1 August 2016

Steve Noble - Expat in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Steve Noble - Expat in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Q: Where are you originally from?
A: I am a dual national South African / Dutch, born and raised mainly in South Africa. I have spent the past ten years living in the UK, New Zealand, Australia and now Cambodia.

Q: In which city are you currently residing?
A: Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Q: What do you do in your new city?
A: I work as the General Manager for Pocket Guide (Cambodia). We publish in print and online diffrent regular titles covering a range of subjects from business, tourism to food.

Q: How is the quality of life in your new city in comparison to that of your home city?
A: I have been in Phnom Penh for about 6 months now and everyday is still a learning experience but I would say the quality of life is good compared to many places I have lived in. There are exagerated fears of a lack of safety and security but I have never felt unsafe here. As long as you respect the local culture and customs, the Cambodian people are extremely friendly and accepting. The biggest downside affecting the quality of life is the lack of geen space and general pollution/litter in Phnom Penh, but trips outside of the city are easy and can take you to much greener and fresher enviroments.

Q: How would you rate the healthcare system in which you are currently enrolled?
A: I have yet to use the healthcare system except for a trip to the dentist. That experience was fantastic as the service and care was world class but it was extremely affordable. Most expats in Cambodia are advised to take out additional health care insurance for any emergencies but Im told healthcare has improved a lot in recent years.

Q: How does the cost of living compare to that of your home city?
A: Its very affordable in Phnom Penh as an expat on a decent wage; so renting an apartment, dining and drinking out or taking trips are all possible without breaking the bank! If you consider that beer at a bar can be purchased for between $0.75 -$2.50 and even western meals wont usually cost more than $5-10, combined with the small size of the cty (I use a bicycle or very affrodbale tuk tuk or motodops(taxis) to get around) it all combines to offer a very affordable lifestyle.

Q: Did you use a relocation company to help you with your move?
A: No. As I always do I took the plunge on my own.

Q: How easy or difficult was the relocation process?
A: It was fairly easy. I moved on my own so with no immediate family to consider on my move it made the whole process very simple. Visas are easy to come by and so was finding suitable accomodation and setting up basic must have’s like a local mobile phone/simcard and transport. Compared to many ASEAN countries I think there are less hassles for expats wanting to make the move to Cambodia.

Q: Did you move here with any family members?
A: No.

Q: What is your favourite mobile app which you use to aid you in your expat life?
A: There are very limited useful Khmer (Cambodian) apps that I have found aid my expat life. However Social media is on the rise, as the population is young (and the edcuaction and wealth is increasing) and they love sharing content and news on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc even all events, bars and restaurants tend to promote news that way so I would say the social media apps are the most useful. Otherwise Google Maps has been invaluable as many tuk tuk/moto drivers have limited English or know the maps of Phnom Penh so some guidance is alwys useful. Finally any app such as WhatsApp and Skype which has let me stay in touch with friends & family overseas.

Q: What is one piece of advice you’d like to offer a new expat in your new city?
A: Try making some local Khmer friends as soon as you can. Expats tend to hang out in similar circles visiting bars and restaurants that are out of reach for many Khmer people. If you want to really learn about the culture and life in Cambodia it helps to have an inside connection to the wonderful world of Khmer weddings, family intricacies and their history culture and cuisine.