1 August 2016

Khizar Ilyas - Expat in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Khizar Ilyas - Expat in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Khizar Ilyas is a 35-year-old Pakistani information technologist who lives in the city of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Originally from Islamabad, Pakistan, he relocated to Cambodia for job-related reasons. “Southeast Asia is the best region because of no social and environmental issues,” he said. At present, he has been living in Cambodia for 4 years now.

Mr. Ilyas noted that his most difficult experience as an expat involved looking for suitable, cost-effective living and learning how to communicate with the locals. He also addressed the trouble of living in a country where corruption is often present; adding that one of the negatives of living in Cambodia is that corruption compels him to spend more.

Expats who are having some trouble with communicating with the locals may want to consider joining available clubs and associations around the area to meet others who share similar experiences and interests. Furthermore, expats who are undergoing some problems with bureaucracy overseas can find support from their local embassy in their host country.  

Find out more about Khizar Ilya’s experiences in Cambodia in his full interview below.

Q: Where are you originally from?

A: Islamabad, Pakistan. 

Q: What made you move out of your home country?

A: Career / Job.

Q: Where are you living now?

A: Phnom Penh.

Q: How did you come to choose this new country of residence?

A: South East Asia is the best region because of no social and environmental issues.


Q: How long have you been living in Cambodia?

A: 4 years.  

Q: What has been the most difficult experience you've had when you were new in your host country?

A: Suitable (cost effective) living and communication with locals

Q: Would you say that formalities like getting visas or work permits and international health insurance was particularly difficult in Cambodia? What was your experience with these?

A: Visa (first entry) is a big hurdle.

Q: Are you living alone or with your family?

A: With family.


Q: How are they adjusting to the Expat Lifestyle?

A: Only convenient to make expat friends. Locals avoid foreigners because of communication problems. 


Q: Was it easy making friends and meeting people? Do you mainly socialize with other expats in Cambodia? How did you manage to find a social circle in Cambodia?

A: Easy to meet people.  Expats are the convenient options to have friends. Sports club.

Q: What are the best things to do in the area? Anything to recommend to future expats?

A: Visit Pagodas. Discover sea side, Kirrirom Mountain and Koh Kong.

Q: How does the cost of living in Cambodia compare to your home?

A: A cup of coffee costs 2-3 USD. A meal in an inexpensive restaurant costs 3-4 USD. A meal in an expensive restaurant costs 30-50 USD.

Q: How do you find the local culture and people in your host country?

A: Friendly but corrupt.

Q: What do you think are the positive and negative sides of living in Cambodia?

A: Convenient & easy access to basic utilities. Corruption compels to spend more.

Q: Do you miss home and family sometimes?

A: Yes.


Q: How do you cope with homesickness?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you have plans to move to a different country or back home in the future?

A: Yes.

Q: What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?

A: Dealing with corrupt people.

Q: What tips can you give other expats living in Cambodia?

A: Keeping in touch with your country men & embassy. Might get into problems soon.

Q: Do you have favourite websites or blogs about your host country?

A: www.phnompenhpost.com