If you are looking for an affordable place to retire then Cambodia, has many attractions. Whether it’s the ancient culture and temples such as Angkor Wat or you are drawn by one of Asia’s most open economies, Cambodia continues to attract an increasing number of expats. It is little wonder that internationals visitors to Cambodia are growing by double digits, at 6.2 million in 2018, a 11 percent increase from 2017
Cost of Living
There are few places in Asia, let alone the world where a bottle of Champagne can be bought for $25 and a round of golf with caddie costs just per $65 at a country club. With rents as low as $250 for a one-bedroom apartment in an expat area, in the capital Phnom Penh, retiring expats can live on a budget as low as $1,000. More typically expats budget on $1500 – $2,500 per month. `
Language and currency
English is the second language of choice for many Cambodians, (particularly in the capital and principal tourist destinations), alongside Khmer, the official language of Cambodia. Compared to neighbouring Thailand, English is much more widely spoken, giving Expats an easier opportunity to communicate with the locals.
The U.S. dollar is widely accepted and many prices are displayed in both the local currency and US Dollars, making day to day calculations a lot easier for an incoming expat.
One major benefit for expat retirees in Cambodia is that government policy allows foreigners to buy Condominiums in Cambodia Since April 2010, the Cambodia foreign ownership property law allows foreigners to buy and own Cambodia properties on the 1st floor or higher to a maximum of 70% of any one apartment building. This law does have restrictions, as it does not include the floor and hence an expat cannot own the land. However, expats can own 100% of a freehold condominium in Cambodia.
Angkor wat is Cambodia’s cultural crown jewel and feted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, on a par with the other ancient world wonders. But the people are one of Cambodia’s main attractions as expats and tourists often mention their love of Cambodia is the positive attitude of the local population towards foreigners. Expats are regularly greeted with an open and welcoming “Khmer smile” throughout the country.
Advanced healthcare remains limited in Cambodia though the public healthcare system, which is why expat health insurance is essential. Private hospitals do offer a better quality of care but in many areas the specialists or modern equipment is not available on-site to treat certain medical conditions. In the event of a complicated medical condition, it is recommended to seek treatment outside of Cambodia (e.g. Bangkok in Thailand, Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam or in China or in Singapore), or even request repatriation to your country of origin. Even though healthcare costs are very low in Cambodia, the services offered can be very limited depending on where you are. Expats are advised to check their health insurance plan includes treatment overseas.
A disadvantage of Cambodia….
While safety on the city streets is reasonable, if you wonder into rural areas landmines from decades old conflicts still pose a threat. Caution is advised when travelling away from the main roads in rural communities. Roads accidents whilst lower than neighbouring Thailand, are still high particularly in rural areas, where fast riding youth motorcycles are more common.
If you are looking for an affordable country that is open and welcoming to foreigners then Cambodia has many advantages. Its low cost of living, growing expat community, great golf, reasonable healthcare should put this country on any expat’s list of choices for retirement.