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Living in Cambodia

Khmer New Year: The Most Awaited Festival in the Kingdom

Khmer New Year- The Most Awaited Festival in the Kingdom (1)

New Year countdown in the Kingdom of Wonder may not be your usual extravaganza of lights and sounds, with the local celebration coming in the form of incense, prayer rituals and generous feasts – all these in the peak of the hot season. IPS agent Vathanak Tim takes us through the celebration that is Khmer New Year. Bun Chol Chhnam Thmey, also known as the Khmer New Year is celebrated nationwide in April for three days and marks the end of the harvest season and celebrates the start of a new year. Traditionally, this is the time of the year when most Khmers count themselves a year old, making this every Cambodians birthday, in a sense. Each day has a set of activities and representation in every Cambodian household. The first day is called Sangkran, where locals bring food to the monks at the temples and receive their blessings. Sangkran is the ending of the year and the commencement of the new year. A particular custom to Sangkran is the washing of the face with holy water in the morning, chests at noon and feet in the evening. This practice bestows good luck on the person. The second day, Wanabot, …

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Phnom Penh’s New Khmer Architecture


Dotted around Phnom Penh are the remains of a vernacular expression of European modernist architecture, known as New Khmer. The figurehead of this movement was Vann Molyvann who studied architecture in post WWII Paris at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, where the work and thinking of Le Corbusier had a strong influence. New Khmer architecture combines truth to structural materials and refined simplicity of modernism with sensitivity to climate and geography specific to traditional Khmer buildings, such as the world renowned temples of Angkor Wat. Buildings such as Molyvann’s Teachers Training College (now the Foreign Language Institute) and the Olympic Stadium, both demonstrates that modernism could be at once international and idiosyncratic. While the links to regionally specific buildings can be made at both functional and stylistic levels, the buildings are realised with a confidence that allows them to transcend the limitations of context. The striking repetition of abstract geometrical forms and paradoxical combination of the skeletal and the muscular, of lightness and heaviness, allow both the Training College and the Stadium to exert an influence that is wholly their own. In this sense, Molyvann’s work demonstrates the tension between “the inherent striving of form to achieve complete autonomy” …

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Central Siem Reap’s little known neighborhood gems


If you find yourselves strolling through Siem Reap central area, you will be pleasantly surprised to find an array of shops, restaurants, bars and galleries to keep you busy for a few days or provide a nice living environment. From the Old market (Psar Chas) to the upcoming Kendall village,  you will find traditional Khmer arts,  as well as more modern concept stores showcasing Cambodian expertise in various forms. When hunger strikes, you have a wide choice of food, from local Khmer cuisine, to sushi, to vegan cuisine and of course, western. On a commercial standpoint, the area has a lot to offer with a constant flow of tourists and locals. All necessities are available at your doorstep, a choice of supermarkets offering local and international products, pharmacies, travel agents, banks. Property in this area can vary immensely from a quaint apartment to a villa with garden. Many old colonial buildings are used for commercial purposes but with the ongoing constructions and renovations in the area, new apartments and houses should be on the market soon with prices similar to the following estimations:   Zone A, which encompasses Pub Street and surrounding locations, has land valued between $1,700 and $5,000 …

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IPS School Review: International School of Phnom Penh (ISPP)


ISPP, the acronymous name for International School of Phnom Penh has long been synonymous with elite, expat education in Cambodia’s capital. From humble beginnings in 1989, educating only a handful of kids, ISPP’s new grounds, now located in Chak Angre Krom is a symbol of how far International education has come in Phnom Penh, and the development of Cambodia more generally.   ISPP was set up by a group of expatriate families to cater for the growing need for international education in Phnom Penh. Today, ISPP is still governed by the parents and the profits are all reinvested back into the school. This investment is evident with well-manicured grounds, expansive classrooms, and an Olympic size swimming pool. ISPP also recently installed a butterfly farm. ISPP has more than 850 students attending this year and there is plenty of room for expansion, if demand warrants it. Like iCAN British International School, ISPP also employs a cap on the amount of students represented by any one nationality. Apart from Cambodian locals, American kids are the most populous and there are representatives of nearly 50 other nations. As we mentioned in the first of our reviews, the term ‘international school’ here in Phnom …

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5 International Schools in Phnom Penh Every Parent Should Check Out


International Schools were originally set up to cater for students of expat families who needed access to a curriculum and a learning environment similar to the one they would receive in their home country. Parents want an education that is portable so that they can relocate back to their home or another country, and their children’s education will not have suffered as a result of their move.  It is also very important for many parents that their children’s’ high school education is recognised by a range of Universities around the world. In a developing nation like Cambodia, International Schools have become hugely popular with the Cambodian elite and burgeoning middle class, and have also become a big business. The explosion of schools promoting themselves as an International School in Phnom Penh is a direct result of the success of the large, well-known institutions. It is also emblematic of the growing demand from Cambodian families wanting to provide their children with an education that opens up global opportunities. More and more Cambodians now have the ability to afford an international education, and more and more schools are setting up to tap into this surge in demand.  Read also: Phnom Penh Sports …

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City Living: Finding your new address in Cambodia


Moving near the Central Business District could be such a chore, yet a good thing for some. With the demands of this era’s on-the-go lifestyle, it is no surprise how some people end up trotting from one district to another—either to keep up with the fast pace of city living or to take a breather and slowdown in the suburbs. Whether you’re changing zip codes for work or pleasure, here are some questions you have to consider when finding a new address in the city.   Can I afford it? While the posh central business district of Phnom Penh is attractive for each city dweller, not everyone can afford living in Cambodia’s capital. Check your budget and scout for cheap yet comfy houses near the CBD’s vicinity to score a good deal. Reliable online listings like IPS Cambodia is a gold mine for everyone looking for a new home in the country. Is the city accessible? Long-term or short, make sure that your new city has access to everything you need. Hospitals, schools, and offices are the nitty-gritties. Malls, parks, and other leisure establishments are a big plus. For expats, check if the city you’re eyeing has access to your …

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IPS Siem Reap Exclusive Listings: Properties You Won’t Find Anywhere Else


They say that first impressions are important because they are the most lasting. When in Siem Reap, you can easily spot unique properties that is not only visually satisfying, but also easy on your pockets.  At IPS, we pride ourselves by understanding the essential requirements of buyers and renters in an overwhelming real estate market. In this article, we have handpicked small and medium sized apartments that IPS manage across Siem Reap. You can consider this as an insider guide when picking your next home. If you’re especially curious on the murals inside Pagodas and fancy the mixture of different religious architecture – Wat Bo is the place for you. Recently opened in late 2015, Mony Ratanak Apartments offers a full range of amenities and services including an action pool, tuk-tuk service, gym, and 24h security. One bedroom units are available at 600 USD per month up to 1,500 USD for a luxurious 2 bedroom sky-flat. IPS’ Property Management Officer, Kunthea Hem believes that the apartment gains its success through a balance between quality service and the diversity of the tenants that occupies the premise with more than 10 nationalities that are mostly young professionals or businessmen with their families. …

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Relocation Guide: 10 Things to Consider When Moving to the Kingdom of Wonder

Things to Consider When Moving to the Kingdom of Wonder

No matter if you are a single person, a couple, or married with a family, there are always characteristics of a new city or a new country that will either attract you or prevent you from relocating there. The more organized you are when analyzing these factors, the more you will remove uncertainty from your decision-making process. The following is a good list for you to keep in mind and use as a relocation guide before moving to the Kingdom of Wonder. City, Town and Country, or Beach The first decision you’ll need to make is the general type of environment you want to live in. Do you want to live in a busy city, in the countryside with a nearby town, or down by the ocean? When you take a good look at Cambodia, be it the big city life of Phnom Penh, the beach town of Sihanoukville, or the town and country living offered in Siem Reap, we’re sure you’ll find that Cambodia has it all! Social Life and Community There is no need to go at it alone when moving to a new place. Social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are excellent sources of expat support groups …

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IPS School Review: iCAN British International School

iCan British International School

You could easily pass by the iCAN British International School (iCAN) without knowing. Situated along the busy stretch of Sothearos Boulevard that houses the more prominent façades of the Aeon Mall and the Sofitel hotel, the unassuming entrance of iCAN opens up to surprisingly spacious grounds. The school buildings are closely arranged, as you would expect from an inner-city campus, without feeling crowded. Touring the hallways and classrooms of iCAN brought back memories of my own primary school. With drawings and art projects layering the walls of classrooms and the lively sounds children’s voices engaged in cooperative learning; a style of learning that iCAN proudly promotes. The school has the distinctive feel of a dedicated primary school. The spaces of playground, cafeteria, swimming pool, and sports ground blend seamlessly together, and I would imagine there would be significant interaction between kids from different classes and grades. iCAN currently has 350 students aged from 1.5 years to 14 years old and there are no plans to expand into a high school. The campus for the 18 month to 3 year olds, iCAN Play, situated in another section in Tonle Bassac on street 21, is not far from the main campus. For most of …

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IPS School Review : Northbridge International Cambodia

- IPS Cambodia

‘International’ Schools in Phnom Penh are as ubiquitous as Tuk-tuks. There seems to be a new one sprouting up each month. Often trying to promote a likeness to a western style of education with school names linked to well-known cities, countries or prestigious universities. The names tend to be the only link. For a family moving to Phnom Penh, finding the right school is as important as finding a place to live and is a discussion we at IPS Cambodia have regularly with parents planning their move to Cambodia. So how do you sift through the proverbial chaff to find the wheat? As a part of a Schools Guide to Phnom Penh, IPS will be reviewing the five Schools that are most popular amongst our clients. For the first part of this series we take a look at Northbridge International School, an IB World Continuum School located in Sen Sok. As you turn off the busy arterial road of 2004, the grounds of Northbridge are a green and peaceful respite from the hustle beyond the gates. Road 2004 was recently expanded and resurfaced and the traffic congestion has improved significantly, however if the roadside developments are anything to go by, then there will be significant urban expansion in the area. Northbridge has undergone …

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