Postcard from Phnom Penh

Andrew Leeson


Phnom Penh Cambodia

No city in Asia is changing faster than the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh. Once known for its iconic French colonial architecture and broad, tree lined boulevards, today many of these have been replaced by shiny new high rises. Located on the banks of the Tonle Sap and Mekong River, the city has grown to become the nations centre of economic and industrial activities, in addition to being at the heart of its cultural heritage.

Founded in 1434 Phnom Penh is home to around 1.5 million people, and it’s increasingly becoming a fantastic destination for expats from all over the world. 

What is there to do?

The Royal Palace is home to Cambodia’s King and Royal family. Most buildings and grounds are open to the public, including the famous ‘Silver Pagoda’. A must see for all visitors.

The city has a number of excellent museums. Aside from the fascinating National Museum, two of its most well known sadly touch upon the country’s difficult past. The first is the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, and the other is the highly moving Choeung Ek Genocide Centre, more commonly known as the Killing Fields.

Away from the confronting past, Phnom Penh has an artistic heart. There are some delightful art galleries, and a diverse mix of Khmer dance, music, puppetry and theatre options. Then when its time to catch your breath and recharge your batteries, there is a rapidly growing range of excellent restaurants, cafes and bars throughout the city.

For those who enjoy shopping, don’t miss Psar Toul Tom Pong (The Russian Market) and Psar Thmei (The Central Market). Here you’ll find a huge choice of factory seconds and brand name clothing amongst many other things.

Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh City


The city has two distinct seasons. The rainy season, which runs from May through to October, sees high temperatures and high humidity. And the dry season last from November to April, which is generally far more comfortable and can see temperatures drop down to 22 degrees.

Getting there.

There are currently no direct flights between Australia and Cambodia. However, there are numerous connections between Phnom Penh and many popular Asian cities, such as Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Hong Kong. Importantly, many of these routes are serviced by low cost airlines, making the trip highly affordable.

Phnom Penh International Airport (PNH) is located about 7kms west of the City, and is well serviced by both public and private bus companies, in addition to taxis.

The city is also a major transport hub for the country, with ongoing connections via road, rail and air to other popular destinations, such as Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, Kampot and Takeo

Visas, Healthcare and Accommodation

It’s fair to say that there is increasing interest from retirees and long stay visitors in moving to Cambodia, and in July last year the country introduced a new Retirement visa (which some would say is still being bedded down). There’s no doubt the cost of living (including accommodation) is highly attractive, even by Asian standards, but it is important to note that healthcare is still developing, and having appropriate health insurance in place is essential.

As part of a forthcoming restructure of the Retire to Asia website, we will be adding a new section on Cambodia, which will have more detailed information on these matters.

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.

Andrew Leeson

Andrew Leeson

Over 20 years of experience helping people live a better life in SE Asia. Having worked in financial services in Asia I understand the challenges when moving to and living in a new country. I have travelled extensively throughout the region and experienced what SE Asia has to offer to retirees.

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