Cambodia living is a day to day expression for me in both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. I’ll be blogging and writing my daily experiences as well as posting photographs on both. The photographs and commentary will be here and on Mastodon.
From 10 September to 1 October 2022 I will be living in Phnom Penh Cambodia to get a retirement visa extension but also to just come back to my sometime home. I have Khmer and expat friends in both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap so I hopefully will get to see them starting September.
Phnom Penh has been my sometime home for some years. I enjoy the city quite a bit. Walking along the riverside in the evening can be very nice. Phnom Penh is located where two rivers meet. The Tonle Sap and Mekong rivers coalesce here and the Tonle Sap will change directions and usually there are cool boat races and shows when that happens. The Mekong just flows through it all.
This blogpost gives you the basics and gives you an idea what the city looks like; but then there will be regular posts on the day to day, thoughts on getting back, and other thoughts. Because I always have other thoughts.
Daily Life in Phnom Penh
Central Market is the one place I go to find everything I could want. You can see the distinctive dome of the Central Market below.
The Russian Market has some other name but I like that name and some maps still show it. Food and a lot of nice rip off north face bags and stuff can be found but the neighborhood around the market is key. Small bars, coffee shops, restaurants.
Wandering around the city always gives interesting sights and sounds of tuktuks going, motorbikes dancing the streets, and beautiful architecture. It all combines into a hectic and busy and sometimes unique view of the city. It all makes daily life so much better.
Day to day most people will spend some time walking the river walk area. The walk takes you through many park areas and a lot of people out doing the same. I like to do the walk in the mornings and evenings and try to end up at a bar for sunset and the obligatory draft Angkor Beer and perhaps some food.
Living daily in Phnom Penh is not much of an exercise. What I have found is that all the services, food, and shopping are easily available. Laundry is usually done in the neighborhood where the service is paid for next day delivery by the kg. Shopping is best at local stores or shops which are on each corner but it is easy to find 7/11, Circle K or other convenience stores. There are also at least two larger malls where a variety of stores are anchored. Aeon Mall 1 is downtown and 2 is farther outside the city. There is also a very nice mall close to Central Market. I’ve enjoyed the food, coffee and AC there many times. In the evenings, the night market can be fun to visit and there are lots of street food stalls along the riverside. Many riverside bars offer tables to watch the sunset.
I think after staying in the city a number of times, a person can be selective with the neighborhood. What I like you may not but in the city, I want access to shopping, restaurants, and the riverside area. One of my favorite stays was at an Airbnb very close to the Palace and Museum. I could walk down to a few favorite restaurants and pubs easily. Other neighborhoods are busier. This area by the independence monument and the Vietnamese-Cambodian Friendship monument gets busy in the evenings. I have stayed there before but it’s a little too busy with cars, motorbikes and buses.
One thing to always bear in mind anywhere is safety of your personal stuff. I never carry a passport, wallet, credit or debit cards anywhere. These are cash economies and Cambodia uses the US dollar. Find a cheap every day carry bag and secure your phone, some US dollars to get through some days, and get a copy of your passport and visa on your phone. Done deal.
Siem Reap Cambodia
After 1 October, I’ll be moving to Siem Reap to live long term or longer term. This will be a day to day thing for me for some months so I’ll be first staying in an Airbnb and then finding an apartment to live in.
Siem Reap is much smaller than Phnom Penh but has a very nice social life. I know a few retiree expats that live there so I get to go back and find them, drink some beverages and catch up. Finding apartments to live in the city is pretty simple.
I already have a realty agent who will be meeting me after October 1 and taking me around in a tuktuk to see some places.
I will also most likely tour Angkor Wat again too. Because I can never get enough of these wonderful remains. So unique and significant, mysterious and beautiful. A tuktuk tour for a few days comes to mind in the winter when it is cooler.
Getting around in the Kingdom of Wonder
I’ll be also posting an update on some other places I will be visiting once I get settled in Siem Reap. Most of the travel around Cambodia is easiest in a bus. There are websites that make it easy to do this. One of my favorites is 12go. This is a meta travel site much like rome2rio but with no booking.com crap. One of the better bus services is Giant Ibis. Another booking service is BookMeBus. I use this site to get airport transit or I just hop a tuktuk and pay the fees with a little good natured haggling.
To get around cities or book tuktuk services, PassApp or Grab work well. Or just stop some tuktuk that is empty. Show the driver where you want to go on Google Maps and he’ll quote some price. It used to be $5 for anywhere. I bet it is different now. Much better to use a service that tells me up front what the cost is and the route. If you have not ridden a tuktuk maybe you actually did if you were in India. They look a little different but basically the same except for the larger tuktuks which can seat 4 people or two drunk expats.
Finishing up and writing about it
All of this becomes the daily expression on the blog and on my Mastodon instance. I post the blog posts to Mastodon often and tend to write on both daily. You can also expect some kind of Substack newsletter. I have been playing with the doing of it for awhile and what I’d write there. I think micropublishing is something I wanna try out.