Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Phnom Penh, Cambodia: The Pearl of Asia

Reviewed by Kathleen Peddicord

Kathleen is the Live and Invest Overseas Founding Publisher. She has more than 30 years of hands-on experience traveling, living, and buying property around the world.

Phnom Penh, which sits inland in the southeast of the country, is surrounded on all sides by Kandal Province. Its population is growing fast and is currently at around 2.2 million. The three rivers Phnom Penh sits on—the Tonle Sap, the Mekong, and the Bassac—have long provided both shipping and travel routes into the country’s interior as well as food in the form of a vast array of fresh water fish and other foodstuffs.

Vibrant Phnom Penh is the beating heart of the new Cambodia. With stunning colonial architecture, a redeveloped riverside promenade, and beguiling people,

Phnom Penh retains much of the charm that once led it to be known as the Gem of Indochina.

Sitting at the confluence of three rivers, the mighty Mekong, the Tonle Sap, and the Bassac, this Southeast Asian capital is home to a major cultural revival affecting every part of daily life. The arts, dance, food, religion and music are thriving after years of repression.

Phnom Penh is also the gateway to the diverse delights of wider Cambodia. From the famous temples of Angkor Watt in the West, to the white-sand beaches and deserted islands of the southern coast, Cambodia is a new frontier for the adventurous expat.

Cost Of Living In Phnom Penh

Cambodia in general is phenomenally inexpensive, and it is often cited as the cheapest destination in Asia. Prices for food, rent and even utilities in Cambodia leave traditional hotspots like Bali and Malaysia looking positively extravagant.

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The common “Thailand of 20 years ago” refrain refers not only to the off-the-beaten-track feel, but to the cost of living. While there is no denying expenses are creeping up, especially in tourist areas, in Cambodia it’s still possible to get a beer for less than a dollar (Cambodia uses the U.S. dollar as the main currency) and to eat out for not much more.

Tourist numbers in Phnom Penh, and across the country, are exploding—up almost 200% in the last ten years—which is often a precursor to developers moving in and property prices zooming up, so it would be wise to keep an eye on things.

Phnom Penh is an intriguing destination that will appeal to the frontier type, the property investor, the Southeast Asia lover, and anyone considering a cut-priced life overseas…

Monthly Budget For A Couple Living In Phnom Phen, Cambodia

ExpenseMonthly CostNotes
RentKHR 1,621,800
GasKHR 60,818Used for cooking and heating.
ElectricityKHR 81,090
WaterKHR 20,273
TelephoneKHR 121,635Two pay-as-you-go cellphones with 3G Internet.
InternetKHR 44,600
Cable TVKHR 20,273
GroceriesKHR 1,013,630
EntertainmentKHR 1,216,350
TotalKHR 4,200,469

Click here for currency conversion at today’s exchange rate.

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