Though it can vary according to the type of lifestyle an expat maintains, the cost of living in Cambodia is generally affordable. Expats will find that certain things can be relatively cheap, including street food, entertainment and public transport, but the cost is usually higher in Phnom Penh.

Internet and eating out can be exorbitantly priced, but Cambodia is the ideal destination for expats who choose to live more like the locals. Learning some Khmer can also be invaluable for negotiating prices and avoiding 'expat tax'.

Over the last couple of years, inflation has affected Cambodia, pushing up everyday items' prices. This is evidenced by the country's ranking in the 2023 Mercer Cost of Living Survey, in which Phnom Penh was ranked 132nd out of 227 countries.


Cost of accommodation in Cambodia

Expats living in the capital will find that the cost of accommodation varies. In Phnom Penh, proximity to the river increases rental prices. Another place popular with expats is Siem Reap, which is largely cheaper than the capital. Housing will most likely be the highest expense for expats in Cambodia. Expats will also need to account for utilities, as these are usually not included in the rental price. 


Cost of transport in Cambodia

Getting around Cambodia is reasonably cheap. Local transport, such as tuk-tuks and motos, are inexpensive and easy to use. Expats should negotiate a price with the driver beforehand to ensure they are not paying too much. Those who speak basic Khmer may find that they get a better deal than those who try to negotiate in English.


Cost of groceries in Cambodia

The cost of groceries in Cambodia is quite reasonable, especially when compared to Western countries. Local markets offer fresh fruits, vegetables and meats at very affordable prices. On the other hand, imported goods and Western-style supermarkets are pricier.


Cost of entertainment and eating out in Cambodia

The cost of entertainment and eating out at local spots in Cambodia is quite affordable compared to Western standards. Local restaurants and street food are incredibly cheap, and a meal can cost a fraction of what one would pay in the US, Australia or Western Europe. High-end restaurants or international chains are costlier, with prices comparable to those in Western countries.

Tickets for local attractions, museums, natural sites and cultural sites are also relatively inexpensive, but expats might find that Western-style entertainment, such as cinema tickets, can be priced similarly to what they are accustomed to back home.


Cost of education in Cambodia

For expats with children in Cambodia, sending their child to a public school will likely not be an option. While public schools are free, the language of instruction is Khmer, and the standard of education is subpar. Fortunately, expats have plenty of private and international schools to choose from, but they should bear in mind that space is limited, and the fees are steep. Private schools are typically more reasonable than international schools.


Cost of healthcare in Cambodia

Healthcare in Cambodia is significantly cheaper than in Western countries, but the quality of care can vary widely. Public hospitals are not up to Western standards and are best avoided.

For minor medical issues, most expats and well-to-do Cambodians prefer private clinics and hospitals, which offer a better standard of care but are pricier, though much cheaper than using healthcare facilities in Western countries.

That said, even the private healthcare facilities in Cambodia can be lacking in some areas, and for serious medical issues, expats often prefer to travel to neighbouring Thailand or Singapore. It's highly recommended for expats to have comprehensive health insurance that covers medical evacuation.


Cost of living in Cambodia chart

Prices may vary depending on the product and service provider as well as the city. The list below shows average prices for Phnom Penh in August 2023.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

Three-bedroom apartment in the city centre

KHR 6,100,000

Three-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

KHR 3,000,000

One-bedroom apartment in the city centre

KHR 2,200,000

One-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

KHR 1,270,000

Food and drink

Dozen eggs

KHR 8,600

Milk (1 litre)

KHR 7,900

Rice (1kg)

KHR 3,700

Loaf of white bread

KHR 7,900

Chicken breasts (1kg)

KHR 10,400

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

KHR 7,100

Eating out

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

KHR 135,000

Big Mac meal

KHR 24,000

Coca-Cola (330ml)

KHR 4,300

Cappuccino

KHR 12,900

Bottle of beer (local)

KHR 3,500

Utilities/household

Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)

KHR 290

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

KHR 60,000

Basic utilities (average per month for a standard household)

KHR 480,000

Transportation

Taxi rate/km

KHR 4,200

City-centre public transport fare

KHR 4,200

Gasoline (per litre)

KHR 4,200

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