The 2017 guide to owning a car in Cambodia


While many people living in Cambodia choose to get around by motorbike, there’s no doubt that driving a car is the safer option. Despite Phnom Penh’s increasingly heavy traffic, it can also be more convenient.

Foreigners can own a car in Cambodia, but there’s a few things you need. We’ve put together this handy article to let you know how to drive in the Kingdom legally and safely.


Driving license

You must have a Cambodian driver’s license to drive in Cambodia, and it will need to be renewed every year. Generally most people choose to apply through an agent. Since this is quite a broad topic in itself we’ve put together a separate article on how to get your license, which you can read here.

Vehicle registration card

This is a small plastic card containing the details of your car. This is very important as it’s the main proof of ownership of the vehicle. You should never buy a car in Cambodia if the seller cannot provide this card. If you’re not sure, get in touch with Western Motor Garage and we can talk to the seller for you. NOTE: As of 2018, if you are stopped by traffic police, they will ask for this card in addition to your license. So make sure to carry it with you in a safe place!

Car tax

All car owners in Cambodia must pay a yearly car tax. Fortunately, this can now be paid at Acleda banks. You’ll need to take your Vehicle registration card and passport with you, fill out a form, and you’ll be told how much you need to pay. Additionally, you can pay a small fee to receive a card from Acleda, which will allow you to bypass the paperwork in future years. Once everything is done you’ll receive a tax sticker which you’ll need to display on your car’s windscreen.

Vehicle inspection certificate

As in other countries, cars in Cambodia need to pass an inspection in order to be driven legally. This needs to be done every two years, and as with car tax, you’ll receive a sticker to display on your windscreen. The main inspection facility is north of Phnom Penh in the Russey Keo District, however if you contact Western Motor Garage we’ll be happy to take your car there for you and assist with any servicing that is required.


Yes, many people drive in Cambodia without insurance. No, it’s not a good idea. Accidents occur frequently, especially outside of the major cities. It’s best to make sure you are covered if the worst happens, even if it’s not your fault. Most insurance companies will provide you with an emergency number to contact in the case of an accident. Make sure you shop around for the best deal, or get in touch with Western Motor Garage and we can give you some recommendations.

A reliable garage

No matter how well you take care of your car inevitably things do go wrong, especially in Cambodia where rain, dust, and the road conditions can wear on your vehicle. Most importantly, you’ll need a reliable breakdown service in Cambodia. At Western Motor Garage we understand this, which is why our breakdown service extends to outside of Phnom Penh (callout charges may apply). If the worst should happen and you get stuck somewhere, please call us on 092 780 170 and we’ll send a team out to you asap.


So now you know what’s required for owning a car in Cambodia, why not take a look at some of our cars for sale in Phnom Penh? Or if you have a car in mind already, try our car buying service to get the best deal possible. As always, please note that the Cambodian transport ministry changes rules regularly without much warning. Give us a call on 092 780 170, or leave us a message on Line, Facebook, or our website, and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.


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