The Cost of Living in Cambodia (inc Siem Reap & Phnom Penh)

Cambodia is becoming a very popular destination for expats with more and more choosing to move to the country every day. It may be to find an English teaching position (or German, French, Chinese or Japanese), working for corporate or government, to open a business, to retire, or working as a digital nomad.

Whatever the reason, Cambodia seems to welcome everyone, and there is no doubt that it is a very affordable destination. But what does it actually cost to live in Cambodia each month? Today, we are going to answer just that.

While this article is focussed on cost of living in Siem Reap or Phnom Penh, it will be similar in Sihanoukville and even Kampot.

Lets dive in a take a look, with all cost estimates in USD

Visa costs
first initial one month $35
six-month extension: $160
twelve-month extension: $290

Rental Costs
Central studio apartment: 160 per month
Serviced studio apartment with gym/pool: 290 per month
Two bedroom apartment with shared pool/gym: 400 per month

Electricity costs
Fridge, kettle, and light A/C usage: $35 per month
TV, fridge, kettle, appliances, and A/C nightly: $45 per month
TV, fridge, kettle, appliances, and A/C on 22 deg, part day and all night: $80

Gas costs
average: $3 per month

Water Costs
average: $4 per month
drinking water: $20 per month

WiFi Costs
Open Net/Metfone fibre: $30 per month

Cell/Mobile Costs
card: $5 per month

Food and drink
Buy at the supermarket and cook yourself: $180 per month
Buy import foods from the supermarket and cook yourself: $250+ per month
Eat out every day from street stalls (3 meals + 2 coffee): $210 per month
Eat out every day from sit down restaurants with A/C (3 meals + 2 coffee): $480+ per month

Transport
Push bike: one time cost $40
Moto  – 3 rides daily: $90 per month
Tuk Tuk – 3 rides daily: $180 per month
Your own moto: one time cost: $300-2000
Fuel for your own moto: $12 per month
Oil change for moto: $6 per month

Adding it all up

To live in Cambodia (let’s say Phnom Penh or Siem Reap) cost per month

Basic living (with studio apartment, wifi, cellcard, push bike ): $464 per month

Onto this, you need to add all those little things, the one an two dollar things you buy here and there, and any health costs and health insurance. Also, you need to add some entertainment to keep sane.

Which for me, pushes that to about $620-700 per month.

You would be eating mostly local produce which and not be buying too many import items which can be pricey. And there is no going to cafes and sipping 3 dollar lattes.

Basic but comfortable (serviced studio, cellcard, wi-fi, mix of eat out and home, your own moto) $700 per month

Again you need to add health costs and health insurance, all the little things, clothes, and some entertainment.

Which lifts that figure to $900 per month and that would be reasonably comfortable living and you’d be not left wanting for too much.

On top of those costs mentioned so far you, of course, need to add a bit for setup costs relating to moving into a new apartment. Some apartments come with a bed and maybe a table and chair, perhaps a couch and some may have fridge, linen, and everything, others you may need to supply some things yourself.

From the basic and comfortable levels the sky is the limit as you can rent luxury apartments, spend up big at classy restaurants, find places where you can spend $5 a drink to go out, play with girls (or boys) every night and watch that price go through the roof. I feel you could live here semi-luxuriously, and travel a bit to other regions, for $1500 – 2500 per month, you could also spend much more.

Example Shopping Costs

These are prices from a local supermarket in Siem Reap, but note that prices do vary a lot between the modern supermarkets.

Water: .50 per 1.5 litre
UHT Milk: 1.60 per litre
Butter: 3.00 per 250 gm
Chicken Breast: 3.90 per kg
Imported US beef short rib: 25 per kg
Imported Australian lamb chops: 25 per kg
Imported bacon: 5.50 per 400gm
Pork: 5-6.00 per kg
Rice: 1.80 per 1.5kg
San Remo Macaroni: 1.85 per 500gm
Dolmio Pasta Sauce: 4.50 per 500gm
Spinach: 5.90 per kg
Carrot: .90 per kg
Ginger: 3.5 per kg
Eggs: 10 for 1.50
Bean Sprouts: 1.60 per kg
Sardines in olive oil: 1.90 per 200gm
Nescafe Instant coffee: 4.50 per 200gm
Sweet potato: 1.00 per kg
Onions: .95 per kg
Listerine:  2.20 per 250ml
Imported honey: 10.50 per 500gm

You could shop at a traditional market and cut those costs dramatically, for example, a baguette at the supermarket costs $1 while at the traditional market you can buy a bag full of baguettes for the same price. Another example is avocados which can be found at supermarkets for $1 to $2 a piece can be bought at traditional markets for half that and so on.

Clothes Shopping

You can buy t-shirts for as low as $2 and even find Under Armour copies for $5, you can also find designer shops where you can spend as 100’s. Most people wear flip-flops which can be bought for $8 and last half a year or you can buy Nike etc. copies for 20-$30. You can also buy originals for probably more than you would pay in your home country.  Up to you.

Medical

Mostly reasonably priced, but not cheap, with much of it imported from France, Vietnam, South Korea and the US.  There isn’t a huge range of wellness products and things you’d find in a health food store such as CBD oil, or cacao nibs, or MCT oil but you will find the basic vitamins and supplements. A 100 tablet bottle of 500mg Vitamin C made by Sundown Minerals costs $7 as an example. A lot of pharmacies sell by the sheath with an example being magnesium tablets, Magnesi B6, sold for $1 a sheath containing 10 tablets.

A visit to a dentist for a clean will cost around $20-25. A consultation with a doctor varies a lot, from $10 with a Khmer doctor through to $50 from a foreign doctor. An overnight stay in the hospital may cost around $100.