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Mover to Cambo? Report back pls


swissie

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I was in PP about five years ago for the first time, and clearly remember way back then being advised to be careful when on the street and riding in their version of tuk-tuks about the danger of motorcycle-riding purse and bag snatches.

 

So, it not like it's any new thing there, or something that suddenly materialized only upon this woman's latest 2013 visit back to Cambodia.

 

As for the other things, well, you drop you smartphone out of a moving vehicle, and it's probably not going to be a good result. Wasn't there a similar case in Pattaya just lately where a Thai woman wanted a 5K baht fee for returning an IPhone?

 

As for her male friend who managed to catch and beat a bag snatcher, and then get labeled as a killer and feel the need to leave the country, just wondering, were the contents of the bag that got snatched really worth the trouble and risk of doing what he did?

 

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What a dilemma - Scouse123 has made a perfect advertisement for stemming the tide of expats flowing from Thailand into Cambodia, and all I have to do is ignore the numerous problems in his post and our little paradise will remain so for perhaps a little bit longer. But then I realized that there were likely some very good folk for whom Thailand is becoming untenable who would benefit from a more nuanced perspective so I thought I'd post anyway. 

 

"Behind the Khmer smile" - this is to me the single biggest problem I have with his post. The Cambodian people are by far THE biggest reason for moving to Cambodia as opposed to Thailand. I lived in Thailand for several years, and speak, read and write the language, much of which has to do with having lived as a volunteer working in Isarn. While one can easily become friendly with Thai people, that friendship can only get so close, before one hits an impenetrable and impassable wall beyond which one cannot progress. I found this to be the case in relationships with women as well. The Cambodians are by far the most straightforward people that I have worked with in Southeast Asia. I was never sure of what was really going on in my work dealings because of the Thai way of smiling and saying whatever was convenient or easy such that appearances were maintained and internal agendas were unaffected. This is not the MO in Cambodia - I was shocked by the things people would discuss openly about the management of the ministry and other goings-on almost as soon as I arrived. This is perhaps why people perceive Cambodia as being far more corrupt than Thailand - nobody makes any effort to hide it or pretend that something completely different is going on. I find the openness quite refreshing.  Speaking of which...

 

"As regards to government, it is fast becoming an autocratic state with Hun Sen at the helm. his immediate family and ex- Khmer rouge cronies are all in any positions that matter to keep the crooked clock ticking, A judicial system that does not function and an Army used  solely to repress the people and cripple any dissent." Anyone contrasting Thailand with Cambodia who writes a sentence like this clearly hasn't the slightest idea about what's going on in Thailand or simply doesn't care about it because they live in Bangkok and don't have a clue about what the MAJORITY of the population believes, feels and experiences on a day-to-day basis. The only thing that's made Thaivisa sufferable is that the hordes of sycophants who praised the Junta have now properly <deleted> now that what we all knew would happen has.

 

Garbage - yes, there's more garbage in the major cities. On the other hand, they actually collect it and transport it to a landfill now, so it's getting better. 

 

Roads and Infrastructure - spoken like someone who hasn't left Phnom Penh. The roads to the northwest, south, southeast and northeast are all pretty good and you'll have no problem whatsoever traveling from Phnom Penh to any of the provinces. Intra-provincial roads are pretty basic, but you can still get anywhere you want in a 4x4 or motorcycle or the preferred vehicle of rural Cambodia, the jacked-up Mad Max Toyota Camry.

 

Hospitals - when I had my kids (2000 and prior) pretty much anyone who could afford it went to Bangkok to give birth. Nowadays the majority of expats who can afford it give birth in Cambodia. Phnom Penh has several hospitals that are offshoots of Bangkok Hospital and other Thai places, and they're getting to the point where they're sufficient for emergencies and reasonable for other stuff so long as you've sussed out a doctor you can trust. There have always been foreign clinics for relatively minor problems or triage.

 

Crime and Police - no difference except that the Cambodian cops are much easier to deal with. This crime epidemic that Scouse123 speaks of is news to me and my many friends who live there. Every person I know who's been robbed on the street has had it happen late at night while drunk. Surprise. There are house break-ins too of course, but most places are protected like a medieval castle so as long as you take reasonable precautions, not a big deal.

 

Sihanoukville - to those who live there, it's paradise by the sea. To the rest of us, it's Shitsville. To each their own. I would agree that if the coast is your thing, you're better off in Thailand.

 

Lowlifes and Fugitives - yes, you will meet a much more colourful and interesting bunch of expats generally, as Cambodia is not so gentrified as Thailand and attracts a rougher  and readier crowd of people. If your preference is old men whinging about anything and everything, you should definitely stay in Thailand.

 

Education standards - who would send their kids to a Cambodian school? Who would do so in Thailand? If you have a family you either have the money to send them to an international school (there are several, some of which are fine), educate them at home or are irresponsible.

 

"It is NOT, as many say, Thailand 30 years ago. It is a god forsaken place where the greedy filth in authority are stealing any aid given by the EU, China and Japan. The poor as usual bear the brunt and are not in a strong enough position to do anything. Hun Sen was not elected as the best leader,he was placed there before the exodus by the Vietnamese as a ' puppet regime ' subservient to Vietnam and has spent  his time filling his pockets.

 

As regards to government, it is fast becoming an autocratic state with Hun Sen at the helm. his immediate family and ex- Khmer rouge cronies are all in any positions that matter to keep the crooked clock ticking, A judicial system that does not function and an Army used  solely to repress the people and cripple any dissent."

 

Where does one even start on this? You know you're writing in a Thai forum, correct? If you don't see a parallel between Hun Sen and, er, someone else whose name I probably can't even write without having my post removed, I don't know what to say. As to the "Vietnam Puppet" argument, well, you clearly haven't a clue about Cambodia's politics either.

 

To summarize, I'd say that Cambodia is NOT as easy as Thailand in terms of a place to live or work. The material comforts are not as prevalent although they're starting to get that way, and comparing Cambodia in 1993 to the Cambodia of today shows an unbelievable amount of progress. The local expat community is NOT anywhere near as old as that in Thailand, and most there haven't moved there to retire, hence for those in Thailand who are looking for easy and quiet comfort, you should probably stay. On the other hand, if you don't mind a bit of a mess here and there, and you enjoy life being real and you having a connection to it, there's not much comparison for me. Cambodia every day and twice on Sundays. And don't get me wrong, I like Thailand fine. In fact, I'd probably move back to Thailand as opposed to Cambodia simply because I'm getting on a bit and so am looking more towards the comfortable. But when I do live in Thailand, I always enjoy my trips back to Cambodia (or Laos) for the contrast and getting back to  a closer connection to life.

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11 hours ago, Destiny1990 said:

The only decent store i seen in Cambodia there were 3 taxfree shops at the airport of PP on my way out.

I take it you haven't been to the massive new shopping malls built by the same people who build them in Thailand in the same style with the same stores?

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8 hours ago, Scouse123 said:

 

Below is from a blogger who loved Cambodia and has no axe to grind as I am accused of being unfair or creating hysteria. Please read.

 

This is a fair analysis by an independent traveler from the USA both in 2010 and then more recently and she covers a number of tourist visited areas. I suppose it really is down to the person who is traveling themselves,but I totally relate to what she says.

 

 

http://www.adventurouskate.com/cambodia-has-changed-and-not-for-the-better/

 

5555555555! This classic nitwit? 555555555555!

Go to the "other forum" on Cambodia and search for this clueless charmer and you'll see what the long-term expats think about her observations.

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7 hours ago, 4737 Carlin said:

After living here in Phnom Penh for a few years I have to agree with the above blogger. This guy's blog is also the most accurate assessment of Cambodia, and Cambodians, that I've found on the web:

 

http://www.travelingmark.com/cambodia/cambodia-laziest-nation-in-the-world/

 

55555555! Oh no! Not Traveling Mark too! 555555555555!

 

Yes, there's nothing like young backpackers who speak not a word of the local language to provide acute observations and understanding of the local conditions.

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7 minutes ago, JCauto said:

I take it you haven't been to the massive new shopping malls built by the same people who build them in Thailand in the same style with the same stores?

There is one mall near the river in PP and that is it but indeed central group is planning a branch there which is a good initiative but i probably wont go back for it.

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I actually find the shopping far better in Cambodia than Thailand and regularly bring things back from there.  Of course, I don't live in Bangkok so that's a factor.

 

Certainly a far better choice of western food stuffs if you know where to go (HINT: not Lucky market!) Freshly made mozzarella, ricotta, much wider selection of cheeses, much more varied range of western foods and ingrediants. Indian spice shops (yes, those are to be found in Thailand as well, but a lot more trouble to travel to where they are than to get to one in PP).

 

And can't beat PP IMO for restaurants if you want western food or other foreign cuisines.  Great food, really authentic (likely cooked by a national of that country -- easy work permit situation here) and reasonably priced.

 

Definitely the best New York pizza and the best carrot cake in SE Asia - if not all of Asia - are to be found in PP.

 

I find it hard not to gain weight when I go there...

 

The local cuisine, I agree, is no great shakes and Thailand is better on that score.

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Post referencing illegal activity has been removed.

 

Law enforcement in Cambodia is weak but not non-existant. Foreigners can be and are arrested for drugs and other violations and the outcome is not pleasant.

 

 

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9 minutes ago, Sheryl said:

Post referencing illegal activity has been removed.

 

Law enforcement in Cambodia is weak but not non-existant. Foreigners can be and are arrested for drugs and other violations and the outcome is not pleasant.

 

 

 

 

Who cares the law in Cambodia ? It's like Thailand but cheaper...

 

 

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Cambodia is like Thailand was 50 years ago .....

As with every country there are pro & cons ....

and as with every person who visit or lives there ....   we all are individuals,  so what may be considered as reasonable to me may not be the same for you,  what I consider uncomfortable and dirty may be considered not so bad by you.

 

I think it's a bit of each to his own .....     In conclusion,   Cambodians have always been known to show a refreshing smile and politeness given when greeting foreigners. 

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12 hours ago, JCauto said:

I take it you haven't been to the massive new shopping malls built by the same people who build them in Thailand in the same style with the same stores?

 

Are you referring to Aeon Mall ? Have you seen the prices of the goods in that place ? In many cases they're double what you'd pay in Paris or London. The third world with first world (or higher) prices. The same stores as Thailand ? I don't see a Big C or Tesco Lotus for example. Perhaps you can tell me where I can do my shopping for the same prices I'd pay in Thailand ? The filthy market at Kandal is where I buy my fruit and veg. The prices are nearly double what you'd pay at Klongtoey market in Bangkok. 

 

12 hours ago, JCauto said:

 

5555555555! This classic nitwit? 555555555555!

Go to the "other forum" on Cambodia and search for this clueless charmer and you'll see what the long-term expats think about her observations.

 

The long term expats who frequent that forum are, in the main, sarcastic bored alcoholics who like to pretend they prefer Cambodia to Thailand. They're lying to themselves.

 

12 hours ago, JCauto said:

 

55555555! Oh no! Not Traveling Mark too! 555555555555!

 

Yes, there's nothing like young backpackers who speak not a word of the local language to provide acute observations and understanding of the local conditions.

 

I'm aware this guy is trolling but his underlying observations are correct. The effects of killing the entire, educated middle class are still evident everywhere here. The stupidity of most of these people, even the rich greedy ones, is incredibly obvious to anyone who's lived amongst them. 

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1 hour ago, abab said:

 

 

Who cares the law in Cambodia ? It's like Thailand but cheaper...

 

 

 

55 minutes ago, abab said:

 

Please do not talk about what you know nothing.

 

 

Do you live in Cambodia ? Or did you just stay in a cheap hotel by the riverside in PP for a few days ? All of the important stuff is more expensive and of lower quality here : rent, electric (complete with regular power cuts), food shopping etc. Many of the posters who defend Cambodia own tourist businesses here so will defend the place no matter what. Its a dump - end of.

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3 minutes ago, 4737 Carlin said:

 

Are you referring to Aeon Mall ? Have you seen the prices of the goods in that place ? In many cases they're double what you'd pay in Paris or London. The third world with first world (or higher) prices. The same stores as Thailand ? I don't see a Big C or Tesco Lotus for example. Perhaps you can tell me where I can do my shopping for the same prices I'd pay in Thailand ? The filthy market at Kandal is where I buy my fruit and veg. The prices are nearly double what you'd pay at Klongtoey market in Bangkok. 

 

 

The long term expats who frequent that forum are, in the main, sarcastic bored alcoholics who like to pretend they prefer Cambodia to Thailand. They're lying to themselves.

 

 

I'm aware this guy is trolling but his underlying observations are correct. The effects of killing the entire, educated middle class are still evident everywhere here. The stupidity of most of these people, even the rich greedy ones, is incredibly obvious to anyone who's lived amongst them. 

As I think was made clear in my post, Cambodia is not as developed and easy as Thailand, and older people and those who aren't accustomed to rougher places wouldn't find it as pleasant although it is developing at a fast pace. Seems you're in that category, so no doubt you're greatly enjoying your experience as evinced by your cogent observations about both the local people and the long-term expatriates. I know quite a number of intelligent Cambodians, at many different levels of society. Seems you haven't connected much with them otherwise you would surely know this. Or perhaps you are just one of those curmudgeons who like to move to a place and complain about everything. Who knows?  

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There is a rapidly expanding Cambodian middle class with many intelligent and well educated Cambodians. Those of us who work there can tell you that opportunities for foreign professionals have greatly decreased in the past decade due to availability of competent local professionals.

 

Whether one crosses paths with this demographic depends on the circles one frequents.

 

As to "everything" costing more, not the cade. Electronic goods (computers, TVs etc) are cheaper. Western made pharmaceuticals are much, much cheaper. Ditto many other Western imports but not, of course, things manufactured in Thailand.

 

Used cars cost much less than in Thailand where they are greatly overpriced.

 

But fresh foods do cost more.

 

 

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12 hours ago, 4737 Carlin said:

 

Its a dump - end of.

And the "you must believe me and think the same" brigade has struck again.

 

It's a dump for you due to how you see things.

 

I don't own a tourist related business there, btw. The thought you could change people's own impressions by making up things here is ridiculous anyway.

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28 minutes ago, mrdome said:

And the "you must believe me and think the same" brigade has struck again.

 

It's a dump for you due to how you see things.

 

I don't own a tourist related business there, btw. The thought you could change people's own impressions by making up things here is ridiculous anyway.

Says the one who lives in Europe. Why are you even on this forum if you don't live out here ? I'm not trying to change people's impressions and I'm not making things up - just telling it how it is. The OP was asking about moving to Cambodia from Thailand. I've lived in both countries for years so am qualified to give an opinion. As for Cambodia being a dump - a blind man would know it (due to the smell).

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2 minutes ago, 4737 Carlin said:

Says the one who lives in Europe. Why are you even on this forum if you don't live out here ? I'm not trying to change people's impressions and I'm not making things up - just telling it how it is. The original OP was asking about moving to Cambodia from Thailand. I've lived in both countries for years so am qualified to give an opinion. As for Cambodia being a dump - a blind man would know it (due to the smell).

I've lived in both places almost certainly for longer than you and speak both languages. Oh, and my eyesight isn't the greatest but I got glasses to correct it. Cambodia is paradise on earth. Okay, now your brilliant argument has been completely destroyed using your own logic. Quod Erat Demonstratum!

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15 minutes ago, 4737 Carlin said:

Says the one who lives in Europe. Why are you even on this forum if you don't live out here ? I'm not trying to change people's impressions and I'm not making things up - just telling it how it is. The OP was asking about moving to Cambodia from Thailand. I've lived in both countries for years so am qualified to give an opinion. As for Cambodia being a dump - a blind man would know it (due to the smell).

It's none of your business what you are asking and the way you are behaving shows a lack of respect for others.

 

What a joke your closing sentence is! The one thing that stinks for sure is your attitude. Good thing you left Cambodia.

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I think it really comes down to  what one is looking for and why.

 

For people  who are looking for a place they can  work, or start a business, Cambodia is much better than Thailand. And they will find a wide and very diverse set of expat peers...active, creative, intelligent people.

 

For people primarily looking for a comfortable but low cost retirement, the reverse is the case. I do know a number of people who have retired happily and permanently in Cambodia, but all of them are people who had long-standing ties to the country, previously worked there, speak the language etc.  Lacking any of that and any specific affinity with the people or the place, there is no advantage to Cambodia as a retirement destination over other choices, and some significant disadvantages.

 

 

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A spot on summary, Cheryl. Cambodia really isn't a "retail" location where you just expect to find all the things your lifestyle requires. It requires a creative, positive and resilient attitude paired with wisdom & compassion for the place and its people.

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On 20/04/2017 at 2:29 PM, Sheryl said:

I think it really comes down to  what one is looking for and why.

 

For people  who are looking for a place they can  work, or start a business, Cambodia is much better than Thailand. And they will find a wide and very diverse set of expat peers...active, creative, intelligent people.

 

For people primarily looking for a comfortable but low cost retirement, the reverse is the case. I do know a number of people who have retired happily and permanently in Cambodia, but all of them are people who had long-standing ties to the country, previously worked there, speak the language etc.  Lacking any of that and any specific affinity with the people or the place, there is no advantage to Cambodia as a retirement destination over other choices, and some significant disadvantages.

 

 

Sheryl's previous comments on this thread re poor medical standards in cambodia are accurate. My wife is a dentist and treats many cambodian patients visiting thailand with dental problems caused by work originally done in cambo. She is shocked by the number of problems that she has to fix on a weekly basis. OP if you move to cambodia you are strongly recommended to return to thailand for any routine or emergency dental treatment!

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5 hours ago, ubonr1971 said:

Sheryl's previous comments on this thread re poor medical standards in cambodia are accurate. My wife is a dentist and treats many cambodian patients visiting thailand with dental problems caused by work originally done in cambo. She is shocked by the number of problems that she has to fix on a weekly basis. OP if you move to cambodia you are strongly recommended to return to thailand for any routine or emergency dental treatment!

cambodians are big on sugar, Im surprized they actually have teeth at all

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11 hours ago, ubonr1971 said:

Sheryl's previous comments on this thread re poor medical standards in cambodia are accurate. My wife is a dentist and treats many cambodian patients visiting thailand with dental problems caused by work originally done in cambo. She is shocked by the number of problems that she has to fix on a weekly basis. OP if you move to cambodia you are strongly recommended to return to thailand for any routine or emergency dental treatment!

Like everything, there's a broad spectrum of services, ranging from ultra-modern dental clinics with every device yet invented to roadside shacks with openings between the slats of wood and some "dentist" with a painted sign showing some poor victim having a tooth yanked out. Previously I would always get my dental done in Bangkok, but now I do it in Phnom Penh where the cost is cheaper and the quality equivalent. I presume most people on an English-language forum would be smart enough not to go to the roadside butchers.

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Actually for some reason the quality of dental care is much better than that of medical care in general, Cambodia even receives some dental tourists  - but of course only to the well equipped dental hospitals in the capital. In rural areas, a whole other matter.

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On 4/22/2017 at 6:22 AM, ubonr1971 said:

My wife is a dentist and treats many cambodian patients visiting thailand with dental problems caused by work originally done in cambo. She is shocked by the number of problems that she has to fix on a weekly basis. OP if you move to cambodia you are strongly recommended to return to thailand for any routine or emergency dental treatment!

Funnily enough - and echoing Sheryl's comments - I found the best dentist I've ever had in Phnom Penh (Dr. Chou Nee on Sisowath (42, I think - just a few houses up from Chinese House restaurant, X-street is # 84). My teeth are in fine shape though, so no major problems needed fixing.

 

In general, I would not go to a doctor in Cambodia without getting other ex-pat's opinion's who have seen her/him. 

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