As the dynamic capital city of Cambodia, moving to Phnom Penh is an exciting prospect. Home to evidence of the country’s more recent history, and also temples of the Khmer empire, this city combines the past with a promising future.
As home to the majority of the country’s expatriates, Phnom Penh can boast of the convenience and luxuries of any western city, with facilities that are more modern than many other countries in South East Asia. Grocery stores are on hand to provide all the home comforts that you could crave, and coffee shops are popping up all over the city, providing a relaxing spot to shelter from the summer heat and watch the world go by.
With roughly 1.6 million people living there, Phnom Penh is the largest city in Cambodia and is the economic center of the country. French colonization has shaped the city, and left an architectural legacy, giving this city of contrasts an eclectic feel by combing the old and the new.
Phnom Penh has a tropical climate and is hot all year round. The rainy season begins in May and goes on until October, peaking around August, and this is when temperatures are at their highest. Humidity and rainfall are lower between November and February so this is the nicest time of year, but temperature will still be around 30°C. The Tonlé Sap, Bassac and Mekong rivers bring a cooling breeze, but the city’s heat can be unforgiving for people who are not used to these temperatures.
For expats looking to rent housing in Phnom Penh, it is recommended to do some research on the rental market before committing. Rental prices are quickly rising as the city grows and becomes more international, but you can still find great deals if you are flexible in terms of what neighborhood you are interested in, and also if you are prepared to negotiate with the landlord.
It is often the case that local Cambodian people can get better deals as they can negotiate in the native language and are more familiar with the customs and culture, so if you know anyone who can help you, for example, an employer, speak to them to see if they can help you get a better rental price for an apartment. Almost everything across Cambodia is negotiable, so never take a first offer when purchasing anything.