Sihanoukville is located on Cambodia’s coastline, approximately 220 kilometers from the capital Phnom Penh. After the borders have opened and Scandinavians no longer need to apply for a visa in advance, it has become much easier to travel to Cambodia. The beaches of Sihanoukville are fully on par with those found in many more visited neighboring Thailand, and prices are much lower.
Sihanoukville, Cambodia and tourists
Cambodia’s tourism industry is relatively new, and the standard of hotels and restaurants is currently not on par with Thailand. But tourism is one of the main focus areas of a country that has suffered a lot in the last 35 years. First as a result of the US bombing during the Vietnam War, which also extended far into Cambodia. Then during the Red Khmer terrorist era in 1975-79, which led to the deaths of millions. In parallel, Cambodia has seen neighboring Thailand make good money on the flow of Western tourists.
Sihanoukville is well on its way to becoming Cambodia’s answer to Thailand’s Phuket or Koh Samui, but this is still a few years ahead. For the time being, it is fully possible to get a double room with air conditioning, fridge, TV and private bathroom for $ 10 to $ 15 ( US dollars ) which is the equivalent currency. If you go up to around $ 30, or $ 200, you have almost a good four-star standard. You get a good and filling dinner from 15 kr and up, and a beer costs 5-6 kroner. Besides, the Khmer people are very friendly and genuinely happy to finally serve western customers.
Sihanoukville is a fairly new city, named after King Sihanouk and built in the 1950s. For that reason, the number of attractions is not that many within the city limits. The views from the monastery and pagodas on the hill above the city make it worth the trouble to visit. Remember to bring bread or fruit to the little monkeys you meet. You can also hire a motorcycle driver as a guide for around a hundred dollars a day. Then you can go on day trips to the Ream National Park 15 kilometers west, or visit the Kbal Chhay waterfalls a mile north. Also, there are several almost pristine small islands and incredibly picturesque beach paradises in the ocean area off Sihanoukville.