Cambodia Is Beautiful, The Khmer People Are Extraordinarily Friendly, and It's a Surprisingly Wonderful Country

Rob Hourmont

Cambodia is my favorite out of the 7 countries I’ve lived in.
A Cambodian woman sitting on a traditional wooden bench.Photo byRob Hourmont

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I was slightly confused by Cambodia’s slogan — The Kingdom of Wonders — when I arrived in the capital, Phnom Penh, in December 2021. I didn’t see wonders, just a bustling and slightly chaotic city.

That all changed when I found Siem Reap.

If you haven’t visited Siem Reap, you haven’t seen the real Cambodia. I love Phnom Penh for its classic city life. I enjoyed the south and the sea in Kampot and Kep too.

For me, Siem Reap and its province are a totally different story. The heart of the city is beautiful and very well maintained. It has a mix of lovely Khmer and Colonial architecture.

You feel like you’re in one of the loveliest and quaintest European cities.

The Khmer people are extraordinarily friendly and helpful wherever you go. I found that to be even more so in Siem Reap.

Some people say Cambodia is dirty and a mess wherever you go. That’s not the case. Waste management is a long-term problem worldwide, especially in Southeast Asia.

However, I can truthfully that they are doing a great job of catching up in Cambodia. Much more so than in other Southeast Asian countries I’ve visited.

The countryside surrounding Siem Reap is gorgeous and pristinely clean.

I’ve finally visited Angkor Wat, its many temples and small mountains. All of which are breathtakingly beautiful and packed with history.

Note: I did not see one plastic bottle or trash in the Angkor Wat area or on the mountain trails I hiked. It was all clean as a whistle.

My 4 years in Bali taught me a lot about pollution and how not to waste management.

For example, you see far less plastic trash in Cambodia than in Bali.

I am fortunate to live here at present.

Please watch my video, where I explain what I have learned about Cambodia. View the YouTube video here.

The never-ending complaining ex-pats

Sadly, some ex-pats in Cambodia insist on putting it down. They call the country polluted, environmentally irresponsible, noisy, with terrible traffic, and “overpriced for what you get.”

Of course, these comments come from the angry folks on Facebook who are disappointed and bored with their lives.

I asked:

“If you find Cambodia so bad, why are you still here?”

A friendly person commented back, saying:

“Some people hate everything about Cambodia but never leave. They are just having a bad day, that’s all.”

The angry man’s reply:

“I just see it how it is.”

There was no need to reply. Thankfully we all see things our own way.

Moving on - the now and future

Let’s not forget that Cambodia and its people went through 10 to 15 years of terrible destruction by the Khmer Rouge.

Despite the genocide and 1/3 of the population (of then 7 million) being wiped out, they’ve miraculously recovered.

30 years after the catastrophic suffering ended, the country’s population is now at 17 million and rapidly growing.

Cambodia is a developing country with an economy set to blossom in the coming decades.

If you want to make a good move, come here to live, work, retire, or invest. It will be the best thing you can do for the quality of your life, happiness, and return on investment.

Final Thoughts

I've now lived in Cambodia for 18 months and can only say great things about the country and its people. I have never had any problems in Cambodia. On the contrary, life is so easy-going - it is a small paradise in the middle of South East Asia.

I can only recommend you visit Cambodia soon - you will be surprised!


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