Cost of Living in Cambodia [2021]

by Nick & Raychel
the independence monument in phnom penh cambodia
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How much does it cost to live in Cambodia? Well, the simple answer is anywhere from $300-$2000 depending on how you expect to live while you’re there. We’ll give you the quick n’ dirty breakdown that covers everything you need to know about what the cost of living in Cambodia is from a couple of expat experts. We lived in Phnom Penh, which is the capital of the Cambodia, so naturally, one of the more expensive places. These costs can easily be compared to living and teaching English in Siem Reap, as well. 

If videos are more your thing you can check out our YouTube channel here. We’ve made tons of Cambodia content to help you along your journey.

All costs will be in USD. Cambodia’s currency is Riel. Find our article on Cambodia’s currency here.

Touching down in the Kingdom

Once you’ve arrived in Cambodia, you may already have a job and potentially even a place lined up. Regardless, the first thing you want to do is make sure you have enough money saved to keep you afloat once you arrive. 

We recommend having at least $3000 USD in your bank account, as that should be enough to cover the cost of your entry visa ($30 USD), your Tuk Tuk to your hostel/hotel ($6-$12 USD depending on where you’re going and how well you can barter) and to keep you secure for at least a couple of weeks while you’re looking for a job.  Finding a job in Cambodia is typically easy for most expats, but it’s always in your best interest to have a solid safety net before flying anywhere over seas.

You can find more tips about how to prepare for your move here.

Securing an apartment in the city

This was an absolute trip for us. We posted in a realty group on Facebook from our hostel around 7pm, went out for a few beers and by 8am the next morning Raychel was squished between our real estate agent and I on a motorbike trying to keep the beers down from the night before while our agent sped through the morning rush hour traffic.

Like every country around the world, the rent prices in each city are going to fluctuate. Even within the city of Phnom Penh, certain areas and hotspots are going to cost you a prettier penny than others.

For example, we lived in BKK1 (a popular tourist district) in a small-mid sized one bedroom apartment and we paid $350 a month plus utilities. For the area, this was a bit of a bargain.

A standard price for most apartments in Phnom Penh is anywhere between $200-$600 USD. On the lower end, you may be a little ways out of town or not have too many western amenities. On the higher end, you can have multiple A/C/ unites, a place to park your moto, and it’s common for apartments to have indoor gyms and pools! It all depends on your preference, money situation and living standards. 

The cost of food and eating out in Cambodia

Some people may argue that it’s cheaper to eat out at restaurants in Cambodia than it is to cook at home. Do we agree with this sentiment? We actually never really figured that out – but it is, without a doubt, inexpensive to eat in Cambodia.

Most meals that you get in restaurants and bars cost between $2.50-$5.00 USD which is a great price for a tasty meal. Drinks aren’t too bad either, a bottle of water is about $1.50, and a cold beer should cost you no more than $1 USD. 

We found the best way to keep our cost of living in Cambodia down was to try to shop at the local markets where we could find a weeks worth of groceries for no more than $10! Plus, it’s a wonderful experience to be able to go to the markets and immerse yourself in the culture.

If your arrival date in Phnom Penh is coming up, don’t miss out on our Guide to Local Markets here. 

All other costs of living in Cambodia

We’ve covered where most of your money will end up while enjoying your time in the city but there are a few other miscellaneous things that we should mention.

Markets

Markets have no set prices as they work on the barter system so something like a t shirt can be purchased for about $2-$5 USD if you’re good at negotiating. That said, the vendor can start upwards of $20, this is really a game of patience and a practice you will master in South East Asia.

Tuk Tuks, taxis and GRAB app

We mentioned transportation in our article 8 things we wish we knew before moving to Cambodia and we would highly recommend reading it before your big move.

Hailing a Tuk Tuk is relatively easy and price will depend on where you are going. Approximately $5 is enough to get you just about anywhere within the heart of the city and by far one of the coolest and most fun ways to travel!

You can even hail a tuk tuk in the city to take longer day trips to places like The Killing Fields or Phnom Chisor


All in all, moving to Cambodia to teach English was one of the best things we’ve ever done. We have tons of articles and videos about our experience, both here on our blog & over on our YouTube channel.

Below is our five-part series, Move to Cambodia Bootcamp that you can find on YouTube at any time. 

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