Up until last month, I had lived in the same one-bedroom apartment in Siem Reap for about three years. While it was a great little spot with very reasonable rent, ever-busier traffic, endless construction work in the neighbourhood and a need for more space gradually pushed me to look for new digs.
After some searching, I found a lovely new apartment in a quieter, leafier corner of Temple Town. Having survived the ordeal and living to tell the tale, I thought it would be a good idea to share some heard-earned lessons with others who might be considering a move in Siem Reap.
Firstly, be sure to carefully read your rental contract. In a largely unregulated market it is especially important you fully understand the terms, and be clear on whether you or your landlord are responsible for paying rental tax.
A reliable agent (I recommend SRPS) will be able to help you with this.
In order to move you’ll obviously need transport, and unless you can fit everything into a tuk tuk you basically have two options: a truck or a large moto-pulled trailer (remourk).
Long-time Siem Reapers will know that the best place to hire either of these is behind Wat Damnak, where drivers park their vehicles along the road early in the morning and wait for customers to come by.
It’s easy to nip over there and find a friendly driver – you really can’t miss them all lined down the road – although I’d advise taking a Khmer-speaking friend if your language skills aren’t up to it. Expect to pay $7.50 upwards for a remourk, and $12 upwards for a truck.
As well as hiring a truck, you can also hire a few other drivers to come along and help with the heavy lifting. I cannot tell you how invaluable this will be if you need to move your things up and down a lot of stairs, or if – like me – your boyfriend is conveniently out of town on moving day.
My number one top tip, however, can be summed up in one word: tarp. As we drove away from my former apartment, a big black cloud appeared from nowhere and I suddenly realised that my worldly possessions – including a sofa and numerous electrical items – were in the back of truck and very much exposed to the elements.
Luckily, we avoided the rain but things could have ended very differently. Be sure to ask your truck/remourk driver whether they have a tarp handy, or else pick one up from a local market.