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Phnom Penh



How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

Many people find that English gets them where they need to go, but life will be easier and Khmer people will very much appreciate you if you learn a little Khmer. Tutors are cheap and easy to find. - May 2, 2017
None, but speaking Khmer even passably will be much appreciated, and will greatly open up and enrich your experience. - Oct 24, 2016
Not necessary. Many expats didn't learn it and didn't need it. Cambodians speak pretty good English and most signs are in English. However, the moment you jump in a tuk-tuk with a driver who nods that he knows where you want to go and five minutes later you discover he doesn't and he also doesn't speak a lick of English, you'll want to know how to say "Turn left on St 51." So, you should invest some time in learning tuk tuk directions (straight, left, right, stop) and numbers. - Feb 13, 2015
Lots of people speak a little English but people tend to be happier when they know at least a little Khmer. Cambodians are very appreciative if you attempt to speak their language and a simple "thank you" in Khmer goes a long way. - Aug 13, 2013
You can get by without much, but knowing a little will help in various ways, from getting you a bit closer to the culture, to getting better prices at the market (sometimes!). A food-related words go a long way when you walk into a random restaurant in the provinces, where there's no English menu and no one speaks a word of English. - Jan 16, 2012
It's always good to learn the local language but most everyone speaks enough English to get by. Even at the local markets. - Aug 9, 2011
None - Aug 6, 2011
Hmm, it may help in some situations, and the Khmer people will certainly appreciate it, with that said, most people, even the poorest, can speak a little bit of English. - Oct 9, 2010
Not much. Cambodians, particullarly the young, study and like to use English, but it is not yet as common as Hong Kong or Singapore. Most places will have English speakers. If you do any of the fun off-track things above you need a bit of Khmer. A few older people speak French, there is a lot of Chinese in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. A lot of Vietnamese are in Phnom Penh and the South. A good amount of French is spoken in Siem Reap, Kampot and Phnom Penh, with a strong francophone community in each. - Feb 27, 2008