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Bkk 1 Location Profile

Bkk 1 Location Profile

Overview

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Boeung Keng Kang 1, known more commonly as BKK1 by many Cambodians and foreigners in the capital, is one of the key districts in Phnom Penh and one of the most popular. The area of BKK1 is outlined by four of the city’s biggest roads: Sihanouk Blvd to the north, Mao Tse Tung Tuong Boulevard the south, Norodom in the east and Monivong to the west. 

BKK1 is also known as the popular “foreign quarter” of the city. When international NGOs first began arriving in the country in the 1990s, many set up headquarters here. Along with Tonle Bassac, Toul Tum Poung (TTP) and BKK2 and BKK3, BKK1 remains one of the most popular expat areas in Phnom Penh for its diversity of accommodation, F&B and its central location.

Finding affordable real estate in BKK1 can be a challenge in 2020 as it is one of the most popular and expensive areas of the city, highly sought after by developers and it remains a prime real estate destination.

BKK1 is also known as an area popular with embassies and there are many official residences and national embassies located in this central part of the city or close-by. In addition, BKK1 is arguably the commercial and cultural centre of Phnom Penh. There are countless businesses, restaurants, coffee shops, bars and hotels as well as condos located here. These include international F&B brands and retail stores.

As one of the most sought after areas of the capital, it's considered to be “safer” and has the superior infrastructure to many other areas of the bustling city.

In 2020, the area is also undergoing a transformation with more luxury residences and real estate projects in BKK1 transforming the landscape and an increasing number of highrise buildings are found in the suburb.

Key Information

Boeung Keng Kang 1 (BKK1) is a Sangkat in Boeng Keng Kang (formerly Chamkar Mon), Phnom Penh, Cambodia. It used to have the nickname of ‘NGOville’ due to the large presence of non-governmental organisations. However as the country and city has developed, many western expats have also moved out to other more affordable areas of the city, due to the large number of construction projects (since around 2016) driving prices up.

The properties in BKK1 are expensive but it still remains an attractive area for businesses and hotels, and caters to a mix of residents, visitors and locals. There used to be more villas and some wooden traditional Khmer houses in the area, but these have made way for luxury condos, boutique hotels or restaurants.

The area also is home to many Cambodian and international schools as well as a vibrant nightlife and its first mall in 2020 (Noro Mall).

BKK1 has some of the highest house and land prices as well as rents in the whole of Cambodia. Despite the high land prices, the apartment and hotel occupancy rate is said to be very high.

The central location of BKK1 is important, as the suburb is only five minutes from the Royal Cambodian Palace and the riverside area, on the border with the Independence Monument square, only 10 minutes from the Aeon shopping centre, and in close proximity to NagaWorld (the city's only licensed casino and entertainment resort). BKK1 is also only 40 minutes from the Phnom Penh International airport by road.

The whole of Boeung Keng Kang 1 is home to a variety of restaurants, bars, high-end massage and spa parlours, hotels and realtors. Khan Boeung Keng Kang also remains the top spot for serviced apartments by the end of 2019, according to a report by Knight Frank Cambodia.

There have been recent additions of international condos for rent in BKK1, or serviced apartments. Popular streets include St 278, St 282, St 5, and there are commercial and office buildings lining St 63.

Provisional results from the 2019 census show that Cambodia's population had increased to 15.28 million by March 2019, up 14.1 percent from 13.39 million in the 2008 census. According to census data, the population of Boeng Keng Kang district was about 22,200 in 2008. The final results of the 2019 census will be released in the second quarter of 2020.

According to the government decree, the two new districts are Boeng Keng Kang District and Kamboul District. That is to say, In the separate sub-decrees, Boeng Keng Kang I, Boeng Keng Kang II, Boeng Keng Kang III, Olympic, Tomnop Tek, Tuol Svay Prey I, and Tuol Svay Prey II communes are to be reclassified as Boeng Keng Kang district.

Boeung Keng Kang I is also known for its acceptance of the expat community. The area is home of the Embassy of Switzerland, Bulgaria, Brunei, and Sweden. It is also the headquarters of various Non-Government and International Organizations.

Things To Do in Bkk 1

BKK1 is never short of amenities. Convenience stores are on most streets, while there is a heavy concentration of restaurants, bars and cafes throughout BKK1. 

Popular cafes include Amazon, Starbucks, Brown and Koi as well as Lot 369. There are many located on the northern end of Street 51 (some are door-to-door) with others scattered throughout the area. In addition, local cafe stalls also offer affordable Cambodian coffee on many street corners.

The local ‘wet market’ (Psar Boeung Keng Kang or BKK Market) is located in the south part of BBK1, between Street 380 and Street 392, and has an abundance of excellent street food, as well as clothes, shoes and other souvenirs. 

There are supermarkets in the form of popular chain stores Lucky Supermarket or Thai Huoth as well as SuperDuper, Aeon Express, A to Z mart and Circle K in BKK1. 

One of the biggest malls in the country, Aeon Mall is a few minutes away but Noro Mall also opened in late 2019 within BKK1 on Norodom Blvd and offers a selection of retail stores, F&B and BKK1’s first cinema.

On the north end of BKK1, on Sihanouk Blvd, are retail outlets for Adidas, Charles & Keith, and Pedro. Zandos is a popular discount clothing brand store, located on St 63.

Shoppers can also find vintage and 2nd hand clothes, tailored shoes and suits, or buy imported bags in the area. Money exchangers and jewellery shops are also found in this part of the city.

The most popular historical landmarks to see in Boeung Keng Kang 1 are the Independence Monument and Wat Langka. There are also Wat Thana and Wat Svay Poper.

The Independence Monument was built in 1958 to commemorate Cambodia’s liberation from French rule. Located on the intersection of Norodom Boulevard and Sihanouk Boulevard, the style of the Independence Monument is reminiscent of a blooming lotus (or a lotus-shaped stupa) and it was designed by legendary Cambodian architect Vann Molyvann. A traffic circle circumnavigates the iconic monument but it is a popular place for tourists to visit and take a photo of. At night time the monument is well lit. 

The Norodom Sihanouk Memorial, constructed in 2013, is located close to the Independence Monument. The site is often used for ceremonial purposes and marked on special occasions in Cambodia. The bronze statue of the revered former king is 4.5 meters tall and is housed under a 27-metre high stupa.

Wat Lanka temple (or pagoda) is believed to be one of the five oldest temples in Phnom Penh, and is located to the southwest of the Independence Monument. It was built by King Ponhea Yat in 1422 and is believed that the pagoda was first established as a sanctuary for religious scriptures and a meeting place for Cambodian and Sri Lankan monks. (The name Langka originates from housing monks from Sri Lanka.)

BKK1 is increasingly becoming known as the capital’s tourist hub, with a growing collection of bars, restaurants and hotels setting up shop, which translates into endless food options.

Boeung Keng Kang 1 has everything from international franchised food and beverage outlets to fine dining and streetside local Cambodian food - there are endless choices for dining out or grabbing a meal on the run.

Excellent cuisine from all over the world is available in this foodie hub and all within a short walking distance of each other. The eclectic food scene is always changing but popular expat dining destinations include Namaste India, The Sushi Bar, Mexicano, Katanashi, Mama Thai, Casablanca, Farm to Table, Villa Langka and many more. 

There are also well known Khmer fusion high-end eateries such as the popular Topaz and Malis restaurants located nearby on Norodom Blvd which are highly acclaimed. 

On St 310, international franchises like Burger King, Carl’s Jr, The Coffee Club, and Krispy Creme can be found. Other well-known brands in the area include Domino’s and Big Apple Donuts.

For caffeine fanatics, Starbucks, Joma, Coffee Bean, and Brown Coffee are scattered around BKK1, mainly on St 51. If on a budget, the local coffee shops offer great coffee for much lower prices than international branded cafes. 

A growing trend with all of the new developments has been the addition of rooftop bars and restaurants and good examples are Patio Hotel and Lantern Rooftop.

Although large mainstream nightclubs are lacking here, BKK1 has some excellent bars, smaller clubs and live music venues to explore. There is also a growing selection of trendy cocktail bars.

Most of the bars and micro clubs in the area are at the north end of BKK1, especially along streets 278 and 282, and across Norodom Blvd and in the bar alleyway of Bassac Lane on St 308.

On the budget end, St. 278 and St. 282 are home to popular expat and tourist bars such as Club Love, Top Banana, and Zeppelins, attracting a crowd of international visitors sampling affordable drinks, and cocktails. Mad Monkey on St. 302 is another popular port of call for backpackers while nearby Score Bar has a plethora of live sports on its big screens. 

The recent addition of a local craft beer scene means you can sample specialised beer selections at Embargo, Cerevisia or ar Duplex. Fancier specialised whiskey bars such as Odin (Japanese) and L.A.B (formerly known as Bodleian) also have on their menu a range of global whiskies offered in a classy setting.

Rooftop bars have become more common and offer an escape from the busy streets below. Cocktails, live music and slightly higher prices can be expected, perched above the BKK 1 skyline. A popular recent addition is the Eclipse Terrace Bar (on Norodom Blvd).

If you are interested in a relaxing time, try out some of the spas such as White Orchid Spa, Bodia Spa or Champei Spa which provide affordable pampering in soothing venues and traditional Khmer massages with scented oils and exfoliating scrubs.

There is a wide range of public transportation across the capital of Phnom Penh. Cambodia’s remork-moto and the new smaller tuk-tuks are common on most streets as are moto-taxis (motodops). There is a public bus route network which does use the main boulevards too.

Private Buses and taxis are also alternatives for commuters and can be arranged via the many hotels and guesthouses in the area.

The airport is about 40 minutes away from BKK1 and there are many ways to be transported to/from the airport. Vehicles can be pre-booked or simply taken from the airport to get to Boeung Keng Kang 1. 

Ride-hailing apps are much more commonly used now in Phnom Penh, so it's best to download one or more of these (PassApp, Grab etc), as they tend to be more affordable and easier to navigate with, than explaining destinations to the local drivers, although the English levels are generally good in BKK1.

The Cambodian government announced early in 2019 that BKK would become its own district, it was previously a commune within Chamkarmon district. 

The expat demographic is very diverse with residents and visitors from countries such as China, Korea and Japan now more prominent than Western expats. 

There are also several international schools in the vicinity including CIA Phnom Penh International School, The Bridgeton School & The Raffles Montessori School of Phnom Penh which continue to cater for international and local families. 

High-end gyms can be found in the area, most notably is The Place on the corner of St 51 and 278 and a few sports clubs use the schools' grounds in the area to practise.

Explore the Area

Boeng Keng Kang 1 district is located south of Sihanouk Boulevard (the central axis of Phnom Penh), to the east of Monivong Boulevard, north of Mao Tse Tung Tuong Boulevard, and west of Norodom Boulevard. 

There are more than a dozen international embassies in the area which can easily be identified on the map (including Switzerland, Bulgaria, Brunei, and Sweden) as well as the headquarters of various Non-Government and other well known international organisations (such as JICA, UNAIDS, UNDP and KOICA).


Real Estate in Bkk 1


Sangkats in Chamkarmon

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