Are you happy in Cambodia?

Hello everyone!

According to the 2016 UN World Happiness Survey, Denmark, Switzerland and Iceland are the happiest countries on earth.

How about you? Are you happy in Cambodia? Do you feel happier today in your host country than before in your home country? What has contributed to the change?

In your opinion, are locals in Cambodia happy? How can you tell?

Please share your experience!

The fact that some people are happy and others are not happy, in the same country, shows that happiness is relative and above all personal.

If you have found your inner balance and inner peace, you can be happy in all countries that you choose to live in. I emphasize "choose" as the biggest difference between home country and chosen country is that you did not choose your home country, you were just born there.

Most unhappy people are unhappy because of things around them, not so much the country they live in. Those "things around them" will travel with them, no matter what country they choose.

So to say it in a few words: you can be happy (or unhappy) in any country that you chose to live in.
There are positive things and negative things, compared to your home country. Life is about adapting to situations, the one that can adapt easily will also be able to see the advantages of the new country and not been bothered by the things that are not so good as in their home country.

Needless to say I am happily living in Cambodia, many positive things and people and just a few less positive things , that do not disrupt my inner peace and balance.

Cambodia is nice county for living , I suggest expats will be happy to live here .
It's a lot job to do for expat then local people ,
Budget accommodation , eat and drink good price

Happy to stay in Phnom Penh.

i am from england miserable living there. here in cambodia my life has the people the culture .best place for me to retire.......


I'm in my fifth year here in Cambodia, specifically Siem Reap.  When you use the term "Happy" it starts me thinking about what that means to ME.  I can't help but remember that when I was living in The States (my "home" country) and doing research around the issue of becoming an expat there were quite a few "gurus" who stressed the importance of knowing yourself well because when you move to reside in another country you take your SELF with you.

Having said that, I would say that I am definitely more comfortable here in Cambodia.  I hasten to point out that I don't mean that in the financial sense although that is also true.  I mean it in the sense that for at least the last 10 or 15 years I lived in The States I felt like I just didn't fit in with the predominant culture in the U.S............I felt like the proverbial round peg trying to fit into the square hole.

For me, living in Cambodia isn't a matter of "happiness."  There are significant frustrations for me in terms of the language, dealing with corruption, encountering an attitude of "what's in it for me" on the part of many Khmer people and health issues (mainly parasites...ugh!), among others.  I guess I just love living in Cambodia whether or not that means being happiER than I was in my home country.  Why isn't an issue for me although I have thought of one possibility and this is going to sound off the wall to some of you, which is fine.  Given the emotional reactions I've experienced to certain aspects of the culture of Cambodia (traditional music, art, dance, architecture, certain natural settings here and some foods!) I suspect there may be some past-life issues surfacing within me.  Who Knows???

A nice read, well written.

As for the last part, anything is possible. As I always say, we do not have a soul, we ARE a soul. When our body dies we, the soul, move to either another body or hang out in a "in between".
So in that respect it does not seem impossible to me that you have been in another life and maybe that gives you the feeling of déjà vu.


Well, I hate to be a sour note in the musical spheres of happiness, but....
I fell in love and married late in life here in Cambodia.  We have been together for 15 years and live rurally near Kampong Cham city.

We have 2 children both bilingual teens and it breaks my heart to see the unspeakably shitty education that is inflicted upon them thanks to my  decision. 

The govt. is pathetically unresponsive and apathetic to the needs of its people.  It perpetuates cronyism and corruption as a SYSTEM; it is not random acts of egregious payoffs to govt. officials, but blatantly quotidian occurrences. 

I could continue beyond the bounds editorial decency, but I'm sure my stand is clear.  If you are young, starry-eyed and have time and money to waste it's a great place.  For me it was where I found the right woman.  Unfortunately, it was the wrong country.

Thank you for posting on the "happiness" topic from your perspective.  I also found the right partner, late in life, here but I am fortunate in that children are not an option so the ever present involvement of corruption in our lives has not been as serious as it has been for your family.  My sympathies go out to you.  In my opinion corruption is THE main problem facing the Khmer people.  Life here, for the Khmer,  will not improve until THEY address it and I'm not optimistic that they will soon.  I hope I'm wrong.

Well said Joekhmer. That is so true. Like the old saying  - wherever you go you take your head and heart with you.  Cheers to you

My teachers in NZ couldn't teach rabbits to breed,  my last year in highschool I was told to copy a maths textbook word for word, sharing with 2 others,  teach your kids yourself if you have a problem with the cambodian school system, they only need to be able to read,  and told to read some good text books,    if your schooling was so good, you should be able to help them understand the material.

My biggest concern with moving to Cambodia is that it will be too hot half the year, 

other than 'get used to it'   any useful comments?

I think that happiness is inside, it's about peace and positive vibrations which in turn attract positive events/people in life. One can experience that peace, that deep happiness in meditation. It's also loving oneself and honoring who we are in order to love others and honor them. it's feeling one with the universe, the feeling that there's no separation, we are all one even if my neighbour doesn't think so, it doesn't change this truth in me. If we get rid of wanting, we live in the present moment, that's where happiness is.
I will be moving to Siem Reap in December but I already experience the happiness of what it will be like.

Bless you all!

Aussiewoman :

Well said Joekhmer. That is so true. Like the old saying  - wherever you go you take your head and heart with you.  Cheers to you

Yep, as.hippies used to say, "Wherever you go, there you are."

taabarangse :
Aussiewoman :

Well said Joekhmer. That is so true. Like the old saying  - wherever you go you take your head and heart with you.  Cheers to you

Yep, as.hippies used to say, "Wherever you go, there you are."

"Wherever I lay my hat (head) that's my home"  (Marvin Gaye 1962)

vitamine27 :

My biggest concern with moving to Cambodia is that it will be too hot half the year, 

other than 'get used to it'   any useful comments?

Use a positive approach, don't say it's too hot but say it's nice warm. When you wake up the sun is shining through your windows (for free), when you get outside the world is lit in a wonderful light that makes nature more beautiful and makes the people more smiling than during the rain season.
Live at the seaside (Sihanoukville in my case), go to the beach, sit in the shade and feel the fresh sea breeze, have a cold water or the like, enjoy the view and praise yourself lucky that you're not in some icy conditions with freezing cold winds. Let the sun spoil you and make you happy.

You can hide for the sun. Everywhere you come (beach, restaurants, shopping malls, bars) fans are provided and sometimes AC, you can go for places with AC if you prefer it. At home keep your house cool by closing windows and curtains during the time the sun is shining on it, and open up the windows at the shade side, best at two sides, so there is a nice air flow. Keep a towel in the fridge, if you come home from e.g. exercise and you're sweating, take the ice cold towel and feel good.
Have electrolytes available, if you drink a glass of water, pour electrolyte powder in it and you will never be dehydrated. Those powders are available everywhere and in several tastes.

Just some tips. You will get used to it, it goes automatically, don't expose yourself to the sunlight directly, you will regret that. Wear a cap or hat, no need for long sleeves or long trousers, just cover your head.

Good luck!

"teach your kids yourself if you have a problem with the cambodian school system, they only need to be able to read,  and told to read some good text books" 

Well of course I do exactly that.  However while my children are of course my main concern, it should not be forgotten that their classmates deserve better.  I presented  the micro view since it directly affects my well being.  However, the macro view, I.e. the other students who learn by rote memorization and who are never taught to think critically should not be ignored.  They will all inherit what is left of this country.

+taabarangse,    if I can get my biz overseas,  I hope to make some educational products that anyone can play on a DVD as soon as my time frees up with some cheap labor,     I think most educational material  is from the dark ages,    I hope your kids aren't grown up before I get any of it to the market :)

+JoeKhmer   I should have explained I make fiberglass motorbike parts,   and the fiberglass doesn't like the heat,   and it smells too much to be in a confined airconditioned room.  I hope to reg a biz in Sri Lanka,  but if that proves difficult,  I'll prob set up in Cambodia short term,  or in 6 or 8 month blocks,

I've only been here for 2 weeks, but I am originally from the US. I got tired of the crazy political gridlock and the rigamarole with the cost of living. I remember the good ole days when America was great and there were thriving malls and a happy middle class. There is no longer a middle class, there's either rich or poor. I came to Cambodia to teach English and experience a different way of live. Things in Cambodia are far more relaxed and the people are very friendly. Some of the Khmai people think that I am Khmai, now that I have spent a lot of time in the Sun. I am 25% Korean 25% Black and 50% White. The Buddhist religion in Cambodia is very interesting because I am accustomed to Mahayana sect, whereas SE Asia is predominantly Theravada. I love the lush green tropical Flora and Fauna. When it comes time to extend my E Visa; I will probably opt for the 6 or 12 month, because these Visa terms allow for multiple entry and Visa exemption when visiting other members of ASEAN. Brunei, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, etc

You know just reading your post ,  " your on it" I don't think your going to have any problem , good for you , happy travels , that's all I'm trying to do !

Hey joe , is motorcycles , ha I have ten , 63 Honda dream 305, two 72 Honda scramblers cafe racers , 350s a pair of bull tacos fronterias, 250s . Got anything for a old triumph?  Glad to hear you have a business interest, good luck

Twinsguy, it's not me with the motorparts. I am like you, don't need and want to work (anymore), I have done my share of working and now in my third part of life I just enjoy, relax, go out for photography and live a happy life.

Sorry jo thought it was you with the parts , yes I don't even have the inclination to fix them , I'm done with motorcycles also , in USA now but I will return t.o Cambodia in January, and I still love Cambodia, so I will take you advice and stay for a while longer, the longer I stay the more I like it , thanks jo


What is happiness?  Happiness is one end of an internal pendulum.  The other end is "sadness" (a word I will use as the opposite of happiness).

As the darkness is defined by the light; the night by the day; cold by hot (etc.etc.etc. - far into the night) happiness is defined by sadness.

Happiness can be considered as a stone - the effect of a drug.  In fact it is - the drug (dopamine) being produced, internally.  I know all about drugs :)  One thing I can tell you - no stone lasts more than three days.  After three days the mind adapts to the stone and, slowly, the stone becomes normality...

And so I say do not seek happiness.  Live your life and accept the bad, with the good :)

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