Starter Guide Choosing an area to live in Phnom Penh

Choosing an area to live in Phnom Penh


Choosing an area to live in Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh Phnom is the capital city of Cambodia and also the largest, with a population of 1,501,725 people. The city covers 232 square miles and has a population density of 5,700 people per square kilometer (source). Compare this to some other cities:

  1. Singapore: 8,188 people per square kilometer
  2. Kuala Lumpur: 6,890 people per square kilometer
  3. Hong Kong: 6,690 people per square kilometer
  4. Beijing: 6,000 people per square kilometer
  5. Phnom Penh: 5,700 people per square kilometer
  6. Bangkok: 5,300 people per square kilometer
  7. Hanoi: 3,300 people per square kilometer
  8. London: 1,510 per square kilometer
  9. Chiang Mai: 132 per square kilometer

Phnom Penh city districts map

The following interactive map (click here for full-screen view) contains both Phnom Penh’s four main city districts, plus a selection of sub-districts where western expats have been living for years.

To get your head around the city, start by toggling the map to see how the city’s four main districts are carved out.

  • Tuol Kouk: on the outskirts of town, spacious villas, many international schools, best for families
  • Daun Penh: the commercial and tourist district includes the Royal Palace, several pub streets, plenty of shopping and hotels
  • Prampir Makara: this smallest of the districts is packed with gritty streets of local commerce
  • Chamkar Mon: charming neighborhood streets and a growing international community

Best places to live in Phnom Penh

Here we show the most common places for expats to live in Phnom Penh, rated from best to worst:

  1. Toul Tom Poung: quiet neighborhoods with tons of foreigner-friendly shops and cafes
  2. BKK1: central, international, expensive rents
  3. BKK2: quiet neighborhoods and plenty of foreigner-friendly shops
  4. BKK3: quiet neighborhoods
  5. Tonle Bassac: gritty and charismatic with a popular hipster bar street
  6. Boeng Trabak: near the Russian Market, chilled out neighborhoods
  7. Riverside: tourists, rats, beggar kids and girlie bars
  8. Olympic Stadium: well out of the main parts of town; not convenient for socialising

In the best sub-districts, you can count on a solid foreigner-friendly infrastructure:

  • Cheap and fast private internet connections
  • English-speaking support (for bills, water, security etc)
  • Tight security
  • Plenty of foreigner-friendly shops, restaurants and bars
  • Monthly rents ranging from USD $60 to $1500

How to find an overpriced apartment in Phnom Penh

Via Google search or Facebook groups search, it’s easy to find plenty of real estate agents that will be happy to take you around and show you some options.

How to find the perfect apartment in Phnom Penh

Riding a bike around to find ‘for rent’ signs is a waste of time: even though you will find several signs, negotiations on a rental agreement will fail 99% of the time because of language and culture barrier.

A much better strategy is to sign up for Phnom Penh Housing groups on Facebook – you can meet plenty of agents there willing to help you rent off-the-grid apartments.

Setting up your new Phnom Penh apartment

Once you have signed the lease and paid your deposit, it’s time to prepare. Check out our Phnom Penh relocation guide for more details.

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