how to make money in Cambodia

I am moving to Cambodia in late October. i am trying to come up with ideas. for business or way to make money in cambodia. any ideas. I am open to living anywhere in cambodia. buckshot

teach english, u will make 1000$ a month, will be worked like a one-legged sharecropper, but that's enough to cover expenses. since u get a business visa, u can pretty much start any type of business u want, but as all businesses initial investment is needed, and there is no guarantees. I would recommend that you contact UN, because I lived here for close to 3 years, and met some UN employees who makes 1000$+ a week for doing strange things like counting cows in provinces and interviewing rice farmers (if you dont speak khmer, with that salary, u can hire a platoon of translators and still be well off).

if you wanna open a bar, to give u an idea in phnom penh, on the river, or on a happening cross street full of tourists, a small place is around 700-1200$ per month rent (and i mean small, 4 tables if u lucky). the 6 blocks of the really happening riverside, nothing is available and i check often.

In sihanoukville, u can get something on the beach, but since its all illegal, they can take it away from u just as fast. cambodians (just like thai, malaysians, etc) came up with a good business model: they let the westerner develop a business, and kick em out once the business becomes popular.

right now there is a lot of manufacturing going on in cambodia. since its cheaper to make a shirt here than in China, lot of Chinese companies are opening huge factories packed with seamstresses paid 90$/month.

there are lots of ways to make money here since its cheap. i have 4 bedroom, 5 bathroom, 3 floor condo, with cathedral ceilings, an awesome roof, and i  pay 200$ rent in phnom penh. so even if u are an english teacher, u can still party hard and live well.

good luck, nick

As the old saying goes, if you want to make a small fortune in Cambodia, bring a large one.

I would suggest something in tourism, perhaps opening a back packer or mid range guesthouse, but don't expect massive returns. Don't start or invest in a bar, there are too many already, most tourists and expats are well educated and like upmarket trendy haunts. Don't invest money you can't afford to lose, doing business is not easy, and suggest living there for a year before you start, to get used to how things work, get to know who have become successful and see what they have done, use their models and experiences. I know of only perhaps 4 or 5, and generally they have had partners who are working in salaried jobs to support the business while it grows.

The post above is very true, although it sounds negative its very realistic. Coming with loads of enthusiasm and thinking that you can bring western business models will lead to failure. I have seen so many of these people come and go over the last decade.

Good luck

A warm welcome to to you all!

I've been here in Cambodia over five years now.

The advantages of starting a business here include a dearth of regulation, which can give you a freer hand than other places, but the obverse of that is that if you don't know your way around you will probably get badly burnt.

Therefore, my advice to you is DON'T think about starting a business yet. Come, settle in, gain experience and contacts you can trust first, before sinking any of your savings.

As mentioned above, please don't fall for the old cliche of opening a bar - there are far too many expat-run bars in Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville and the vast majority of new bars close within a few months with heavy losses.

Steamer is on the ball, and he raises one suggestion. All the new guesthouse and restaurant businesses are going upmarket, whilst the old Phnom Penh grungy backpacker haunt (Lakeside) is being cleared out for redevelopment. There is a gap in the market. Whether it's a profitable one is another matter.

While you're gaining experience of the country (if you're in Phnom Penh) a bit of teaching English would be a good way to fill some time and make a little money. Foreign men with too much free time on their hands often come a cropper here!

Hi Meishern,what you just said about making 1000 bucks per week for doing stuff like counting cows in the province is pretty interesting.can you tell us more about that?thanx

Buckshot, you are getting some great advice. I also would like to here more on the NGO work. ESL teaching is an ok income if it covers your expenses???

It would be a good resource to fall back on if a business idea goes bust. You need a new idea that works with the culture and people !!!!

One expat told me you should get a job in three days as in ESL teacher, is this true?

That is the key

This teaching idea sounds great.......what would be the best schools to get this kind of paid?

I'm looking to get a job asap..........I am fluent in Khmer, Australian borned and raised in Melbourne. Would like to keep in touch with all please inbox xo

I taught ESL in Australia and thought it would be easy to find a job in Cambodia (I'm in Sihanoukville). It wasn't and what I could find paid $3 an hour. I then started looking for freelance writing work online. It wasn't an easy start, but now I'm doing okay. Other friends and acquaintances are doing web design, SEO, software development and graphics.

What about a Restaurant? or is that the same as the bars????

vboy: I'm sure there's a place for another good restaurant, but don't do it unless you know what you're doing and have enough money behind you to wait till you get a following. I personally know three people who opened restaurants and went out of business within six months. Better to stay through at least one rainy season so you can see first hand how slow business can get.

RobSchneiderOz: Thanks for the advice. The plan was to set it up within the next 5 months and be up and running in Nov. After the rainy season. So what do expacts do during the rainy season. Work somewhere else - overseas?

vboy - Good question. Unfortunately, I don't know the answer. Some must have pensions they can rely on for income. Others probably do things they want to keep to themselves. A few have enough regular customers to keep them going.

I don't want to overstate the case, but the best Italian restaurant in town, Marco Polo, used to close through the rainy season, but is still open so far this year. Although tourist numbers are down from high season, there are a lot more here this year than in the past.

As I frequently hear: "The best way to make a small fortune in Sihanoukville is to come with a large one."

vboy wrote:

What about a Restaurant? or is that the same as the bars????

For restaurant if the biz going well u will go rich,

i am cambodian and i would like to open a bbq buffet in phnom penh, but i don't any partner to share with my biz, really bored

If u are an IT, i have an idea of create and ktv software online in cambodia, we can make money online with this software, and more funtion

Hi Buckshot,

Yes, can teach English at your first choice for some period of time. Then, why not move on to business ideas? These should be opening restaurant, guest house, travel agent, real estate etc.. if you're on it, and having any investors. You can contact me via email: [email protected], mobile: +855 92 400 998


could you suggest me to work online with safety, now I'm IT Instructor at University but the paid is too low. so I want to work online.

I want to make business or work aboard because i think that other country can find or get a lot salary than my country. other wise i need to save money to make my small business for support me and my parents too.


I am also looking to live abroad and Cambodia is one of my favorites.Anny business idees,are welcome.Preferable in industry or real estate.Is it possible to own real estate for a foreigner?

And what about internet,does Cambodia have some intresting export products?Are Cambodians buying on internet?

Looking forewards to read your comments.

Hi Nick:

I was intrigued by what you said about teaching.  I've been here in Manila for 2+, with a job that I hate, and I've been considering moving to either Thailand or Cambodia.  I've heard that Thailand might be a bit nicer and cheaper in some ways but somehow the newness of Cambodia appeals to me too.

I taught English in S.Korea for 4 years and basically liked it fairly well.  It was only the administrators that I thought were idiots.  But I sorta enjoy teaching.

When you suggest getting a teaching job, would you suggest just looking around once you're there?  I ask because I've always heard that in Thailand all the backpackers who just want to cover their expenses for a few months..that they've really driven the pay scale down.

I'm actually 68 years old too although I look more in my 50's most people say.  Would that be a age?

In my case, I also make some money with some online writing...easily $500 a month.  And I think I could ramp that up if I focused more on it.

Also....what the avg download speed for internet there..?  Do you know?

Any advice would be appreciated.


You might try Bangkok or Chang Mai. More Baht being spent there.

Here in Cambodia,  some school are hiring backpackers with no experience in teatching...
But some other schools have a much more higher standard. I think I am not wrong saying that is cheaper in Phnom - Phen than in Bangkok.
Whatever,  you should come and prospect first.

[Moderated: Please post your advert in the Cambodia Classifieds.]

My name is sreyleap Eam , i am 27years old , i want to work from home to earn more money for my poor family now , and work that i without pay any payment .

hope u can understand me , and help me


Study Spread Trading for 6 months minimum before you come to Cambodia and fairly easy if you apply yourself to earn £500-£600 a month with little Capital.
You do need to apply yourself though and its not a ten minute a day earner as many believe.
Add a little more into your account to start with and again 700-800 can be reasonably earnt


Thanks for the post.

I am already study 2 years,the possibilities in Cambodia and also Myanmar.But it seems tuff to get the right business information.

There defenly must be possibilities in the agriculture or fish industry.Also there must be possibilities in high labour industries.

I was there only 10 days and there a huge business possibilities in many Asian countries.I saw needs of water and electricity supply.even in the capital city,the electricity was cut several hours.

I consulted already a couple of consultancy agence,but their information was limited to the catering sector.

They told me,to not do a thing in the real estate sector,because a foreigner can not own there.

Unfortunaly my English is not enough,to teach it there.I could learn from the backpackers,hahaha.But I can help myself,also in Dutch,French and german.

And I also realise,that nothing makes nothing.

Hope to get some reactions from local Cambodian or insiders with real knowledge.Also looking for co-investors,cooperators...

Thanks in advantage

Interesting post Jan. I may be interested in Co Investing and Cooperating this winter

Hi Tamari,

We have many years of experience doing business in Cambodia and we are still in agriculture industry. From what I see, there is still good opportunity in agri industry but not fish.

It may seems easy to do some businesses here but in fact there are many unknown risks. I would suggest you to find a local partner and work together with him =)

Hi people

Let's have contact and let us do something.Let's move it.I will be in the beautifull Cambodia in 4/6 weeks.

There is plenty to do there,if we are with the right people.

My best regards


Hi rdara.rith,

Welcome to Expat-Blog :)

Can you please introduce yourself with a few words ?

Thank you

Expat-blog Team






Hello Jay, are you still in farming, if you are, l have some realy good seeds for almost anything. They are not GM, origanal seeds, taste quality is very good. If you like to have conversation please let me know.
Kindest Regards

I'm in the process of setting up an agri biz in cambodia, and yes the possibilities are endless but one must be realistic.

Most expats come here to retire and look for a easier more affordable life. That is not a good attitude in business regardless of location!

To succeed, you need to be be involved full time in the operations and the finances. If you are looking to be a sleeping partner or minimal involvement, then buy a high yielding dividend paying blue chip..

The idea of agri biz is great, but it can be tricky. Rainfall in the east west and south is greatly different and can hugely impact the different crops.

There is little info on the soil of Cambodia, but it seems some of my research shows that there is quite variety.

Logistics.. If you are exporting, SHV port is pretty far from most parts of the country.

It's not impossible but it may not be as easy as many think. Of course the reward is great if you succeed.

In all business conducts, be respectful but not overly trusting. Some friction during negotiation actually reveals people's true intentions

The best way to make $ is to acquire land, and build up a land bank in the major cities. You dont have to develop until the property market is on the rise.

There is no way a foreigner can own the land outrightly,but there are proper ways to do it such that it safe guards your interest, and I'm not talking about getting a trusted local individual to own 51% of the title.

I've been in Cambodia for 2 weeks now, my second  time as I was here 7 months ago. I am interested in having team sports uniforms manufactured here. Currently I'm having things made in Pakistan, and a little in the Philippines but I want to find a manufacturer in Siem Reap or PP. Can anyone give me some leads  or insight on manufactures. I need someone able to provide small orders from 25 to 300 pieces high quality customized uniforms to customers specifications.  I appreciate any help you can provide.

Thanks.... Mike Medina


Well " trying to come up with ideas" HUM, get idea by observing situations in Cambodia Phnom Penh etc... perhaps ! :cool: i m living on the coast actually there is nowaday at least 6 business for sale ! obviously very few makes money and most of all use their wallet every month to pay bills...go slowly but shurely !

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