Being an old capital from the Laotian empire, now somehow transformed in a famous touristic destination, Luang Prabang still didn’t lost its charms. Besides the hordes of tourists, it’s still one of the most beautiful cities here! And if you are planning to visit Laos, this is definitely not a place to miss.
A peaceful monk walking by and gorgeous architecture on every street, a common sight in Luang Prabang.
The town is an UNESCO World Heritage since 1995, due to the unique mixture of traditional wooden houses, highly intricate temples and leftovers of colonial architecture. Since it was a French protectorate in the past, plenty of cute villas decorate the city. Some of them now are gorgeous little cafés or boutique hotels. Best way to appreciate Luang Prabang is walking around, not only to see the architecture and enjoy the street life, but also to meet some friendly locals. You can join them for lunch or at least for a couple of shots of rice wine – a must in this country!
So why should you visit Luang Prabang and what are the top things to do?
Laotian architecture and its unbeatable beauty.
Some ideas for you to start exploring:
- Haw Kham, one of the city’s symbol. It was the royal palace when Laos was a monarchy – now it became a national museum
- Chomsy Hill (Phou Si), a small and easy hike to reach the best place scenery in town – perfect for an unforgettable sunrise or sunset
- Vat Xieng Toung monastery or the smaller Vat Sirimoungkhoun Sayaram, Vat Khili, Vat Sop Sickharam and Vat Sibounheuang
- Evening stroll along the Mekong’s river getting enchanted by mysterious opaque brown waters and thick jungle on the other side
- Traditional dance performances
- Kuang Si waterfalls just outside the city, a great place to relax and cool down from the Southeast Asian heat, meet new travelers and visit the bear rescue center nearby. Organize your tuk-tuk ride with other travelers in your guesthouse to get a better price, and don’t forget to bargain!
Kuang Si waterfalls, almost unreal.
There’s also plenty of delicious Laotian food, look for some authentic meals in the less touristic places.
Freshly brewed coffee and proper baguettes, llegacy of the French culture, are very common! A great alternative to more Asian style breakfasts.
In terms of drinking don’t expect much of a nightlife! You can have some drinks in nice locations though, such as Utopia (a pleasant open-air lounge), Icon Klub or Hive Bar.
The night market in the downtown.
If you want to go to the countryside not too far, you should go to Nong Khiaw and Muang Ngoi. These two villages are on the river and surrounded by mountains.
Anyway, Luang Prabang is a must see in your Laos trip. Check Camboticket website for transportation options from Siem Reap and start exploring!
Southeast Asia has a lot of paradisiacal locations and relaxed places to wind down.
Get a break, chill by the water, catch some sun and have some cocktails!
Cambodia is no exception and there is no shortage of islands with postcard-like beaches in the kingdom. It is complicated to choose which one to visit if you have only short time… so which one should you pick? Here you can find some tips on where to go depending on your tastes…
Typical island life… (in Koh Rong Samloem)
Probably the most famous one in the backpacker circles, Koh Rong certainly fulfill the requirements of a proper Southeast Asian island:
- White sand ✔
- Clear blue waters ✔
- Plenty of bars on the beach to have a cocktail ✔
- Fresh seafood ✔
- Stunning views, sunrises and sunsets ✔✔✔!!! 😀
Besides that, in the quietiest beaches you even have the chance of seeing the fluorescent plankton by night. Certainly an experience not to be missed.
Koh Rong is considered the party island, a kind of smaller sister of the Thai island of Koh Phangan, where thousands of young backpackers come every year expecting full moon parties and cheap alcohol. So yes, definitely here you can party a lot, if that’s what you are looking for, and meet plenty of other young travelers. But, being a big island, if parties is not your thing, you can still find other quieter places and secluded beaches if you can afford some more expensive options…
Anyway, check our article on Koh Rong for more info on the island.
Waiting for your jump. (in Koh Rong)
For a smaller and less noisy island, you can find Koh Rong Samloem just near Koh Rong. More untouched and wild!
Have a look on our articles here and here for more info.
Accessible by slow boat or speed ferry. Check out CamboTicket’s website for all the boats’ options.
Paradise, here I come! (in Koh Rong Samloem)
For an even less developed and more natural location, we can’t recommend enough the peacefulness of Koh Takiev, an island 45 minutes by fisherman boat off the coast of Otres (near Sihanoukville). There are only four or five guesthouses, one in each beach – the perfect place for some days without civilization: just you, the sand and the sea. The place called “Last Point” is highly recommended, you can even bring your own hammock or tent to camp! Find here more info on this island.
The meaning of solitude… (in Koh Takiev)
Not far away, just out of the Ream National Park a bit south from Otres, with only one resort and fewer tourists, Koh Thmei is for the ones looking for absolute silence and secluded location. A must if you want to finish that book you are carrying in your backpack since weeks or maybe for a romantic escape…
Other option is Rabbit Island, or Koh Tonsay, just a half hour ride by boat from Kep. Here the sand is more into yellow color but a must-see is the glowing-in-the-dark plankton that appears at night!
In case you have a really short time, visit Koh Dach (Silk island) just outside of Phnom Pen, for a relaxed lifestyle and pleasant countryside. Besides, it’s a great place to learn about silk farming and buy some souvenirs, like the traditional Khmer scarf (the Krama!) for your loved ones back home! Read our article about this island for more info on where to go and what to do.
Hope this post gave you some ideas for your trip through the islands of the south of Cambodia. If it’s white-sandy beach and clear blue water what you looking for, these are the places for you! Have a look at Camboticket website for different options on how to go to Sihanoukville, including bus+ferry tickets to some of the islands.
Write us at [email protected] if you find any other interesting island! We will feature you in our Traveler Memoirs section and get a free ticket 😉
It’s probably one of the most visited destinations in Cambodia, with white sand beaches and clear waters to swim, quiet jungles to trek and all-night-long parties to dance. Koh Rong, an island near the coast of Sihanoukville and one of the backpacker heavens in Southeast Asia, has plenty of activities to do and – even better – it offers a great atmosphere to doing nothing at all.
Cliché postcard kind of beach.
Koh Rong is just 25 kilometers off the coast, offering more than 20 beaches for your relaxed vacations by the sea.
To reach it you must travel to Sihanoukville. There, head to one of the ferry offices you can find on the road leading to Serendipity beach. The options to reach Koh Rong are many, from slow boats for 5 dollars per trip taking two and a half hours, to fast boats that cost 20 dollars (with return included on an open date – meaning you just have to confirm the ticket on the previous day you have decided to come back) and only take 45 minutes. You can find all the ferry options on CamboTicket website as well!
These ferries will take you to Tuich village, the main backpacker area with the highest concentration of guesthouses. Here you will find more options in terms of food and shopping (mainly small supermarkets with basic products) and the cheapest accommodations. From 4 dollars per night for a bed in a dormitory or 6 to 8 dollars basic room. It will be here that you will also find the most crowded and noisy atmosphere in the whole island, with bars playing music until late night and hordes of people spread in the beach in front.
The piers on the beach of Tuich village.
If it’s quiet time what you are looking for, better options are available if you walk to the left (while looking in direction of the sea). Long beach is the next strip of sand (also known as Sok San or 7KM beach). After that one, 4K is probably one of the most beautiful in the whole island (also known as Long Set beach). Here you can find more secluded accommodation, fancy and well-built bungalows for about 25 to 35 dollars a night, just a 40 minutes’ walk from the main beach in Tuich village. In case you don’t want to walk the whole way you can also hire a local boat for about 2 dollars to drop you there. This is also one of the easiest spots to watch the fluorescent plankton by night, so prepare yourself for beautiful nocturnal swims with glowing water around you.
For other types of budget, around the island there are a lot of pristine beaches with resort-type of accommodation so, in case your wallet allows it, explore options and book beforehand (they will probably offer boat service to drop you on their specific beach)
Around the island many are the spots with great diving and snorkeling opportunities, and businesses offering these services can be found everywhere. For the ones more into exploring the nightlife, Tuich village is the place to go, with many bars such as the “Island Boys” offering drinks and loud (but not so good) music every night. A couple of nights per week there’s also one pub crawl happening, in addition to regular parties on Police beach where you can dance until morning – in fact, the end of the party is typically watching the incredible sunrise on the sea.
A gift from the skies, during sunset time while walking towards 4K beach.
For food, you can find plenty of restaurants along Tuich village and along its beach, with most of the typical options of Western, Italian, Middle Eastern and Asian food available. There also plenty of vegetarian options as well, and if you are on a budget, head to the Khmer-owned “Nice Food” restaurant which is the only one having meals for around 2 dollars.
On a different note, it’s pleasant to see as well how the businesses catered for tourists are helping the community, with Friends of Koh Rong organization created by some of the owners supporting education and health care to the local population.
So if beach is what you are looking for, have a look on Koh Rong island for some really special days in your vacation. Camboticket has various options to go to Sihanoukville from Phnom Penh or Kampot, including bus+ferry tickets (check theses here from Phnom Penh and here from Kampot).
Are you traveling or living in Southeast Asia, seeing photos on your instagram’s friends enjoying Burning Man in America, or remember all those great summer festivals in Europe with awesome bands and good vibes? Missing some wild festival, the concerts, the people?
Well… who told you can’t have it all in your journey through Cambodia, Thailand or Vietnam? Check out some ideas of places to party and hear good music, meet interesting people and explore arts and culture!
Main stage made out of bamboo from last edition of Wonderfruit.
If you are planning to be around Southeast Asia this December, don’t miss the Wonderfruit festival. Held near Pattaya from 14 to 17 December, on the fields of Siam Country Club. Think of beautiful crafted stages made out of bamboo in the middle of nature, wild performances and interesting art installations, concerts running 24 hours and dances watching sunrise or sunset. Besides that, this is an ecologically conscious festival so prepare yourself for some very sustainable days! It is a great way to inspire you in the fight against plastic waste. Besides music and arts, there will be a lot of workshops, talks and various healing activities such as meditation, yoga, massage, etc.
Art installation from the last edition of Wonderfruit.
Even if you are not in Thailand don’t worry, plenty of buses are available from nearby countries such as Cambodia! It is way cheaper than a flight and not a hassle at all, especially if you go by night. It will be just a good night of sleep that will not even notice the bus journey!
Have a look on Camboticket website for options from Cambodia to Thailand. Either from Phnom Penh to Bangkok or directly to Pattaya. If you are in the north, check options on how to go from Siem Reap to Bangkok or directly to Pattaya.
Serious glam camping happening on Wonderfruit site!
If you are planning to stop just in Cambodia, there are a lot of options as well. Start by checking the full moon parties that sometimes are organized on Cambodian islands such as Koh Rong. This is a great way to escape the crowds (and overrated music) of the famous full moon parties in Koh Phangan, Thailand.
When the high season arrives, prepare yourself for some serious beats in the jungle, and head over to Otres near Sihanoukville for the Kerfuffle party. This is a weekly event happening only when the monsoon stops and lasting until the beginning of next year. It is open-air in the middle of the jungle with psychedelic decoration and hippie crowd. Definitely a must try!
A Kerfuffle party in Otres, Sihanoukville.
For both destinations have a look at the bus options Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville. From there you can take a short tuk-tuk drive to Otres or a boat to Koh Rong. Combined tickets of bus+ferry are also available on the Camboticket website!
If your plan is to go to Vietnam, there’s also the Quest festival near Hanoi, on 10 to 12 of November! Have a look!
Hope this article got you some ideas of where to party in SEA and to which music and art festivals to go.
A trip to Cambodia, Thailand or Vietnam does not mean staying out of the festivals season in Europe or America, there are great options available! So prepare your festival costume and camping gear to head out to Wonderfruit, Quest or any party in the islands 🙂
Normally bypassed or used just as a gateway to Laos, Vientiane has more to offer for a traveler willing to stay for a couple of days.
Wind down along the Mekong riverbank with a beerlao in your hand or sit down at one of the many restaurants to try some delicious laotian food. Walk around and explore this relaxed city, way smaller than other Southeast Asian capitals and plan the rest of your trip.
Vientiane is in a perfect location in the middle of the country, not very far from both the north with Luang Prabang and from the south, 4000 islands and Bolaven Plateau.
Here you can find a slow-paced lifestyle uncommon in capitals. Probably an endangered characteristic since the city is engaging in a fast Chinese-invested growth separating it from the rest of the country mood. While in the whole Laos there are mainly nature or wooden villages, in Vientiane there is a rising middle-class and businesses starting to sprout everywhere to satisfied their needs.
Shortage of bars and restaurants is not a problem, with also the weird sight of luxury cars roaming the city’s streets or families going to new expensive shops. An ironic experience for this proudly communist country!
Nevertheless, an authentic and simple lifestyle is still possible to find in the many small markets and traditional businesses.
Located in the middle of the country, is also an easy stopping point between the south and the north. For instance, if you are coming from Cambodia and go first to 4000 islands, it is on your way to the north. Vientiane makes it a fairly convenient spot to stay for a couple of days and experience something different. Forget about dirty roads and bamboo infrastructure, expect wide boulevards and colonial buildings! The French in fact organized everything during the colonial period.
In terms of things to see and places to visit, have a look at:
– Pha That Luang: a golden-color stupa. It is the national symbol of Laos and its most important monument, a major pride for all Laotians
– Wat Sisaket: a beautiful temple built using the Thai-styled architecture. It is the oldest religious structure here and one of the few survivors of the destruction of the city made by Siam kingdom in the 18th century. Even the famous Emerald Buddha in Bangkok’s Grand Palace was stolen from here!
– Thanon Lane Xang: the widest boulevard in town, starting from the presidential palace
– the Mekong riverfront: where you can find places to eat street food, a small but lively market and a pleasant garden to cool down during the hottest hours of the day
– Lao national museum: where you can learn more about the history of this peaceful country
– Cope visitor center: in case you want to know more about the secret American war. In fact in the seventies USA heavily bombed extensive civilian areas of Laos. Feel free to donate or buy some souvenirs to supports this NGO providing health care to the victims
– Patuxai: a highly kitsch version of the French arc du triumph. Funnily enough it is slightly taller than the parisian one, just as a matter of national ego after independence!
– Black Stupa (locally known as That Dam): a stupa that Laotians believe protects the city
– Street markets: Laos is famous for the incredible wide collection of animals that people eat, so a great memorable experience can be to try some of the local specialties such as bugs or bats. (Although we recommend you to always check on the internet to see if the animal you are about to eat are part of some endangered species. Laos is unfortunately famous for its wildlife protection violations!)
A cool Vietnamese temple
For a bit of surrealism, go to the park in the Vientiane’s suburbs, a short bus ride towards Thai border. The name is Xieng Khuan, or Buddha park, and it has the weirdest religious sculptures you can imagine. It’s kind of an older brother of a similar (and more recent park) on the Thai side of the Mekong. It has been made by same artist and has an endless collection of strange creatures as well. Also if you are up for a daytrip outside the city, Nam Ngum Lake can be a good option. There you can relax while cooling off and swimming in its waters.
The public park near Mekong riverfront
Hope you got an idea of what to visit in this sleepy capital of Laos. Don’t miss Vientiane on your way between the south and the north of the country.
And if you are in Cambodia, have a look an Camboticket website to get some itineraries by bus.
Don’t forget that you will need a visa to enter Laos! For most of the countries available at the border for around 30 USD, depending your origin country.
Don’t forget to bring your smile to greet this friendly and happy people of Laos!
Cambodia, being a tropical country, has a wide variety of wildlife species in its habit. Unfortunately, like many other countries, with the changes in natural landscape many animals are in risk of extinction. That’s why the work of wildlife conservation centers is so important: not only to save the animals, but also to educate the public and raise awareness. Beside, who doesn’t want to meet some animals in a setting where you are sure they are well treated?
Have a look at the wildlife center in Phnom Tamao. While having fun you will help support a project saving hundreds of animals from exploitation!
A rescued elephant on her morning stroll with the caretaker.
They portrait it as a zoo, in order to attract a Khmer audience as well. However, the wildlife center is a large property with different zones for the various species, most of them recovering from being:
- pets, which is illegal in Cambodia to have wildlife animas at home, especially from endangered species
- trapped on illegal snares setup by hunters, often harming them to a great extent (for instance there is an elephant on site that lost his leg due to these traps)
- exploited in zoos or other businesses with terrible conditions (e.g. tourism-based businesses where they are beaten up to stay calm for the tourists)
- traded in the black market, often to harvest parts of their body for traditional medicines
- rescued from human-to-animal conflicts, for instance a wild animal living near a village and destroying the farms or eating livestock, therefore making the local population wanting to hunt it down in order to protect themselves
Lucky, a very happy female elephant enjoying some treats from visitors such as pineapple, corn or peanuts.
You can see and interact with different animals and learn more about them, curiosities about their lifestyle, their current situation in terms of risk of extinction, etc. Leopards, gibbons, bears, monkeys, tigers, otters… the list is huge! You can visit as a normal visitor or book a tour. The money will directly support the programs in order to treat the animals and, hopefully, release them in the wild. They will not release them f they can’t adapt to the wild conditions anymore, hunt by themselves, etc.
A caretaker cleaning a prosthetic leg for Chhouk, a male elephant that lost his leg to an illegal hunting snare.
They also have tours available in the province of Koh Kong. Here you can stay in their main release center (more info here), and visit their ecotourism project in the village of Chi Phat where you can sleep in a homestay. There are many activities such as trekking, mountain biking and boat tours, enjoy beautiful nature, rainforest and waterfalls, breath some fresh air and enrich your trip with an authentic experience! Check here for more info on this.
If you are heading north, they also have a wildlife release center near Angkor Wat, in Siem Reap. Have a look at their website for more info.
A cute gibbon looking for some human touch.
Camboticket has a variety of buses and vans to Koh Kong and Siem Reap! Why not getting yourself into nature and help an interesting project saving Cambodian’s wildlife?
If you are in Phnom Penh, take a break from the city and visit their wildlife center in Phnom Tamao! It is just on the outskirts of the city, in Takeo province.
Freshly arrived in Saigon 2 months ago, we already fell in love with this city! 🙂
First surprise : the traffic. As French, we usually do not see so many motobikes on the road. We were especially shocked by the fact that they don’t stop at every red light or overtake the bus at less than 20 centimeter.
After 40 min spent in the cooling and connected bus, I arrived in district 1, here I met my friend in a little hidden guesthouse. After he packed, we went by Uber (lucky us!) to our new house, that we found easily on Facebook. Finding a place to live it’s not a big deal as there is a big network of expats in the city.
On our way to go, we discovered this amazing city with all thoses little shops selling everything that can be sold, the typical architecture with the contrast of narrow houses and brand new big buildings, the basic restaurants filled with little tables and chairs, filled themselves with foods and beers, all of thoses motobikes that an entire family drives, holding sometimes a baby or a fridge.
Once at the house at 7am, the good smelling barbecue made by a vietnamese man for breakfast welcomed us!
After we met a french expat who is working here as landlord since 6 months. Thanks to him, we learnt many basic informations that we needed for living in this city: where to exhange money, how to behave (the hand shaking movement to say “no/I don’t know”), how to drive in this crazy traffic and the cost of life.
Finally on week-end, my roomate and I decided to go discovering our new place, it was time to drive inside that traffic jungle, find out where to buy food and home stuffs and having parties in the famous Bui Vien street. For food, there is nothing easier, street foods and little restaurants are here to provide you a range of dishes from basic rice with meat to famous vietnamese sandwich (Banh Mi Thit ) and the typical noodles soup (Pho). The good news: you can take away everything!
For driving, it might look difficult because of the impressive number of motobikes, but all actually drive in the same way : just adjusting your speed to the one in front of you and don’t give any care of the one behind you. After being aware of that rule, we are now enjoying the city much more than if we hadn’t learnt how to drive because motobike is just life here!
Last but not least, partying in Saigon. Night life is just crazy and fun: you can drink for cheap, the city has a lot of different kind of bars and people from everywhere in the world ! Most of the big parties are in Bui vien street but thanks to its diversity, you can just find your own spot and enjoy the night life!
Finally, if I have to resume my life in Saigon in one word, it could be FREEDOM
Tip : You are by yourself and don’t know what to do tonight ? Go to the TnR // 57 Do Quang Dau,District 1, Hô-Chi-Minh-Ville 700000
An hidden gem in the south of Cambodia
Photo by Anthony Risse
To join the Areng Valley is already an adventure: after a few hours by bus, you must ask to the driver to stop… nowhere! It is just an intersection, with a sandy road going into the jungle.
Our motorbike drivers are already waiting for us, one motorbike per person. Then we drive across the mountains, the slippery road and the stunning landscapes of Areng Valley for almost two hours.
Photo by Anthony Risse
The night is coming and we stop in the Areng riverside for our first camp: nothing luxurious, just a hammock under a plastic sheeting. Because of the rainy season, the level of the river is high, but it is still possible to take a natural shower inside.
The day after, we go again behind our motorbike drivers and stop in a local family house for breakfast. Since the foreigners are rare here the family is more than welcoming and the breakfast is transformed in a memorable exchange.
We finally say good bye to our brave motorbike drivers and start to trek. It is like entering a new world, with giant trees and wild sounds all around. After a few hours of hiking, we arrive at the camp on a big rock on the top of the mountain. The view on the valley in astonishing! We can see kilometers and kilometers of primary forest with a good chance to see wildlife in the canopy.
Photo by Anthony Risse
In the morning, we are waken up by the gibbon’s call. We decide to follow the sound to have a chance to observe them. After one hour, we have a unique chance to meet two gibbons!
Later on, coming back in the valley, we walk until the riverside, where kayaks are waiting for us. One more time, the immersion is total, and we try to meet the famous Siam crocodile, until two flights of great hornbills.
Photo by Anthony Risse
The Areng valley exploration is definitely one of the best adventure to do in south Cambodia!
Don’t hesitate to contact the Cambodian NGO ”Mother Nature Cambodia” and their project ”Wild Koh Kong” to organize your trip. Thanks to their work, the Areng Valley survived to a dam project.
Delightful for those interested in history and culture, Hue is the old capital from the Nguyen dynasty, a vibrant town with ruins and interesting architecture. Located close to Hoi An, it is the perfect stop if you are crossing Vietnam from south to north or the other way around.
The imperial citadel.
From 1802 to 1945, the Nguyen dynasty made Hue the national capital, as noticeable from the main attraction in town: the imperial citadel. Called Dai Nôi in Vietnamese, this is the old fortified city where the emperor and the royal family used to live.
Now partly in ruins due to the bombings and past wars, but there is a lot of infrastructures still standing. It is a beautiful and interesting site for those looking for culture and history.
You can visit different palaces (such as the Thai Hoa, or coronation hall), temples and galleries, understand better the life of the royal family and the city in general, or even just roam around and take photos of beautiful old architecture. The entry is 150.000 dong but it’s totally worth it, needless to say, the place is a Unesco World Heritage so it will certainly enrich your trip with a better cultural understanding of this country!
The traditional court music has been proposed to Unesco as well. Every two years there is a big festival celebrating Hue culture and music being a big part of it. Do research before coming since you may be lucky enough to be able to attend it 🙂
The guardian statues at the Tomb of Khai Dinh.
Don’t miss the complex of Tombs of the Emperors on the surroundings of the city, easily reachable by road but also by boat along the Perfume river. The guardian statues defending the emperor will welcome you and, inside the tombs, there are delightful decorations and intricate ceramics works. The admission for each tomb is 100.000 dong but it is better to buy the 360.000 dongs ticket which includes the entrance to the citadel and three tombs (valid for two days). And definitely the three you must go are the Tomb of Khai Dinh, the Tomb of Minh Mang and the Tomb of Tu Duc.
The architecture of the Tomb of Khai Dinh.
Besides that you can visit the beautiful Thien Mu Pagoda, or the Pagoda of the Celestial Lady, a symbol of the city. With its seven-storey architecture, it sits peacefully on the river bank of Perfume, the river that crosses the town. The river is also an icon of Hue – take full advantage of it and have a stroll along its promenade. Don’t forget to enjoy the street food!
And indeed, Hue is quite famous for its food. There is a big difference between everyday food (that people commonly eat) and imperial food (that the royal family used to eat)! Some examples of popular local dishes are the tiny mussel rice (com hen) and bún bò Hue, a beef noodle soup that is specific of this city. Don’t forget to try also the grilled meat vermicelli (bun thit nuong) and the khoai cakes (banh khoai) which are fried rice cakes served with different things such as eggs and shrimps.
The colorful incense sellers decorate the city and its surroundings.
Hope this article made you curious about Hue, definitely one of the highest cultural spots in your journey.
Start your Vietnam trip from Ho Chi Minh and then go up the coast from there. You can visit Hue and Hoi An on your way to the north.
Check the options to reach Ho Chi Minh on Camboticket website, for instance from Phnom Penh is just a six hours trip!
It is common in Cambodia that travelers who at first came for some weeks, extended the visa to stay a bit more. Then months after month the ex-traveler notices that is indeed living in Cambodia and doesn’t want to leave. (True story for the one writing this!) Cambodia is, in fact, a very easy country to live and find work in. The cost of living is still relatively low while the opportunities increase. With a rising economy and a vibrant non-profit sector, working in Cambodia in companies or NGOs is easy. Alternatively, if your English language skills are good, a variety of schools have teaching positions available.
Following the article last week about the different visas and how to get them, we continue this series about living in Cambodia with some info about working in the kingdom.
Phnom Penh is one of the capitals in Southeast Asia developing faster, with many opportunities rising in different sectors.
First, make sure you read all about the visa in our previous article about living in Cambodia, including the different sub-types, such as the ones adequate for business or entrepreneurs, people looking for job, etc.
Focusing on job search, the easiest way is to hang out with people of the sector of your interest. Many connections in Phnom Penh come from word of mouth and social relationships are crucial for that. In the meantime, check some of the websites with job vacancies, like Bongthom, Khmer24 or Khmeradz.
For volunteering, have a look at the online platforms focused on social and non-profit sectors, such as Idealist. Just reflect on the impact you will have on the people, especially if children are involved. In fact many of the short-term volunteering opportunities are actually proven to do more harm than good. For more on this topic you can read this article on the Guardian about volunteering and the orphanage industry in Siem Reap.
One detail to take into consideration is not to “steal” it from a local person. It is better to find jobs requiring skills that are still not available locally and help the country to develop!
One of the most typical jobs for a foreigner is teaching English in local schools. Usually you don’t need certificates or teaching experience, but you are still influencing the children’s education and having an English language certificate will definitely raise your chances of a better salary. If your skills allow you to teach something different maybe it is more adequate for you and helpful for the locas. They will need more a teacher of computer literacy or other specific vocational training than another English teacher!
Other thing to pay attention to is the work permit. The cost is 130 dollars for this year. Last year it was 100 dollars and, in case you were already working here, they will charge that as well. In addition you will have to pay 30 dollars for the medical paperwork. More info here, where you can also register yourself if needed.
In case you are a freelance, have a look at our article on available coworking spaces.
Opening your own business is an option as well: a shop, bar/restaurant or something more “serious”. You have to register it, get your taxes right and an employee quota registration (check the government website for more info). There are some good news though: Cambodia is one of the few countries where foreigners can own their business, even without a local partner. However, a Khmer person that helps you out with the paper work is recommended, especially if your tolerance to bureaucracy is low!
In case you want to open your own businesses, besides the obvious rules there are some little ones to remember. For example, the name of the company has to be translated in Khmer and displayed above the English name.
We hope to have clarified some of the common doubts about living and working in Cambodia. If you are traveling by and thinking of staying longer, go for it! You will enjoy the relaxed Khmer lifestyle, contributing to the growth of the country.