Within Phnom Penh, there are a few main places that’ll interest most expats for living. The area of Wat Phnom has lots of beautiful colonial architecture along with upmarket expat services such as fancy restaurants. The area is centred around an incredible Buddhist temple from which it draws its name, and this site also attracts many tourists.
Most NGOs and embassies, along with plenty of expat orientated cafés, shops and restaurants are found in Boeung Keng Kang 1 (BKK1 for short). All of this draws plenty of expats to the neighbourhood.
One of the main thoroughfares of the city is Sisowath Quay. Once more, a good selection of cafés, bars, restaurants and sights mean tourists and expats congregate around this three kilometre long boulevard. Its location where the Tonle Sap and Mekong rivers meet adds the desirability of waterfront property.
Outside of Phnom Penh
Siem Reap can in many ways be considered as the smaller, albeit more touristy, cousin of Phnom Penh. This can serve as an inconvenience, driving up prices, and meaning you’ll receive much more hassle from street vendors and tuk tuk drivers as a westerner. Whilst its size means it lacks the some of the extensive amenities of the capital, Siem Reap still plays host to an international school which is likely to be important for expat families.
Of course, Cambodia’s marvellous coastline will act as the main pull for a lot of expats, and there’s no shortage of places you can rent by the beach. One of the country’s most famous, and also biggest beach resorts is Sihanoukville. For many it’s a weekend getaway from the capital, and especially during holidays it can get very crowded. What’s more, it’s steadily becoming more ingrained into the tourist trail, which could be seen as a good thing or a bad thing for some. It’s also important to note Sihanoukville has one of the most thriving nightlife scenes of the whole country.
Battambang is somewhat deceivingly the second largest city of Cambodia. However, due to its sleepy character and quaint appearance you’ll be forgiven for forgetting this. One of its main attractions is the beautiful colonial architecture that still defines much of the city. On the downside, the infrastructure isn’t as extensive as Cambodia’s other main cities, and expat services are similarly scarce.