The Evolution of BKK1: From Residential Hub to Expat Favorite

Share this Article  

Ever wondered why BKK1 in Phnom Penh is the talk of the town? 

From its modest beginnings as a local neighbourhood filled with homes and playgrounds, BKK1 has blossomed into an international hub. Buzzing streets, trendy cafes, and high-rise modern condos now define its skyline. But beyond its appeal as a vibrant place to live and relax, BKK1 shines as a golden opportunity for investment. The rapid growth and development have made residential and commercial properties in the area a sought-after asset. 

Considering a place to call home? Or perhaps you are seeking the next best locale for your business? BKK1 seamlessly blends Cambodian authenticity with global appeal. Join us on a journey through BKK1’s evolution and uncover why it’s not just a locale but a wise investment choice and a lifestyle destination.

Historial Perspective 

BKK1, originally part of Boeung Keng Kang district, has witnessed a series of transformations that make it what it is today. The metamorphosis can be traced back to several pivotal moments in Cambodia’s history:

  • Post-Colonial Era (1953-1970): After gaining independence from France in 1953, Phnom Penh underwent rapid urbanization and modernization. Many wealthy Cambodians and foreigners chose BKK1 as their residence due to its strategic location, marking the beginning of its reputation as an upscale neighbourhood.
  • Khmer Rouge Era (1975-1979): Phnom Penh was almost entirely abandoned during this dark period as the Khmer Rouge regime forced urban residents into the countryside. BKK1, like the rest of the city, became a ghost town. Many properties were left unoccupied, and infrastructure deteriorated.
  • Post-Khmer Rouge Era and UN Intervention (1991-1993): The United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) arrived to oversee Cambodia’s transition to democracy. With this, many international staff settled in Phnom Penh, with many opting for BKK1. This influx revitalized the area, constructing many new residences, restaurants, and businesses catering to foreigners.
  • 21st Century: As Cambodia opened its markets and encouraged foreign investment, BKK1 saw an influx of developers and investors. High-end condominiums, international schools, and modern amenities started sprouting up, making it a focal point for expatriates and affluent locals.

Early Days of BKK1


In the bustling heart of Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh, lies BKK1, a district now synonymous with modernity. However, its current vibrancy masks a rich, layered past shaped by time, ambition, and the resilience of its inhabitants.

Communities and Families:

Before BKK1 echoed with the hum of urban life, it was a tapestry of close-knit communities.

  • Families with deep generational ties built the essence of this district. Their lives intertwined in shared traditions, from the cheerful sounds of children playing age-old games to the wisdom imparted by elders beneath venerable trees.

Infrastructure’s Humble Beginnings:

The skyline of BKK1 was once devoid of the towering structures we see today.

  • Homes: Predominantly low-rise structures, these homes bore the signature of local craftsmanship and materials.
  • Roads: Far from the paved pathways today, early roads were well-trodden dirt tracks.
  • Amenities: Luxuries were scant. Most homes relied on communal wells for water, and a few essential schools imbued young minds with traditional values.

The Quintessence of Local Charm:

BKK1’s soul has always been its local businesses and spiritual centres.

  • Markets: BKK1’s markets have always been its pulse. Early on, they teemed with activity—vendors peddling fresh produce, artisans showcasing their crafts, and the unmistakable scent of Khmer dishes enticing passersby.
  • Temples: These sacred places served more than just spiritual needs; they were community gathering points where stories were exchanged and bonds strengthened.
  • Businesses: Small, often passed from generation to generation, these ventures – from tailoring shops to corner cafes – added depth to BKK1’s character.

Recognizing BKK1’s rich heritage is pivotal to value the contemporary marvel it has become truly. As we walk its streets today, the whispers of its storied past blend harmoniously with its present-day allure.

Catalysts for Change

BKK1’s shift from a quiet residential area to a dynamic hub is intriguing and impressive. Let’s break down the main drivers behind this transformation:

  1. Cambodia’s Economic Growth:

As Cambodia’s economy strengthened, investments poured into regions with potential, and BKK1 was a prime beneficiary. The district experienced enhanced infrastructure, increased commercial activity, and better residential options, reflecting the country’s overall economic upswing.

  • Real Estate Appreciation: Over the past decade, property values in BKK1 have substantially increased. As of 2022, real estate prices in Phnom Penh have seen a year-on-year growth of approximately 6-7%, making it one of the most sought-after locations for property investments in Phnom Penh.
  • Business Hub: The presence of numerous international businesses, NGOs, and embassies in BKK1 has turned it into an economic powerhouse. Commercial properties in BKK1 enjoy high occupancy rates, reflecting its desirability among businesses.
  • Tourism and Hospitality: With its array of upscale hotels, restaurants, and boutique shops, BKK1 has become a tourist favourite spot. This has led to a steady rise in revenue from the tourism and hospitality sectors.
  • Future Prospects: As Cambodia’s real estate continues to attract foreign investments and with the government’s push towards infrastructural development, BKK1 is poised for further growth. The ongoing projects and plans for transportation and urban development are expected to further enhance BKK1’s economic significance.
  1. Arrival of International Businesses:

Global companies eyeing opportunities in Phnom Penh found BKK1 a favourable location. Their establishment in the district led to a demand for more professional services, retail outlets, and residential accommodations. This influx also brought in a diverse workforce from various countries.

  1. Rise in Tourism:

With Cambodia becoming a sought-after tourist destination, areas like BKK1 evolved to cater to this demand. The tourism growth led to the establishment of more hotels, restaurants, and entertainment venues, further boosting the district’s appeal and vibrancy.

  1. Government Initiatives:

The Cambodian government recognized the potential of drawing foreign investments and expatriates. They introduced policies and incentives to encourage foreign businesses and individuals to invest and settle in key areas, including BKK1.

BKK1’s transformation results from internal growth within Cambodia and external interest from global businesses and travellers. Today, it stands as a symbol of Phnom Penh’s evolving landscape and potential.

BKK1 Today: An Expat Haven

BKK1 is not just a district in Phnom Penh—it’s a living story of how things change with time. Expats especially love this mix of old and new. Let’s explore the reasons:

  • BKK1’s Transformation:

Once lined with traditional homes and narrow lanes, BKK1 now boasts impressive structures. ‘J-Tower 2‘ for instance, is a 44-story residential building offering panoramic views of the city. Yet, nestled beside such giants, preserved homes remind us of a simpler past. This blend creates a unique ambience, attracting history buffs and modernists alike.

  • Diverse Culinary Landscape:

Food tells a story, and BKK1’s diverse. With its array of Japanese restaurants like Bijin Nabe, Marugame Udon, and Genki Sushi, food lovers can embark on a culinary journey through the flavors of Japan. Chinese cuisine enthusiasts can delight in the recently opened Crystal Jade and Kung Fu Kitchen, where they can savor the traditional tastes of China. Meanwhile, those seeking a more refined dining experience can choose from Shato 51, Ox Club, and The Cabinè, and immerse themselves in a world of gastronomic excellence. Other cuisines that can be found here are Thai, Indian, Korean, and Western cuisines.

  • Engaging Activities:

BKK1 ensures you’re never short of things to do. Nestled along St. 278, also known as the infamous ‘Pub Street’ of BKK1, this vibrant area boasts a plethora of night bars, clubs, and lively street lights. But BKK1 is not just limited to its bustling nightlife; it is also home to a variety of fitness centers and sports spaces, including those found at BKK1 High School.

  • Residential Comfort:

With its development, BKK1 has seen a rise in housing tailored to diverse needs. One such standout is Embassy Central, a modern condominium building featuring full range amenities like gym, swimming pool, and 24/7 security. But it’s not just the facilities that attract expats—it’s the community. BKK1 has become a hub for expats, attracting individuals and families from different corners of the globe. 

The Allure of BKK1: Why Rent or Buy Here


BKK1, Phnom Penh’s premier district, offers an enticing blend of tradition and modernity. Deciding between renting and buying here? Let’s delve into the compelling benefits of both:

  • Location & Amenities:

Whether you rent or buy, BKK1’s prime location ensures a plethora of amenities surround you. Everything you need is within arm’s reach, from bustling markets and gourmet eateries to modern fitness centres and lush parks.

  • Flexibility & Stability:

Renting offers unparalleled flexibility. Ideal for expats or those on short-term stays, rental properties often come ready to move in, with furnished options and maintenance covered. On the flip side, buying offers stability. No more shifting or annual rent renegotiations; your space is yours.

  • Investment Opportunity:

Property in BKK1 has consistently appreciated. Those who buy can see their property as a long-term investment. Furthermore, the high demand for rentals in the area means owners have the potential for a steady stream of passive rental income.

  • Financial Advantages:

While renters can enjoy the financial fluidity—allocating funds to travels, investments, or other endeavours—buyers can revel in the joy of asset-building. Over time, as the property’s value increases, so does your net worth.

  • Sense of Community:

Purchasing often leads to deeper community ties, but even long-term renters in BKK1 find themselves immersed in a welcoming and vibrant neighbourhood atmosphere. Local events, communal spaces in apartment complexes, and neighbourhood gatherings provide ample opportunities for socialization.

  • Customization & Freedom:

Property owners relish the freedom to modify and personalize their spaces. However, even renters in BKK1 often find landlords open to minor customizations, ensuring everyone can create a personal sanctuary.

In essence, whether you’re looking for a short-term home with the flexibility of renting or aiming to plant roots through purchasing, BKK1 promises a vibrant urban life filled with conveniences, community spirit, and promising financial futures. Both paths have unique perks tailored to fit varied lifestyles and aspirations.

DEEP DIVE: What Makes BKK1 a Highly Sought-after and Prestigious Location

The Future of BKK1

BKK1 in Phnom Penh stands at the cusp of a bright and transformative future. The plans for its development paint a picture of a dynamic, sustainable, and culturally rich neighbourhood.

  • Development Plans: 

The unveiling of the BKK1 Central Business District is highly anticipated. It will be a harmonious blend of offices, retail stores, and culinary hotspots. Furthermore, the skyline will soon be adorned with high-rise condos and luxurious villas, giving residents more housing options.

  • Preserving Cultural Heritage: 

Amidst this rapid development, there’s a conscious effort to retain BKK1’s soul. Not only will new structures incorporate traditional Khmer architectural elements, but there’s also a drive to support and promote local businesses. These establishments, often echoing Cambodia’s rich heritage, provide an authentic touch amidst the modern backdrop.

  • Sustainability Initiatives:

As BKK1 burgeons, sustainability remains at its core. Here’s what to expect:

  • Green Buildings: To enhance the well-being of residents and visitors alike, BKK1 is adopting a sustainable approach to building design that seamlessly blend urban living with natural elements.
  • Renewable Energy: An emphasis on solar and wind energy solutions on rooftops and open spaces.
  • Waste Management: A comprehensive waste management system that prioritizes recycling, composting, and responsible waste disposal. to ensure a cleaner environment.

Together, these efforts ensure that BKK1’s growth is about modernity and maintaining its heart and spirit.


BKK1 has truly evolved. It’s been a journey worth witnessing, from its quaint beginnings with close-knit communities to today’s bustling hub where the old and new harmoniously coexist. BKK1’s rich history, economic significance, and resonance with the expatriate community have jointly contributed to its reputation as a prime location in Phnom Penh. Whether for investment or residence, BKK1 continues to captivate attention on a global scale.

For those who haven’t explored BKK1, now’s the perfect chance. Experience its unique charm, taste its diverse cuisines, and feel the vibrancy of its streets.

  • Cultural Melting Pot: BKK1 is home to diverse nationalities, creating a vibrant international community. This diversity is mirrored in its range of restaurants, cafes, and shops, offering cuisines and products worldwide.
  • Modern Amenities: The neighbourhood offers many modern conveniences, from upscale gyms and international schools to state-of-the-art medical facilities and shopping centres.
  • Safety: With a significant expatriate and diplomatic presence, BKK1 boasts enhanced security measures, making it one of the safest neighbourhoods in Phnom Penh.
  • Green Spaces: Amid the urban setting, BKK1 is close to several parks and green spaces, offering residents a breath of fresh air and places to relax.

Thinking of making BKK1 your next home or setting up a business? We’re here to guide you. Visit the IPS Cambodia website for a variety of listings in BKK1 to suit every preference and budget. Dive into this captivating blend of history and modernity, and let BKK1 tell you its story.

Ready to start your BKK1 adventure? Connect with our real estate agents at IPS Cambodia now and discover the best BKK1 living and business opportunities.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *