Many people take to the web to ask the all-important question, what do I need to know when living and working in Cambodia?
The good news is, that you’re in the right place! NextStep is a one-stop-shop service for internationals considering working and living in Cambodia. Not only do we have an extensive backlog of guides, frequently asked questions, blogs, and advice columns, but you can also contact us to ask specific questions or book a chat with one of our expert team (who of course, had moved to Cambodia themselves!)
Our job is literally to make your move as seamless as possible, so once you are ready, feel free to browse our relocation packages and if you are looking for work, our recruitment pages, to find your dream job in the sun. But before all that, check out our guide below for the top things to consider when moving to Cambodia.
What do I need to decide before I move to Cambodia?
One of the first things to consider when making the move to Cambodia is where you want to live. Often, this is determined by the job you are moving for, but don’t worry if you haven’t already got a job or your job requires you to work remotely, we’ve got some suggestions!
Where is the best place to live in Cambodia?
Most internationals who live and work in Cambodia choose more developed cities to reside, such as the capital Phnom Penh or the smaller tourist cities of Siem Reap (north of Phnom Penh, near to Tonle Sap lake and home to the famous Angkor Wat temple complex) and Sihanoukville (the ever-developing beach-side town, popular with Chinese expats).
Some internationals who live and work in Cambodia opt for a more half-and-half approach in towns such as the riverside retreats of Kampot (an alternative vibe town popular with people in touch with their spiritual side) or Kep (a small collection of hotels and homes with its own beach which overlooks rabbit island in the distance).
However, some ex-pats also choose to go even more rural and live in the more traditional provinces (large areas of land, like a county) such as Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, Kandal, or Kampot province (the province in which Kampot town is located). Kandal and Kampot provinces are chosen because they offer rural life but are still within a few hours’ drive from either Kampot or Phnom Penh. Battambang is definitely more remote, it also has lots of tourist activities such as the Bamboo train, bicycle tours, and several old colonial buildings to discover. Banteay Meanchey is home to Poipet city which lies on the border with Thailand, which is convenient for internationals living and working in Cambodia who are involved with trade, real estate, or other growing sectors in that area.
If you are considering moving to Cambodia, contact us! We are more than happy to help you find the perfect place that suits your wants, needs, and budget. We specialise in helping internationals move to Cambodia so let us help you! No matter where you want to live, NextStep is partnered with a number of professional Real Estate agencies who are the experts when it comes to finding accommodation in the Kingdom. Whether you need your accommodation to be in an area where other expats live in one of the big cities or in a traditional and rural Khmer village, we can help source and organize viewings for you whenever you are ready. Check out our accommodation partners or relocation package details for more information or contact us today!
What is it like moving to a Cambodian city?
The capital of Cambodia – Phnom Penh – is an international city, with all the charm of being in Cambodia but with pretty much all of the services and facilities you would have access to in the most developed cities across the world. So moving to Cambodia in this case, is easy!
From restaurants, nightlife, a zoo and plenty of sky bars with swimming pools to hospitals, parcel delivery companies, taxi apps, malls, and more, most things you could want are available in Phnom Penh. The great thing about living in a city like Phnom Penh is that you can choose the lifestyle you want to lead and budget accordingly. If you want to take full advantage of the activities and services on offer, you certainly can live the life of luxury with a top-of-the-range skyrise apartment, world-class food, and 5-star tourist excursions. Equally, if you just want to live comfortably or save some of your pay you can eat quality food at local restaurants for very cheap and hire out studio apartments which give you a great bang for your buck.
Whatever your style or budget, NextStep is really to help you find your perfect apartment when you arrive in Cambodia. Our moving to Cambodia relocation package includes an initial stay at a hotel to suit your budget while we organise viewings for accommodation depending on your preferences, which we can discuss before you fly out to save you time and money. We also have options for long-term guesthouses to stay in while you look as well as advice on buying property. Our services don’t stop there, we also have a number of other partners, from cleaning companies to home furnishings, to make your new house a home. For more information on accommodation when moving to Cambodia, contact us.
What is using the currency like in Cambodia?
The confusing part of living and working in Cambodia is the fact that two currencies are currently being used in the Kingdom. Although US dollars (USD) are slowly being phased out, meaning Cambodia will one day solely use its own currency – Khmer Riel ¬– USD is still heavily used, especially for larger transactions (over $100+). Exchange rates vary, but typically the US Dollar hovers around the 4,000 Riel mark. If you are moving to Cambodia, we recommend bringing a small quantity of USD, as this can be used in international airports which you may transit through on your way and larger notes are excepted at most stores in Cambodia (although you will likely be given change in Riel). The main thing to note is when you are bringing USD, make sure it is not torn or spoiled as it may be rejected. Also, always check your change as there is an unlikely chance that you may have received a fake note that can sometimes be in circulation.
If you are worried about what currency to bring to Cambodia when you move, then we are on hand to offer you the latest advice whenever you need it. In fact, our relocation package helps you with everything you need to know about moving, including how to open a bank account upon arrival, what type of currency to bring, current exchange rates, and the cheapest way to send money to your Cambodian bank account from abroad. If you are moving to Cambodia, look no further than NextStep to take the stress-and-guess out of living and working in Cambodia.
How do I travel around Cambodia?
Many people wonder: How does transportation work in Cambodia? The answer is, quite well! From multiple free mobile apps which put taxis and buses at your fingertips, Facebook groups dedicated to private taxis for cross-provincial travel, or even internal flights and night buses, getting around Cambodia is easy once you get the hang of it.
City journeys: Tuk Tuks are the most commonly used form of public transport. They are relatively safe as they can be booked through the Grab or PassApp mobile applications. Tuk Tuks booked through an app will also tell you the price of the journey so you are not likely to be overcharged. If you hail a Tuk Tuk down on the street, you may be subject to paying more and the driver may need directions, so it is always better to book through an app. Drivers drive slowly and are known to weave through traffic saving you time on your journeys.
You can order standard car taxis or 4×4 options for an even safer journey. Most short journeys will take about 10 to 30 minutes in a tuk-tuk travelling across the city, maybe a little more in rush hour. Car taxis take longer. Motorbike taxis are the cheapest but are less safe and they cannot be booked through an app.
Cross province journeys: Private minibusses are the most common way of travelling from city to city, such as Phnom Penh to Siem Reap for visitors wishing to see the famous Angkor Wat. NextStep has multiple travel partners and we are happy to help advise on any trip you want to make across the Kingdom.
Cross-border journeys: It is possible to get night buses and flights to neighbouring countries should you which to take advantage of the great position Cambodia is for those wanting to explore the surrounding Southeast Asian region. However, you should always seek advice when making these journeys as borders can be known to close temporarily and certain documentation is needed. Fortunately, NextStep is here to help! Whether you need advice before moving to Cambodia or when you arrive, we can give you the latest information. Check out our relocation package for more information and let the experts be at your service.
How do I travel with my own transport around Cambodia?
Own transport: Many people who move to Cambodia buy their own motorbike or car. Motorbikes are most commonly bought as they are cheap to buy, own and maintain. You can get a decent scooter or small motorbike for around $300 to $700, with quality bikes available from $1,000 plus. Petrol is cheap and motorbikes are ultra-convenient. Cars are expensive as they are all imported, with the lowest prices starting at $5,000 at least and with any decent-sized car being over $10,000. They can also be expensive to fix and can require lots of maintenance given the varying nature of roads in Cambodia.
If you want to buy a car or motorcycle and need information about what driving license you will need, the cost of such purchases, and where to make them, NextStep can help with all of the above and more. Our relocation team is made up of both locals and ex-pats who live and work in Cambodia and we have all the knowledge about what to, and what not to do when buying a car or motorbike in Cambodia (because we’ve done it before).
If you need any help and advice about transport in Cambodia, NextStep is here to help! From blogs like this one explaining all the moving to Cambodia essential tips to on-hand advice in person at our weekly in-country meet-ups or in our detailed introductory hamper which you will receive on arrival*, you can’t go wrong with NextStep.
Please note, the hamper is part of the NextStep relocation package. We recommend taking out our relocation package if you are considering or already are moving to Cambodia, as it is a completely new arrival service where a dedicated relocation executive will walk you through everything you need to set up to comfortably live and work in Cambodia, from bank accounts and visas to accommodation, food delivery, nightlife, transport and much, much more.
How do I access healthcare in Cambodia?
Although NextStep can tell you everything you need to know about the local recommended hospitals, clinics, doctors, and pharmacies that you may need to access to get the medication you need, we would first recommend getting a good health insurance policy before flying out. We have health insurance partners which we can help you get deals with which will cover all the essentials you will need for your Cambodian health insurance policy.
You will also need information on where sells the specific international medicines you know (they may be called a different name in Cambodia, as there are lots of French pharma in Cambodia). Wherever you move to in Cambodia, NextStep will make sure that you have the relevant emergency phone numbers and locations of your nearest medical facilities so that you have peace of mind when moving to Cambodia. Find out more in our relocation package section of the website and trust the Cambodia-based experts, NextStep, to keep you safe.
Is moving to Cambodia safe?
Cambodia is a safe country overall, however, it is worth knowing some of the risks so that you can be aware and take precautions. Just like in any big city, robbery and bag-snatching has been known to happen and is probably the most common crime to happen to tourists who do not take precautions. When walking down the street, particularly at night, do not flash your phone or any expensive belongings and keep your bag firmly secured to your body. There have also been some cases of apartment break-ins. This is usually due to a lack of security in the apartments or doors left unlocked. When we help people moving to Cambodia with sourcing an apartment, we take these things into consideration to ensure you move into a secure complex to completely reduce the risk of robberies happening and are on hand for advice about making your property as safe as possible.
Cambodia has a zero-tolerance approach to drugs and the legal system cannot help foreigners who are caught with them. Drug abuse comes with a lengthy sentence so we advise anyone moving to Cambodia not to handle, purchase or take drugs.
Women should be careful travelling alone at night in dimly lit places, although incidents involving women are extremely rare.
Can I move my family to Cambodia?
Of course! Lots of families move to Cambodia and enjoy a great quality of life.
There are lots of prestigious schools for children in the Kingdom, however, they can be quite expensive as they will be private schools. Tuition can start at $1,000 plus per month for the most basic private schools so it is best to research with your budget in mind.
NextStep can again help with visas, bank account setups, accommodation, playgroups, social events, and anything else your family might need when moving to Cambodia. Reach out to one of our team today and let us make your family move painless.
How do I access employment in Cambodia?
Until recently, many people came to Cambodia to only visit as a tourist or perhaps to retire. However, given the country’s remarkable economic growth and now need for skilled professionals, many are looking into living and working in Cambodia and moving to Cambodia. That’s why here at NextStep, we designed a one-stop-shop service that offers both employment opportunities in Cambodia as well as a complete relocation package to make not only moving to Cambodia as easy as possible but settling in fun!
Check out our jobs board and connect with Cambodian opportunities today! Or find out more information about our complete relocation package and you’ll find out just how easy it is to live and work in Cambodia.
Whether you’re working for someone else or for yourself, starting a business, volunteering, or just wanting to browse opportunities that could see you moving to Cambodia, NextStep is here to help. From work permits to income taxes, to Cambodian work culture and dress code, we have the first-hand experience of living and working in Cambodia which will make it easy for you to fit right in, and have a great time while you’re at it! Moving to Cambodia doesn’t have to be daunting, just let the experts do the work for you and contact us today!