This week, Phnom Penh property expert David Murphy, of Independent Property Services, turns his gaze westward, to the emerging residential areas of Tuol Kork and Sen Sok.
Long overlooked, the western districts of Tuol Kork and Sen Sok are beginning to take on new relevance in Phnom Penh’s development.
Although considered by some to be distant, in reality these areas are within easy commuting distance, especially when taking the large arterial road Confederation de la Russie, which features the new flyover that has significantly reduced congestion at the intersection of Kampuchea Krom and the Street 271 ring road.
Tuol Kork, the closer of the two districts to the city center, is located along the west and northwest of central Phnom Penh, with the sangkat of Boeung Kak 1 comprising the areas around Boeung Kak Lake and the developed areas to its west.
Sen Sok is the area to the west of Tuol Kork and is surrounded by the airport to the west and Preah Monireth Boulevard (Street 217) to the south.
In recent times, there has been considerable activity in the Tuol Kork area, most notably the construction on the now filled-in Boeung Kak Lake, and the CamKo City development. Both of these foreign-invested development projects are still far from completion.
Sen Sok has seen more rapid development on a smaller scale, and this is reflected in the areas around the Northbridge Communities and the development of the Rotana Plaza shopping complex.
With the addition of the Attwood Business Centre, Rotana Plaza, which contains a Lucky supermarket and other retail shops, conveniently meets most if not all household needs.
The western suburbs have seen an increase in the number of restaurants and entertainment establishments that cater to a diversity of tastes
A number of coffee shops have also been established to meet the demand of the expanding population in the area, including the popular The Shop Too and Fresco in Tuol Kork and Café Republic in Sen Sok.
Much of the new growth in these areas consists of middle class locals, in addition to many expatriate families. These new residents work in the city and have no trouble with their daily commutes.
Even though it may seem far by Phnom Penh standards, the commute for residents of Tuol Kork and Sen Sok is much shorter than what many expats would be doing in their home countries.
There are a number of apartment options out west, including the large and well-established De Castle, Morodok Khmer Apartments, Chey Phumin Apartments and the new ISL Modern Apartment complex.
Closer to the airport, there are apartments in the Northbridge Communities and in Borey Phnom Penh Thmey, with the latter offering small townhouse options.
Two bedroom apartments in these complexes are priced between $600 to $1,500 a month.
Villas out in the west are common and of varying quality and size. They are usually priced between $1,500 and $3,000 a month.
Some of the villas resemble modern concrete castles, complete with maid quarters and separate kitchens uncoupled from the main living areas.
However, there are some smaller, neater villas nestled among what some would consider monstrosities that are more appealing to Western tastes.
There has been an increase in the number of gated community properties in these areas. Communities such as Sunway, Attwood, Northbridge, Skyview Villas and Borey Phnom Penh Thmey are examples.
Prices for villas in these communities range from $800 to $2,500, depending on the size and condition of the property. Most of these communities possess common facilities such as pools and gyms.
Western living in Phnom Penh is not what it used to be, with difficulties to commute for work and play or shopping for those essential items.
Recent developments in services to the west have enabled these areas to be viable alternatives to living in the more expensive inner city, especially for young families and for those who are working in the development belt of Phnom Penh’s west.