Living in Cambodia

Ask us anything. Cambodia Expat's Online has a huge community of long term expats that can answer any question you may have about life in Cambodia. Have some questions you want to ask before you move to Cambodia? Ask them here. Our community can also answer any questions you have about how to find a job or what kind of work is available for expats in Cambodia, whether you're looking for info about Phnom Penh, Siem Reap or anywhere else in the Kingdom. Don't be shy, ask CEO's members anything!
Scarlet
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Living in Cambodia

Post by Scarlet » Sat Jan 18, 2020 7:34 pm

Hi I'm new here. I am hoping to get a job in Siem Reap and I wanted to ask the basics really. How much does a 3 bedroom property cost to rent there, are bills and the cost of food cheap, what healthcare provision is there for expats?
Are cars cheap to buy and necessary?
Is the crime rate low?
Are there any Brits who can share their experiences with me? Do you like the climate, people, weather, culture, is the language hard to learn?

Sorry I know it's a lot, but having applied for a job I need to get researching asap!
Looking forward to hearing from you! :bow:
Andy S Tawatin
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Re: Living in Cambodia

Post by Andy S Tawatin » Sat Jan 18, 2020 7:53 pm

Scarlet wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 7:34 pm
Hi I'm new here. I am hoping to get a job in Siem Reap and I wanted to ask the basics really. How much does a 3 bedroom property cost to rent there, are bills and the cost of food cheap, what healthcare provision is there for expats?
Are cars cheap to buy and necessary?
Is the crime rate low?
Are there any Brits who can share their experiences with me? Do you like the climate, people, weather, culture, is the language hard to learn?

Sorry I know it's a lot, but having applied for a job I need to get researching asap!
Looking forward to hearing from you! :bow:
New poster, long time lurker who was in a similar place to you 2.5 years ago. Thought I'd reply.


How much does a 3 bedroom property cost to rent there: No idea about Siem Reap. Would guess upwards of $600

bills and the cost of food cheap: Yes and depends on how much you like cheese/dairy

what healthcare provision is there for expats: Hospitals are, well, erm. Get inusrance. SR is not too bad, from my understanding, but still expensive for low quality.

Are cars cheap to buy and necessary? No and no.

Is the crime rate low: Subjective. Petty crime is fairly rampant, violent crime not so much. Take care of your belongings and avoid carrying passport and all cards at one time.

Do you like the climate, people, weather, culture, is the language hard to learn?: Yes, yes, yes, sometimes, yes.


Just jump in and enjoy!
Clemen
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Re: Living in Cambodia

Post by Clemen » Sun Jan 19, 2020 12:52 am

You don't need a car for anything unless you want to crash it into stuff.
Food cost depends on what you want and whether you cook.
The language uses a different alphabet, hard or not depends on whether you are adept at learning languages.
The climate is hot, except for half the year when it's hot and wet.
Get, or have your employer provide health insurance. If you know how a bandaid works you're ahead of most doctors here.
I'm not British, does my experience still count? I know what toad in the hole and bubble and squeak are
Was self isolating before it was cool
frizzie77
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Re: Living in Cambodia

Post by frizzie77 » Sun Jan 19, 2020 1:15 am

Scarlet wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 7:34 pm
Hi I'm new here. I am hoping to get a job in Siem Reap and I wanted to ask the basics really. How much does a 3 bedroom property cost to rent there,
Too much
Scarlet wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 7:34 pm
are bills and the cost of food cheap
Will go up a lot in the coming years
Scarlet wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 7:34 pm
what healthcare provision is there for expats?
None to speak of.
Scarlet wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 7:34 pm
Are cars cheap to buy and necessary?
No, and no
Scarlet wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 7:34 pm
Is the crime rate low?
It used to be, but with the ongoing influx of Chinese it'll skyrocket
Scarlet wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 7:34 pm
Do you like the climate, people, weather, culture, is the language hard to learn?
Yes, yes, yes, yes, no

Conclusion: with all these questions above, don't even think of coming to Cambodia.
Just DON'T!!!
And don't complain later I didn't warn you.
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Yerg
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Re: Living in Cambodia

Post by Yerg » Sun Jan 19, 2020 1:21 am

Scarlet wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 7:34 pm
Hi I'm new here. I am hoping to get a job in Siem Reap and I wanted to ask the basics really. How much does a 3 bedroom property cost to rent there, are bills and the cost of food cheap, what healthcare provision is there for expats?
Are cars cheap to buy and necessary?
Is the crime rate low?
Are there any Brits who can share their experiences with me? Do you like the climate, people, weather, culture, is the language hard to learn?

Sorry I know it's a lot, but having applied for a job I need to get researching asap!
Looking forward to hearing from you! :bow:
I hope this helps...

1. Property price depend where you rent. You can quite easily research property prices online, and get in touch with real estate agents that way. Make sure that whatever property you are interested in, that you visit it at various times of the day/night. You don't want to come home to find that you've rented next to a noisy bar/restaurant/massage shop.

2. Cars are not cheap to buy. Massive import taxes on new vehicles. I'd be wary to trust buying a used vehicle. Bikes are cheaper. I'm going out on a limb here. You need 3 beds because you have kids? Then bikes won't necessarily work, and a car might be no choice. Choose wisely. They're not a necessity, depending on your commute.

3. To echo previous poster, petty crime is rife. Use common sense. Don't wander down the road with your latest smartphone on display. Major crime, not so much. You'd be unlucky...

4. Climate, lovely. Hot, or hot and wet (as above poster said. If you like that, then no worries.

5. People, lovely, except the petty criminals.

6. Culture - lovely. Just embrace it.

7. Language - not the easiest, but if you're willing to learn, many people will be happy to help you. Just ignore the sad-act long-timers who will happily mock your attempts at learning.

8. Make sure employer has decent healthcare provision, including Medivac to Thailand for serious cases. If they don't, be prepared to top up your own company policy with decent coverage.

Wherever you end up, I'm sure you'll love Cambodia and her unique charm. Good luck!! :hattip:
Mishmash
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Re: Living in Cambodia

Post by Mishmash » Sun Jan 19, 2020 4:58 am

Scarlet wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 7:34 pm
Hi I'm new here. I am hoping to get a job in Siem Reap and I wanted to ask the basics really. How much does a 3 bedroom property cost to rent there, are bills and the cost of food cheap, what healthcare provision is there for expats?
Are cars cheap to buy and necessary?
Is the crime rate low?
Are there any Brits who can share their experiences with me? Do you like the climate, people, weather, culture, is the language hard to learn?

Sorry I know it's a lot, but having applied for a job I need to get researching asap!
Looking forward to hearing from you! :bow:
I'm British but I have no experience of Siem Reap, except for a 2 day stay. It looked really nice there.

The basic questions are fairly easily answered however, and echo the advice of the more positive posters above.

There are many properties available depending on your budget. Some people have quoted 600$, but this is not necessarily the bottom line. I have rented 3 bedroom 3 bathroom houses for $150 no worries. Take your time and look around. In my area here everyone was quoting 300$ and 400$ and 800$, but I happily obtained for $150. The others will remain empty and the owners can have nothing. You can find a nice place with a kind and welcoming owner for sure.

Healthcare... See above.. They can have the nicest, poshest, newest, priciest, cleanest places complete with doctors who have impressive credentials - but really it's just a facade. Dentists the same. The pharmacies stock an incredibly huge range of pills, potions, snake oil, tiger balm etc, but the best advice is to steer clear and keep yourself healthy. The NHS is online so look up their advice when you are here - it's the best bet.

Food... Oh dear.. Personally I am not a fan of Khmer cuisine, not even their rice. However, this will be your personal preference. There are a wide variety of International food places. The wholesalers and markets are good for buying the essentials for home. Beer is the cheapest in the world bar none.

Cars are extremely expensive compared to the UK and the choice is fairly limited. Gasoline is cheaper than the UK. Driving is chaotic with Khmer style rules rather than the real rules. It takes some time to learn the way to drive here and even at best it is sketchy.

Crime... There are very few instances of violence against foreigners. The majority of thugs are petty bag/phone/jewelry snatchers who are a constant plague and universally despised. Even the local people are targets, but you can expect help from all quarters if you unfortunately become a victim. The thugs usually get some 'street justice' (AKA one hell of a kicking) before the police arrive and then get some 're-education' (AKA the beats) back in the cop-shop. In your house keep your valuables in places where they cannot be reached by the 'long pole' through windows or doors, especially at night.

Climate - Sunny & Hot. Monsoons with amazing downpours, thunder and lightning and flooding - a real thrill.

Culture - Depends on your outlook and mind-set. They are a superstitious race with a profound belief in ghosts. Strong family ties. Real Khmers (not the tourist trap scammers) are hospitable, kind and helpful. Sadly, they are not very good workers and require constant training and encouragement and a degree means they can read and write, though not necessarily understand. It takes an great deal of patience and understanding when working with them. Maximum 3 tasks and they will perform well.

Language.. I tried to learn, it's handy to be polite and some posters here are adept. For myself, I just use Google Translate and pictures. It's a bit of a dead language really - a bit like Latin. Many locals speak English and like to practice with you and it tends to be the choice when in business. Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Burmese, English, French, German, Italian.... English is the happy way forward.

Good luck. It's a great place to be.
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AndyKK
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Re: Living in Cambodia

Post by AndyKK » Sun Jan 19, 2020 7:37 am

You have had many good answers to your questions above.
About cars - my experience some years ago I managed to buy a Thai import Toyota Hilux 3L 1993 good condition $3500 In the UK it would be too old, or you would get one on eBay for less then a grand. Yes I am a Brit too.
Firstly its a pain driving a right hand drive, but manageable never the less. I needed 4WD due to what I was then doing in the countryside with only main dirt roads and off road (you will still get stuck) in these conditions. A few months later I started to spend money on it, being my workhorse, new tyres and driveshafts, fuel injectors, new battery, about $500 I spent on it. It stopped dead one day, I had it towed to a reputable car repair to find I needed a reconditioned engine, price $3000 or they would rebuild the old one $2,500. I noticed they had been busy beforehand with exchanging parts around the engine before any agreement (they stole the good parts) I complained, the end result was they bought my car for $2000.
If you was to buy a car, the word is here to pay $10,000 upwards for some kind of reliability. Good luck.
hunter8
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Re: Living in Cambodia

Post by hunter8 » Sun Jan 19, 2020 3:42 pm

Mishmash wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 4:58 am
Language.. It's a bit of a dead language really - a bit like Latin.
That is a huge overstatement.
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Kammekor
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Re: Living in Cambodia

Post by Kammekor » Sun Jan 19, 2020 4:05 pm

Scarlet wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 7:34 pm
Hi I'm new here. I am hoping to get a job in Siem Reap and I wanted to ask the basics really. How much does a 3 bedroom property cost to rent there <cut>
Question back, why would you need three bedrooms? Do you come with a family? If you do, will you bring kids? Advice given might be different when kids are involved.
Mishmash
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Re: Living in Cambodia

Post by Mishmash » Sun Jan 19, 2020 4:12 pm

AndyKK wrote:
Sun Jan 19, 2020 7:37 am
You have had many good answers to your questions above.
About cars - my experience some years ago I managed to buy a Thai import Toyota Hilux 3L 1993 good condition $3500 In the UK it would be too old, or you would get one on eBay for less then a grand. Yes I am a Brit too.
Firstly its a pain driving a right hand drive, but manageable never the less. I needed 4WD due to what I was then doing in the countryside with only main dirt roads and off road (you will still get stuck) in these conditions. A few months later I started to spend money on it, being my workhorse, new tyres and driveshafts, fuel injectors, new battery, about $500 I spent on it. It stopped dead one day, I had it towed to a reputable car repair to find I needed a reconditioned engine, price $3000 or they would rebuild the old one $2,500. I noticed they had been busy beforehand with exchanging parts around the engine before any agreement (they stole the good parts) I complained, the end result was they bought my car for $2000.
If you was to buy a car, the word is here to pay $10,000 upwards for some kind of reliability. Good luck.
Agreed Andy. You can spend a lot and still be stuck with a dog. 2 Camrys loved the garage more than the road. Even the latest sprung a CV rattle on the way back from Prey Veng. Except for new here it's dodgy.
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