Receiving mail in Cambodia

Here are a few things you can do to make sure your mail arrives

Don’t expect the post office to deliver to private homes. They will, but only if your house is really easy to find. Like, really easy. Since many apartments are not easy to find, or don’t have addresses on them that make sense, or don’t have house numbers at all, it’s often best to get a post office box. When the post office does deliver to your house, they will usually try once and then give up. And they will not necessarily leave a note.

Prepare to tip. If post office personnel successfully deliver mail to your home, they will expect a small tip for their trouble, usually between 1,000 riel and $1. If you do not tip, next time they may deliver your mail to the garbage can.

Always have senders put your phone number on the package. Often the post office is more willing to call you than to try to deliver, so having your number on the package is usually the fastest way to get mail.

Check the book. If you are expecting a package, it’s also worth going to the post office and looking through their book with the list of package arrivals. Sometimes they will not want to show you, but insist politely and you’ll usually find a long list of packages that have not been delivered neatly inscribed inside.

Fees. When you do pick up a package at the post office, they will sometimes charge you a seemingly arbitrary fee–usually only for packages that are sent registered, but these packages do arrive more quickly and reliably. Sometimes they will ask you to open the package in front of them. If you are receiving anything of value, be aware that Cambodia has a very high import tax, in addition to a value-added tax, and you can be hit with huge fees on arrival. This is why most people do not advise shipping electronics and other expensive goods.

Missing in transit. Some expats have also reported that their mail has been opened and items have occasionally gone missing–another reason to abandon the idea of having valuables shipped to you. However, most expats with a post office box have a relatively easy time receiving their mail.

This is an excerpt from Move to Cambodia: A guide to living and working in the Kingdom of Wonder. To learn more about 100+ topics that pertain to Cambodia expats, please consider buying the book.