Cost of Living in Cambodia: The Good Life

Whenever I am back in the states visiting family, people often ask where I am living. Then when I tell them Cambodia, I am usually met with stares of...
cost of living in cambodia

Whenever I am back in the states visiting family, people often ask where I am living. Then when I tell them Cambodia, I am usually met with stares of amazement or wonder, inevitably followed by the question “What the hell are you doing there?”

Enjoying my life is my usual response as I can’t think of any better way to describe it. Unlike many of my friends back home, I am not stuck in some little cubicle or windowless office watching the clock all day waiting for the agony to end. Instead, I am out seeing the world and having new experiences. Every day is an adventure and I never know what tomorrow will hold.

But how do I do it? Don’t I have to work? We all have to make money right?

Of course I have to work.

As you thought, we all need money it’s just a question of what we do with our money that counts. I have decided not to waste my money on useless things like $200 jeans or a fancy new BMW. I don’t have to spend $20 or more on every meal. The cost of living in Cambodia is also very low, so I can balance my life between work and play. Despite making $2000 less a month than I made while living in the U.S., I am actually able to save more money living here. The low cost of living has also given me the time to focus on monetizing something I love; writing and I have now turned that into my day job.


What the Good Life Means to Me

I’m going to tell you what the good life means to me and how much it costs me to live it in Cambodia.

You may see a lot of articles online about living in Cambodia for $500 a month, but I am telling you right now, unless you want to live like a pauper, that ain’t gonna happen. I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t going to move halfway across the world to live like a broke person. I want to enjoy my life in style.

Let’s talk about my lifestyle. What do I do and how do I live?

rent in cambodia

Well for starters, I live in a beautiful 4 bedroom/4 bathroom western villa with four balconies and a beautiful sunset view. I have reasonably high speed internet (6mb download), cable TV with Cinemax and Star Movies as well as a number of other English language channels. I have a woman who comes by and cleans my house twice a week. My dirty clothes get dropped off at a local laundry and my gym is located in a five-star resort right on the beach. I have two vehicles, a motorcycle and an old jeep; both of which are tons of fun. I also get a one hour massage twice a week.

I eat out almost every day as it is cheaper than cooking for just one, and I regularly enjoy an evening cocktail or two on the beach while watching the last vestiges of sunlight glimmer off the ocean. I don’t worry about where I am eating or how much I am spending throughout my day as I know the total cost is never that significant. My friends and I commonly go out to dinner together, go sailing on a catamaran, and take weekend trips to neighboring cities. In short, I do what I want, when I want, without worrying about budgeting. In fact the concept of a budget is something l left behind along with my stressful life back in the US.

Island hopping in Cambodia


Cost of Living in Cambodia Breakdown

So now you know my lifestyle, you may be wondering the true cost of living in Cambodia when everything as added up. Let’s get into the nitty gritty and talk some numbers. My total monthly expenditure averages out at $1300; sometimes less, sometime s a little more. Here’s the breakdown:

Rent in Cambodia: $400

Electric: $40 monthly average

Cable, Internet, and Water: $25

Food and Alcohol: $400

US Based Health Insurance: $150

Gasoline and Cooking Gas: $30

Personal Habits and toiletries: $150

Grand Total: $1,195

living in Cambodia

Sometimes I may have an added expenditure like fixing my car or buying some new clothes. Rarely does it ever exceed an extra $100.

Could I be living for less?

Sure I could.

I could rent a $125 a month studio, eat $0.75 street food for every meal, only drink $0.50 draft beers, and skip my morning cappuccinos and massages. But do I want to?

Hell no! Why move across the world to a cheap country to live like a pauper?

I am gonna keep living the good life here in Cambodia and all for less than my monthly rent was in America.


Author’s Favorite Travel Gear


Bose Soundsport Headphones – These stay firmly in your ear no matter what you are doing, from riding a motorcycle to jogging on the beach, and they have incredible sound to boot. They are available in a lot of funky colors, too.

Kelty Redwing 32 – I love this thing. It is just large enough to fit all of my stuff, without being too large to lug around when packed full. It’s so durable it even survived being dragged behind my motorcycle for a couple of minutes.

Casio G-Shock AWGM100 -It’s important to be able to keep track of time when traveling or you risk missing your bus, train connection, or wind up arriving at the museum you’ve been dying to see right as they are closing for the day. I’ve had this wristwatch for years and, despite how much wear and tear I subject it to, it is still going strong.

Brett Dvoretz

A long time traveler and recent expat, Brett wandered through over 25 countries before he decided to settle in the little beach town of Sihanoukville, Cambodia. After struggling through the process of setting up a new life abroad, he decided to start Expats and Aliens to help other expats find the info they need before making the leap.

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5 Comments on this post.
  • Stan
    26 February 2016 at 11:57 pm

    True! thats how life should be! Enjoy it fully! 😉

  • Tammy
    7 August 2016 at 11:31 pm

    Did you import your car? Move your personal possessions to Cambodia? Find a vet for your dog?

    • Brett Dvoretz
      20 May 2017 at 2:31 pm

      I did not import a car as that becomes very expensive with taxes and shipping fees. Better to just buy an old car once you arrive here. I did find a vet for my dog. The best one, Agro Vet is in Phnom Penh. I sold most of my possessions before moving and just kept some things like clothes, a few sentimental items, and some of my electronics. Everything else I realized wasn’t worth bringing along.

  • Jana
    24 February 2017 at 12:27 pm

    Thanks, Brett. Do you recommend using a realtor or just figuring it out on your own once you’re there? I’ve browsed around online a bit, but I imagine a lot of that is westerners renting to westerners and prices are a lot better if you go local. I’d love to be in touch with some expats in advance, though, for tips and such.

    • Brett Dvoretz
      20 May 2017 at 2:20 pm

      I think it is easier if you use a realtor. It won’t cost you anymore than if you found the places alone as the realtors commission is paid by the home/apartment owner.