Thailand Vs. Cambodia For Expats part 1 – Pros and Cons of Living in Cambodia

Thailand Vs Cambodia For Expats part 1 – that will be the topic of today’s article.

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The best time to consider your financial situation is when you are moving to a new country.


Thailand and Cambodia are very popular, with expats looking to settle abroad and enjoy a new exciting life. The two countries offer a perfect mix of beautiful weather, friendly locals, good food, and even better nightlife.

It can be difficult to choose between these two great options for anyone looking to settle in South East Asia, but several key factors help determine where one might be most suited to live.

One of the big factors in favor of Thailand has to be the weather. While both countries see a great deal of sunshine and warm temperatures, Thailand is home to some of the most popular beach resorts on earth. This means that there are plenty of expats living in Thailand who can experience year-round sunshine and diving in the amazing turquoise waters.

Thailand Vs Cambodia For Expats

Cambodia does not have such a major attraction, and it is far more common for expats who live there to be involved in business ventures, as opposed to those living in Thailand. Due to the fact that Cambodia has only recently begun opening up as a tourist destination, the country still offers much lower living costs and plenty of opportunities for those looking to reduce their expenses.

On the other hand, Thailand has a more established economy and business environment. This means that people living there are far less likely to experience crime or safety concerns while out on the streets, but they will also have had more opportunities before settling there. We’ve got you covered today. Read on!

Factors to Consider Before Choosing Thailand for Expats

Like many other places around the world, Thailand has its benefits for expats. However, it also has some challenges that you will need to be aware of before deciding if this is the right place for you or not. Here are 7 of them:

Thailand Vs Cambodia For Expats

1)    Low Salaries / Expat Life

The first one may seem a bit obvious, but it is the first thing to consider before taking the plunge and moving abroad. This doesn’t just apply to Thailand, though. Many countries have a lower cost of living than many western ones, meaning that salaries will need to be adjusted accordingly as well.

2)    The Weather

Yes, no one can deny that the weather in Thailand is awesome, but there’s a catch. Many people end up not working as they expected to because of the ‘rainy season.’ And no, it doesn’t mean that it will be raining for 2 weeks every year. It means that around 4 months out of 12 are usually rainy and that you will get a few weeks of wet weather every month.

Thailand Vs Cambodia For Expats

3)    The Food

You love Thai food, don’t you? Well, prepare yourself for the fact that many expats get sick from it. No matter how much they love to eat Thai food, some adaptation usually has to happen before enjoying their favorite Thai dishes. If you want to enjoy your favorite Thai food, be prepared for some diarrhea at least once.

4)    Little Work Culture and the “Mai Pen Rai” Attitude

This doesn’t apply only to Thailand; this applies to most Asian countries. You will need thick skin and patience to succeed in Thailand. Businesses will rarely say ‘no’ to their customers, even if they can’t deliver what is needed right now, and keeping the customer satisfied takes priority over everything else.

5)    The Opportunities

There’s a reason why Thailand ranks as one of the best countries for digital nomads. And that reason is simple: It simply offers an abundance of opportunities. You can be sure that you will find the job field you are looking for, as well as countless other ones. But please make sure to know what you want before making this decision – otherwise, it might turn out to be a nightmare after all.

6)    The Thai Way of Living

In most cases, retiring to Thailand is a lifestyle choice. It’s not just a place where you’ll go for a few weeks or months to recharge your batteries before going back home again. If you want this, be sure to prepare yourself well – and remember that it isn’t all about beaches and parties.

7)    The Visa Laws

This is a great opportunity for those who want to become digital nomads and live in Thailand. If you are thinking about becoming a resident, however, make sure to study the visa law thoroughly – not following it can lead to severe legal consequences.

Factors to Consider Before Choosing Cambodia for Expats

Thailand Vs Cambodia For Expats

Moving abroad is a dream for many people. There are countries worldwide that open their doors to expats with little to no restrictions, but what’s important is finding the right country. Cambodia opens its doors to expats, but there are some factors you should consider before relocating here. They include the following.

1.    Language

Although English is taught in school at an early age, many citizens still don’t speak or write in English fluently. Learning Khmer is important to integrate yourself with the local population to communicate effectively and do business with them.

2.    Safety

Although Cambodia has been relatively safe for expats, it’s still wise to be vigilant of your surroundings. It’s best to avoid walking around at night in the city alone and stick to tourist areas where other travelers surround you. Also, it is recommended to dress and behave modestly at all times.

3.    Technology

The internet speed here isn’t too bad, but it can be hard to rely on the connection for an important business transaction or video chatting with family overseas. Having a phone that works with local SIM cards is also an issue since they can’t be taken out of the country without being blocked.

4.    Infrastructure

Although many things have improved here in the past few years, it’s still important to consider the current state of transportation and other public services before moving here. The roads can be horrible, so driving is not recommended for foreigners.

Even if you have a driver, the roads are so congested that you could still be stuck in traffic for hours. Also, electricity can be an issue since blackouts happen frequently.

5.    Cost of Living

Cambodia is relatively cheap for expats regarding housing, food, and utilities. However, daily expenses like transportation (Tuk Tuks) and entertainment can be expensive if you’re not careful. Moreover, if you have to go to the hospital, it can be outrageously expensive. It’s wise to have a health insurance plan that will cover your expenses in an emergency.

6.    Accessibility to the U.S

Being close to a developed country is a big plus for expats because they will have access to amenities considered luxuries in Cambodia. It’s also beneficial for tourists who desire a quick stopover when traveling to or from the U.S. However, many expats live in Phnom Penh even though they have family in America.

7.    Quality of Life

Cambodia may be a good place for people with adventurous spirits who want to experience the local culture and way of life in Southeast Asia firsthand. However, it’s not recommended for those who crave a higher standard of living and westernized amenities. It takes time to get used to the culture here, so expats have to try their best to fit in or risk being alienated from the local population.

Pros and Cons of Living in Cambodia

Many people have different reasons for coming to Cambodia. Whether it be work, study, retirement, or better quality of life, there are always ‘pros and cons to every situation. Regardless of the reason you might have for moving here; certain things can make life more comfortable if you know about them in advance.



The cost of living in Cambodia is far below that of other countries. For example, an expat would have to spend on rent or mortgage payment in their own country can be reduced by over 50%. A luxury 1 bedroom apartment with a swimming pool and gym facility will only cost around $300 a month, while a 4 bedroom house with a garden and maid’s room would be around $900 a month.

Most employees in Cambodia are paid $300-$800 a month, depending on the type of job. In comparison, people in similar jobs might expect to earn at least double this amount in their home country.

Career Progression

Cambodia has many opportunities for career progression, and expats are often given a chance to take on senior responsibility in a short period. An individual with little experience can be promoted into a management position within only a few years.

A New Culture

People that live abroad always get excited about experiencing something completely different, and Cambodia is no exception. The stereotypical view of Cambodia is that it is one of the poorest countries in the world, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Many Cambodians live life to the full with infectious positivity and warmth.

Making a Difference

Giving back to the local community is an important part of working in Cambodia, and most companies offer their employees opportunities to volunteer or work with NGOs (non-governmental organizations). This helps them not only to feel like they are making a difference but also to develop themselves professionally, become more culturally aware, and also learn new skills.

New Experiences to Treasure Forever

People love to travel for many different reasons, but one of the main ones is, without a doubt making new experiences, whether that’s trying something you never thought possible or exploring somewhere where you would be completely alone back home.

When people travel, they often tell their family and friends about it, but when they live in a new place, people tend to be more interested because it is their own story.



If you have ever been to the tropics, then you know that it is fiercely hot almost all year long. This affects everything from how hard it is to sleep at night, how much effort it takes to go outside in the day when it’s 115 degrees Fahrenheit every day from April through November, and even possibly how good your hair will look.

If you are looking for a year-round destination that isn’t constantly hot, then Cambodia may not be the best choice for you.

Poor Infrastructure

Since Cambodia has only been a country for just over half a century, things like electricity and plumbing aren’t always going to be top-notch. This may affect the quality of life you have living in Cambodia as an expat, but it can also create unique challenges in your daily life that you might not want to deal with. If you are looking for a place with solid infrastructure, Cambodia may not be the best choice for you.

Lack of Safety

Unfortunately, Cambodia is ranked as one of the least safe countries in Southeast Asia. This can affect both how much comfort you have when living in Cambodia and the fact that there are some places you just won’t be able to go because you wouldn’t make it there alive. If you are looking for a place where your safety is guaranteed, Cambodia may not be the best choice for you.

Poor Education Quality

Education quality in Cambodia is sub-par compared to other countries around the world, making it hard to find better education options for your children. Because of this, most people who move to Cambodia with children end up sending them back home for their education.

On the bright side, if your child is already attending school and you are considering a move, then it may be best to go where they go for their education. If you are looking for an education system on par with international standards, Cambodia may not be the best choice for you.

Overwhelmed with Foreigners

As more and more foreigners move to Cambodia, there is a higher concentration of them in certain areas, which makes it hard to escape being constantly surrounded by other expats who have similar interests and life views as you (and thus creating less opportunities for learning about the local culture).

If you are looking for a place where you can get away from foreigners, Cambodia may not be the best choice for you.

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