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Phnom Penh



What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

I live in a tile house. No air conditioning, but a fan works for me during the hot season. It really depends on your salary, needs, and the kind of life you want to live. You could rent a really nice 1-2 bedroom apartment with all the trimmings plus amenities like a gym or a pool for under $800 a month, or you could share a large house with other expats for under $200 a month. Inner Phnom Penh close to all the expat amenities can be quite expensive. I find that the Tuol Tompoung neighborhood has the most laid-back, pleasant vibe and comparatively low crime while still having a decent commute time to most places of employment. - May 2, 2017
The first year and a half we had a modern spacious apartment; then we moved a bit south to a gated community, stand-alone house (4 bedroom) with a small "yard." Embassy and other USG housing is shifting from the apartments to houses.

If your kids are in the International School of Phnom Penh it might be a good idea to be south of BKK 1 which is the main expat enclave, because ISPP has opened its new campus about 15 minutes south of there. - Oct 24, 2016


BKK1 mid-rise apartments are filled with loud/noisy neighbors. BKK1 stand-alone houses are disappearing and converting to businesses/big apartment blocks. People are moving farther south to a few gated communities. If you want to live like a local, then you can get a cheap room rental for a cuople hundred bucks. Expat apartments are usually US$1,300-2,300/month. Things are surprisingly expensive for housing/living like rents, restaurants, and groceries (more expensive than Thailand or Vietnam). - May 18, 2015
I lived in The Hamptons apartments in the BKK neighborhood. It was spacious and adequate for us. However, the kitchen was small and closet space limited. Expat housing location and amenities vary widely depending on if you're with the diplomatic community or with an NGO. Diplomats are often in BKK or Bassac. NGOers were spread around the city. Phnom Penh is a small city and most commutes in the central part of the city would likely be 20-40 minutes. - Feb 13, 2015
In BKK 1 the houses are big but on the older side. Most of the houses in the city have a small front yard but a backyard is rare. Apartments generally have workout facilities and pools but limited, if any, green space. There are two main gated communities, Bassac Gardens and Borei Chamkar Morn. Both have a good neighborhood feel to them and would be good for kids who want to ride their bikes and play. Bassac also has a small Canadian preschool and a shopping center with a Western grocery store and several other shops opening. - Aug 13, 2013
Lots of selection to choose from. BKK I is sort of the prime location, in terms of centrality. Many properties are also ridiculously overpriced, meaning it's favored by moneyed expats. Tuol Kork is home to hundreds of lavish (and some not so lavish) villas, and prices are more reasonable. The commute can be hellish, however, unless your office is in the right area. Chroy Changvar (over the Japanese Bridge) is cheap and sort of up-and-coming. Lots of new properties, which is a plus. But it's also far from the center. The riverside area is also popular, but can be expensive. Some good price/location ratio areas include BKK III, Russian Market and Boeung Trabek. One note: even in Tuol Kork, the commute might only be an hour at peak traffic times. Yes, this qualifies as "hellish" in Phnom Penh. But keep in mind that Phnom Penh is fairly compact, and that's an hour to do maybe 10-12 km (or less). Also, one of the nice things about this place is its compactness. It's a great place for going out at night, hitting bars and restaurants, walking along the river, etc. Being out in Tuol Kork could distract from that experience for some. One last general note about housing quality: It's fairly poor compared to other places in the region. Natural gas is bought in canisters and central hot water is pretty rare, though becoming more common in fancy new apartment buildings. Many kitchens resemble dungeons with little aside from a concrete "workbench" (this is where your "stove" goes - a camping-style device that plugs into your canister of cooking gas). Cabinets are a luxury. Bathrooms can be downright terrifying. Obviously conditions vary greatly, and things are improving as more foreigners come and more apartments are remodeled and constructed. If you pay, there's always something out there (though it might be on the sterile side). But the price-quality ratio seems a bit out of whack overall. - Jan 16, 2012
Houses are huge, either single family homes or apartments. - Aug 9, 2011
Large air-conditioned houses with courters for live-in domestic staff - Aug 6, 2011
Housing is either a villa or an apartment. The housing is not bad, the villas are huge, the apartments are generally nice, although the layouts are a bit strange sometimes. If you are affiliated with the U.S. Embassy, and are allowed to ship household effects, I would suggest bringing as much of your own furniture as possible. You may want to bring a car if you have one - people who don't have cars often use tuktuks, but this can be inconvenient during monsoon season when streets flood quickly. Overall, commutes don't take more than 20 minutes - Phnom Penh is not a very big city. - Oct 9, 2010