Renting in Sihanoukville

renting in sihanoukville

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Update October 18, 2017: Rentals are going up in Sihanoukville. The Chinese are offering more money and some apartment buildings are kicking people out to cater to the Chinese. You can still find some bargains, but have to look harder.

Many people come to visit Sihanoukville and decide they want to stay longer. Some stay a month, some stay a few months and some stay for years. Whether it’s for a month or a year, renting in Sihanoukville is far cheaper than paying for a hotel or guesthouse. There are tricks to it, though.

renting in sihanoukville

New apartments are springing up everywhere in Sihanoukville

First of all, how much do you want to pay for a Sihanoukville rental? If you look around, you can find decent studio apartments for around $70 to $85 a month (US$). If you want a one-bedroom apartment, they start at around $150, but I’ve heard of people finding them for less. If you have a family, you might want a more secure location with parking. That can cost up to $450 a month if it includes a wall, gate, guard and CCTV cameras.

You can find rentals on the Sihanoukville Real Estate Facebook page, but don’t take them at face value. As anywhere, the landlord will publish the most flattering photos of their property. You want to see the property first and decide if it’s in a location you will be comfortable living in. Some properties might be in a noisy area or on a bad road that might be almost impassable during the rainy season. Others may be too isolated for your taste. Have a look at several before you decide on one.

Renting in Sihanoukville: Tips and Tricks

I don’t rent, but I recently got an assignment about renting in Sihanoukville. I interviewed several people and learned a lot. They gave me some tips and tricks to share with readers:

  • Don’t rent long term before you’ve stayed here and know you like it. Some guesthouses will rent by the month. A month will give you time to have a look around and find an area you want to live in.
  • Rentals are negotiable. If you love a place, you can get it cheaper than the asking price. One man I interviewed saw an apartment he liked for $150 a month and talked them down to $120 a month.
  • Most landlords prefer longer leases and will accept less money for a year’s lease than a three month lease. A mansion I know of rented for $3000 a month for three months. Someone offered $1700 a month for a year’s lease and the landlord accepted it.
  • Take a good look at the access road. If you come during the dry season, remember you’ll also have to negotiate the road in the rainy season. If the road is badly rutted or there’s a depression in it, it might be barely passable in the rainy season or flooded in heavy rains.
  • Ask about electricity and water. You may have to pay for electricity and/or water.

It’s worth repeating that rents are negotiable. So many apartment blocks are springing up here, some landlords are struggling to find tenants. They will accept a lower offer just to get tenants in their apartments. If you want a house, those rents can be negotiable, too, but it depends on the area. Some homes are in popular areas and the landlords know they can get what they ask for.

renting in sihanoukville

Even mansions are available in Sihanoukville

Cheaper homes tend to be Khmer style homes. They can be brick and often have walls, but they may not have fresh coats of paint and you may have to pay electricity and water. Most of them won’t have air conditioning and you may have to buy a TV, a fridge and other things you need. Some are furnished, some are partially furnished and others may be unfurnished. In most cases, you will be responsible for paying for repairs.They can be cheap, though. I saw one for only $150 per month.

You can find rentals in Sihanoukville, but shop around first. There are plenty to choose from. You can even find bungalows and a few houses in Otres Village. Most of the better and cheaper rentals are a little outside the main centers. I interviewed one man who rented a small room on the Hill for $150. He eventually found a one-bedroom apartment within walking distance of the Hill for the same price.

Architecture in Sihanoukville

renting in sihanoukville

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I mentioned in my last post that Sihanoukville is a new city. Even today there are big chunks of the city that are undeveloped. It’s filling in fast, though — so fast that some say it’s their biggest complaint about the city. It’s hard to find a quiet area where construction is not taking place and the infrastructure is having trouble keeping up with growth.


Architecture in Sihanoukville

Expats who want to build in Sihanoukville often have trouble finding an architect who can translate their vision on to a working drawing. Then they have even more trouble finding builders who can build to the standard they expect. Those who have stumbled across or been referred to Diamond Design & Building* have found everything they were looking for and more.

Over the years, founder Joe Royle has built everything from bungalows to mansions and several commercial structures, one of the most visible of which is the new Monkey Republic, which replaced the old building that was destroyed by fire.

monkey republicA long time ago, I was a woodworker. I worked with some of the top architects and interior designers in San Francisco and Sydney. Honestly, none of them were any better than Joe Royle. Nor did they pay more attention to detail, both interior and exterior, than does he. Joe’s son Tony is now part of the team and along with their hand-picked construction team, they are building world-class structures that meet or exceed the most rigorous design and construction standards. Their expertise extends to interiors as well as exteriors and they are well-versed in sustainable architecture.

interior“That’s great, but I can’t afford a mansion,” you say. Diamond Design & Construction can build anything, from a simple bungalow to a mansion on a steeply sloping hill that requires extra foundation work and the skills of a structural engineer. I don’t have a picture to show you, but one of my personal favourites is a timber cottage Joe built on his property. It’s inexpensive and just the right size for one or two people to live in comfortably. The brick cottages Diamond Design has built are equally impressive.

cottageWhen I was looking for Christmas accommodation for my son, Justin, about six months before Christmas 2014, most of the best places were already booked. Fortunately, Diamond Design was in the middle of building SaHaa Beach Resort on Otres Beach. I was able to make the first booking and Justin and his girlfriend loved everything about their bungalow and the resort.

sahaa beach resortForeigners can’t own ground floor property in Cambodia. Diamond Design has worked out a way for their customers to “virtually” own their property, giving them all rights to how the property is used and the ability to keep the profits if they decide to sell.

If you’re interested in learning more, a good starting point is the Diamond Design & Construction Facebook page.

*If this sounds like a promotional post to you, you’re partly right. The Royles are friends of mine, but I wouldn’t promote their work if I didn’t believe in it. Joe was building his house at the same time I was building mine. I frequently turned to him for advice. I’m happy enough with my results, but would be much happier if Joe had managed the construction. He’s a stickler for detail and some details I overlooked would have made my house even more comfortable.