Shipping Items To Phnom Penh

It’s a fact. I’m crazy about online shopping. Let’s just say, its my one personal indulgence. It makes me happy, like giddy happy! I’m into Ebay, Etsy, Rakuten and scouring unique individual shops. But when we moved to Phnom Penh three years ago, I put a full stop to my online shopping obsession. Mainly because I heard horror stories about the ‘bad’ postal system here in Cambodia. But after a few years and observing that at least 99.9% of letters/documents I send or receive through the post actually gets through { nothing was lost actually, some were just delayed etc.}, I think I got enough confidence {hehe or shall we say false bravado?} to get back into shopping online and getting it shipped here.

And here’s my Shipping Items to Phnom Penh experiences..

Using DHL/FedEx etc. Yes, the big names. I shopped from some shops already and the first few times, I used mainly these couriers. Especially DHL. They will also handle the customs clearance and whatever taxes and duties that needs to be paid. They would also normally call before delivery and inform you how much are the charges. Pros: hassle-free, fast and efficient, with tracking. Cons: Pricey! The price though is worth it especially if you are shipping items of worth or items you need fast.

Items Shipped From Shenzen China To Phnom Penh Via DHL
Package of Electronics Shipped Via DHL

EMS: Efficient service and much cheaper than other couriers and they also provide tracking.  Last time I shipped a package to Manila, it took only 3 days to get there.

Update: I’ve been regularly shopping from Gmarket Korea and they had been shipping my goodies via EMS. They are not as pricey as other couriers but they are also fast. Here in Phnom Penh, though they don’t deliver. They’ll assign a number to your package and call you up or send you a pickup receipt. Then you have to go to EMS counter at the Main Post Office and claim your package. The customs officer present would also check your package and prepare to pay a couple of thousand riels. The most expensive tax levied on me for a package worth $100+ was 15,000Riels (less than $4), providing you don’t have electronics on your package. Prepare also to have your ID on hand, preferably your passport or your embassy ID since they would verify if you really are who you say you are hehe.

Regular Airmail: I think my sense of daring got the better of me when I ordered something online and saw that it had free shipping, the catch though is that the item would be shipped via regular air mail. But since the item I was purchasing that time {from lightinthebox.com – shenzen/hongkong based} were just small gadgets and accessories, I decided to try it out and see what happens. I did wonder if the item would ever get here or if would still be functioning when it gets here. But I took the jump and was pleasantly surprised. The online shop said air mail might take 15 to 30 days so I prepared myself to wait a long time. But yay to Cambodia’s post service, I got the package in less than 8 days! And in good condition too.

Item Shipped from Shenzen China to Phnom Penh Cambodia
Package with Mobile Phone Accessories and Computer Accessories. Unopened and Items Inside Were In Good Condition. Yay!

Items sent via AirMail here are usually delivered straight to our address or sometimes they would deliver a claim receipt and you have to go to the Post Office and claim it there. I dunno how they select items they deliver directly or for pick up but I noticed items that are light weight like my last Artscow.com order {personalized canvass bags, magnets, photobooks} were delivered directly to our address, while another package with mobile phone and computer accessories were designated for pick up.

Item Shipped from Hong Kong to Phnom Penh
Packet from Artscow.com. Arrived in Very Good Condition. Fast Shipping Too..

When you pick up a package from the post office be prepared to pay taxes/duties, but I seriously don’t know what is the tariff. They charge in Riels and the highest I paid for was 3,500 Riels or less than $1.

 Customs and Duties. From experience, majority of the stuff I bought online has been charged taxes. Except for some paper products I ordered, everything else were taxed from a few thousand riels to a few dollars. You can’t really avoid it coz most of items bought online has receipts and declarations, so they will be taxed. All stuff I ordered worth below $50 and sent via Air Mail has just been taxed for a few thousand riels.  The most expensive I could remember was a tax of 3500 Riels for something worth about $30+.  It also helps if you have a Khmer with you when you pick up your packages though.

I also tried buying electronics {eg. MP3 players/Phone etc}  worth $100+ and they were levied $20+ in tax. This one was sent via DHL and they were the one’s who facilitated the customs clearance. So I would conclude that Cambodian government charge about 20% of the declared value for electronics.

Overall, I’m quite satisfied with shipping choices here. Now, its giving me a lot more confidence to shop more, and its a good guess my wallet is experiencing some heebie jeebies.

25 Comments

  1. Sarah

    September 6, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    I wish we could say we have had the same luck shipping items in Thailand. Shipping out and receiving packages is a total crapshoot – you might get your package, you might not. Get a signature on the receipt and it means nothing since nobody can tell you who signed for it – and where. We’ve had items signed for that said – arrived at our house. Nope. Not here.

    Would you know anything about the restrictions on sending things out of and into Cambodia? Since we’re on the subject?

  2. Mumsified

    September 7, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    Wow, andami mo nang na-order! Hihihi.
    My beading items and supplies come from the US. They ship it via FedEx. Okay naman, nakakarating naman dito lagi. Although minsan sinisingil ako ng tax.

    1. Lui

      September 7, 2011 at 1:04 pm

      @Jo, yup. ang tax ang mabigat. I always get nervous pagdating sa taxation nila. hit or miss kc.

  3. Maui

    December 15, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    I also want to shop at Rakuten but since the website is translated by a machine, I find it quite confusing. I’m also worried about being taxed here in the Philippines. Hayyyy… I guess I’ll just find a “middleman” or a proxy to purchase stuff for me.

    1. Lui

      December 15, 2011 at 6:17 pm

      @maui, its been awhile since i shopped at rakuten. i’m more addicted to Gmarket now. As for customs, its much better to shop and ship smaller packages, huge parcels tend to catch their attention..

  4. catherine

    June 8, 2012 at 9:21 am

    hi, thanks for that excellent post. i’m alson in the penh and interested to shop online. can you post about your favorite online websites so that we know where to shop? thanks.
    i just found out about your blog via a post on a mailing list here in cambodia, so i’ll be exploring it more later 🙂 (i.e. not from work 🙂

    1. Lui

      June 8, 2012 at 9:31 am

      @Catherine, from here in Phnom Penh, I’ve shopped from Modnique and other private shopping sites, Ebay, LightintheBox, Artscow, Rakkuten, and my favorite though is Gmarket Korea. Its a bit difficult to explore but if you’re up to it, you’ll discover lots of really cheap apparel, bags, shoes, gadget accessories (unique phone/tablet cases) and most specially cosmetics.

      Shipping to PP is okay. Although if you’re buying relatively expensive stuff, its much better to ship via DHL or EMS (they are fast and they act as customs broker). When I shopped with Modnique US, I shipped the goods vis USPS and they got here in about 2 weeks.

  5. Mandy

    December 14, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    Hi Lui,

    I’m planning to send a cell phone to Siem Reap, do you know probably how much the tax is ? And the tax is always to be paid by the recipient, right ?

    Thanks.

    1. Lui-in-Penh

      December 14, 2012 at 1:58 pm

      @Mandy, electronics are taxed differently. from my experience, they charge around 20% of the value of item. yes, the tax is shouldered by the recipient. When I ship electronics into Cambodia I usually use DHL coz they often broker with customs and there were cases where I paid no taxes.

      1. Hakfong

        November 12, 2014 at 10:35 pm

        Hi Lui, What do you mean by there were cases where you paid no taxes. Which mean that you can buy the electronic device and ship to Cambodia without paying the tax?
        One more thing, Do we all require to pay tax for electronic device even it is for personal usage?

        1. lui-in-penh

          November 16, 2014 at 1:44 pm

          @Hakfong, I was charged customs fee for all electronics. I would estimate around 20% of value. I always use DHL when shipping electronics coz they take care of the customs nego as I can get too impatient with that. But I did buy small electronics like MP3 player and shipped it via EMS and regular post and I was just charged the usual few thousand riels. It’s hit and miss really. My advice would be not to buy something outrageously expensive as tax levied can be random whatever strikes the fancy of the post/customs personnel.

          1. Hakfong

            November 22, 2014 at 1:38 pm

            Thank and I appreciate you for sharing those information. Hmm here is another question so all those electronic device which you were charged and without charged the tax were mark as the Gift in the Custom Declaration form right? I don’t really know how the custom tax is executed in Cambodia since some condition it was overwhelm charged by tax and somehow it’s not for example my friend just bought a phone about over 450 buck but there is no tax apply but the phone was shipped by Fedex!

  6. may

    February 3, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    Hi! We are planning to go to Cambodia. Plan namin bumili sa Russian Market ng mga overrun items. At plan din namin ipadala na lang yung ibang mabibili namin…EMS ba ang cheapest sending package to Philippines? Thank you

    1. Lui-in-Penh

      February 7, 2013 at 6:55 pm

      @May, Pinoy’s here usually use logistics companies na inexpensive if the items are heavy, or you can also check Filmart’s service.

  7. ninky

    April 9, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    Hi there, ask ko lng po san kyo nag send ng package dito sa phnom penh? gusto ko sana magpadala sa pinas but i dnt know where. dati meron sa PhilMart but now wala na po. ayoko nmn magtry s DHL kc for sure its expensive..

    1. Lui-in-Penh

      April 12, 2013 at 9:34 pm

      @Ninky, I usually send items through EMS. They are much cheaper than DHL, provides tracking and also fast. Regards.

  8. Ero

    May 9, 2013 at 10:38 am

    Dear Lui:

    have u ever experienced buying a cell-phone through ebay?

  9. Kitty

    May 12, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    Do u know how much will EMS cost for package from CN around $100+ items cost. Will they charge tax for clothes???

    1. lui-in-penh

      May 16, 2014 at 7:41 am

      hi kitty, im not sure about the cost since it’ll be sent from canada. i would suggest to check EMS canada for their rates. when it gets here, you’ll will be asked to pay tax, as per experience the most i paid for $100 worth of items is 4000 Riels. It’ll be great too if the sender marks the package as “GIFT”.

  10. Kitty

    May 21, 2014 at 1:59 am

    Friend,
    CN I mean China. I actually paid $50 on shipping fee to EMS China to ship my clothes to Phnom Penh. My clothes just cost me $100+ in 4kg package, but EMS Cambodia, charged me $3 more on package price. I don’t know why like this. Moreover, they want to charge me more on tax/custom. When I called to ask the postman of EMS Cambodia, he told I may need to prepare $30 more on tax/custom and package price. :'( I’m just an ordinary Cambodia who order for my own usage, they shouldn’t do this to me.

    1. lui-in-penh

      May 21, 2014 at 8:49 am

      hi Kitty, wow! $30?! that’s too expensive. and you’re just shipping clothes! i shop a lot from China, HK, Gmarket Korea and Rakuten Japan, even items worth more than $100 but ive never been charged more than $5 for customs/tax. I think its better if you just pick up your package from the EMS office and you will see there (last time they posted how much you need to pay for tax). As far as I know, the only items charged expensive taxes are electronics, perfumes.. Last time, I bought a phone and some gadgets from China, DHL taxed me $30 but its ok coz that’s standard for electronics.

      When you shop/ship items, its also best to declare it as gift or samples. Some people there also want to take advantage and earn from you. Good luck, I hope it goes well.

  11. Beli

    July 11, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    Hi Lui can u tell me about Gmarket??? Does they send de product to Phnom Penh via EMS?
    How much tax do i need to pay for a shoes?

    1. lui-in-penh

      July 28, 2014 at 12:23 pm

      hi Beli, Gmarket is like the Korean Ebay. Lots of sellers there with really awesome items and deals. Gmarket consolidates what you buy from different sellers and ship it via EMS. And yes they send items to Phnom Penh via EMS. They don’t deliver directly to the house though, they will call you and you have to pick up the package in EMS at the Main Post Office near Wat Phnom.

      As for the tax, as long as there is no electronics there, the max I have paid for a huge box of shoes/clothes/misc items was 12,000 Riels ($4).

  12. edelweiza

    February 25, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    Buti dyan hindi madaya ang Customs. Dito kasi sa atin, tatagain ka talaga sa laki ng taxes. Hay, only in the Philippines talaga. 🙂

    1. lui-in-penh

      March 9, 2015 at 9:38 am

      hayy naku sis ganun din kaso mas lamang ang greedy level ng customs satin. dito oks na few dollars. and i usually just get lucky coz i look like Khmer and can speak passable Khmer. satin grabe minsan mas mahal pa sa items.

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