Ultimate guide to Tonle Bassac

Jan. 3, 2019, 10:10 a.m.

Tonle Bassac commune has become a hub of new developments over the last decade. In addition to hosting the ever-popular Aeon Mall, the area boasts the massive NagaWorld complex and sits adjacent to Koh Pich, one of the fastest rising sections of the capital.

What’s more, it’s set to soon host one of the world’s tallest skyscrapers.

Just like its neighbour, BKK1, Tonle Bassac is one of the most high-profile areas of the capital. It’s home to the massively popular Aeon Mall, the swanky Bassac Lane and sits beside the bustling Koh Pich, or Diamond Island.

Of course, this commune has its own distinct flavour. Living in Tonle Bassac is truly unique. If you’re curious about other areas around town, be sure to check out all of our location profiles and guides. Maybe you already know you want to live here. Then check out real estate for rent in Tonle Bassac.

High-profile projects

In the last few years, Tonle Bassac has seen a flurry of activity in terms of high-rise structures. The Bridge and The Peak are just a couple of mixed-use spaces that are redefining the landscape. 

The central location of the commune is surely a boon, as is the scenery of the nearby rivers. Living in Tonle Bassac can be luxurious. Space is at a premium, though, and plots in the commune average between $2,000 and $6,000 per square metre, depending on their location.

Condo commune

At just three square kilometres, Tonle Bassac is relatively small. Much of the area is dominated by commercial spaces including the NagaWorld complex and Aeon Mall. 

Cambodia’s condo boom is being felt with force in Tonle Bassac commune. Indeed many of these spaces are being marketed at expats or young middle-class Khmer families.

A quick browse through Realestate.com.kh’s listings for condos for rent in Tonle Bassac will give a range of prices and levels of luxury. Currently, most can be rented for between $800 and $2,000 per month. Usually, the buildings are new and have swimming pools and fitness centres.

Typical townhouses

Just because there are swanky towers going up doesn’t mean living in Tonle Bassac can't be affordable. More traditional setups can still be found here and will be easier on the wallet. The typical Tonle Bassac townhouse will look like shophouses elsewhere in the capital.

Expect to pay from $200 to $600 per bedroom for spaces in this category. The choice may be a bit more limited than in more residential areas, however.

Vanishing villas

Despite how small and central Tonle Bassac is, there are still actually villas on the market. Interestingly, many people choose to start businesses in villas here so this can be a great opportunity to get your next idea off the ground. To read more about this check out our article on how to start a business in Cambodia.

Villas in Tonle Bassac usually have three to five bedrooms and room for parking. A quick glance at the villas for rent in Tonle Bassac on our site shows they run for between $2,500 and $3,500 per month. 

Where everybody knows your name

Of course, most people in the city are familiar with Bassac Lane. This small collection of boutique bars, restaurants and shops off street 308 takes on a life of its own after the sun goes down. It’s a favourite expat haunt given the sheer variety: There’s ramen, pizza, cocktails, beer bars and much more.

Living in Tonle Bassac is quite common for expats, due to the sheer amount of amenities there. Make sure to stop by our page for expat rentals in Tonle Bassac if you're curious.

Erich Phillips, the founder of Tonle Bassac’s Botanico Wine & Beer Garden said that he has seen the area really come into its own in the last five years. 

“Our neighbourhood is trendy, but not pretentious. You can still wear flipflops! When we first arrived in Cambodia, street 308 had a pizza shop and one bar … Tonle Bassac seems to be young and vibrant. There is an East London feel to the area with all the hidden watering holes,” he said.

A diamond in the rough

Don’t think Tonle Bassac is just attracting the expat crowd, however. The neighbourhood is adjacent to the ever-popular Koh Pich, or Diamond Island. The area was even the main setting of a film screened at the famous Cannes festival.

Drive around the island on any night of the week and you will be mesmerised by the sights and sounds. Teenagers gather to listen to music and young families flock to the carnival games and line of restaurants. 

The island may have the highest concentration of construction projects in the entire city. It’s no surprise, then, that commercial activity there is expanding. 

Seang Davy, who just recently sold a restaurant on Koh Pich, which she owned and operated for many years, said the area was growing rapidly.

“It can be a bit difficult for small businesses to stand out on Koh Pich. The larger operations are quite successful though,” she said, adding that most customers were average Cambodian families. 

Real estate for sale on Diamond Island can be spendy, but values could be set to skyrocket. Interestingly, rental rates there are still on par with Tonle Bassac.

It’s all at the mall

Of course, one of the biggest draws in Tonle Bassac commune is Aeon Mall. As the first international-grade shopping centre in Cambodia, Aeon has already reshaped the world of capital real estate. 

The place is so successful that Aeon has already opened a second location in Sen Sok district on the north side of the city. What’s more, they are in the planning stages of yet another that will be bigger than both outlets combined.

Opened in 2014, Aeon has been a hot spot since its first day. Many other commercial ventures in the area owe their success to the shopping and entertainment complex. And, of course, the mall brings untold convenience to those living in Tonle Bassac.

Sky’s the limit

Investors’ eyes have already been firmly fixed on Tonle Bassac for some time. In fact, the Thai Boon Roong Twin Tower project was proposed in 2015 for a plot adjacent to the river, just across from NagaWorld. 

Set for completion in 2022, this mixed-use space would host twin 561-metre towers. The buildings would be in the top 10 tallest buildings in the world. It’s safe to say that the potential of this area is well known. 

Fortunately, if you want to start living in Tonle Bassac on a budget, you definitely can. Check out all our listings for real estate for rent and sale in Tonle Bassac. And make sure you read the rest of our guides and location profiles if you are still looking for the perfect area. 

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