Boeung Keng Kang 1, known simply as BKK1, is one of the most fascinating districts of the capital. BKK1 is outlined by four of the city’s biggest roads: Sihanouk Blvd to the north, Mao Tse Tung to the south, Norodom in the east and Monivong to the west. Searching for real estate for rent in BKK1 can be tricky. No worries, this guide will help you.
It is often called the “foreign quarter” of the city. When international NGOs first began coming to the country in the ‘90s, they set up headquarters here. Along with Tonle Bassac, Toul Tum Poung and BKK2 and 3, BKK1 is still one of the most popular expat areas.
After you narrow down where you want to live, make sure you read our expat rental guide to Phnom Penh.
Nowadays, BKK1 is an area known for business, international brands, restaurants and luxury residences. This guide to BKK1 will take you through all the housing types. We’ll even spill the beans on a secret to lower your rent. Let’s jump right into it.
Where is BKK1?
The government announced early in 2019 that BKK would soon become its own district. It was previously a commune within Chamkarmon district. Read the full story on BKK becoming a district and see what communes make up the new BKK district.
Many wonder if the area will look the same in the coming years. The expat demographic, after all, is changing as expats from countries like China, Korea and Japan are now more prominent than Western expats.
Knight Frank Cambodia’s country head, Ross Wheble, contended that it will remain a foreign quarter, though perhaps for short-term housing.
“BKK1, along with Tonle Bassac, are still generally the first ports of call for most expatriates moving to Phnom Penh whether they are Asian or Western expatriates. However, what we are beginning to see is that people that initially move to these locations but stay for more than one or two years, are now looking to relocate to areas further out of the city centre.”
Types of real estate in BKK1
Everyone will think of luxury apartments when they think of BKK1. Most refer to these as condos for rent in BKK1 or serviced apartments if they include housekeeping. On the other hand, there are still mid-range and even affordable apartments on the market here. A villa or two might even pop up for rent if you keep your eyes open.
Many of the apartments for rent in BKK1 fall into the “full service” category. These places will be fully furnished, have weekly or even daily cleaning and probably host parking, a pool and a gym.
If you’re coming to Cambodia for work this can often be the best option. You don’t have to buy any furniture, and can leave it just as you came. These places range from one to three bedrooms. You may be able to find places for as low as $500 per month. But usually these are in the $800-$1,200 range.
Expat Yuko A. said she chose an apartment complex in BKK1 because of the convenient location.
“I liked living in BKK1, because it was convenient in terms of length of commute to work, and shopping. However, I did feel unsafe sometimes if I had to go back to my building at midnight,” she said.
Affordable housing in BKK1
Don’t be fooled by the glamour. There are still affordable places to live in BKK1. One of the best options is to enlist the help of a trusted agent. Tell them your budget and they will find something to fit.
If they can find you an affordable apartment or a converted shophouse your rent could be less than $500 per month.
Villas in BKK1
Villas for rent in BKK1 can fit a variety of different needs. You can split them with a few roommates. If you have a small family they can be a safe housing choice. Also, they can be used as office spaces for your business.
Villas vary a lot based on size and location. You can still find them in BKK1 for $1,500 per month. More expensive ones go for up to $8,000 per month.
BKK1 office space
There’s no doubt that many businesses and startups want to have their offices for rent in BKK1. Its location means you’re close to common meeting places and other amenities.
Renting a typical office usually costs between $15 and $20 per square metre per month.
BKK1 land prices
There are very few vacant lots left in BKK1. If you do happen to find land for sale it will probably command a high price.
According to data from Key Real Estate, plot land for sale in BKK1 averages between $4,000 and $9,500 per square metre along main roads. Land off smaller roads averages between $3,000 and $4,500 per square metre.
Amenities are everywhere in BKK1
Entertainment, convenience stores and restaurants in BKK1 are second to none. Heck, it even has a killer local wet market and some awesome street food.
As far as cafes go, your choices are nearly unlimited in BKK1. The biggest names are:
They all have multiple locations. Almost every type of foreign cuisine is represented. Read more about Cambodian cafe culture in our list of the top 10 cafes in Phnom Penh. Or, just browse this map we created:
You can get burgers, Thai food, sushi, Korean BBQ, pizza, and much more in BKK1.
BKK1 market has everything you would find at Central Market or Russian Market. They have tons of second-hand clothing too. Convenience stores seem to be multiplying every day in BKK1. There’s Super Duper, Aeon Express, A to Z mart and Circle K. And, of course, Aeon Mall is just down the road.
If you work for a major company, chances are you will have meetings in BKK1. It’s just a few minutes south of the CBD in Daun Penh. Many businesses, banks and organisations have headquarters here.
Secrets of living in BKK1
Cambodia may be an obscure country for most Westerners. But strolling through BKK1 will wipe away any notion of it being an underdeveloped slum. Every week it’s looking more and more like nearby metropolises. Think Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and Hong Kong.
In the past few years, however, many people are now wanting to live in outer districts like Toul Kork, Sen Sok and Meanchey. Indeed, Knight Frank’s Wheble mentioned that congestion is a big challenge in BKK1.
“We forecast that rental prices will continue to become more competitive in view of increasing supply, thus being more accessible to a wider demographic. Secondly, due to increasing traffic congestion, we anticipate that an increasing number of existing residents will look to relocate to newly developing areas.”
So, in light of this increasing supply we have one piece of advice: Negotiate your rent. Chances are, there will be more vacant places than renters in the coming years. That gives you the power to try to get a better deal.
Do you think BKK1 will fade in prominence? Or will it always be the pride of Phnom Penh?
If you liked this guide check out our page of real estate location profiles. We’ve got them on every area of the capital and the country.