As the global economy continues to strengthen, there are more opportunities for people to move around. One such opportunity is moving to Cambodia with a low cost of living. If you’re considering moving, read this article to find out about the pros and cons of living in Cambodia as well as some helpful tips.
History of Cambodia
The history of Cambodia can be traced back over two thousand years and includes a rich cultural heritage. The Angkor Wat temple complex, which is considered one of the world’s greatest archaeological sites, was constructed between the 9th and 12th centuries AD. The country’s current political situation has been unstable since the 1970s and there have been several periods of civil war. Despite these challenges, Cambodia has made significant progress in recent years and enjoys a high level of economic development.
Cambodia is one of the most diverse countries in Southeast Asia with over 60% of its population belonging to ethnic minorities. The largest minority groups are the Khmer people (60%) followed by the Vietnamese (25%), Cham (5%), and Thai (4%). Other prominent minority groups include the Malays, who make up 3% of the population, and the Chinese, who number just over 1%. There are also sizeable populations of Indian Tamils (2%) and Japanese (1%).
Benefits of Living in Cambodia
- Cheap Cost of Living:
In general, living costs in Cambodia are very low when compared to other developed countries. This is due to low wages and high levels of taxation which support social programs and infrastructure development. Expats who are Salary Level 1 or 2 will generally find their everyday expenses amount to no more than US$50 per day, while those earning a salary level 3 or 4 will spend around US$100 per day.
- High Quality of Life:
The quality of life in Cambodia is excellent, especially when compared to many other developing countries. Modern infrastructure, good healthcare, and educational facilities, as well as a rich cultural heritage, make Cambodia one of the most livable countries in the world.
- Excellent Work-Life Balance:
Cambodians enjoy high levels of work-life balance, making it easy to balance work with family and social commitments. The average worker only spends around six hours working per day, allowing plenty of time for leisure activities and relaxation.
- Good Weather:
Khmer people are known for their sunny disposition and warm weather all year round – making it an ideal place to live if you enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking or cycling. The country has more than enough rainfall to provide ample water resources for crops, yet it never experiences severe flooding like neighboring Thailand does every few years.
Cambodia’s Gross Domestic Product
The Cambodian economy is heavily reliant on agriculture and tourism. The agricultural sector accounts for about 60% of the GDP and employs about 45% of the workforce. The main exports are rice, rubber, fish, garments, and minerals. The government’s goal is to increase the share of non-agricultural GDP to 50% by 2020.
Tourism is one of the country’s most important sources of income and employs about 40% of the workforce. Cambodia has many natural attractions, including Angkor Wat and the Sihanoukville beach resort strip.
Different Costs of Living in Cambodia
Cost of Accommodation
The cheapest type of accommodation available in Cambodia is guesthouses. These can range from simple rooms with shared bathrooms and toilets to more luxurious establishments that offer ensuite facilities and 24-hour security. Prices for guesthouses vary considerably, but on average they will cost around $5 per night.
If money is not an issue, then choosing a hotel should be your next priority. Hotels in Cambodia range from midrange options such as Days Inn and Novotel which charge around $50 per night, to more expensive options such as The Ritz-Carlton which can charge upwards of $300 per night. Again, prices for hotels vary considerably, but on average they will cost you around $100 per night.
Cost of Feeding
In Cambodia, the average person spends around $1.60 per day on food costs. This figure includes both the costs of purchasing food and the costs of cooking and eating it. The high cost of food in Cambodia is partly due to the high cost of imported goods, but also reflects the country’s low rate of income growth. Inflation has averaged over 50% annually since 2004, making everyday items such as food all much more expensive.
A survey by market research firm Euromonitor International revealed that Cambodians spend a whopping 69% of their incomes on food. Even though wages are relatively low in Cambodia, many people cannot afford to buy sufficient amounts of nutritious food because prices are so high.
Cost of Transportation
Transportation is also expensive, with a gallon of petrol averaging around US$5. In addition to the cost of gasoline, transportation costs can include tolls, parking fees, and bus fares. One way to save on transportation costs is to use public transportation. Bus systems in major cities are generally reliable and affordable, with tickets costing around US$0.50 or less per ride. Local buses are cheaper but can be unreliable, so it’s important to research options before making a trip.
Another option for reducing transportation costs is to bicycle or walk. Both modes of transport are healthy and affordable, plus they’re great ways to explore local neighborhoods and get some exercise. Bicycles can be rented from many stores or supermarkets, while walking can be enjoyed anywhere there’s a sidewalk or path available.
Cost of Healthcare
Healthcare in Cambodia is relatively affordable when compared to North America and Europe, but still retains a high cost relative to other Southeast Asian countries. In general, healthcare costs for individuals range from $5-$25 per month. For families, the average bill comes to $40-$60 per month. These costs include both out-of-pocket expenses and premiums paid through employer plans.
Cambodia’s healthcare system is based on a mix of public and private provisions. The public sector provides services at nominal fees while the private sector offers more expensive options. Out-of-pocket expenses account for a large percentage of patients’ healthcare costs, with uncovered drugs, ambulance rides, and hospital stays constituting the bulk of payments. There are also modest co-payments for some services such as preventive checkups and childbirth deliveries.
Cambodia is one of the most affordable countries in Southeast Asia, and its cost of living is especially impressive when compared to some of its neighboring countries. Cambodia ranks first on the list of least expensive countries to live in as a single adult, beating out Thailand and Indonesia by a wide margin.