Finally I visit the Kingdom of Cambodia! I am having a blast in this city so far and I’ve met some amazing people!
I am currently in the capital city of Phnom Penh. I hear the sounds of hundreds of motorbikes whizzing past me while I drink a cold beer along the Tonle Sap River. With the sun in my eyes and a beggar at my feet I present you with my official review of Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Phnom Penh Women Rating: 3/5
I find Khmer women extremely attractive. They have darker skin then the Thais or Vietnamese girls but they share the same beautiful smiles and sweet personalities. Read my post about How To Hook Up With Cambodian Girls.
I have not come across too many drop dead gorgeous women but there are certainly enough to keep you entertained. If I were to live here I would probably just find myself one beautiful girlfriend and focus my time on work.
It’s not a place like Bangkok where you can go nuts dating a different super model every night.
The girls in Phnom Penh are cute and sweet but I didn’t see very many stunners walking around.
I came across two types of girls in Phnom Penh.
The first type was the sweet, innocent, conservative girls. I went on several dates and the girls had to be home by 6:30PM… Yes, they lived with their parents and had to be home by dark. I had a similar experience in Vietnam.
Generally speaking, Khmer girls are raised to be conservative. You will have far fewer one night stands in Cambodia vs a place like Thailand where the girls are more open to short flings with a foreigner.
I met most of my good girls on www.AsianDating.com
That is easily the best Dating Site for Cambodian girls. There are some real beauties on there. I did my usual online dating routine of messaging ten girls in the morning and six girls messaged me back within a few hours. See How To Make The Perfect Online Dating Profile.
The ones I dated were very kind, intelligent, spoke good English and had an interest in the outside world. These ladies were sweet, humble and very appreciative of the little things I would do such as holding open a door or buying them food. I got the feeling they would make excellent girlfriends or wives.
The other girls I met were bar girls. I don’t fuck bar girls much these days but I always seem to get along with them. The Khmer hotties were no different. Super cute and loved to party.
The girly bar scene here is nothing compared to Thailand but there are certainly options.
On my Street (#136) It is bar after bar of full of hostesses that would be happy to leave with you for a small fee. I saw some very sexy girls in the bars but I didn’t spend much time in the red light areas.
Something about the beer bars in Phnom Penh just gives me the creeps. Their best bars are equivalent to the most run down shit hole beer bar on a Thai Island.
Bar fines were $10 then everything after that is negotiable. I asked a few of the better looking ones how much and they told me $50 short time. I got the feeling that could be negotiated but I didn’t bang a whore on this trip… Yet.
Whether you want love or a crazy night with a few whores, Phnom Penh has options. It’s not a playground like Bangkok but you can definitely keep yourself entertained. Phnom Penh Women Rating: 3/5
Phnom Penh Cost of Living Rating: 4/5
They use US Dollars for currency which is convenient for Americans such as myself. For change less then one dollar you will receive Riel. $1 = 4,000 Riel.
I recommend breaking larger bills whenever possible. Pulling out a $20 bill will often catch people off guard and they don’t have the change…
When the ATM spit out $100 bill I was sure I’d be stuck with it the whole trip!
Everything is relatively cheap in Cambodia. You can live like a back packer in a hostel for a few bucks or rent a nice hotel room.
I found the sweet spot is around $15 a night for a nice guest house by the river.
I stayed at International Guest House on Street #136. Great place and priced right. Click this link for current prices.
I see decent apartments online for $300 per month. You can rent a motorbike cheap or take a taxi anywhere for a few dollars.
The Riverside is a popular tourist area which is a great place to stay. There are many great dining and nightlife options within walking distance.
I also enjoyed having a few beers along the river where all the locals and tourists go walking at night. You will come across some characters for sure!
There is also an area called Beung Keng Kang (BKK) where there are many guest houses as well as apartments for rent if you decide to stay longer.
I am currently at International Guest house on Street #136 by the River. I am paying $16 per night and it is clean, secure and walking distance to many of the cities attractions.
I may rent a bike someday but the tuk tuks are so cheap and convenient I’m in no hurry.
If you rent a bike you need to park it inside your guest house at night or it might disappear… Also, I’m an alcoholic so I prefer taking a taxi at night.
The food here is good and relatively cheap at most places. I enjoy Khmer food and I highly recommend the Beef Loc Lak!
There are so many western restaurants to choose from and most mornings I have an American Breakfast on the river. For less the $3 I get scrambled eggs, bacon, tomatoes, lettuce, a large fresh baguette with butter and jelly, as well as coffee and juice.
Drinking is cheap too! This is where I will save a lot of cash. Angkor beer can be found at many places for 50-75 cent drafts all day. It’s not your finest craft beer but it goes down just fine on a steamy night in Phnom Penh.
I did poke my head into a few higher end places as well. Your upscale nightclubs cater to tourists, hookers and rich Khmer kids. Here I paid $4 for a Heineken.
I imagine one could live here on a teachers salary of $1,000 per month and still enjoy the girlie bars a few nights a week.
Another big advantage to living in Cambodia is the visa situation. I can get a business Visa for under $300 and stay for a year. Many expats moved here for this reason alone.
When I moved to Thailand I got a triple entry tourist visa for $120. Then I need to visit immigration every 60 days to extend it for another 30 days. This costs $60 each time and it’s a pain in the ass…
THEN I must leave Thailand every 90 days for a visa run! I enjoy traveling every few months but I can imagine that getting old after a while. Especially if you are retired and just want to relax with your girlfriend(s).
This city is a bit rough around the edges, but overall I think Phnom Penh is a great value. Cost of Living Rating: 4/5
Phnom Penh Quality of Life Rating: 2/5
To fully appreciate a country like Cambodia you must understand their tragic history. I did my research leading up to my trip and I was aware what I was getting myself into.
Due to a long history of war Cambodia is not as developed as some of it’s neighbors such as Thailand or Vietnam.
In Cambodia, a genocide was carried out by the Communist Khmer Rouge regime led by Pol Pot between 1975 and 1979 in which one and a half to three million people were killed. The Khmer Rouge policies of forced relocation, mass executions, forced labor, and malnutrition led to the deaths of an estimated 25 percent of the total population.
This was a terrible tragedy for the country and it was not that long ago… Therefore Cambodia is still catching up with the rest of the region and they seem to be moving right along.
From what I have been told by people on the ground, a lot has changed in the past ten years and development is taking place at a rapid pace. Walking along the riverside I notice a thick dust in the air and hear the loud sounds of construction all over the place.
Still, the infrastructure in many places is rough. Buildings are crumbling, the streets are filthy and everything seems to be broken in some way.
It’s rough around the edges but I have everything I need to live a comfortable western lifestyle. WIFI, AC, Good Food, etc.
I think the rough edges gives Cambodia it’s charm. I can imagine this is what Bangkok must have been like twenty years ago before things became more polished.
Cambodia is a poor country but I feel safe walking the streets alone at night. The people seem very friendly and most speak very good English. I find the people to be more friendly then in Thailand or Vietnam.
Of course, use your street smarts here. Don’t leave valuables laying around. Only carry enough cash for the night and keep things in your front pockets. I also leave my watch back in the hotel.
I’m a tall Caucasian and dressed business casual so I stand out like an Alien from outer space in certain areas. Yes, there are a lot of foreigners in the city but nowhere near the numbers in places like Bangkok or Chiang Mai. I always dress sharp at night but I try not to flaunt my money or stand out too much.
The difference between the rich and poor here is shocking. It’s certainly not for the faint of heart. On every block you will see a brand new Lexus parked next to half naked children sleeping on the sidewalk.
Another unfortunate issue is people begging… I understand people are dirt poor but begging seems to be a career for many people in Phnom Penh. You cannot get through one meal along the riverside without at least three people asking you for money.
If you are a foreigner, people will often wander up to you on the streets with their hand out. This takes place in many cities but Phnom Penh takes it to the next level.
I probably get asked for money five times in the fifteen minutes it takes to walk from my room to the river.
I help when I can, but you can’t give a dollar to every person you meet. Some of these people are filthy, crawling on the ground missing limbs, blind or have some crazy tumor on their face. Some will sit at your feet and refuse to leave until you give them something.
I’m not trying to sound like an elitist American dickhead but this level of crushing poverty in your face 24/7 starts to wear on you.
It’s one aspect of Phnom Penh that bums me out to be honest. It’s hard to get dressed up and hit the club when you walk by a family sleeping in the gutter.
Or enjoy a nice dinner on the river while watching a family starve. It’s a helpless feeling because it’s impossible to help everyone in the world. Being exposed to this will certainly put your western “problems” into perspective.
Read my post 15 Reasons Why Cambodia is Single Man’s Paradise.
The health care sucks in Cambodia. If you get seriously ill you will want to fly to Bangkok. I am young and healthy at this point but if you are getting older you may want to consider this… Overall, Phnom Penh gets a Quality of Life Rating of 2/5.
Cost of Living: 4/5
Quality of Life: 2/5
Phnom Penh, Cambodia – Single Man’s Paradise Rating: 9/15
If you are looking to live in a cheap, laid back Asian City with no rules then Phnom Penh may be for you. This place is for people who enjoy a bit of adventure. It is not nearly as clean, convenient and modern as a city like Bangkok but for some, that is the appeal. Khmer people are very friendly and the women are beautiful.
I am thoroughly enjoying my time in Phnom Penh but I will not be living here long term.