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Updated on: May 31, 2024, 1:32 a.m.
Published on: February 15, 2019, 12:13 p.m.
Realestate News
Home & Living

Guide to Retiring in Cambodia in 2024

Cambodia’s tourism is expected to increase with more direct flights to the Kingdom. This is opening new doors for new visitors, and potentially retirees. The Kingdom has long established itself as a pleasant and affordable place for seniors to spend their golden years. In this article will explain important points for aspiring expats seeking to retire in Cambodia. It encompasses the choice of visa, currencies & banking, healthcare, cost of living, transportation and where to live.

Retirement Visa 

Regarding visa options, it is quite straightforward with its ER visa program, which enables foreign citizens over 55 to be eligible for visas lasting up to a maximum of 12 months. 

To get a retirement visa to Cambodia, it is necessary to apply for a regular visa first (E-class visa). The application can be made through the Cambodian Embassy, consulate in your home country or via the online visa portal. Once entering Cambodia, it is necessary to extend the visa to a retirement visa (ER) via a visa agency which will help in dealing with application forms to the Immigration Department. 

The following documents are required to complete the application:

  1. A passport with at least 6 months of validity
  2. A blank page in the passport for the visa issuance
  3. A passport photo
  4. Proof of retirement or pension scheme
  5. Health certificate
  6. Criminal background check

As of the latest update, the cost for the ER visa is approximately $290-$300 for a year. After the visa duration is completed, it must be renewed or extended if one wants to continue living in the Kingdom. It is possible to renew or extend the visa for a duration of 1,3,6 or 12 months.

Currencies & Banking 

ABA Bank, Canadia, and ACLEDA are popular banks in Cambodia. (Source: Khmer Times)

Cambodia uses dual currency: the Cambodian riel (KHR) and the US dollar (USD). It's important to note that only US notes are used, not coins, and there are no riel coins. Both currencies are widely used for everyday transactions. However, it is preferable to use riel when purchasing items, as the change is likely to be favourable.

When it comes to banking, banks offer options to open accounts using riel or dollars as the default currency. Foreign retirees will also need to transfer their pension funds to a local bank or use a money remittance company. Fortunately, Cambodia has multiple choices for transferring funds from abroad. In Phnom Penh, several branches of Western Union, MoneyGram, and other money transfer companies offer these services.


An important aspect of living abroad as a foreign national, especially for retirees, is the healthcare system and its affordability. Cambodia’s healthcare system has significantly improved over the last decade and continues to do so. There are several private clinics, and the public sector is continually developing its services and infrastructure.

The Royal Phnom Penh Hospital is regarded as one of the best hospitals in the country. (Source: Supplied)

The leading hospitals in Phnom Penh include Royal Phnom Penh Hospital, Calmette Hospital, and several clinics such as Intercare and Advance European Medicare Center. Moreover, dental care is generally of a good standard and quite affordable in Cambodia. Prices for scaling start from $30, and single-tooth implants are around $1,000. Pharmacies are easily found in most parts of the city, offering affordable and accessible drugs and medicines.

Many retirees choose to purchase health insurance that covers them for medical treatment both in Cambodia and abroad. It's important to research and understand the healthcare options available and consider including medical expenses in your retirement budget.

Where to Live

When it comes to deciding where to live, Cambodia offers a variety of landscapes to suit different lifestyle preferences. For those who prefer city life, Phnom Penh is the ideal choice as most economic activities happen in the capital. The city continues to grow with new shopping malls and high-rise buildings, both residential and commercial. 

Depending on the renter's budget and lifestyle preferences, renting a property in Phnom Penh can range from as low as $200 for a simple studio unit. Modern units in high-rises with a variety of amenities and services start from at least $700 in prime locations such as BKK1, and Tonle Bassac

 BKK1 district is a popular neighbourhood where expats choose to live in Phnom Penh. (Credit: Realestate.com.kh)

For a more laid-back lifestyle, Siem Reap is a preferred destination. It is notably popular due to its proximity to the Angkor Wat temple complex, the largest religious monument in the world. It is known to be a more tourist-driven city with an expat community, multiple entertainment options, and dining places that contribute to making the life of retirees pleasant while enjoying a jungle-like environment. Housing options in Siem Reap differ from Phnom Penh, with no high-rise developments but quality accommodations available throughout the town. Rental prices for studios can range from a minimum of $200 depending on the location to more integral resorts such as Angkor Grace.

Sihanoukville, Kampot, and Kep are also popular destinations for retirees. In the last decade, Sihanoukville has seen significant development, especially with the construction of new buildings, casinos, and other entertainment facilities. It offers a beach getaway to the islands of Koh Rong and Koh Rong Sanloem for those who enjoy the beach. Kampot and Kep are known for their slow-paced lifestyle, with a community of expats and retirees enjoying their golden days in the countryside.


Transportation in Cambodia is relatively affordable, with options including tuk-tuks, motorbikes, trains, and buses. Tuk-tuks are a popular mode of transportation for short distances within cities, while motorbikes are commonly used for longer trips or exploring the countryside. Buses are available for intercity travel, with both short and long-distance routes. However, it's important to note that road safety and infrastructure in Cambodia may not be up to Western standards, and caution is advised when using transportation options.

Cost of Living

Cambodia is known for its affordable cost of living, making it an attractive option for retirees on a budget. Expenses such as housing, utilities, transportation, food, and entertainment are generally lower compared to many Western countries. Monthly living costs can vary depending on your lifestyle and location, with Phnom Penh being relatively more expensive than other cities.

Below is an approximate average of the costs of living in Phnom Penh.


Average Costs Monthly ($)

Water $5 onwards
Electricity $20 onwards
Gas $15-$17 (depending on market price)
Food  $150-$300
Transportation $50-$150

Retiring in Cambodia has become a popular option for foreigners seeking to enjoy their retirement without compromising on quality. The ease of obtaining the Cambodia ER visa, healthcare facilities, affordable cost of living and a large variety of housing options are just a few of the reasons why many choose Cambodia for their golden years.

If you are interested in learning more about properties in Cambodia, our real estate agents are ready to assist you. Contact us today.