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Cambodia is a Southeast Asian country mainly known for the magnificent Angkor Wat, one of the largest remnants of the once-powerful Khmer Empire, which appears in its national flag. While Angkor Wat is undeniably the jewel of tourism for Cambodia, there is much more to the country than this iconic ruin, and visitors who are willing to dig deeper will find out that the country actually has a lot to offer. It is full of fascinating culture, picture-perfect tropical islands, lush tropical jungles, bustling cities, world-class food scene, and lively nightlife.
Although it is not as popular as its neighbors, such as Thailand, Cambodia is rapidly getting the recognition it deserves from international visitors. In 2019, over 6 million people from around the globe visited this country. Aside from tourists who want to enjoy a holiday in the country, Cambodia has also become an expat and property investor magnet. Many expats relocate to this country to take advantage of its relatively low living cost and job opportunities, and property investors are keen to make an investment in this country due to its booming real estate market, fast-growing economy, and strong GDP growth rate (over 7% in the past decade).
Cambodia is home to more than 15 million people who live across its 25 provinces. With approximately 14% of the country’s population living in Phnom Penh, this city is the most populous in the country. Phnom Penh is the vibrant bustling capital of Cambodia. Situated at the confluence of Mekong, Bassac, and Tonle Sap rivers, this city was considered as the ‘Pearl of Asia.’ Today, it is bursting with culture, history, quality restaurants, and a lively nightlife. Here, visitors can visit many interesting attractions, such as the Royal Palace, the Silver Pagoda, the National Museum, the Choeng Ek Killing Fields, the Toul Sleng Genocide Museum and Wat Phnom.
Most people who come to Cambodia usually visit Siem Reap as their main destination. Siem Reap is the closest city to Angkor Archeological Park, which lies around six kilometers from the city. Angkor Archeological Park is one of the most important archeological parks in Southeast Asia and Angkor Wat, and numerous other temples such as Angkor Thom and Bayon Temple are located here.
Besides Siem Reap, another popular tourist destination is Sihanoukville, Cambodia’s most popular beach town. It offers a mix of sandy beaches, pristine waters, hip beach bars, and seaside restaurants. The main beaches in this town are Otres Beach, Victory Beach, and Ochheuteal/Serendipity Beach. These beaches can get really crowded, particularly in peak season. Visitors who want a quiet place to relax can visit Independence Beach or Sokha Beach.
There are numerous different sizes and styles of Apartments in Cambodia for all tastes and budget. Renters can choose between high-rise, mid-rise, and low-rise apartments. High-rise apartments can be found in major areas such as Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville and are typically luxurious. They may also function as offices, shops, and restaurants or only as a residential building. Mid-rise and low-rise apartments are widely available around the country.
Apartments for rent in Cambodia usually range from studio room, 1 bedroom, 2 bedrooms, 3 bedrooms, 4 bedrooms, to penthouses. Studio rooms are the smallest unit which usually consists of only a single room that acts as the bedroom, living room, dining room, and kitchen, with a separate bathroom. Penthouses are usually located on top of high-rise apartment buildings and have a lot of space.
Renters also have the choice to rent full-service apartments, which are usually fully furnished with all necessary décor and appliances, and come with a selection of amenities, such as gyms and swimming pools. These may also include cleaning services, regular maids, and security guards. Serviced apartments are intended to combine privacy with luxury, allowing renters to live a hotel-like lifestyle.
The official currency in Cambodia is the Cambodian Riels (KHR). 1 USD converts to approximately 4,093 KHR. The exchange rate can be advantageous for most foreigners. The country also uses US dollars in addition to Cambodian Riels. You can find numerous ATMs that dispense US dollars instead of Cambodian Riels in the country.
The Standard of living in Cambodia has increased significantly in the last couple of decades. However, the country still offers a relatively low cost of living compared to many Asian countries. A foreigner living alone in Phnom Penh can easily get by on 3,300,000 KHR (800 USD) – 4,100,000 KHR (1,000 USD) a month if they can cook their own food. The typical salary for foreigners in Cambodia is 4,100,000 KHR (1,000 USD) to 8,200,000 KHR (2,000 USD), depending on the position and the industry. With this salary, foreigners can live comfortably in a nice apartment, indulge in mid-range restaurants a few days every week, and even apply for a gym membership.
The people of Cambodia are known to be warm-hearted and friendly. Cambodian is the official language, and while English is not yet widely spoken, many people in tourist areas and major cities can speak English very well. Still, it is advisable that you learn some Cambodian language, at least common phrases before you fly to the country.
Cambodia is located within the tropics, which means it stays warm all year round. There are two seasons in the country, including wet and dry season. The wet season starts in May and ends in October. The weather is still generally pleasant during these seasons. The season is characterized by brief rainfalls during the day. The dry season starts from November and runs to April. The weather during this season can soar to 35°C and it is mostly sunny all day.
To stay in Cambodia for an extended period of time, foreigners need to apply for an E-class visa (different from eVisa), which is valid for 30 days and can be extended indefinitely.