I want to move to ... Srah Chork, Phnom Penh

I want to move to ... Srah Chork, Phnom Penh

Classic Villa for Rent

This newly renovated colonial villa rents for $2,500 a month. Built on a plot measuring 15 metres by 30 metres, the three-bedroom, three-bathroom villa has space for off-street parking and a small front lawn. It is equipped with air conditioning. For more information, contact John at Bonna Realty on 012 949 577.

Bargain Apartment

This three-bedroom, three-bathroom flat can be yours for $350 a month. It has air conditioning and is located on a nice side street. The flat measures four metres by 17 metres. Call 092 800 065 for more information.

What's going for it?

Srah Chork is a rather industrial part of town with residential pockets scattered throughout. Located in the northeast part of the city, it is an oddly shaped commune that includes one-quarter of Wat Phnom and a good deal of the Tonle Sap riverfront. Beautiful colonial villas peek out from behind tin-roofed merchant stalls and a number of local vendors wander the streets. A large complex of buildings make up the Kantha Bopha children's clinic, which comprises a large part of the community. Srah Chork is a very Khmer district, despite the fact that it is home to the British embassy and close to the French and American embassies.

What's the catch?

Except for some side streets, Srah Chork is a pretty busy area full of noise and trash. There is a great deal of construction activity, barking dogs and screaming children. Although it borders the river, the development that is responsible for attracting hoards of people to the riverside farther south has yet to arrive. Instead of sidewalk cafes and restaurants, the riverside in Srah Chork consists mainly of a thoroughfare lined with shipping containers and a few streetside vendors. The biggest drawback is the lack of a market within easy walking distance, although the Wat Phnom end is not too far from Old Market.

Getting there, and away

Getting to and from Srah Chork is not difficult, as three of the city's major avenues run directly through it: France Avenue, which becomes Norodom Boulevard on the south side of Wat Phnom, and Monivong Boulevard and Sisowath Quay. Traffic in the area is generally thin compared with the rest of the city. The area around Wat Srah Chork and the children's hospital can be a bit hairy, but rarely does traffic come to a complete halt.

 
Out of the house

Surprisingly, there are a number of things to do in this rather remote area of town. The lakeside district  (Boeung Kak) is just across Monivong Boulevard to the west of Srah Chork, offering numerous drinking and dining options. The Cambodian and Vietnamese street-side cafes are also well worth checking out. There are also a couple of decent French restaurants on Street 75. For those with a Buddhist bent, the commune has a temple named, not surprisingly, Wat Srah Chork, smack in the middle. Wat Phnom is also on the periphery of the area.

On the market

Finding housing in Srah Chork can be tricky. However, if you are looking to buy or rent for business, it is a good area, as there are few zoning restrictions. Land prices in Srah Chork are between US$1,800 and $2,000 per square metre. Villas rent for anywhere from $1,500 to $4,000 per month. Flats and small apartments can be found for between $350 and $800 per month, while serviced apartments fetch around $550 for one bedroom and between $750 and $900 for two bedrooms. Villas sell for  between $680,000 and $1 million.

From the streets of

 
Srah Chork

David Ridge, resident:

"I love this area. I think it's the best area in the city, and I've lived a lot of places - near the InterCon, Hun Sen Park, by the university on the way to the airport. I've been here maybe eight years, this place, and I like it here. My neighbours are very good. I can't say the streets are quite so safe as far as taking things - I've had a few things taken from my car - but you get that in the UK as well. The people are quite good. It's easy access to get to where I want. It's a nice place to live."

Var Kosal, resident:

"I like the environment around here because the people are very friendly to me. They get to know me very fast and we have all kinds of leisure activities every day. Before, I lived in a rental house with my friends after I graduated from university in Tuol Tumpong, but I've lived here for three years since I was married, and it is better here because there is more open space: It is not as cramped. The traffic here is OK and the streets are wide. It is nice to sit down and just feel the breeze on my face."

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