It’s fair to say I’ve lived in far more countries and continents than most people, and I’ve done and seen a lot in my lifetime, but Cambodia beats the rest.
Mostly, I’ve done good, sometimes a little naughty, but never bad. I’ve seen some nasty stuff go down in every country I’ve lived in besides Cambodia.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not some blue-eyed dreamer. I know plenty of unsavory stuff goes on everywhere, in Cambodia too — it’s just that I haven’t seen anything in 7 months.
Cambodia took a massive hit of “bad things” in the Khmer Rouge days under the Pol Pot regime. That may explain why the Khmer people are so peaceful and friendly today.
Disclaimer: I don’t write about politics, so you won’t find a reference to politics here.
I will explore and detail the reasons I love Cambodia:
The Khmer People
I’ve never seen people as friendly and helpful as in Cambodia. They bend over backward to help you and make life easier for you. Even if they can’t speak English, they try to help.
The Khmer people are not rude or arrogant. I’ve never felt that they want to trick or take money from me, which happens a lot in other parts of the world.
The Attitude Towards Foreigners
There is no attitude towards foreigners. In my experience, we blend in, and they accept us being part of their community and country. Foreigners aren’t frowned upon — the locals simply don’t care what we do, as long as we are peaceful.
Expats are generally calm and pleasant — they keep themselves to themselves. I haven’t witnessed ex-pats acting up or being rude. I’m sure it happens, but I haven’t seen it. Very much unlike other countries, I’ve lived in SE Asia.
The Vibe in Cambodia
It’s super chilled. Nobody cares about what you do — there’s no snooping around your business or jealousy. It’s a positive, free-spirited vibe, allowing you to feel completely at ease and live your life your way.
Immigration & Residency Policies in Cambodia
Immigration officers can be the worst wherever you go — ranging from rude to downright nasty. But, in Cambodia, they are friendly and easygoing.
Entering the country takes minutes with a visa on arrival. You can extend your visa and get a 3, 6, or 12-month visa without any questions asked, for a nominal fee of $250 for the 12-month option.
In most other countries, that issue is a nightmare run-around game and very costly.
Work in Cambodia
Foreigners are allowed and welcomed to work in Cambodia. The government promotes it — they understand the more ex-pats living and working here, the more the economy will eventually benefit.
So why restrict it, and slap a hefty levy on foreigners to work in a country they wish to live in, which happens all over the world?
The Police in Cambodia
This one is a biggie for me — I’ve had my fair share of run in’s with the cops in Europe and America.
Unless you do something super dumb, like take drugs or try to sell them, the cops leave you alone — in fact, you never see them. No harassment, bullying, little to no road controls, and definitely no problem if you behave sensibly.
I fear the cops in most countries — in Cambodia, I like them!
The Food in Cambodia
You can get the broadest mix of international cuisines in Cambodia than in any other country, and the food is fantastic.
The over 100 years of French influence in the country may have something to do with that.
The local food is excellent, and all other international restaurant choices are wonderful. The quality is top-notch, and the prices are as little as you’d pay for an ice cream dessert in the US.
The Cost of Living in Cambodia
Let’s say this, Cambodia is more than friendly to your wallet and bank account.
You can rent a fully serviced 1-bedroom apartment in the capital, Phnom Penh, for $500 a month.
In the south, you can rent a 2-bedroom house for $300 a month.
Your lunch or dinner bill ranges between $5 to $15, even for steak.
The gas is the cheapest I’ve ever found in the world.
And there seems to be little to no inflation, as far as I can tell. Don’t ask me why — it’s just the way it is.
Cambodia Provides Real Freedom
I feel absolutely free. Nobody intrudes on your life — no questions are asked about your background, qualifications, or what you do. You can simply go about your daily life with a sense of absolute freedom and peacefulness.
Nature, and the Amazing Temples In Cambodia
It’s a stunningly beautiful country. It’s easy to get around to see all the wonders the Kingdom offers — and there are many!
There are amazing beaches, islands, temples, waterfalls, mountains, lakes, and a vast countryside to explore. It’s neverending.
You simply cannot beat the stunning temples in the Angkor Wat Temple area alone – there are around 20 there alone.
The Banking & Online Payment Systems
This is one of the things I’ve found most fascinating about Cambodia.
I expected to find a slightly dodgy banking system where you have to worry if your money is safe. The opposite is the case.
The Bank of Canada owns the biggest banks here. I don’t know why, but Cambodia has a considerable Canadian influence.
The banks are highly professional, and your money is safe. They are open almost 24/7. Some banks are even open on Sundays until 9 pm.
Who would have thought?
The online phone app payment systems work like clockwork. You don’t need cash anywhere you go. You can even buy a bottle of water for $0.10 from a street vendor using your phone payment app!
Others may have had different experiences than me. But this is how I’ve seen and lived in Cambodia for the past 18 months — 100% carefree and happy.
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s update, where I compare my life in Cambodia to my life experiences in the 6 other countries I’ve lived in for over 50 years.