A Sea Change In SE Asia? – The Kingdom of Cambodia Beckons

Jeff Gill


A Cambodian seachang delight…


A common question that comes up regularly when discussing retirement plans with clients is this.

“If we decide to move away to semi or fully retire should it be a sea change or a tree change?” 

Cambodia has Sea Change Options: 443 km of Coastline and 60 + islands

Sihanoukville is situated as the main gateway to Cambodia’s 443 km of Gulf of Thailand coastline. It lies 220 km SW of the capital Phnom Penh as well as accessing the inland reaches of the Mekong River.

Being Cambodia’s only natural deep-sea marine port, it is of vital national and strategic importance.

What Other Hidden Gems Await The Well-Informed Sea-Changing Retiree?

Many see this region as being where Thailand’s Phuket and Koh Samui regions were 20 to 30 years ago, as mostly uninhabited and underdeveloped tropical paradises.

Some of the most popular tropical islands off the coast include:

Koh Rong: 26 km (16 mi) west of Sihanoukville, is the province’s largest covering 78 km2 (30 sq mi). It has a hilly terrain with a 316 metres (1,037 ft) mountain at the northwest of the island. The hills provide water for creeks, lagoons, estuaries, and inland forests.

Whilst some guest houses and pubs are around Koh Tuich village, the island remains virtually deserted – its size dwarfs all settlement centres. A ferry runs between Sihanoukville and Koh Rong.

Koh Rong Sanloem: South of Koh Rong with smaller beaches on the west and east coast. It is similar to Koh Rong in shape and geography and is covered in dense forest, is flatter (there are some sizable hills) and has less landmass in relation to its coastline.

Marine life around Koh Rong Sanloem is very diverse and offers many diving spots. A regular ferry network between Sihanoukville and Koh Rong Sanloem runs. 

Local tourist boat moored offshore

Koh Kaong Kang/Thass – one of the inner islands and a very popular place for snorkelers. It is flat therefore freshwater is scarce and one of the reasons why nobody lives there permanently.

Koh Koun: is a small island between Koh Rong and Koh Rong Sanloem, has no beach and is uninhabited.

Koh Tuich: ‘Small Island’, a tiny island off Koh Rong’s Koh Tuich village. There is a little pagoda on it in service since around 2010.

Koh Dek Koul: It lies 7 km (4 mi) off Victory Beach, only a further few hundred metres off Snake Island.

Koh Bong Po-oun/Song Saa: renamed to Koh Song Saa. Two tiny islets off Koh Rong’s north-east.

Most of these 60 plus tropical islands remain unspoilt and underdeveloped however this will probably change over the next decade or two as Chinese and maybe Russian developers zone in. 


Koh Rong Saloem Island

Cost Of Living In Nearby Quaint Seaside Towns of Kep and Kampot.

For lovers of cheap, abundant and tasty seafood, this region is widely considered Cambodia’s best.

Whilst not outrageously expensive by Australian standards, your cost of living savings can be considerably enhanced by choosing the seaside villages of Kep and Kampot over Sihanoukville.

Rental prices alone in either Kep or Kampot range from $150 pcm to $350 pcm for a 1,2 or 3-bedroom dwelling. Add this to the overall Cambodian cost of living savings which are generally 50% to 60% cheaper than Australian capital cities and 60% to 70% cheaper than our larger regional or popular retirement destinations and you have a retiree destination which becomes very appealing.

These seaside towns provide similar access to the coastline as nearby Sihanoukville, they just do it without the crowds of tourists and locals alike plus at a more affordable price. 

Source: The Phnom Penh Post

French Colonial Architecture in Kampot.

Kep and Kampot, like the rest of Cambodia, is almost a step back in time and an exciting unpolished gem. Due to the Vietnam war and other civil unrest that lasted 25 years from the late 1960s to the early 80s, a great deal of nation-building has occurred since to right the wrongs of its turbulent past.

Cambodian cultural and natural wonders have remained underdeveloped compared to its SE Asian neighbours, therefore allowing retirees to glimpse a truer version of traditional Asian culture. 

Next edition in the series: Cambodia’s Tree Change Options

In a few week’s time, we will feature some of the Cambodian tree change options on offer including a look at the world-famous Siem Reap region (home of the world-famous Angkor Wot temple complexes) as well as the lesser known regions surrounding Battambang and Kratie. 

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If you’d like more information or have any questions, please feel free to call 1800-961-377 or email in**@re**********.au and let the team at Retire to Asia help make your dream lifestyle a reality.

Jeff Gill

Jeff Gill

With 25 years of travel experience to 73+ countries including SE Asia, Jeff now enjoys helping others retire there. He invites you to experience the people, culture, food and amazing landscapes of the SE Asia region for yourselves.

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