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Phnom Penh



What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

I don't use household help, but a full-time housekeeper or cook or nanny or whatever should be paid at least $300/month, plus bonuses and paid holidays if you can afford it and want to be generous. The salaries here are really low and upward mobility is so difficult to achieve so honestly if you're a (comparatively) wealthy expat, the least you can do is pay your staff well.

The work ethic and culture is also really different from the west. Family always comes first so if your nanny's sister is getting married in another province she will definitely leave for at least a week and hopefully she will give you notice ahead of time. It's a good idea to have backups on speed dial for such situations.

I'd also recommend having a couple of good, knowledgeable tuktuk drivers and developing strong relationships with them, which includes generous compensation for their services. In addition to getting you where you need to go, they will look out for you and can be valuable allies in a challenging situation, and you may find yourself being introduced to new cultural experiences. - May 2, 2017


Good availability. A full time housekeeper/cook costs around $250 per month. Quality varies but overall our experiences were good. - Oct 24, 2016
Your US$250 or whatever a month means a lot to help them move up in the world and to support their family. Yes, pay for their English class, driving class, cooking school, etc. It's just a small amount of money to you but will increase their life-long earning potential. In reality, it's really hard for one person to live on US$90-100/month in Phnom Penh. They also need money for school supplies, their family, an occassional t-shirt and for a treat. - May 18, 2015
Very available and very cheap. Depending on the exact hours and duties, you could hire a part-time person for about US$200 a month. - Feb 13, 2015
Most people have a housekeeper at least, sometimes a gardener, driver, cook or nanny too. You can put up an ad for househelp or hire someone's housekeeper as they are leaving. Most of them speak at least a little English and are always wanting to learn more. However it can be very frustrating as most of them will happily nod their heads yes they understand what you're saying when they have no clue. You may go through several before you find someone who fits your needs. - Aug 13, 2013
Help is relatively cheap, but price varies depending on language skills, experience, the job to be done, and, frankly, what you want to pay. I've heard prices as low as $100-120/month for a full-time housekeeper/nanny who doesn't speak English or French. More common is something in the $150-$200 range. I suggest paying even more if you find someone you really like. It can be very hard to find the right mix of skills (especially language). It's very useful to have someone around who can help with all the various issues that arise, from calling the cooking gas guy when the tank runs out, to knowing where to get some random item, to translating when your landlord sends a guy for to fix the electrical wiring. It's like anywhere else: The right person can make a household run so much smoother. The wrong person can create a lot of frustration. - Jan 16, 2012
Domestic help is very inexpensive. I would recommend using someone that has worked for previous embassy families. - Aug 9, 2011
Very affordable, nannies, cooks, maids, gardeners and drivers available. Some people have problems with stealing. - Aug 6, 2011
Cheap. I had a maid for 40/hours a week who cooked and cleaned for $200 a month - which was on the expensive side. Most people don't pay more than $120 a month, but my maid spoke some English, was a fantastic cook, and could be completely trusted. This is not the case for most domestic help. - Oct 9, 2010
Cheap. - Feb 27, 2008