Sihanoukville is a coastal town located in south-west Cambodia on the Gulf of Thailand. It is known for its vast coastline home to a series of magnificent beaches, restaurants serving delicious seafood cuisines and a happening nightlife making it a popular destination for a beach holiday in the country for the tourists. It is the capital of Sihanoukville province and is one of the most modernized cities in Cambodia. Tourists visit Sihanoukville to enjoy watersports, games, and boat trips in the surrounding islands.
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Sihanoukville was set up as a port town in 1964 after Cambodia's independence, and the city got its name from the country's King Norodom Sihanouk. Relatively a new town, it developed into a beach destination with grand resorts, bars and rich coastline until the Khmer Rouge put an end to the golden era.
The city was almost shut down after thousands of civilians were killed and the buildings destroyed. One of the famous hotels was Independence hotel, which became abandoned. In 1993, peace returned to Sihanoukville, and from the late 1990s, the town turned into a backpacker's paradise, with plenty of cheap guesthouses, bars, cafes and restaurants lining up the clean white sand beaches.
From being Cambodia's famous beach town, it has now turned into a concrete jungle with construction sites. The city is home to more expats than the locals now, a majority of them Chinese, who have set up hundreds of huge casinos across all the beaches. This sizeable Chinese investment is sadly negatively changing the city, impacting the lives of the locals. The Chinese population has increased here dramatically with its continued settlement.
Beaches and Watersport:- A series of white sand beaches along the coastline in the city is the main draw for tourists who visit the city. A tropical landscape dotted with mangrove forests, bordered by coastal marshlands along the Ream National Park, the long stretch of River Ou Trojak running from Otres Pagoda to the sea rich in marine life and all water adventures beckon travellers to the city. Sihanoukville is a great place to relax by the beach, take up scuba diving, kayaking, snorkelling, stand up paddleboarding and swimming.
Seafood:- The city is home to many restaurants in different budgets serving excellent seafood including crabs, prawns, and various fish cuisines. Sihanoukville also looks more modern and has a unique Cosmopolitan style compared to other cities that are still traditional in their outlook. It is partly because of plenty of upscale, luxurious beachside resorts, malls, casinos and entertainment centres. Especially the Weather Station Hill or Victory Hill is home to many 5-star accommodations.
Nightlife:- The city offers a pretty good nightlife in Ochheuteal, Serendipity and Victory Beaches with all beach sidebars as well as those in the downtown that serve fresh brews, have musical and dance floors open until the early hours of the morning. If you want to have a simple holiday in a quieter place, Otres beach is the place which has cheap and minimalistic guest houses overlooking the sea.
Sihanoukville is a great place if you are looking for some nightlife. There are plenty of pubs open all night serving brews and cocktails along with the music. It is a popular place for casinos, although tourists need to check the rules before entering any.
In recent years, the safety of travelers has been an issue. The crime rates have been on the rise with the influx of Chinese immigrants occupying most of the popular locations with the casinos. It is recommended to safeguard your valuables and avoid venturing out in deserted places.
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