Life in Cambodia

Survival Bible of Phnom Penh


Life in Cambodia


Cambodia is a region of Southeast Asia, and its borders touch Vietnam, Laos and Thailand before diving into the Gold of Thailand. 182,000 km² of land is home to 15.8 million inhabitants, 33% of whom are under 15 years old. The capital, Phnom Penh, is located in southern Cambodia and a few hours by bus from Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam's economic capital. 

This monarchy, led by King Norodom Sihamoni since 2005, ranks 143rd on the human development index. The average salary is $120 and more and more international companies are going to this country as part of their internationalization, thanks in particular to low labour costs. 

Some sites listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including Angkor and the time of Perah Vihear.

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The economy of Cambodia

Since the return to calm in the 1990s, the situation has improved significantly in many areas (legislation, road network, mine clearance, international relations, etc.). 

With a growth rate of around 7% and inflation of around 3% in 2017, the World Bank has reclassified Cambodia as a "middle-income" country. However, it remains one of the least developed in ASEAN, still marked by high levels of inequality. Moreover, the country is very strongly "dollarized" and enjoys good monetary stability, even if the banking sector, where almost all deposits are in dollars, remains highly dependent on the exchange rate. 

The economy is not very diversified, as it is based on three main sectors:

  • Agriculture: 2/3 of the population lives from agriculture.
  • Industry: it is mainly based on textiles and shoe manufacturing. Textiles alone employ around 700,000 people and are the main driver of growth.
  • Tourism: the boom is spectacular and is expected to continue. The Chinese are second only to the Vietnamese among Asian visitors, but they have become the government's priority target. About 5.5 million tourists visited Cambodia in 2017, a 10% increase over the previous year. For the time being, this dynamism is mainly linked to Angkor.