Hey what’s up streettogs this is ERIC KIM from the ERIC KIM STREET PHOTOGRAPHY BLOG — here are some life updates of mine currently reporting live from Phnom Penh Cambodia:
I love it here!
I really love Phnom Penh Cambodia. It is the first time I ever been here, and it might be my new favorite city. Why?
First of all, the city is up-and-coming. Why do I love this? It is very optimistic. It is a city ripe for development and becoming.
There is everything here
There are great indoor malls, like the Aeon supermarket mall, which I believe is a Japanese development. The other night we had all you could eat Japanese barbecue for only $13 a person.
Also, I forgot how much I love full body massages, Cindy and I were able to splurge and get a 90 minute full body traditional Khmer massage for only $30 USD!
Some quick thoughts
- The first interesting observation I’ve made is that it looks like Phnom Penh, and maybe Cambodia is starting to become a neo colony or a satellite city of China. Most of the new constructions I see around the city, are funded by Chinese companies. Also, a lot of the restaurants and stores I see are written both in Khmer and Chinese; I believe there are a lot of Chinese developers here. Even at the airport, one of the big advertisements were for the Chinese international bank.
- The second observation I’ve made is that for somebody who has first come to Phnom Penh, without any prior knowledge of Phnom Penh, it actually reminds me a lot of Vietnam. It reminds me of Hanoi, but less developed. But, the city of Phnom Penh on the up and up. I see tons of Lexus SUVs on the road, as well as Mercedes G wagons, land rovers, and Mercedes Maybach cars. Therefore, the rich Cambodians are very rich — or they may be the rich foreigners living here (Chinese, Japanese?). Lots of Toyota Priuses here too — perhaps from the initial Japanese investments here?
- One of the things that I love about being in Southeast Asia is money leverage. That when you are here, nothing feels off-limits, which is incredibly motivational. It feels that you could live more freely. Also, it simplifies your life.
- One thing that is very interesting about Cambodia is how they accept US dollars pretty much anywhere. They have their local currency, but it seems that they prefer US dollars. This makes it easier for Americans here, I just took a bunch of cash from an ATM at home and brought it here, and it has been very useful for giving us tips for massages, and other services.
- VISA and credit cards are pretty much accepted anywhere here. Which makes it very easy for being here, and tourism.
- My sense is that because Cambodia is mostly Buddhist, the culture is very welcoming, and open. Also, Korean stuff here is pretty popular, BTS, Korean pop music, Korean food, etc. Therefore me being a Korean American, and speaking Korean to locals, there are lots of local Cambodians who actually know how to speak Korean. Or they just do it for fun.
- When I was on a connecting flight from Seoul to Cambodia, I actually sat next to 20 something-year-old Cambodian guy, who didn’t know how to speak English, but knew how to speak Korean. I think there are lots of young Cambodians who go to Korea to either work, or study, or learn Korean.
On living the best life
It seems that all humans strive to improve their mode of existence, and their mode of living. Therefore, I truly do believe that as an American, or perhaps as a Westerner, you can actually live a superior mode of existence and living in southeast Asia, Phnom Penh, or any other up-and-coming developing economy.
I was surprised, even one of my passions which is powerlifting, they even have lots of powerlifting gyms here! Inside the AEON Japanese mall, or standalone gyms, complete with power racks for squats, and deadlifting platforms. It doesn’t seem that there is anything here which you cannot access. Also because it is not a Muslim country, you can get real American bacon here!
Also the Wi-Fi here is pretty good. You can pretty much get free and fast Wi-Fi anywhere. Which will make it ideal for tech workers, or if you could work remotely, or if you’re self-employed.
So then the simple thought is this: if you have the option, why live in America? Doesn’t it make more sense to live here?
Hopping around Asia
Because the flight here was so arduous, Cindy and I plan on spending some time here. For example, my upcoming Seoul Street Photography Workshop in South Korea, and we may or may or may not bounce to Vietnam before heading back to the states. It does seem that if you have a long flight to Asia or Southeast Asia, to extend your stay here makes sense.
Phnom Penh is great for photography
Another thing I have observed while being here is that Phnom Penh is really great for photography! Great for street photography, you have lots of monks walking around with umbrellas which is very picturesque, and also great for street photography, and the people are insanely friendly.
Also learning a few phrases and Khmer goes along way, to just say hello or thank you. Even Seneca is trying to learn how to say hello to strangers, and the locals love it!
Also the city architecture is very rich. Lots of great frescoes and decorations on the walls, lots of trees and plant life, and lots of urban things and development. Makes it for a very dynamic city.
Also a nice thing about Phnom Penh is that it is a proper busy city, kind of like the New York City for Cambodia. Which means you could live a pretty low-key like here, not many people hustling you for tuk-tuks or other touristy things, as I recall when I went to Angkor Wat almost a decade ago.
So what am I focused on?
While here, maybe see if I can hit up the gym a few times, spend most of my time exploring the city with Seneca, thinking, writing and blogging, and making photos.
Join me in Asia!
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