Living the Dream for Less? Cost of Living Comparison: Cambodia vs. Australia

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Navigating Affordability: The Financial Perks of Living in Cambodia vs. Australia

In today’s globalised world, people often contemplate the prospect of relocating to a new country for a more affordable lifestyle – the concept of ‘geographic arbitrage’ has grown in popularity as opportunities for people to earn money in one country and live either part-time or full time elsewhere abound. For many Australians considering such a move, Cambodia has emerged as an intriguing destination due to its lower cost of living compared to Australia. In this comprehensive comparison, we delve into various aspects of the cost of living in Cambodia versus Australia, covering leisure/ entertainment, housing costs, utilities and basic expenses, transportation, groceries, and more. By examining these factors, we aim to provide valuable insights for those contemplating a relocation or investment in Cambodia.

Leisure and Entertainment

Living expenses extend beyond the essentials to include leisure and entertainment activities, which contribute to overall quality of life. In Australia, dining out and enjoying entertainment venues often come with premium price tags, particularly in major cities. For instance, an inexpensive meal at a restaurant in Australia can cost around AUD 25.00, while the same meal in Cambodia might only set you back AUD 5.35. Similarly, a lavish dining experience for two at a mid-range restaurant with a three-course meal can cost approximately AUD 140.00 in Australia, whereas in Cambodia, it’s significantly more affordable at around AUD 45.85.

When it comes to the important things, enjoying a refreshing beer with friends is a huge fraction of the cost in Cambodia compared to Australia. A domestic beer (0.5 litre draught) in Australia comes in at an average AUD 10.20, whereas in Cambodia, you can enjoy the same for just AUD 1.25 on average (meaning you can have a full week on the beer in Phnom Penh for the cost of one night out in Perth!) and often beers can be found at even lower prices if you know where to look! Even imported beers come at a lower price in Cambodia, with a 0.33-liter bottle costing around AUD 3.50, compared to AUD 12.00 in Australia. Another hugely significant price differential on a night out in Cambodia is for the smokers amongst you who will be very pleasantly surprised to find that a pack of cigarettes costs a mere AUD 2.00  compared to a now whopping AUD 43.00 in Australia!

These significant price differences highlight the affordability of leisure and dining experiences in Cambodia, allowing residents and visitors to enjoy a wide range of culinary delights and social activities without stretching their budgets. Whether you’re dining at a local eatery, savoring international cuisine, or indulging in a night out on the town, Cambodia offers ample opportunities for memorable experiences at a fraction of the cost compared to Australia. A summary of the data including details on cinema/ theatre ticket prices is presented in Table 1, below:


Housing Costs

One of the most significant considerations for individuals or families moving abroad is the cost of housing. In Cambodia, property prices present a stark contrast to those in Australia. While Australia’s major cities are known for their exorbitant housing prices, Cambodia offers more affordable options for property buyers.

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Investing in Cambodia Real Estate - Phnom Penh Koh Norea Bridge, Siem Reap Golf Course Villas

The average price per square meter for apartments, houses, and land in Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital, is substantially lower compared to any of the main Australian urban centres. For instance, while a modest apartment in an Australian city centre location commands and average price of AUD 13,000 per square metre, a similar property in a prime central location in Phnom Penh could be acquired for a fraction of that cost, at a price of under AUD 2,900 per square metre. Rental prices are similarly extremely low in comparison, as shown in Table 2, below:


Moreover, Cambodia’s real estate market has been experiencing steady growth in recent years, attracting both local and foreign investors seeking lucrative opportunities. With the government’s efforts to promote foreign investment and development projects across the country, property prices in key areas such as Phnom Penh and Siem Reap have shown promising capital appreciation. The upward trajectory for the Cambodian property market is set to continue long into the future with 60% of the population under the age of 25 meaning vast numbers of renters and home buyers coming into the market in future years. For a deeper dive into the solid prospects for Cambodian property investment, take a look at the latest analysis and findings in our new investment guide: Why Invest in Cambodia Real Estate

Utilities and Basic Expenses

Beyond housing, the cost of utilities and basic necessities significantly impacts the overall cost of living. In Cambodia, expenses such as electricity, water, and internet services are generally more affordable compared to Australia. Monthly utility bills for a typical household in Phnom Penh are notably lower than those in Australian cities, providing residents with cost savings in their day-to-day expenditures. Similarly, mobile phone plans and internet subscriptions are competitively priced, offering reliable connectivity without breaking the bank. Some of the data relating to utilities and phone/ internet are outlined in Table 3, below:


When it comes to groceries and food expenses, Cambodia’s markets and supermarkets offer a wide range of affordable options. Basic food items such as rice, vegetables, and local fruits are readily available at reasonable prices, making home-cooked meals a cost-effective choice for residents. While international cuisine and imported goods may incur higher costs, local markets offer an abundance of fresh produce at affordable rates, allowing residents to enjoy nutritious meals without straining their budgets. The average price data below (Table 4) does not factor in the very wide range of pricing in the bustling treat for the senses that are the Central Market/ Russian Market where all foodstuffs can be found at low and negotiable prices from local vendors – there is simply no equivalent to this in Australia!


In addition to foodstuffs at the markets, there are also vast stretches of clothing/ shoes/ bags and anything else you could possibly need (a whole section just for motorcycle parts for example), these markets really have it all. If you have a discerning eye it is possible to get the most incredible deals imaginable on clothing if you find a vendor selling factory seconds of designer labels – this is fashion shopping heaven for long afternoons and evenings. Apart form the many markets the average price of clothing items in high street stores is also appreciably cheaper in Cambodia, as evidenced in Table 5, below:


Healthcare Expenses

Access to quality healthcare is another crucial aspect of the cost of living equation. In Australia, the healthcare system is renowned for its comprehensive coverage and high standards of care. However, this quality often comes at a significant cost, particularly for individuals without private health insurance. Medical consultation fees, prescription medications, and specialist services can result in substantial out-of-pocket expenses for residents, adding to the overall cost of living.

Healthcare in Cambodia | Royal Phnom Penh Hospital, Royal Angkor Hospital

In contrast, Cambodia’s healthcare system has made significant strides in recent years, with improvements in infrastructure and medical services. While the country may not offer the same level of healthcare as Australia, expatriates and residents can access affordable medical care at private clinics and international hospitals in major cities. Consultation fees and medication costs are comparatively lower in Cambodia, making healthcare more accessible to individuals with varying budgets.

Transportation Costs

Transportation expenses play a significant role in the overall cost of living, particularly in urban areas where commuting is a daily necessity. In Australia, owning and operating a car can be a substantial financial commitment, with expenses including vehicle purchase costs, fuel, insurance, registration, and maintenance. Additionally, public transportation fares in major cities can quickly add up, especially for frequent commuters.

Tuk tuk in Cambodia

In Cambodia, the transportation landscape is radically different and for city dwellers a tuk-tuk ride can take you anywhere you wish at extremely low cost, often AUD 1.50 to AUD 3.00. Overall transportation costs are generally more much more affordable, offering residents a range of options to choose from. While owning a car remains a status symbol for some, many residents rely on motorcycles, tuk-tuks, or bicycles for their daily commute. These modes of transportation are not only cost-effective but also provide flexibility and convenience in navigating Cambodia’s bustling cities. Furthermore, public transportation services such as buses and taxis offer affordable fares, making it easier for residents to travel within and between cities without incurring exorbitant expenses. While there is no precise data on tuk-tuk prices and obviously no comparative data for Australia there are some figures for other transport related cost of living elements presented below in Table 6:


Overall Comparison and Conclusion:

In conclusion, the cost of living in Cambodia offers a compelling alternative to Australia for anyone seeking affordability without sacrificing quality of life. From housing costs to everyday expenses, Cambodia presents a range of advantages that make it an attractive destination for expatriates, retirees, and investors alike. While Australia boasts a high standard of living and robust infrastructure, Cambodia’s lower cost of living, coupled with its rich culture and warm hospitality, makes it an enticing option for those looking to embrace a new way of life.

If you’re considering Cambodia not just for affordability but also for a potential rewarding investment opportunity, we invite you to explore our selection of prime real estate. Explore cutting-edge condo developments situated in key areas of growth that offer a blend of luxury, comfort, and rental yield potential. 

Dive deep into Cambodia’s dynamic real estate market with our comprehensive Investor’s Guide.

Enjoy an exotic lifestyle and see your investment grow. Whether you’re an expatriate, retiree, or an international investor, the investment properties we offer promise a unique blend of high potential returns and an inviting lifestyle. Connect with one of our property consultants to discuss your investment options! 

Discover the Best of Cambodia: Premier Condo Developments in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap

With Cambodian real estate showing unparalleled investment opportunities, we’re excited to showcase standout condominium developments from our curated collection, combining unbeatable comfort, elegance, and potential for high returns. Check out the latest developments in Cambodia below or connect with one of our property consultants to personalize your investment options! 

J-Tower 3 Phnom Penh

Positioned in the heart of Phnom Penh, J-Tower 3 offers high-standard living spaces coupled with top-notch facilities and features. Designed with investor profitability and resident comfort in mind, this development is a perfect blend of affordability, luxury, and future appreciation.


ODOM Phnom Penh

Step into the future of urban living with ODOM. Offering lavish designs and cutting-edge amenities in a prime Phnom Penh location, ODOM redefines quality of life, placing it far ahead of its peers.



Timesquare 6 Phnom Penh

Time Square 6 stands in Phnom Penh as a symbol of aesthetic beauty, comfort, and functionality. This development represents an excellent consideration for entry-level investors looking to dip their toes in Cambodia’s thriving real estate market.


Timesquare 7 Phnom Penh

The latest icon in Megakim World Corp.’s portfolio, nestled in the vibrant Toul Kork district, this architectural marvel stands as a testament to modern luxury, offering diverse living spaces tailored to individual needs and lifestyles.


Angkor Grace Residence & Wellness Resort Siem Reap

Set in the picturesque city of Siem Reap, close to the iconic Angkor Wat, this development is more than a living space—it’s a sanctuary for wellness. Ideal for both travelers and expatriates looking for a serene retreat.


Rose Apple Square Siem Reap

Poised in the lively heart of Siem Reap, Rose Apple Square combines luxury and affordability. Get up to 11.4% return per year and a 5-year guaranteed buyback. A perfect investment gateway into the emerging Cambodian real estate market.


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