The Cambodian provinces

A cow in Kandal province, Cambodia.

Expats who want to immerse themselves in Khmer culture head to the provinces.

Of course these six cities do not Cambodia make, and there are expats living all over the country. Prices in the countryside are very, very cheap and you can rent a house for next to nothing. Plus, immersion is one of the fastest ways to learn the language, and the further you get from the big city the more amenable locals are to helping you practice your Khmer.

If living in the provinces is a great way to learn Khmer, be warned that it’s a difficult life at first if you are on your own and without Khmer language skills. That said, many people have settled down in the countryside with their Khmer partners and enjoy the peace and quiet that can be found there (if you don’t mind the roosters and the karaoke).

Smaller cities, especially along the borders, usually have at least a few expat residents. Koh Kong, for example, has many Western-owned businesses and at least a couple Peace Corps volunteers at any given time. The same is true for Ratanakiri and most of the other small cities in the country. Even Poipet–believed by many to be the cesspool of Cambodia–has a handful of expats who call the place home.

This is an excerpt from Move to Cambodia: A guide to living and working in the Kingdom of Wonder. To learn more about 100+ topics that pertain to Cambodia expats, please consider buying the book.