be unable to find any real "low life" area (believe me as a retired sailor I know how to find them) though I am sure there must be one, somewhere. They must just keep it well hidden.

Christine :

Hello everyone,

Can we please calm down? We are not here to argue on each others posts, who is right or not. Everyone one can share his or her opinions.

Can we please get back on the topic? The subject here is :

"Best cities to live in Cambodia"

Thank you.
Christine

Thank you Christine. Indeed the topic has been hijacked by some people that cannot respect someone else's opinion.
I repeat my first post that there are several good cities to live, in view of the needs of different groups of people....

Every city has its pluses n minuses. I live n work in SHV n i like it here, esp  up in Victory beach area. I also like Kampot n Battambang, even Kompong Cham.

Of petty crimes, from what i have read n experienced, it may be more serious in SHV.  I lost my laptop n tv from breakins 2 weeks ago n my neighbour lost his lost 2 months' salary two days ago.

It  depends on what you looking for.
I was living in Cambodia for 3 years teaching English.
I lived and taught in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang.(Btb)

I would choose Btb to retire in if I were to go back.
The town is sooo peaceful, walking along the river, absolutely amazing.Having dinner literally on the river at night .Fantasic !
Teaching in Btb is relatively slow and low paid compare to the other two Provinces, so if you looking at saving it wont be a good place.

Hope that information helped a bit.

Moot point asking this on a forum - you have to visit yourself and several times as well to get a feel.

Also, unless a company is sending you on an expat package, don't expect too much from the job market. Most foreigners eventually create their own jobs via their own businesses, which is one of the freedoms Cambodia can offer.

Hi Kashifa, 
Txs for your input for Bb.  I live since 2004 in Phnom Penh, but so fare I haven't been in Bb. Sounds good and interesting - so, whenever it's possible, I will go for it !
Where r u living now?
With kind regards
Werner

hi Werner

Im teaching in Vietnam now.Another 3 years hopefully, then back to South Africa.

Vietnam is different to Cambodia.More to do in Cambodia.No social life in Vietnam.

Yes, I loved  Btb.Wow! It was the best place ever, quiet, relaxed and wonderful people.When I go back to my country, I will go back via Battambang .Its so easy to travel as well.From Cambodia to Btb take a bus, then a taxi straight to Bangkok.I miss Btb.

Apparently Angelina Jolie is shooting a movie there now.

Good luck !

...Thank you, that's a great topic...!
Wishing u still also a good time in Vietnam !

I didn't care for Vietnam much but that might be cause I am bias towards Cambodia. I thought there were things to do in terms of nightlife but I was only there a long weekend. Took a bus from Cambodia.

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