We've been in Cambodia since June and will be wrapping up our time here in January. It's been an interesting journey, mainly separating fact from fiction or rather reality vs research. The next few blogs will break down in detail the various differences. And yes I know some will disagree. Good for you.
Most articles/blogs we read went into detail on how cheap/inexpensive Siem Reap, Cambodia was/is. And it is but there are levels to cheap. All of the blogs we read regarding Cambodia were/are written by well white people and their perspective isn't mine. Not pointing a finger but pointing out the obvious. Let me remind everyone that I'm a southern Black woman with southern sensibilities. And that could mean a number of things but in this instance it means I can be a little bougie.
And if this is becoming murky, I'll say this. I see color. Feel free to stop reading at this point if you think your feelings will be hurt, I will not be mad. This I promise.
Let's start with lodging and pricing for it. Everyone will start out renting here and as mentioned all research pointed to super cheap lodging and they are right if you have very low standards. And again I'm bougie. I like clean surroundings that I will generally spend most of my breathing time in. You can easily get a room with a bed for $40 to $150 a month. But that's about it. You may get A.C., you may get a fridge, a TV, a night stand. It might be in a building or area that doesn't reek of sewer water or sound like a party 24/7. Maybe. But doubtful.
Here are a few samples of some one bedroom studios that start at the $250-$450 range and are generally considered "Western". These rooms are suitable for a single guy/gal or couple not for families.
And we are a traveling family who needs space to work and play in.
Our rent is $600 a month, still way cheaper than in the U.S. considering it's for a fully furnished two bedroom, two bath apartment, weekly maid service, cable and internet (neither are great but hey), pool, security and staff that are present to handle any issues 24/7.
We budgeted in our mind around $450 for all of the above. Including electricity based on all of the blogs we read that were focused around single guys and gals living in a one room studio or apartment. As you can see we under budgeted and reality quickly seeped in. We all had a list of must haves that we dropped for we got's and that's about it.
Here's a sorta quick video montage of our search. All in all, could we have went cheaper, of course, we found one that was about $100 cheaper that we liked but the surroundings didn't appeal as much. Another had unpaved roads and thankfully we did heed a word of caution about not living where the roads were unpaved. When the wet season hit and it rained for days at a time, this was much appreciated.
Could we have paid less or more? Easily. There are all levels of living in Siem Reap, just like in the rest of the world. But one of our goals in moving to SE Asia was to reduce our expenses. We did that. We are spending around $1200 a month to live here and that includes rent, electricity and food. That was our mortgage by itself in the states.
All in all, this first stop in Cambodia taught us a lot, more about us than anything AND prepared us for the next step along our journey. Join us.