Are you interested in becoming a digital nomad in Cambodia?
Cambodia is no longer a mere resting place for exhausted backpackers. Its amazing cultural heritage, interesting history and grand architectural monuments are definitely among the many reasons why Cambodia is a tourists’ paradise.
Somehow over the years, the country bloomed as a digital nomad hub.
Insanely cheap cost of living, easy access, hospitable people, hundreds of cafes with high-speed Wi-Fi – there’s a thriving remote workers community in Cambodia who are not ready to leave just yet.
It’s not too much to say that skipping Cambodia on an SE Asia conquest is a crime. But why so?
This digital nomad Cambodia guide will share everything you need to know.
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Why Become A Digital Nomad In Cambodia?
As a digital nomad Cambodia, two MAIN things will make you extend your visa: best value for money and good quality of life.
Best Value For Money
Deemed as the location for luxury travel for budget prices, Cambodia is one of the most affordable SE Asian countries to live in. Without compromising the quality of life.
Who doesn’t want that?
Regardless you’re on a budget or love to splash the cash, Cambodia won’t break your bank. But of course, the phrase “live within your means” goes without saying.
Excellent Quality of Life
Picture living in a decent one-bedroom apartment, working from a cool co-working space or café with high-speed Wi-Fi, delicious meals every day, subscribing to fitness activities and many more.
With less than $2,000, this kind of life is possible in Cambodia. Let me walk you through the breakdown.
Cost Of Living In Cambodia
As a digital nomad, the cost of accommodation, food and transportation has always been a top priority. The super-affordable living cost in Cambodia makes the neighbouring countries appear a little more expensive.
Even the fancy hotels and luxurious apartments won’t come close to what you might pay back home.
You can consider two cities – Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Both cities offer different vibes. The journey between the two cities takes five hours by bus.
Let’s see the difference so it’d be easier for you to choose.
- Capital of Cambodia.
- Big city feels with terrible traffic.
- Great place to explore local temples and learn about Cambodia’s dark history (Khmer Rouge/Pol Pot).
- Tourist attractions include the Royal Palace and Arts’ theatre shows.
- Vibrant nightlife where bars and pubs spread around the city.
- The best time to visit is between November and January.
- More relaxed but can be a bit touristy.
- Small city, home to the Angkor Wat.
- Tourist attractions: great restaurants, theatre shows, war museums.
- Nightlife is more seasonal, options limited to a place called Pub Street.
- The best time to visit is between December and April.
No matter where you choose, you will spend more or less the same amount of money.
Firstly, let’s get real with what it means by ‘cheap’ housing in Cambodia. While ‘cheap’ is preferable, Cambodia’s level of cheap is quite uncomfortable.
That means holes in the floor, no air conditioning or hot shower, intolerable cleanliness and unbearable humidity. The list can go on if you like.
A monthly budget of less than $1000 is possible but let’s not compromise your comfort, shall we?
Let’s look at your possible accommodation expenses in Cambodia:
- A decent, air-conditioned hotel room with a pool typically costs $20 to $40 per night.
- A studio apartment rental cost starts as low as $200 to $400 monthly.
- A spacious 3-bedroom apartment with all the amenities from $1500.
Not bad at all, right?
Food In Cambodia
Cambodia has its fair share of great restaurants and amazing cafes. The local dishes are also a must-try. Overall, anything and anywhere you choose to eat won’t burn a hole in your pocket.
Here’s the estimated budget for a meal in mid-range restaurants:
- Breakfast/lunch/dinner: As low as $2.
- Water and beer: $0.50.
Total = Less than $10
Tuk-tuk, taxis and buses are the main modes of transportation in Cambodia.
- Tuk-tuk: From $1
- Taxis: From $2
- Buses: From $0.80
It’s perfectly doable to walk around town but most people heavily rely on tuk-tuks. However, it’s best to set the price before hopping on one.
Bicycle renting is also popular in Cambodian towns. Most hotels offer this service for $3 per day on average.
Alternatively, I recommend downloading the Grab app on your phone for transparent and fair transport prices.
While a reliable free Wi-Fi connection is available even in the cheapest of hotels, a lot of digital nomads do own a local SIM card.
These are the largest and the best local SIM cards in Cambodia that you can get from the airport or local shops:
- Metfone – $3 for 33GB (valid for 7 days).
- Mobitel/Cellcard – $6 for 7 days with $50 of call time daily.
Just like other SE Asian countries, Cambodia holds tropical weather with monsoon and summer.
The temperature is warm throughout the year but at times, it can get hot up to 40 degrees. You might feel uncomfortable and will need air-conditioning 24/7.
- Dry and sunny/cooler monsoon: October to February
- Hot and humid: February to June
- Heavy rain: June to September
Digital Nomad Visas In Cambodia
For western passport holders, entering Cambodia requires a tourist visa. This visa costs between $30 to $50 and is valid for 30 days.
There are three ways to get a Cambodian visa:
- Upon arrival at both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap International Airports in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.
- Before arrival through a Cambodian Embassy or Consulate in your country.
- eVisa (online) before travelling.
- A passport valid for at least six months from the expiry date.
- A recent passport-size photo.
Other Asian passport holders don’t need a tourist visa and may stay in Cambodia for 21 and 30 days.
This is also valid for 30 days and costs $35.
The difference between the ordinary visa and the tourist visa is that the ordinary one can be extended indefinitely. If you have an ordinary visa (E class) you can extend it for one month, three months, half a year or a year for between $30 and $300.
To extend your visa, you can either apply directly at the Cambodian Department of Immigration or the easiest and most convenient way – through an agent.
The process takes between three and ten business days so make sure to make early preparation before your visa expires.
- A passport that is valid for at least another six months.
- A blank page in your passport.
- Cash in US dollars.
Any other supporting documents that might be required (check with your agent).
A 12-month multiple-entry visa costs $275 to $300, depending on the fee added by the agent.
The agent’s fee is usually negotiable.
For further information, you may visit this website.
Top Destinations For Digital Nomads In Cambodia
The places listed below are already established with work-friendly cafes, high-speed Wi-Fi and everything that a digital nomad Cambodia needs.
Let’s look at the attractions that make Cambodia perfect for work-life balance.
As the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh holds a flourishing community of digital nomads. The happening city life and the ample opportunity to mingle with other nomads contribute a lot.
Located at the junction of the Mekong and Tonlé Sap rivers, Phnom Penh offers a raw Asian city life experience. The exotic aroma from food stalls, decorative buildings, vibrant energy markets, honking motorbikes and the echoes of voices from the crowd make the city special in its way.
Besides coworking spaces, a Phnom Penh digital nomad would also enjoy working from the cool cafés while enjoying the view.
Don’t worry about food – Phnom Penh has everything from sushi to Indian, western to vegan, Mexican to Italian – you name it.
It’s possible to explore the city on foot. And if you feel like shopping, head over to the landmark shopping centre – Art deco Central Market.
Compared to Phnom Penh, Siem Reap is a smaller, low-key city with a touristy vibe.
This is simply because it’s home to the famous Angkor Wat. As such, the city is packed with resorts, boutique hotels, backpacker hostels, museums, and galleries.
But still, coworking Siem Reap facilities are nothing short of amazing.
This city is THE place to taste authentic Cambodian food. Maybe you can also sign up for a cooking class at Siem Reap while you’re there!
After a day’s work, make your way to Pub Street with friends, cheering to the $0.50 beers.
Overall, there is plenty to do in Siem Reap. You’ll never get bored of this city, I promise.
The diverse food scene will take you from street food to dining.
If you got time, you could go further to see the famous and biggest reclining Buddha.
Best Co-Working Places In Cambodia
Cambodia has many cool coworking spaces that you can rent by the day, week or month.
However, the coworking space in Phnom Penh arena triumphs in many other cities.
We’ve filtered ten of the best coworking spaces to save your time searching:
Why: This is THE Cambodia coworking space. Their industrial concept and kick-ass coffee are the key factors to having oncoming members and repeat customers.
- Private office for $280 monthly
- A dedicated desk for $120 monthly
- A hot desk for $8 per day
Why: This coworking Cambodia place comes with a modern design and bright colours. It has large windows and tiny balconies for natural sunlight and fresh air.
It’s a fully furnished office space complete with a scanner and printer, ergonomic chairs, a café, and many more.
- A hotdesk for $80 monthly
- A dedicated desk for $120 monthly
- A private office for $250 to $550 monthly
Why: Casual work environment with complete office amenities.
They also provide personal lockers for your belongings, co-living accommodation, a café, standing work desks and many more. There are also ping pong tables and guess what – you can bring your pet!
- An open hotdesk for $100 monthly
- A dedicated desk for $120 monthly
- Daily pass for $7
Why: Clean concept, with a pretty much minimalist vibe. Complete with printer, scanner and photocopy machine. They also have a reading room loaded with books and a pantry with a refrigerator, microwave free coffee, tea and water.
- A hotdesk for $60 monthly
- A dedicated desk for $90 monthly
- A team desk for $120 monthly
Why: Rather exclusive but affordable. It’s a gorgeous coworking place with hanging plants and greenery all over, fostered glass windows, high ceilings, and a full view of the city.
The cutting-edge amenities include a yoga studio, dance studio, and a rooftop bar. A perfect balance of work and play.
Price: Upon enquiry.
Why: Apart from complete office amenities and a young professional crowd, Emerald
Hub also organises community events and training workshops – which are free for all. The place has an energetic ambience and friendly staff, making it one of the best co-working spaces in Cambodia.
- A hotdesk for $60 monthly
- A dedicated desk for $120 monthly
- A private office for $330 monthly
- A private office for large business groups at $450 to $550 monthly
- Daily pass for $5
Why: This ‘business incubator’ is located in a serene, green place, smack in the middle of the city.
Their office amenities include drones, a projector, retail space, and many other top-notch facilities. If you need a break, you can even shower, hang out at the lounge or terrace, and play ping-pong.
- A dedicated desk at $120 monthly
- A private office room at $350 monthly
Why: The Desk is an advanced workspace designed to suit every remote worker’s needs. It shares the same pleasant vibe as any other coworking spaces mentioned in this post.
They also offer workshops and networking events to the community, enabling knowledge-sharing and collaboration.
- An individual desk at $60 monthly
- A team desk for four at $200 monthly
- A private office for bigger teams at $350 monthly
Why: This coworking space Siem Reap has a super nice hut and hammock, attracting a lot of digital nomads and workers alike.
Knowledgeable in tech, Khmer culture and finding the best spot to eat, the owner is a hands-on guy who makes sure his customers get a worthwhile experience. You can check out their attractive co-living packages too!
- Weekly membership at $25
- Monthly membership at $89
Why: This place gives out a refreshing and colourful vibe, located in the centre of Siem Reap.
What’s great about the Garage Society is that members are allowed 24-hours access to everything. Private office areas are really limited though so if you’re comfortable with an open concept through and through, this place suits you.
- A hotdesk at $5 daily, $25 weekly and $70 monthly.
Best Places To Stay For Digital Nomads
Here are some of the best finds recommended for you:
- Tao Riverside Residence – from $52 per night.
- Le Kree Downtown Hotel – from $45 per night.
- Villa Agati – from $32 per night.
- Saravoan Royal Palace – from $28 per night.
- Veha Retreat Hotel & Spa – from $27 per night.
- The Artist Residence – from $25 per night.
- Vacation Boutique Hotel – from $24 per night.
- Beyond Yangon Boutique Inn – from $22 per night.
- Vanh Angkor Hotel – from $19 per night.
- Ananta Aster – from $19 per night.
For long-term stay, check out the Facebook groups and look for listings that suit your requirements.
The most reliable groups are:
Note: Burglary issue is quite apparent in cities. Make sure you always lock your door and windows.
Best Food To Try In Cambodia
The best food to try in Cambodia is none other than… Cambodian food itself.
They might not be as popular as Thai food but try once and you’ll come back for more.
- Fish amok (steamed coconut fish in banana leaves)
- Samlor Machu trey (sweet and sour soup with fish)
- Char kroeung Sach ko (stir-fried lemongrass beef)
- Twa ko (Cambodian sausage)
- Nom Banh Chok (Khmer noodles)
- Lok Lak (stir-fried beef in brown sauce)
And here’s a list of the must-try restaurants in Cambodia that will tickle your fancy.
- Malis Restaurant – fine Khmer cuisine.
- Sesame Noodle Bar – killer fresh noodles, gyoza, spring rolls and tofu and kimchi.
- Piccolo Italia Da Luigi – Phnom Penh’s best pizza joint.
- Topaz – fine French cuisine.
- Backyard Café – offers a range of vegan, vegetarian and raw food options.
- Eleven One Kitchen – authentic and delicious Khmer cuisine.
- The Sushi Bar – rolls, bento sets, sashimi and rice dishes.
- Irina Restaurant – authentic Russian dishes.
- Angkor India Restaurant – classic Indian and Nepalese dishes.
- Mexicano – number one choice in Cambodia!
How To Get Around
Either you’re in Phnom Penh or a Siem Reap digital nomad, exploring these cities is very easy.
Most of the people move around by tuk-tuk.
A tuk-tuk is the motorised version of the so-called “rickshaws”. Slightly different from the ones in Thailand, Cambodian tuk-tuks are more spacious and comfortable.
Haggling with the driver is possible, as long as you are polite. Also, agree on the fare before confirming your ride.
Cambodian tuk-tuk drivers are somehow more honest than anywhere else so feel free to arrange some touristy activities with a reasonable fare.
Forget renting motorcycles as it’s illegal in Cambodia.
Ultimately, download the Grab app on your phone to make life easier.
Things You Should Know About Cambodia
- Khmer is the only official language, but English is widely spoken.
- US Dollars is widely used/accepted.
- Power trips are frequent.
- Tap water isn’t drinkable.
- DON’T ride elephants (or any other animals).
- Don’t use your feet to point at someone or something.
- Don’t touch or pat people’s heads, even children. In the Buddhist culture, the head is the most sacred part of the body.
- Avoid public displays of affection.
- Buddhist monks are sacred. Women are not allowed to touch his robe or body.
- Modest dress is the way to go.
- The islands are gorgeous.
- ATM fees are unavoidable.
Staying Safe In Cambodia
The tips to staying safe in Cambodia are pretty much basic.
The crime rate there is far from worrying. Like most other countries around the world, pickpocketing and scamming do happen.
As long as you don’t flash your belongings or stay out late at night alone, you’ll be fine.
The kind of life Cambodia offers is capable of making people forget about its status as among the poorest countries in the world.
Honestly though… Just enjoy working there as much as you can.
Life as a Cambodia digital nomad will be truly rewarding. Take time to understand the awe-inspiring history, explore the historical monuments and learn the Khmer language a word or two.
The country is never short of things and activities to do. The expat and remote workers community are flourishing. You won’t just make friends for a reason; you’ll make friends for a lifetime.
Without Cambodia, a digital nomad Asia journey wouldn’t be complete.