Guide to retirement in Cambodia

Feb. 15, 2019, 12:13 p.m.

InternationalLiving.com's Annual Global Retirement Index for 2019 has named Cambodia as the number 12 best place in the world to retire. 

More notably, it gave Cambodia the crown for cheapest place to retire. This is the fourth year in a row that the Kingdom has held that title. Interestingly, Nine.com.au has also just named the country one of the best places to retire

In honour of these, well...honours, Realestate.com.kh wants to bring you a step-by-step guide for retirement in Cambodia. We'll cover renting, getting a visa, and even how to stay active.

Renting when you retire in Cambodia

Rent, of course, is super cheap in Cambodia. You can get a Western-style apartment for rent in Phnom Penh for as little as $300 per month. That’s in the capital, too. It’s even cheaper in towns like Kampot, Sihanoukville and Siem Reap.

For those on a fixed income, it is still possible to live comfortably in the Kingdom. There are serviced apartments that cover nearly every need for you. Most have cleaning services, a fitness centre and even a pool. You can find one-bedroom places like this starting at around $500.

Other options include getting a house for rent in Cambodia, or a condo for rent in Cambodia. These can be a bit more expensive close to city centres. 

Getting a Cambodia retirement visa

a New Zealand passport

The process for visas is pretty straightforward here. There’s even a special category for retirees. When you arrive in the country, make sure you get the regular (E class) visa, not a tourist visa. 

After that, you will simply apply for ER (retirement) extensions. Here are the requirements:

  • You must be 55 or older
  • You cannot be employed
  • You must be able to prove you are retired (with pension or social security documentation) and have enough funds (bank or retirement fund statements).

These extensions can be valid for various lengths up to one year. Prices are similar to working visa extensions which cost around $290 for a full year with multiple entries. Head to any travel agency in town and they can help you with processing.

Buying food while retired in Cambodia

Whether you want to cook for yourself, or eat at a restaurant, dining in Cambodia is only a minor expense. A meal at an inexpensive restaurant will only set you back about $4 in Phnom Penh. Elsewhere in the country prices are even lower. Just for reference, here’s a list of some common groceries, and what their averages prices are in Phnom Penh:

  • Loaf of white bread - $1.23
  • A dozen eggs - $1.60
  • One kilo of chicken - $4.47
  • A litre of milk - $2.27
  • Latte or cappuccino at cafe - $2.20
  • One bottle of beer - $1.00

As you can see, daily life is definitely affordable. If you want to find cheap food, goods and houseware, go to a local wet market. Otherwise, hit a local convenience store for something more Western. Brands like Circle K, Super Duper and Aeon Express are growing quickly here.

Retired? No, staying active in Cambodia

people doing yoga

It’s easy to find a productive hobby in Cambodia. If you’re the active type there are clubs for all kinds of lifetime sports like tennis or jogging. 

If you like riding or fixing motorcycles, Cambodia is great. Riding happens all year round!

Is humanitarian work more your style? There are plenty of NGOs here that need your help. You could even mentor local youngsters.

Travel while being retired. It's the Cambodia way!

If you’re a retiree from the West and you’ve decided to settle in Cambodia, chances are you already caught the travel bug. Luckily, the country sits right in the middle of Southeast Asia, one of the most popular tourist regions in the world.

Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Hong Kong and several other countries are just a short plane ride away. Further afield, but still within close reach are China, India, Australia, Japan and South Korea.

And, of course, travelling around Cambodia is an adventure in itself. Read more in our visitors guide to Cambodia. 

Healthcare isn't expensive for Cambodia retirees

Cambodia doctors

Getting medical treatment in Cambodia can be a mixed bag. There are pros and cons. The positives first:

  1. Medication here is incredibly affordable most everything is over the counter.
  2. Seeing doctors for routine ailments like the flu or a stomach bug is usually quick and easy
  3. Higher-end clinics and hospitals in Phnom Penh tend to have great doctors who speak fluent English.
  4. If you prefer to see a Western doctor there are a handful practicing in the Kingdom.

There are a few drawbacks, however. This is still a developing country, after all:

  1. For serious issues, many people (locals included) opt to visit doctors in Thailand or Singapore. Generally, the level of treatment here is better, and still quite cheap.
  2. Make sure you are getting medication from a reputable pharmacy. Better safe than sorry.

Loving the retired lifestyle in Cambodia

At the end of the day, it all comes down to what makes you happy. Thousands of people choose to retire abroad every year. If Cambodia is the place that makes you happy, that’s where you should be.

Realestate.com.kh hopes this guide can be helpful to all the Kingdom’s retirees. Comment below if you’re retired here and have anything to add. 

And don't forget to browse our listings for real estate for rent in Cambodia. You can start your journey as a retiree today!

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