The Kingdom of Cambodia is located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula in South East Asia. It covers some 181,035 square kilometres and has a population of approximately 15 million people, of which 95% practice the official religion of Theravada Buddhism.
ClimateTropical, with the wet monsoon season dominate from May through to October, and the dry season through the period November to April. Most rain occurs during the months of September and October, when many rural areas in particular can be prone to flooding.
CurrencyCambodian Riel(KHR) and the US Dollar (USD)
CommunicationsModern, high quality system, especially in urban areas. The international code is +855 and the internet code is .kh
This would probably be the country’s weakest element with regards retirees and long stay expats. Whilst improving it can still be inconsistent. Phnom Penh has without doubt the best medical facilities in the country and the most foreign trained doctors. We will strongly recommend that you have travel or health insurance which includes cover for medical evacuation just in case you are in need of emergency treatment.
More information is covered in our healthcare section.
Phnom Penh is Cambodia’s capital and largest city, with a population well in excess of 2 million people. It combines a mix of colonial buildings with modern skyscrapers, a multitude of temples and a scattering of parks, to create a fast evolving and rapidly developing metropolis. For expats the city offers a good mix of retail, food and entertainment, with many new coffee shops, convenience stores and movie theatres.
Getting thereThe city has a recently upgraded international airport, which is about 10kms from the city centre. Whilst there are currently no direct flights between Australia and Cambodia, there are number of indirect options, with the most popular being via Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Ho Chi Minh City. And Phnom Penh is well serviced by low cost airlines, which keeps the prices very competitive.
TransportBuses, taxis and river boats service the city, and there is a train service linking the capital to the southern towns of Sihanoukville, Kep and Kampot. Prices are generally cheap, but it pays to lock in the cost upfront when using a local taxi service.
Siem Reap (REP)Other than Phnom Penh, the other key tourist destination in the country is Siem Reap, mainly due to its proximity to the magnificent Angkor Wat temple complex. The city has an excellent modern international airport, good infrastructure, a thriving arts scene, diverse range of shopping, markets, restaurants, cafes, bars and entertainment. There is a small by vibrant expat community and the warmer, wetter climate than is available in the capital provides for a attractive lush countryside around the city centre.
Sihanoukville (KOS)The town of Sihanoukville is Cambodia’s premier beach destination, and one which is growing rapidly as more visitors discover its delights and those of the nearby tropical islands, such as Koh Rong and Koh Rong Sanloem. The town has a small airport with links to the capital and Siem Reap, and there is also a train line to Phnom Penh, in addition to the highway. Whilst there is a good mix of restaurants, cafes and bars, medical services are limited, meaning long term residents will need to make trips to Phnom Penh or elsewhere in the region for healthcare matters
Kep and KampotJust further along the coast from Sihanoukville, are the delightful, quiet towns of Kep and Kampot. Both offer beautiful scenery, an incredibly cheap cost of living and improving infrastructure. Expats are slowly discovering the area, and it certainly suits those who enjoy a very relaxed low key lifestyle – and the seafood is magnificent.
There is a vast array of information about Cambodia on the internet, but it is difficult to take all the pieces of the puzzle and put them together to create a full picture. When considering retirement to another country, you want everything to go smoothly and know your finances are being managed in a way which maintains your retirement lifestyle.
You also want to know that you have a team you can work with to make your dream a sustainable reality. Cambodia offers a broad range of lifestyle choices, and Retire to Asia recommends that you explore the country to see and feel what’s right for you. Sometimes retirees will begin their retirement in major expat locations, such as Phnom Penh, Siem Reap or Sihanoukville before moving into lesser known rural areas.
The cost of living in Cambodia is significantly cheaper than in Australia, and even many other parts of South East Asia. Quite simply, your money goes so much further, providing you with the opportunity to have a quality of life which is typically only available to the wealthy in Australia. This is one of the key motivations for retiring to Asia.
The exact savings will vary on where you decide to retire, and the type of lifestyle you choose to live.
For example, it is generally cheaper to live in Sihanoukville than in Siem Reap. Similarly, your average grocery bill will be less if you buy local products rather than foreign imported foods. However, all things being equal, the ‘cost of living’ savings when compared to Australia are very significant.
In this table, Retire to Asia compares the average percentage saving a retiree can expect on a range of products & services in popular Bali locations with the cost of those products & services in Sydney:
Whilst it’s exciting to retire to a dream location, either temporarily or permanently, there are a number of tasks that need to completed, and arrangements that need to be made.
Retire to Asia provide a broad range of services to assist you with this exciting move. These services include the following:
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Retire to Asia provides ongoing support and advice over the phone, or through our website and newsletters. We are here to assist you.
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.
The public hospitals in Cambodia are generally understaffed and poorly equipped. Communication can be problem, and many of the staff are locally trained. For this reason we would be very cautious about using the Public Health system in Cambodia.
However, there are some good private hospitals in the capital of Phnom Penh, outside of the city, the options are very limited.
Expats living in Cambodia favour private hospitals and clinics, but these tend to be expensive. Clinics offer mainly general medical treatment, whereas specialist departments are found in hospitals. Private international clinics and hospitals in Phnom Penh also provide medical translation services and evacuations when needed, and are generally staffed by doctors who have trained in developed Western countries.
Please contact Retire to Asia for more information on International Private Health Insurance.
All medications are sold over the counter in Cambodia. However, that includes many counterfeit drugs, so expats are urged to avoid some of the smaller independent pharmacies that have been implicated in the trade of fake medicines. Pharmacies are everywhere in Cambodian cities, but it’s best to stick to larger pharmacy chains like U-Care and Pharmacie de la Gare in Phnom Penh. Medication in Cambodia costs considerably less than in Western countries.
Cambodia has a range of different visa options, which whilst reasonably easy to obtain can nonetheless be quite confusing.
Aside from the common Tourist Visa there are a number of what is called E-Class Visa’s, one of which (ER-Visa) has been designed for the expat retiree. However, as this is relatively new (only announced in 2017) most current long stay expats have been using the well established EB-Visa very successfully, and are more than likely to continue to do so.
An ‘ordinary’ E-Class visa can be acquired either on arrival in Cambodia or prior to departure from Australia. (Note: This is NOT the Electronic Tourist Visa). This ordinary E-Class visa is valid for 30 days, but can then be extended indefinitely into either an EG-Visa (for those seeking employment), and ES-Visa (Students), an EB-Visa or the new ER-Visa.
Depending on your circumstances, at this particular period in time, the EB-Visa may be the most suitable option for long stay visitors. This renewable visa can last for 1, 3, 6, or 12 months, although only the 6 and 12-month visas allow multiple entries.
This new visa came into existence in 2017 and its full requirements have not been clearly defined. Essentially it is aimed at anyone of retirement age who can show supporting documentation from their home country (such as pension or social security statements). It allows the work permit requirement to be waived, and can be issued for 1, 3, 6 or 12 months.
E-Class Visa’s can be extended for a further 1, 3, 6 or 12 months upon expiry. The cost ranges from $45 to $300 depending on the length of the extension. The easiest way to do this when in Cambodia is to use one of the many local travel agents who will handle the paperwork for you. Generally processing takes two business days. Requirements are as follows;
Since the passing of legislation in April 2010, the foreign ownership property law allows foreigners to own property in Cambodia, however with certain restrictions.
Foreigners are only allow to own properties on the 1st floor or higher to a maximum of 70% of any one apartment building, provided that the building has obtained a ‘strata title’, which generally applies to new condominiums buildings.
Foreigners are not allow to own properties on the ground floor of a building as owning land outright remains prohibited under the foreign ownership property law.
Hence, foreigners are 100% eligible to own a freehold condominium in Cambodia.
If you’d like more information or have any questions about renting or buying property in Cambodia, 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.
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