What is Cost of living in Cambodia?

What is the cost of living in Cambodia? Is Cambodia an expensive country to live in? The majority of us would say no to this, but this is a regular pissing contest type question that regularly comes up in the barang community. 

To read about retiring in Cambodia click here

Cost of living in Cambodia – where does it rank?

OK, so there is numbeo.com, and they are the guys that decide what cost of living is. They measure everything from rent, to groceries and general purchasing power. These are the guys that decide where in the league Cambodia ranks. 

Switzerland are not actually the most expensive country on earth, they rank a mere 2nd, with top spot going to Bermuda. Singapore and Hong Kong are the top kids in Asia and 10th and 12th respectively, something anyone who has been to either country would ebeb able to attest to 

How does Cambodia compare to the rest of the world?

So, on a global scale Cambodia comes in 58th cutely sandwiched in-between Jordan and Croatia, yes that Croatia, the one in the EU. Shocking? Perhaps, but there are a lot of mitigating factors to the list!

Within South-East Asia Thailand swings in at 75th, while Vietnam comes in at 89th and the good old Philippines at 92nd. So is it really that much more expensive to live in Cambodia than Philippines? Well again it should be noted that this list is for cost of living in general, not cost of living for expats, so things like visas and the like are not taken into consideration. 

For example expats in Vietnam ended up having to pay $50-100 a month just to stay during Covid-19 and the less said about the Kingdom of Smiles towards barang the better…..

Cost of living in Cambodia – How much is it to rent? 

Cambodia is basically a cheap place to live and rent. An OK apartment in Phnom Penh might set you back as little as $200 a month. Once you get yourself to the $500-1000 mark then you can start looking at survived apartments with a gym and pool, if that. is your thing. 

For Phnom Penh BKK1 is the most expensive place to live

Rents are apparently 62.39% lower than in Cambodia than in the United States once again thanks to the fine chaps at Numbeo.

Once you get out of the capital it gets cheaper with Siem Reap being pretty much a third less and Kampot less than half of Phnom Penh, again spending on what you rent. 

Cost of living in Cambodia

Cost of living – food in Cambodia

Food costs globally have been screwed by the Russia-Ukraine conflict and indeed the oil crisis, so while folks might moan a lot, it really is the world rather than Cambodia’s problem right now. 

Again according to Numbeo a meal in astnadrd restaurant would average $2.50, while a “pint”of local draft beer would average $1. Yet those of you who love your 50 cent beers should know that these are half-pints, not full pints! Of course like anywhere in the world if you want to spend $10-15 a pint then you still can, particularly on the trendy rooftop bars. 

Imported stuff though is expensive, I for one just purchased a 80 cent Irn Bru for $2, but hey thats just how I roll. Milk is another thing that is an expensive luxury costing $2.20, or so for a litre. 

Ironically if we were to count the Vine on the Big Mac index it would make Cambodia the most expensive country on earth. Oh the irony. 

To read why there is no McDonalds in Cambodia click here

Salaries in Cambodia

What can you earn in Cambodia? OK so this will prove a controversial one and of course is not an exact science, but for locals at least the average salary is $250 a month. Think about that the next time you wanna complain about your salary. 

For expats, which mostly means teachers salaries usually start at about $1000, with normal foreign workers in Cambodia earning between the $1000-2000 mark. We will cover salaries in Cambodia in another article, but you could pinpoint the foreign “living wage” to be about $1200-1500 a month, at least in Phnom Penh.

So, while Cambodia might technically be more expensive than say Thailand, or Vietnam, there is very much a reason why so many experts do end up calling Cambodia home, principally the lack of cost when it comes to bureaucracy and just being allowed to get on with your lives.

And above all else, and despite criticism the country is more politically stable than it has arguable been in centuries.

I’m sure not everyone will agree with this article, but hey, let the debate begin.