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Best cities to live in Cambodia

Was reading your post on forum, Cheers interesting as im looking at maybe doing a small pizza restaurant?shop not so much to make any money Im just wanting to move for lifestyle but still pay the bills.Im looking  in Cambodia just trying to find out some info. yours helped Thanks, Lenny

`Hi,

I suggest you come over and do your research before jumping into setting up a business,also you will need to get to know the lay of the land and where you will want to be located. You will have to register your business before you can do anything, saying that you are allowed to find a place whilst going through your business registration

where are you from? Pizza is really popular in NYC.. where I live.

I agree with person above. No matter what business you do, come check out the area and see how things work.

Hi Joe,
We are thinking of taking the plunge to Sihanoukville, as sounds like a good medium between the city business and beach fun if that makes sense.
We are in our late 40's with no high education, I'm Polynesian and my wife is Australian, and we are done with the rat race here in Australia.
Sihanoukville Is where We would like to start our new 2nd half of our life. Can u please advise me the following to be able to live comfortably in Sihanoukville.

Cost of living,  is $1200pm including rent be suffice.

With no university education, are there jobs for people like us.
Thanks mate,

Marley1515 :

Hi Joe,
We are thinking of taking the plunge to Sihanoukville, as sounds like a good medium between the city business and beach fun if that makes sense.
We are in our late 40's with no high education, I'm Polynesian and my wife is Australian, and we are done with the rat race here in Australia.
Sihanoukville Is where We would like to start our new 2nd half of our life. Can u please advise me the following to be able to live comfortably in Sihanoukville.

Cost of living,  is $1200pm including rent be suffice.

With no university education, are there jobs for people like us.
Thanks mate,

The first part: yes it's possible to live from $1200, provided you live to your budget. Use the market for veggies, fruits, fish, meat, avoid the supermarkets with imported expensive goods. If you use $300 for rent, utilities and some extra costs, you got $900 left, that is $30 a day, enough to live.

Second part: If you are native English speaker you could take a TEFL course and apply to work as a teacher. Keep in mind that Sihanoukville is not that big and that there is far more chance to get a teaching job in Phnom Penh than in Sihanoukville..... Just saying.

Why don't you give yourself a test period? Come over and live here for a while, then you know what you can expect and what you need. Living costs are individual and have to be tailor-made.

Good luck!

Jo as usual your right! You really need to see how a place makes you feel, I agree with jo I lived next to a hostess bar , nice girls , never bothered me , it part of the wonderful un regulated Cambodia, I have been in mostly pp for the last 2 years , I love it , I always say hello to the girls , I'm a single USA guy, and as jo stayed this is their business, but I don't drink much , go home at night , but I'm not afraid to go out at night, you have to check all these places out, what feels right for one is not for another, for me Phnom Penh has everything! I love the feel of it, which is why all of us live in one area or another , I've been to sv, it too is a wonderful beach town , no more seedy , or to me I felt just as safe in sv, as Battambang, as Phnom Penh , I like the backpacker crowd, I like the hostess bars , I like the activity on the riverfront in pp, although I've been in two hostess bars with friends , not my thing , but my buddy loved it , hey I bought a girl a drink, I had a Coke , nice conversation, no pressure , my buddy stayed , I was home watching Netflix by 8, hey don't rain on someone's parade, sv, battenbong, kampot , kep , siem reap, all feel safe to me , but I'm not out at two am stumbling home , but as far as one of these city's being unsafe , bad etc, it's really to each their own!  If girl bars , these things offend you stay home it's Southeast Asia, I just got back from a wonderful 2 weeks on the jomtien beach in pattaya, it was fabulous! Never made it too walking street! But only thing there were a lot of Russians , but nice shops downtown, beautiful cheap condo on the beach , Thailand as a whole I don't feel it's for me to live there , but pattaya was fine, ko samet , great island , if your eyes can't take a few prostitution places and bar girls , stay home in " Provo  Utah " or maybe Southeast Asia is not for you , embrace the difference!  Jo is right , just say no , nobody will bother you , have fun , enjoy the different culture , don't expect it to be like "home " or stay there in the first place !

Thanks so much, appreciate your comments, u r awesum mate,
Cheers

Thanks mate, I have been to Cambodia a few times I know the lay out pretty good. have a good Cambodian connection. just going through the "am I ready to risk" stage. Cheers for your help.

Australian here. yes you guys sure love your pizza. I know Cambodia pretty well...I think Lol.

I love Siem Reap..one of the nicest places on the planet..not too far from the beach for a weekend either.

10 hours by bus is not too far from the sea for a weekend.

That would be way too far in my book but to each their own.

While I love Angkor Wat, SR gets too hot for me in the hot season. I also wonder where all this water all the hotels need is coming from in such a dry place.

It's Kampot for me. Live close to the sea and you'll never be hungry ;)

Thanks Joe for your input. Although the other guys didn't like some of your comments, I do find them useful. I live on a beach near Cape Town, South Africa and the climate in my country is changing rapidly. Summers are getting very hot and winters far too cold for my liking. I wish to live in a country with a milder climate where I can swim all year round, relax and just enjoy the rest of my years on this beautiful planet. I've not been to Cambodia before, but have holidayed in Thailand and most of its islands several times. I enjoy the tropical climate, would prefer to live by the ocean and will definitely want sea views. My problem with Thailand is that I can't get a 12-month visa, without border hopping at the end of each month. Also I have 2 very special, highly pedigreed cats that will travel with me. This will make it impossible for me to live on a tourist visa.

Most people recommended Cambodia and ever since then I've been on the net to find the best town to live in. I will not be working. So far, my choice would be Sihanoukville because its by the beach. I will not be able to live in a city. I gather that you live in town and might not know, but would it be relatively easy to find accommodation in a rented apartment or condo, overlooking a beautiful, tropical beach with lots of trees and nature, with a balcony for sun-downers and for my 2 babies to enjoy the sun as well? I'm a beach lover, surfer, swimmer and like strolling along the water's edge. I would prefer a quiet, secluded beach where there isn't much traffic, noise, busy streets, 'massage girls', major nightlife or many tourists. Would you be able to make some recommendations or point me in the right direction, please?

I really would appreciate all comments from anyone who feels that they can help. Thanks

Hello Alex.

Your explanation of what you need is very clear and there for I can give you a clear recommendation: Koh Rong Samloem, a beautiful small island off the coast of Sihanoukville, 1 hour ferry.

As it is small it is not crowded, has no bars and loud music. It is an island for nature lovers, nice quiet beaches, clean sea, wonderful wildlife.

If you would/could not find proper housing, the next best is Koh Rong, the larger sister island with of course more possibilities to find nice housing. Once you are here you can stroll both islands and make a choice.

Here a link to a guide of Koh Rong Samloem:
http://www.koh-rong-samloem-island.com/

Good luck.

Joe
Cambodia expat-advisor
Expat.com team

Why Cambodia?

For AlexofSA,

I've lived in Siem Reap 5 years now, but consider myself to be an "ocean person."  I read your post with interest and though I'm not an expert on life in Cambodia, I have a couple of thoughts for you.  To be honest, if surfing is an important part of your life, I would recommend you look elsewhere.  I have been in Sihanouk when the wind was howling and the surf in town was not high enough to surf.   The outer islands (Koh Rung Samloem) may have better opportunities because they are exposed to the Gulf of Thailand (on their southern side), but in my experience the "surf zone" is too short (too close to the beach).  I agree with Joe that Koh Rung Samloem is beautiful NOW, but it has changed significantly in the three times I've been there in the last 5 years.  You are right about the Visa situation in Thailand being unfortunate (border hopping).  Cambodia's 12-month visa is REALLY easy.  As far as accommodation is concerned, anywhere near the beach will be touristy, but Sihanouk is hilly and you might be able to find a place that has decent ocean views AND is close enough to walk to the beach.  I would suggest you contact a Real Estate person IN Sihanouk (NOT in PP).  They would also know about possible places to rent on the various islands nearby, if you're O.K. with that (transportation and amenity issues).  Kampot is a nice size and has much less nightlife/partying;  However, the beach is not as accessible as in Sihanouk.  Koh Kong City has a relatively quiet beach on the West side of the river (the East side is nothing but Mangrove forests), but I wouldn't call it "pristine" by any stretch.  Also you'd be very close to Thailand (weekend trips?).  I don't know about beaches/accommodation in Kep although I've heard rents are higher.  The situation with your cats shouldn't be problematic in Cambodia.........at least they don't eat the cats here.  Hope this helps a little.  Cambodia is a lovely country with mostly lovely people, in my experience.  Come and check it out.  Oh, something just popped into my head.  If surfing is very important to you, have you thought about Sri Lanka?  Another beautiful country.........I think they are TOTALLY finished with sectarian warring so the place should be a peaceful place in which to reside for the foreseeable future.  GOOD LUCK on your quest.

As beautiful as Philippines sir?

Haven't been to the Philippines so I can't say about beauty.  Pictures I've seen would suggest there are beautiful places in the Philippines.  However beautiful it might be, I would not recommend residing in the Philippines because politically, they have some serious issues.  Their present president is a "piece of work" and the potential for Islamic terrorism in the Philippines is really troubling.  No Thanks!

Guys, let's stay on topic. AlexofSA asked specifically info about Sihanoukville and other beaches in Cambodia. Sri Lanka and Phillippines have nothing to do with that.

Please give info as requested, if you have.

Cheers

Joe
Cambodia expat-advisor
Expat.com team

Thanks Joe

I really appreciate your honest opinion and take your advice to heart. I like your recommendations and clicked on the website you attached. Samloem definitely sounds like the place to be...for me. It's peaceful, idyllic and I can absolutely picture myself living there in my own little paradise away from noisy tourists and nosy people. I took a look at the accommodation on offer and feel a wee bit overwhelmed by their daily rates. Most of these resorts with their beautiful beachfront villas are just up my alley, but their daily rates seem quite steep. I come from South Africa and we don't work in dollars. Our rand is 17 to the $  :sosad:  I hope it would be possible to negotiate a better monthly rate once I'm there. I couldn't figure if there is any other accommodation, apart from the resorts, available on the island like apartments to rent, whether there are supermarkets for weekly shopping, ATM's and if it has the infra structure to support permanent living. It would be a major schlep to ferry into Sihanoukville every week. Probably best to hook up with a renting agent in S'ville for more information.

Other than this, I could easily park off there and be very comfortable. I see there's even the odd full moon party on the island at the end of each month. Although I'm not the party animal I used to be, I still love the uncomplicated and free surfer lifestyle and relate well to psytrance vibes, the energy and culture of these wonderful earth children.

Once again thanks for your info. Every bit helps!

Thanks Tripophile10

for your useful information. Always awesome to find people that like helping others in 'need'. It sure speaks for the culture of the country that I'd like to explore for a while. Your recommendations/advice regarding housing, lifestyle and cultural issues are priceless and I'll refer to them quite often, while exploring the exact spot perfect for myself in your beautiful country. I will definitely check in with a real estate agent in Sihanoukville on arrival to see what's available where. I gather from other comments above that these guys could be dicey, but I'll still give it a try. Who knows, a pleasant attitude might just swing things? I'm also lately more into allowing things to come my way instead of desperately hunting/looking/searching for them. When one puts your intent out there, one attracts the things most appropriate for oneself in the moment  ;) I'm a bit of a free spirit, you might notice.

As for the surfing, I'm not the champion I used to be and have switched to kiteboarding recently, but hey! it's actually more the carefree, uncomplicated and easy surfer lifestyle that I'm after these days, not so much the waves anymore  :lol: Catch my drift? Just want to chill out for a while. Life could be quite serious these days... But Sri Lanka's totally on the bucket list.

Appreciating your helping hand and eagerly looking forward to any info you'd still like to share. I'm soaking up every possible bit.

I think both of those island are great! Kite surfing would definitely work there, look , as far as “supermarkets “ go I too looked for supermarkets, I live in Phnom Penh and there supermarkets are not as big as a small city in the states, and even here very few, but it didn’t take me long to discover everything can be bought in the street markets at a better price helping Cambodia people at their street stands ,  but I am a ex surfer I grew up on the beach in Southern California, so I know alittle about  waves , and as far as I can see none , none at all surfable , but as jo knows both those islands are wonderful in the city I know you could get a decent apartment for 150-300 that are pretty nice , but it appears to me there might be bungalow style houses you could rent higher up the hill on Kro rong, the good thing remember it’s all can be negotiated ,the longer you want to stay, and the more cash you have up front is always  the best for you. Good luck cambodia is a wonderful country, I to would have a real good look at kampot. For sure cheaper than the islands , nice area on the river? I went to travel the world 3 years ago, I fell in love with Cambodia and its people, and I will travel , but Cambodia will always be my home , remember Bangkok offers some of the best air fares in the world , for me to Bangkok from Los Angeles, 450-600 round trip, and 50$ air Asia trip to Cambodia, and check your access to other countries from Bangkok it’s such a nice location, not the hassle of visas , and your only 50$ from home, it cambodia for me !

Hello AlexofSA.

Re accommodation Twinsguy said it already, the longer you stay and sign a contract (I did for 2 years) the better your monthly rent will become. You will be staying all year round so also in the quiet season, which is a major advantage to the landlord. Use that too to get better overall rent.

On both islands are minimarts, not really a Walmart but they have the essential things like insect repellent, drinks (beer, wine, softdrinks) and some have a water refilling system (filtered water for 2000 riel a bottle), wipes, sunglasses, name it.

On top there is a on line supermarket where you can order anything else, they deliver to the pier so it can be transported on the ferry. You just need a local guy to pick it up at the other side and bring it to your place.

For all little problems is a solution, just go for it with the right attitude. I think you have the right soul to stay on an island and enjoy beach, ocean, wildlife and all that.

Good luck.

Joe
Cambodia expat-advisor
Expat.com team

Thanks Twinsguy20

I enjoyed your comment and I'm sure, like you, I will also feel at home in Cambodia soon. Truth be told, if I look at the replies I had from you guys on this forum, I can clearly say you sound like family already. Super helpful, all of you, and you certainly make me feel very welcome. Thanks for your cool tips, I will follow up on your recommendations although Kampot being on the river, would probably not be my first choice... I prefer the ocean myself although there are very few waves  :sosad:  Your comment regarding supporting the locals at their markets, is soft on my ears. No supermarkets needed unless I can't find the odd tooth paste, milk, coffee or other basic weekly stuff. Do you know if there are any English libraries around or is best option to download books from the net?

Aaaah Joe

you make my heart sing. Thanks bro! So cool to get these tips first hand from such friendly people. You're doing an amazing service, buddy. I hope you'll receive something for yourself in return too. Sounds like all my major needs are met already...ain't I the lucky one  :top: No more queries, just need to book my flight now and all is sorted. Living in a service based country, I actually forgot that everything is available online these days too, thanks for the reminder  :o Guess I'm still pretty old school!

Have fun over there, guys, I'll be joining you all soon.

Good luck , and not only can you find foods at the outdoor markets but soap, cooking oil, paper towels, it’s like a big outdoor supermarket, I just now am in the states for the holidays, and my last 6 months I’ve only been to a supermarket once, but after 6 days in the states I’ve been to three supermarkets, they are overrated!

AlexofSA :

Aaaah Joe

you make my heart sing. Thanks bro! So cool to get these tips first hand from such friendly people. You're doing an amazing service, buddy. I hope you'll receive something for yourself in return too. Sounds like all my major needs are met already...ain't I the lucky one  :top: No more queries, just need to book my flight now and all is sorted. Living in a service based country, I actually forgot that everything is available online these days too, thanks for the reminder  :o Guess I'm still pretty old school!

Have fun over there, guys, I'll be joining you all soon.

You're most welcome Alex.

Knowledge means nothing if you do not share it, hence my posts.

I wish you for the future a wonderful stay at the ocean side, sounds great!

Cheers

Joe
Cambodia expat-advisor
Expat.com team

Can anyone reccoment a visa fixer in Sihanoukville.  I've got a e tourist visa and want to sort out the best visa type that suits me ime Australian and receive a pension. Would like a yearly multi entry.possibily (  EK or ER ) . Thanks bruce

Hi Bruce.

Unfortunately you cannot change a tourist visa into an E extension, you should have come in on a business visa (E) that can be extended in several ways and in several validity like 1, 3, 6 and 12 months.

You have to leave the country and come back to get a business visa (E), valid for 30 days. As soon as you are back in Sihanoukville, go to Mottah Travel on Ekarech street opposite of Canadia Bank. They will take care of your application. If you are over 55 there is no demand for proof, if you are under 55 you have to proof your pension status. Costs are around $295 for a year extension.

Good luck.

Joe
Cambodia expat-advisor
Expat.com team

Dear Joe,

You live in SHV. So please help me out. SHV was the city were I would like to live. Close to the ocean, less hot due to the ocean, the harbour to earn some money and not so expensive as PP.
But this evening i have read on CEO concerning stories about the chinese taking over in Snooky. Barowners at the beach who must leave there bars in januari and rents and prices raising rapidly. Is it as bad as it seems?
My cambodian friend says SHV is her favourite destination too. Much nicer than Kampot and Keb. I would like to live outside the town at the countryside, but not too lonely and too far from the shops and restaurants. I have not been in SHV but have been in PP and SR.

One thing's for sure, James, Cambodia's developing rapidly (I've heard the same things you listed here).

Thanks Joe So much knowledge may be put a booklet out?  You certainly helped me out .                      Thanks bruce

james1963 :

Dear Joe,

You live in SHV. So please help me out. SHV was the city were I would like to live. Close to the ocean, less hot due to the ocean, the harbour to earn some money and not so expensive as PP.
But this evening i have read on CEO concerning stories about the chinese taking over in Snooky. Barowners at the beach who must leave there bars in januari and rents and prices raising rapidly. Is it as bad as it seems?
My cambodian friend says SHV is her favourite destination too. Much nicer than Kampot and Keb. I would like to live outside the town at the countryside, but not too lonely and too far from the shops and restaurants. I have not been in SHV but have been in PP and SR.

Hello James.

As usual people like to push up the bad news and forget the good news.

Yes, there is an enormous influx of Chinese people in SHV, due to more and more hotels with casinos or casinos alone. They cater to Chinese people who like to gamble. Khmers are not allowed to gamble in those casinos, although you will find them anyway, so the casinos are mainly for Chinese.

The employers of Chinese staff take good care of them, they rent a whole apartment building and all staff stays at the same building in their own apartment. Nothing wrong with that.

Chinese are a bit lost in the world, they walk 3 next to each other on the street, they cross a roundabout diagonally. But as I have mentioned in the traffic post, the Khmers on motorbikes and suvs are worse and more dangerous.

I don't encounter many Chinese, and I go out a lot. Sometimes you find them in a bar, mostly in a group, they drink a lot, but different from barang drunks they are not aggressive, they are just having fun. Restaurants that cater to Chinese are opening really fast now but that does not bother anyone.

The beach bars is a story that is not as bad as it is brought. The Khmer owner has leased a part to Chinese on a 25 year lease. The Chinese want to tear all bars down and rebuild them in a smaller format. So they will be there as usual, just in another shape.

The good thing of Chinese money rolling in is that there is and will be more employment for Khmers too. I have a female friend who found a great job at a casino, and paid well. The construction of casinos and hotels is done by Khmers, under Chinese engineers supervision, translators are provided by the Chinese owner, so that all goes well. A perfect example of the advantage of Chinese investments is the SSEZ (Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone), started up with Chinese money and by Chinese companies, including a language  center, has now more than 100 businesses and gives employment to more than 10,000 people, mostly Khmers. Another one but nobody speaks of that is an enormous US-managed shoe factory, where 8000 Khmers find work. Japan invests in an extension of the deep sea harbour and container terminal.
This is called progress, 60 years ago Kampong Som (SHV) was a fisher harbour.....

Funny how early in the year people were complaining about all the construction of houses and apartments. Nobody knew why they build so many houses. Now the same people complain that those houses and apartments are occupied by Chinese :)

One thing is true, prices of land are staggering, rentals are up but that is due to Chinese employers wanting their staff stay in the same building. It's true that Khmer landlords fell for the money and summoned the tenants out in 2 weeks. That is not ok, but it happens. It's not the Chinese but the Khmer landlords that smell the money and change to Chinese tenants. Personally I think those who have a long term contract (I have one for two years) are in no risk. On top I rent a house, not an apartment. So to advise you James, if you come here, rent a house in a housing complex. I found myself a wonderful house in a garden type estate, there are 3 houses plus the landlord's house, and 7 bungalows. All tenants stay long time and have contracts that are registered at the Municipality.

So to sum it up: Sihanoukville is still a great place to be, with the beaches, resorts, plenty of restaurants to each taste, a buzzing nightlife, not too much traffic and not too hot because of the wind from sea.

It has now direct flights to Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Minh City, Macau and more Chinese destinations. Domestic flights to Siem reap.

Ferries bring you in one hour to one of the two islands off the coast, for a day trip or longer.

That's it James, hope you have a good overview now.

Cheers

Joe
Cambodia expat-advisor
Expat.com team

6beaches8 :

Thanks Joe So much knowledge may be put a booklet out?  You certainly helped me out .                      Thanks bruce

You're most welcome Bruce :)

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