Phnom Penh Area Guide: BKK1 – Phnom Penh’s Expat Haven

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BKK1 is the central business district of the city. It is an expat area lined with embassies, hotels, restaurants, bars, and many others. BKK1 is also where most of the business transactions take place.

Welcome Smile for Expats


The district is known as the “foreign capital” since the early ’80s. It is located at the north end of Sihanouk Blvd and southeast of Independence Monument. It borders the Norodom Blvd, Mao Tse Tung Blvd, and Monivong Blvd. Majority of expats and professionals live in this area.

Boeung Keng Kang I is known for its acceptance of the expat community. The area is home of the Embassy of Switzerland, Bulgaria, Brunei, and Sweden. It is also the headquarters of various Non-Government and International Organizations.

BKK1 also has international food and beverage options. For food choices, there is Namaste India, The Sushi Bar, Domino’s, Big Apple, and Topaz. St 310 has Burger King and Carl’s Jr branches as well. For caffeine fanatics, there’s Starbucks, Joma, Coffee Bean, and Brown Coffee scattered around BKK1.

If on a budget, the local coffee shops offer great coffee for half the price of the international brands. With the plethora of familiar choices available, it’s like you never left home. Everywhere you look is familiar territory.

Real Estate Market At a Glance

Unlike BKK2 and BKK3, the properties in BKK1 are expensive but it remains an attractive area for business. These businesses profit from the large expat market. Commercial outlets attract a lot of foreigners, especially around the area of St 278, St 282, St 5, and St 63. Restaurants and office buildings line St 63.

Choices range from local cuisine to international food items. There are pharmacies, salons, and travel agencies. Anything you need is right here in this street.

In terms of accommodations, hotels are mid-range to upscale boutiques. Condominium and apartments start from $500 for a single bedroom and $1000 above for serviced units. But even with the high cost of living, it is still the best choice for its convenience and accessibility.

Condominium and apartments start from $500 for a single bedroom and $1000 above for serviced units. But even with the high cost of living, it is still the best choice for its convenience and accessibility.

International Schools and Markets in BKK1

Many international schools guarantee quality education for expat children living in Phnom Penh. Home of English, Heritage International, and Brighton are all located in BKK1.

Most of these schools are located in Sts. 360, 352 and 282. Phsar Boeung Keng Kang BKK Market is in the south part of BKK1, between Sts 380 and 392. This market is popular for young shoppers looking for affordable prices. There’s the usual fruits, vegetables, meat, live seafood, household supplies, and kitchen wares.

On the side, there are jewelry and money exchange stalls with wads of Cambodian Riels. You will also find vintage and 2nd hand clothes, shoes, and bags imported from other countries. It is not as organized as western markets, but it is a cheap option for your daily needs.

Nightlife in BKK1

When the regular offices closed, the streets are alive with bars and restaurants. It makes up for a lively and active night scene. St. 278 and St. 282 is where the popular bars, Top Banana is located. Club Love in St. 278 is for those who want to go dancing the night out.

There are also local bars and pubs along that street. Drinks, cocktail, and food prices are a little higher. That’s most likely because rent for commercial spaces is high as well. But if you live in any of the apartment buildings in BKK1, it’s convenient because everything is just walking distance to where you are.

The Community that is BKK 1

BKK 1 is filled with hotels and restaurants offering international local Khmer food. Further along, BKK Market is also a good shopping option. If you’re looking for a more sanitary option, you can find almost anything you are looking for in Lucky Supermarket or Thai Huoth.

This district is where most condominiums and apartment units were built. For expats in BKK 1, living in this area is very convenient. It is a home away from home.

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