The Cambodian cities

  • In 2013 the Cambodian population reached 15,135,169 persons, 270,523 persons more than 2012.
  • 51.20 % of Cambodians are girls and women (7,749,493) and the male population is 48.79 % (7,385,676 boys and men.)
  • The Cambodian population density is moderate: 84 persons per square kilometer.
  • The real Cambodian city by number of population (more than 750,000 persons) is Phnom Penh. 
  • The other main cities out of Phnom Penh in order of population are Battambang, Siem Reap, Ta Kmau and Kampong Cham.

Phnom Penh still being the only real urban conglomerate of Cambodia with a population of 2,2 million persons. In 2008 it was 1.9 million, meaning an increase of 30,000 persons in the space of 7 years – the entire population of Kep Province – with an annual growth of 4%. If Cambodia has a moderate density of 84 persons per square kilometer, it is not the same in Phnom Penh with 5,358 persons per sq km. The boundaries of the city has been also modified in four stages by adding territory of Kandal, the province that surrounds the capital entirely: Dangkor District, creation of Khan Russey Keo, integration of 4 villages from Kanthork Commune and 20 communes from 5 districts of Kandal (Phnom Penh Municipality, 2014)


A view of modern Phnom Penh. Its annual growth is 4%. Between 2008 and 2013 it has added 30,000 persons, the entire population of Kep Province. Photo Commons Wikimedia.

The other Cambodian cities must be divided in those with a population between 100,000 and 70,000 and others inferior to 100,000. It is important to know that there is a confusion between provincial capitals and provinces, since most of their names are the same. For example the Siem Reap Province’s capital keeps the same name. Therefore, many confuse the population number of the province with its capital. Siem Reap Province has a population of 896,443, but its capital – Siem Reap city – has just 174,265 persons. Although its importance in the national tourist sector, Siem Reap city is a small city and it is not even the second most important Cambodian urban center, as some wrongly assume.

The main Cambodian “small” cities out of Phnom Penh (with a population between 100,000 and 70,000) are in order of people:

  1. Battambang City 250,000 (2009)
  2. Siem Reap City 174,265 (2008)
  3. Ta Khmao City 195, 898 (2008), the capital of Kandal Province.
  4. Kampong Cham City 118,242 (2008).
It is Battambang the first Cambodian urban center out of Phnom Penh with a population of

It is Battambang the first Cambodian urban center out of Phnom Penh with a population of 250,000 persons – Photo Milei.vencel, Commons.

Here you are: without Phnom Penh, these four cities are the main Cambodian urban centers and none of them reach half million. Siem Reap City is third and Ta Khmao (one of those few provincial towns with names different to their provinces) and Kompong Cham are almost unknown but growing. If we sum the population of these four main cities, we are going to have a number of 738,408 persons, that is not even the half of the present Phnom Penh population.


If we count the entire population of Sihanouk Province, it could be the third largest Cambodian city, but it is not. The urban population of Sihanoukville is 66,723, making it a small town, inferior to 100,000 persons. However, its importance is rooted that it is an  international sea port and tourist destination for its beautiful beaches. Photos Commons.


Siem Reap City became important due to the ancient Angkorian temples. It is developing fast, giving a face of modernity and the first destination for international tourists. However, it is the third largest city after Battambang. Photo by Cambodia.canada in Commons.


Have you heard about Ta Kmao City? Surely no and probably you live in Cambodia. It is the capital of Kandal Province and the 4th largest one, right after Siem Reap City that is the 3th. Photo Courtesy 


Generally overlooked by the tourist stream, Kampong Cham City is one of the most important Cambodian urban centers. Photo Mekong Sunrise Guesthouse in Commons.

 The third group of cities or any provincial capital out of these second group has less than 100,000 persons. But there is a very interesting one that needs to be mentioned: Poipet.

Poipet is not even the capital of its Banteay Meanchey Province. The capital is Serei Sisophon with a population of 61,631 persons, but Poipet, that appears like a commune of Ou Chrov District, has a population of 79,000 persons, just a little bigger than Sihanoukville with 66,723 persons.


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About Albeiro Rodas

Albeiro Rodas (in Cambodia Sky Ly Samnang), is a MA in Digital Communication, independent journalist and a Salesian of Don Bosco from Amalfi, Colombia, based in Cambodia since 1999. He is the creator of the Don Bosco schools of journalism in Sihanoukville and Kep with young people from poor communities and the founder of the Don Bosco Kep Children Fund. Medal for Social Commitment UPB (2010); among the 100 more upstanding Colombians abroad (Marca Colombia, 2012, and among the 12 Colombians that are making this a better world 2013 (

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