Invaluable advice for potential expats!!

American woman offering advice to anyone interested in relocating to Cambodia. Before selling everything you own to start life anew in Siem Reap, let my experience help guide you! Frank, honest and very helpful discussions you SHOULD NOT be without before deciding to make the big leap! Topics include moving, everyday life, bringing your PETS and anything about which you may have questions. ASK HERE! All inquiries will be answered. I've got the inside scoop! Best regards, ~Cindy

Hey Cindy, Im thinking of retiring either to Phuket or Cambodia somewhere, my friends tell me Siem Reap is good but no beaches. Do you have any advise for me?


Moderated by Christine 2 years ago
Reason : please share your contact details via your private message system. Thank you
We invite you to read the forum code of conduct

Hi Cindy,  I work online and I need to know as much info on the internet connections and speeds in SR.  Will you be able to do random speed tests for me so i can get an idea please.  I hear they drop quite a bit during peak hours 7-10pm?  Who is your ISP?


Please send me your personal email address so I can send you my assessment of Cambodia and Thailand. It is rather harsh and I prefer NOT to expose it on the entire internet at this time!



Please send me your personal email so I can give you the scoop.
I'm at ***


Moderated by Priscilla 2 years ago
Reason : Do not post your personal contact details on a public forum for your own security


Moderated by Bhavna 2 years ago
Reason : Mail sent through pm

Hi John and Andrea,

I've been lurking on this thread and I think I can help. It seems clear now that Cindy started this thread in order to advise people NOT to move to Cambodia (if not, let me know and I'll back off). That is certainly one valid perspective, but seems to be far from the consensus. If you're looking for practical information I can hopefully start you off.

John: Siem Reap is indeed good, and there are indeed no beaches (well, there is a freshwater beach some of the year at Baray, but that's probably not what you have in mind). The beaches are mainly in Sihanoukville and Kep, while Sihanoukville has the most expats. Personally, Sihanoukville isn't my cup of tea (the expats there are overwhelmingly older men, there seems to be less cultural stuff and less diversity in restaurants), but your mileage may vary. There is now a shiny new train service to Sihanoukville from Phnom Penh, and I think that you can fly there from Siem Reap. My money is wholeheartedly on Siem Reap. I didn't like Phuket at all, but then I didn't live there as an expat. Phnom Penh is fine if you're in business or you have a family, but not so much if you're looking for retirement. I recommend you do a tour and try to get a feel for which town is your speed.

Andrea: in my experience, internet utility depends a lot on where you end up living. For example, my apartment in Siem Reap offered wifi only, and my bedroom was far enough away from the router that the signal would not have been sufficient for working online. Good enough internet is definitely available, but I would expect to pay more for an apartment with cable internet or signal boosters.

For all practical queries, I find that is a highly valuable resource.

All the best,


Thanks mate!

Hi Andrew

Thanks for responding

I have been doing a lot of research for the last few months.  I have a whole file of info on SR. Have seen that website thanks.  I have also added many FB pages about SR, so I get daily info on what is happening.  Got some good info about property, visas, etc.  The expats are pretty open on the pages about info.  I basically have all the info about rentals, living there, food, crime, medical facilities etc, but now I need more detailed info on the internet options.  Will you be able to help with that?  Prices, how strong the connections are, speeds, best servers etc.  I can teach there at schools, but I can teach online for triple the amount of money in a third of the time.  I prefer to earn more money and work less hours.  A guy in Sihanoukville told me he has pretty good connections, did some speed tests for me, but I also read somewhere that Sihanoukville and PP have better connections and speed than SR.  Any chance that you can maybe do some speed tests for me and let me know upload and down load speeds.  Especially during peak hours like 7pm to 10pm?


Hey Andrea pleeez send me that info especially on Sihanoukville would be much appreciated.. I'm not looking to work there at all.

Many thanks

Hey Johno

All the info I have gathered is on Siem Reap.  That is where I want to live.  If you want to find out more about Sihanoukville then look at the post in the forum "Moving to Siem Reap."  You will find a guy there JoeKhmer who has made some comments and lives there.  Probably be best to make contact with him because he is living there and can give you the run down on things.  Try and make contact with different people who are living in the town you want to live.  The internet also has a lot of old info, so best to stay updated with recent stuff by connecting with people currently there.  I also like to connect with various people to hear different opinions.  I don't just take what one person says, and so far the people have been very positive about it,  The bonus is that even though they are positive, they do not make it out to be like la la land looking through rose tinted glasses.  They are mostly honest.  I also have a firm belief that you attract what you are, so people with a victim mind set and who generally have a negative outlook on life will attract disastrous experiences.  So stay open minded and join groups on FB to get the recent stuff and make connections.


Wow, sounds like you're really done your research.

I'm afraid I can't tell you much about the internet quality in SR. Mine was decided by my landlord (and since foreigners can't own land in Cambodia, there will always be a landlord), and shared between four flats in the building plus the landlord's family ($5 per apartment per month). Also, to my sincere regret, I no longer live in Siem Reap (we moved to Phnom Penh and, ultimately, back to the UK) so I can be of less than no use in this regard. Apologies.

I don't know about Sihanoukville, but PP definitely does have better internet facilities, as well as far fewer power cuts. In the hot season especially, SR has scheduled (and unscheduled) brown-outs due to heavy use of appliances, so in that respect it doesn't seem ideal for work (unless you live in an apartment with a private power supply). Locals just get on with it, but if your employers/clients are outside Cambodia they might not be so understanding.

I'm afraid that's all I can offer for now.

Hi, AJ,
Don't assume anything! I only want people to understand what to expect before diving in with both feet when relocating to Cambodia. I lived in Siem Reap, too, so we probably met! We, for sure, likely know many of the same "regulars!"
Best regards,

cindykern :

Please send me your personal email address so I can send you my assessment of Cambodia and Thailand. It is rather harsh and I prefer NOT to expose it on the entire internet at this time!


This is a mutual help platform aimed at giving as many expats as possible information on any given location.

If you aren't willing to do that, one has to questions your motives and/or accuracy.

I only want to help but if that's not a good enough "motive" there's not much I can or am willing to do. I have better uses for my time.

As for accuracy, I'm fully straight up.

I wish everyone the best of luck! Take care and be well!


cindykern :

I only want to help  up.


The forum is the best place to do that as answers will reach many people, both members and non members who read the site, but an email only reaches one person.

If your intent is good, there is no reason to collect personal contact details instead of posting it in the open.

Hey Cindy please forward your info to me as there are 5 guys including myself all with our own companies currently who are looking to retire to Cambodia?

Many thanks

Agree absolutely mate!!

LOL for swimming I can tell ya the Andaman Sea is much nicer than the Tonle Sap to swim in! If the Beach in a necessity you gotta pick Phuket over SR.  If Cambodia is what you decide then you may want to check out the Sihanoukville area - it is on the water (Gulf of Thailand).

Thank you Jeff!

Can you PM me your advice,

Would love too but... to be honest, I've only been here going three years and I am getting ready to bail out of here. Don't get me wrong, it is a great area of the world. The people are nice, respectful, sweet but not to my "western" liking. Too many differences of how I believe, have been raised and have lived, I would or will not accuse the people here, or say they the people are anything but great, good hearted and kind. But for ME and my normal everyday living, their idea of normal is very different than mine. It is me and not them. The "natives" have suffered enough without me adding to their burdens. I just can say that if you choose Cambodia it will not be the people who 'make or break' your happiness here, it is, can or will be only you. Please choose what your priorities are (water, party or whatever activity), for that will determine your ultimate satisfaction., desires and joy, appreciation. So make your decision carefully.  The people will never hinder you ( maybe the government may, (mostly a pain)  but...) not the people. It is or will be completely up to YOU! :)  Think long and hard, make the decision with your eyes wide open, and then if or when that you have it ....COME = ENJOY - and likely LOVE IT!

Bottom line: THE HEAT and the fact that major power outages make THE HEAT nearly impossible to escape. No power=no air conditioning, no fans, no water if you're on a pump, so you can't even hose off or flush the toilet. Regarding toilets--you can't flush paper down them as the plumbing system isn't built to handle it but most toilets come with a sprayer for cleaning yourself, as is the norm in SE Asia. I could handle a very hard mattress, no real kitchen (no baking, just a butane fueled portable burner and a small fridge) but NOT THE HEAT and humidity. I was told all of this before I moved to Siem Reap, thinking I could handle ANYTHING I put my mind to, but I was sadly mistaken. If you have the money you can be fairly comfortable IF you don't have pets. Nicer apartments with built-in power generators generally do not accept pets and you won't be doing your animals much of a favor taking them to SE Asia anyway. I was always terrified the power would go out while I was away from home and I'd come back to a baked dog; I didn't stay away long.

If you love sweltering weather and third-world conditions aren't a problem, including regular power outages, no TV without a hassle and a price and abject poverty all around you, you might make it there. Be prepared to make friends with a lot of alcoholics, mostly expats, who also take advantage of the poor young women who have to rely on prostitution to feed their families. They are preyed upon, even when they don't speak a word of English. Even non-prostitutes are used and abused because they think marrying a foreigner is a career path to a better life, so they give in sexually with hope they can hook a guy they don't even like, usually much older, fatter and balder, not to mention LESS well-off than they expect. The men don't seem to realize just how ridiculous they look. Just keep on swallowing the alcohol, assholes. I knew one guy who bragged he's been "engaged" to Khmer women 27 times! He's not alone in that habit. I loved it when his then-current fling took off with his money and disappeared to Phnom Pehn. With her child (not his).

Remember--when it comes to power outages, it's not IF, it's WHEN. It's worst during the rainy season (which lasts a few weeks) and the electrical poles are all knocked down causing a NATIONWIDE blackout for 10 days, but it could happen anytime for various reasons.

I've left a lot of harshness out of this post...out of respect for my many Khmer friends.

So, it's THE HEAT you should consider before you sell everything you own and head to Cambodia forever. Try an extended trip there during the hottest time of year FIRST. If you lose too much weight and can't stand to see the sights because you're too f****** hot, you should reconsider business and retirement opportunities.

Hooray, Shiny America...


cindykern :

Hooray, Shiny America...


Some people are just not built to be expats, and that's fine, but producing a very negative image that misses out all the good stuff is little more than propaganda so has to be taken as sour grapes rather than a considered opinion.

Asking to contact people by PM rather than using the forum suggests intent you know is wrong, possibly supplying bad information that you know it would be shot down if you peddled that line in public.

I have very confidence there are many problems and challenges living there, but some people are positive enough to work with them, whilst others wimp out, totally unable to manage much outside being able to call Pizza hut delivery if they need lunch and don't have anything in the house.

Facts are odd in your posts as well.
No water if there's a power cut?
That means you don't have a header tank to store water, meaning you didn't check the house properly before you rented it, something that's totally your fault, not the country that's bad news.
I'm sure you didn't lie in an attempt  to enhance your message.

I feel your best bet is to forget adventure and stay in America where you can have a steady 9 to 5 job (where your manager loves you to the point where he never complains if you use too many staples), 2.4 children and a great home that takes 50 years of hard work to pay for, eventually retiring with a nice gold watch to remind you of your life.

I think that anyone who wants to move to another country without doing the research must have rocks in their head.  Obviously life has no guarantees, but if you take your time and don't rush into anything you can find out quite a bit to prepare you as much as possible for your adventure.  I have been doing quite a lot of research on SR for about 5 months now.  It's taken a lot of time and patience and I am still not finished.  A lot of the info on the net is old, so I joined as many facebook pages as I could to get more recent info.  These pages have been very informative.  I have found out who the good doctors and dentists are, their prices, real estate agents ( I see their new listings everyday on FB), reliable computer places, internet service providers and prices, schools (I will be teaching) and everything to do with schools, banking, visa, work permits where to buy what, cost of living and budgets etc..  I have opened an excel file and whenever I find valuable info, I simply add it and update it. FB also allows me to make personal contact with people living there.  I have recently made contact with fellow South Africans from this site.  They are helping me enormously with all kinds of info and the nice thing as well is that they will be introducing me to their contacts when I am over there.  I already have names and numbers on my file, but its always nice to be introduced to people by those who you know.  They will help set me up when I'm there and show me the ropes, which will make it a lot easier.  Its reassuring to know that I have already developed relationships with people in Cam, so when I get there I wont feel so isolated, lost and alone.  I already have some sort of support before I even get there. Bonus!

I printed out a very clear map of SR and I am getting to know the various areas, or villages as they put it.  Obviously it is very different when you are living there, but at least I know where certain landmarks are, which makes looking for places easier.  I decided the type of environment I want to live in and found the area that meets my requirements.  Low and behold my one skype contacts lives in the same area, just a short distance up the road from where I am looking, so I get first hand knowledge and they can take their laptop outside and show me what it looks like etc.  So I get to see for myself.

Personally for me i don't think it is a good idea to sell everything.  I believe in backup plans and back doors.  I have a daughter, cat, house and rental property.  My daughter will take care of everything for me in my absence.  I looked at taking the cat and thought it would be very selfish putting her through such an ordeal.  I doubt she would survive the trip.

I come from South Africa, people think we are first world, but we have a lot of third world qualities.  it is Africa after all! Our government is seriously corrupt, there is so much poverty here, no service - we have a lot in common with Cambodia.  We have major crime, very violent crime, so I'm pretty primed when it comes to stuff like that.  Sure I will still need to adapt, and lucky for me I am a very flexible person who can adapt well to change.  I also believe very much in "life is what you make of it".  I don't need Pizza hut deliveries, and bling.  I don't do that here in SA so I wont be expecting it in Cambodia.  I stopped watching TV over a year ago.  I find it a complete waste of time.  I also believe that expectations lead to disappointment.  Keep an open mind and when life throws you lemons, make lemonade!  Life is not easy peezy lemon squeezy, no matter where you are in the world, life will throw you curved balls.  The country you choose to live in is simply a matter of geography.  The grass is never greener on the other side,  Wherever you decide to live on the planet the one thing that will always be with you is your mindset and attitude.  Something I have learned in life is that life is not so much about the experience, but rather how we respond to it.  If we respond with a negative, poor me, victim mentality, then expect unhappiness and drama.  Blaming other people and cultures for your bad experiences has nothing to do with them.  it's a reflection of your own insecurities and issues.  Grow up, deal with it and take responsibility of the choices you made.

Good for you JeffGeo.  you tried it and after 3 years decided it wasn't quite what you wanted in life.  At least you have grown from it and taken the positives from your experience rather than place your focus on the negatives - and you are respectful towards the people and their culture even though it doesn't float your boat.  Your comments are very valuable and confirms for me that I am going in the right direction regarding my research.  I don't want the beach, I don't want the PP vibe, I want an environment like SR.  I am thinking long and hard about my decision,  Can I handle the heat?  Yes, yes and yes again.  I do not do well in the cold.  It gets very cold here in SA.  I am a person that thrives in heat.  And if there is a power cut (and we have plenty of those in South Africa) and I can't have aircon or a fan, then so what, you make a plan.  When that happens here in South Africa, wet cloths and bottles filled with water to constantly mist yourself works.  Maybe not as well as an aircon or fan, but it's better than nothing.  Saying that we must be prepared to make friends with a lot of alcoholics, well dear, life has also taught me to be discerning of who I choose to share my life with.  I don't allow toxic people in my life.  I don't choose to frequent bars and clubs.  There is so much to do and to explore in Cambodia, why would I possibly want to spend my time in bars with alcoholics?  I choose to immerse myself into the culture, their markets, the locals etc.  Did you ever go to the silk farm to see how the cloth is made?  Were you ever invited by a local to their home to have snake soup and frogs legs for dinner? Did you ever talk to the lady making baskets, or dancing at the market, or the band playing in the market, or the people who grow organic veggies to make a living?  It sure beats trying to strike up a conversation with someone looking into the bottom of a beer glass.  I believe you attract what you are and if you are attracting crappy people, then it says a lot about you, not them,  As far as the prostitutes and non prostitutes go, well you find that everywhere in the world.  A lot of women marry men for their money, regardless of their class.  And a lot of men date and marry women for their money.  A lot of older women have toy boys.  Ever heard of the expression cougar dating?  What's the difference?  I think it is unfair to judge and attack the men when there are women doing the exact same thing.  Don't you think it is immature to judge someone else's lifestyle?  It's the way they choose to live and has nothing to do with you.  It's simply none of your business.   So you wish to leave out a lot of harshness in your post out of respect for your "many" Khmer "friends".  But yet you are willing to share it with me privately.  How does that change your so called level of respect towards your "friends"? Because it is not stated on a public platform??? You clearly don't want them to see your true feelings about their country and culture. So what are you hiding?  Is it perhaps that you don't want them to see that you could possibly have just been fake towards them?  Not once did you say anything positive about your experience.  That tells me a lot about you as a person and nothing about Cambodia and her people.

Well said Fred.  I know this has been a long post, and if living in Cambodia doesn't work out for me, then so bloody what!  I simply come back to SA and plan the next adventure.  Life is too short to cry over spilt milk.   It's ok to make mistakes in life.  Making mistakes is part of our human experience.  We supposed to learn from our mistakes.  Nothing is perfect in life.  There is no such thing as Shiny La La Land.

Hey Andrea sounds great.. Also moving to Cambodia next year.. I had enough here in SA and luckily won't need to work .. Would really appreciate if you could share your information you have collected with me.. I work in the Pvt hospitals here so don't have that time however have made the decision as apposed to Thailand.. Have been many times so know the culture etc.. Some of us guys are going to SR Sihoukville and PP in Dec but would really appreciate if you could share your research?

Warm Regards

I only have research on SR.  When we watsupped you said you were interested in Sihanoukville.  You wanted to be by the beach.  I have no problem giving you or anyone else my research, but maybe you should decide which place you gonna live first and if after December you choose SR then I will give it to you.  Did you contact that guy that I put you onto in Sihanoukville?

I'm still ok with SA, its just that my daughter is all grown up and now I have the chance to live a life of adventure and live my dreams.

AndreaJonas :

I think that anyone who wants to move to another country without doing the research must have rocks in their head.  Obviously life has no guarantees, but if you take your time and don't rush into anything

That's me.
Moved country because my wife said England was too cold - no plans and no clue.
All I has was the realization life in the UK was just plodding on, and I fancied a change.

I did know I liked my host country, but the most important thing was packing a positive attitude.

The moment you start comparing everything to your home country, it's time to book a flight out.

Cindy why did you not purchase your own generator? If you want to see poor..come to SA..surely nice warm weather should not deter people from Cambodia?set yourself up with the basics when you get there even if you need to do a deal with the landlord??

The water was on a full-time pump.

cindykern :

The water was on a full-time pump.

There you go, poor checking of the place before you moved in.
If you'd checked there was a header tank, there would have been no issue.

You have to be more careful to research the potential issues, not just move in anywhere and complain when you realise you made a mistake.

Well I'm alittle more positive , I'm in Phnom Penh 6 months now , from USA , love it , love the people , yea it's hot so what I knew that coming in , it affordable , although I'm retired and can live anywhere, you can go to the beach for a few $ stay in nice hotels , swim in warm water , go to Thailand free visa for USA , hang out go to their beaches , I always wanted to live in them " big city " my internet connection is fabulous , I have had only one black out , last night funny enough ,I'm a older guy 59 will be 60 in a month , I can come and go back to USA out of bangkoc for less than 500.00$ I don't drink , not a moral objection , I would not and am not interested in girls , women over 40 yes !! But I've got daughters 35 and for me to hang out with a girl , that age , well I find it ridiculous ! But I also think if this is what you want who am I to judge , I have one beer two or three times a week on the riverfront , and just enjoy watching life go by , yes there's a downside to everywhere, I saw a flight from bangkoc to Kathmandu for 200$ so I'm going there soon , help out with earthquake relief , my god if it's politics just check out USA ha , I live in nice condo on the Mekong for less than 400$ a month , I think the close opportunity , Vietnam , Thailand , Laos , Burma, even Nepal , all right here at your fingertips , I enjoy the real markets stinky , beautiful happy people , also go to aeon mall , which is fantastic , like a nice mall in USA , I see drunk expats , but they would be drinking at there home country , they seem happy enough , even some are really nice , who the hell am I to judge if someone likes to drink , good for them , certainly not my business or concern , I know several Tuk Tuk drivers , someday just sit t and talk with them for a hour or two , just took the train to gulf of Thailand 7 hour ride for 7$ , I mean really , I love it , but don't plan on spending day after day in same house or even same country , so now for me it's Phnom Penh , headed to kep for a 12$ round trip , staying at nice quest house for 10$ a night , and it's nice , I'm not a poor person , not rich , but I could  not be happier with my choice , I plan on living in all the city's in Cambodia for a least a coupl of months , but enjoying Phnom Penh now , who knows , joe on this site , to me has the most insight into life here , read some of his post , he's generally spot on , enjoy or move on to another area, that's my suggestion , every place isn't for everybody , if old men like young girls good for them , it's all over the world , don't judge just have fun , forget the negitive and enjoy the positive , most people in the world would love to have a chance to live in Siem reap , by the way it's not for me , I've been three times , city is not for me , but then again I see a lot of happy people their !!!! So to each there own , don't judge just enjoy , my advice only , I've lived in Phnom Penh only 6 months headed back to USA for a. Few months but back to pp in January , if you find you don't like it it's not defeat, it's just a adventure , move on you will find somewhere you will love , but people all over Cambodia are generally very very nice !

Wow! I simply loved your post. Read and re-read. So much of it resonates with me and sounds exactly like me! So pleased to "meet" an adventurous, self-serving South African, with a great attitude and the enlightenment and understanding to know what life is really about! Looking to move to SR later in Jan 2017.

Does anyone here drive their own Car? If so, how does it compare to driving in Viet Nam, Japan and/or Thailand?

I have the VN/ASEAN DL. Will I need to get a local DL? If so how long will my VN/ASEAN DL be valid? How long will my Jeep VN registration be valid in Cambodia? How difficult will it be to change registration? What about liability insurance? Local banks that I can have my stateside bank transfer money to?

Sure you recognise the hallo. Am from CT been in Cambodia for quite some time and have traveled all over.
Been doing a bike trip to Thailand, Cambodia and just got back from Laos.
Where you from in SA

When you arrive get a biz visa. At the airport you can then apply for a 1 year multiple visa $300.
This allows you to open a bank account, purchase vehicles in your name and open a company. Renewable every year.
You would need this to re register your vehicle. Not sure about the taxes you would have to pay. Import of cars is very expensive unlike motor bikes.
Contact me via the private message system and I will give you some connections that might help

I wouldn't be flying into the airport. I would be driving my Vietnamese registered  Jeep with my issued in Viet Nam ASEAN Drivers License from Viet Nam. As the jeep is over 50 years old, an antique like it's owner, even Viet Nam doesn't tax it much. The picture shows me and the jeep.

SO get  BIZ License when you cross the border. You will need this to get the 1 year multiple Biz visa. The office is across from the airport

New topic