The Expat Experience in Cambodia

When people think about Cambodia, the image is often of a nation struggling with poverty and recovering from the Pol Pot regime’s aftermath. It cannot be denied that this country has had more than its share of tragedy and human suffering. But Cambodia is also a country with an opportunity to build a new image for itself. It has a young population, fertile lands, and plenty of resources. Things are getting better for Cambodia, and several multinationals are testing the waters and finding the way forward. Cambodia is a friendly place with great weather, food, and a low cost of living. For some expats, there is no place they would rather be.

Cambodia landscape
  • Doing Business: Cambodia may not be as sophisticated or fastidious as Singapore or Hong Kong. But it knows that its future depends on establishing international trade and being an attractive nexus for business. For international businesses to operate, they need to use local agencies for business and immigration services. Business visas are not difficult to get, and other clerical needs, like accounting services in Cambodia, tax, and payroll, can be contracted out to those who understand the system’s quirks.
  • Family Life: Cambodia is a great place for kids to grow up, but the school system is not quite up to the level of other Asian nations. Fortunately, some excellent international schools will give your children a chance to live and learn with other cultures and get the best possible experience from living in a new nation. There may not be as many western entertainment options, but high-speed Internet is available in most places, so the world is never too far away. And perhaps children should depend on their own imagination from time to time.  
  • Lifestyle: Cambodia is a developing country that is still recovering from the devastation of the ’70s, but they have made progress. Many of the industrialized world’s modern conveniences are available, especially in the larger centers like Poi Pet and Siam Reap. Accommodations are available at many luxury levels, but even the high end of real estate is less expensive than in most of the world centers. Food is also inexpensive, but there is no same variety you would expect in most South East Asia. But the local food is excellent, and markets abound with fresh baguettes and coffee available on every corner.
  • Expat Community: About 100,000 expats live in Cambodia; they come from many places in the world. Not everyone in Cambodia is happy to socialize, but if you are looking to make friends, there are plenty of folks that would be happy to show you the sights and have an Angkor Beer with you as well.

Cambodia has a long road ahead to catch up with its Asian neighbors, but that is not necessarily bad. The slower pace and down-to-earth nature of the people give this country characteristics that have been lost elsewhere to modernization. Cambodia is now a thriving tourist location, and many people find it to be their favorite place on earth.

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