|Sihanouk Ville Travel Information|
Sihanouk Ville, 240 km from Phnom Penh, is the provincial center (Town) of the Kampong Som province. The town was named afterKing Sihanouk (in power 1954 - 1970) as a dedication to his effort of creating a port city to improve the international trades. The town was re-named "Kampong Som city", after the King was overthrown in 1970 by Lon Nol, his military leader. Many people these days still call the port city Kampong Som. The town has a population of 18,000 (government census 2003). There are several beaches in Sihanouk Ville but the most popular and developed one is O Chheu Teal beach. There are some other beaches sprawling along the cost but they are not as well developed, such as Chmkar Dong and Thmar Thom beaches. The popular Beaches: Victoria, Independence, Sokha, O Chheu Teal, and O Tres.
Sihanoukville is the third largest city in Cambodia and has been a resort destination for many years now. It is the primary resort area in the country for the Khmer's as well as foreign tourist. Cheap Flight information for CambodiaSihanoukville surprises people when they get here to the size of the town which was at first three separate areas that have merged over time which stretches for over 3 kilometers from the port to the new Ochhel teal golf course. Sihanoukville was know in the old days as Kompong Som and is still called that by the older people and the Thai's.
The current King saw the potential for Kompong Soam and invested resources to make the city a showcase of Cambodia with the focus being the 4 now 5 beach's. We will go into detail on the beach's in detail further down. You will find statues and parks all over Sihanoukville beachs most have facilities that cater to visitors from rest rooms to restaurants and food stalls, to showers and you can rent beach toys, mats and umbrellas.
Travel to Sihanouk Ville from Phnom Penh: You can hire a private taxi from Phnom Penh to Sihanouk Ville for 25 US dollars. The air-conditioned public bus is 3.50 US dollars one way. The trip takes between 3 and 4 hours.
Provinces along Cambodia cost line: Kampot, Kampong Som, and Koh Kong. Coast line: 443 km
The city is served by Sihanoukville International Airport. The planned flights between Sihanoukville and Siem Reap may encourage visitors to Angkor temples in Siem Reap to extend their stay, though the crash of a charter flight on this route in 2007 has caused concerns. Sihanoukville attracts tourists with its laid back beach atmosphere when compared to Thailand's more developed ones.
Sihanoukville is on a small peninsula with beaches and tropical islands off its south and west coast and the commercial port to the north west. Beaches that line the west contour of the city from north to south are Victory Beach, Lamherkay Beach, Koh Pos Beach, Independence Beach, Sokha Beach, Serendipity Beach, Ochheuteal Beach and Otres Beach. The most popular beaches are Ochheuteal, Sokha, Independence and Victory. Tourists can take water taxis to the nearby islands for diving, snorkeling, and game fishing.
The town centre is located on a hill roughly in the centre of the peninsula and is seen as a distinct area for tourism promotion. It contains the banks, bus station and market, although the post office is some distance toward the port.
Sihanoukville province is a very small province with 868 square kilometres surface. It’s located in the very South of the country and is bordering to the North with Koh Kong, to the East with Kampot and to the West and South with the beautiful Gulf of Thailand. Most parts of the province belong to the peninsula showing a hilly face with some scattered forested areas. Most parts of the province consist of the typical plain wet area for Cambodia, covering rice fields and other agricultural plantations. The northeast of the province end on the hill foods of the Bokor National Park, a relatively big mountain range, which in the end symbolize the southern end of the mighty Cardamom Mountains. The average altitude of the province is supposedly not higher than 40m above see level.
The history of Sihanoukville goes back only as far as1955 when the area was known as Kampong Som. In August of that year, French Cambodian construction team cut a base camp into the unoccupied jungle where the Hawaii Seaview Restaurant now sits. They laid the groundwork for the construction of the new Port of Kampong Som - a project that had been set into motion by the 1945 dissolution of French Indochina. Prior to 1954, Cambodia maintained international sea trade via the Mekong . But the end of Indochina meant the Mekong delta reverted to the control of Vietnam . Seeking unfettered access to the ocean, plans were made to construct a new ocean port. Kampong Som was selected for water depth and ease of access.
Construction of the port and Route 4 ( the road to Phnom Penh ) was carried out from 1955-1960. Funds for construction of the port came from France , and from the USA for the road. The townbegan as housing for workers just south of the port. Upon completion, the town was renamed Sihanouk Ville in honor of the King.Sihanoukville’s heyday came in the 1960s. Although Kep was more popular as a holiday destination, thecommercial success of the port led to a flurry of construction and expansion including the construction of the Independence Hotel ( abandoned but still still exists on Independence Beach in a dilapidated state ), the original Angkor Brewery (closed in 1975 and reopened in 1991), a Truck & Tractor Plant , Wat Chotynieng ( aka Wat Leu ) , St Michael's Catholic Church ( constructed in 1960, closed in 1975 and reopened in 1993 ), dozens of villas on Ochheuteal Beach (destroyed in the 1980s) and other structures. There was also a second phase of port construction, which began in 1965 and halted with the Lon Nol coup d'etat of 1970.
Sihanouk Ville entered the history of the American / Vietnam conflict when, during the late 1960’s and early 70’s, it served as a transit point for weapons bound for anti-American forces in Vietnam . The town’s most direct involvement came on May 13, 1975 when the Khmer Rouge captured the S.S. Mayaguez, a U.S. container ship. As part of an attempt to release the ship, the U.S. attacked Koh Tang , an island near Sihanoukville, and met fierce resistance, suffering heavy losses. American bombers struck the naval base at Ream, warehouses at the Port , the old air field, the train yard and the oil refinery north of town. The ship and its crew were released May 15, during the battle.During the UN sponsored elections in 1992 and 1993, Sihanoukville played host to the Australian, Belgian and French contingents of UNTAC (United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia ). After the elections, foreign tourists started coming to Sihanoukville for the first time, but tourism came to an abrupt halt with the tragic 1994 Khmer Rouge murders of 3 backpackers taken from a train on the way to Sihanoukville , and of 3 expatriates taken from a taxi on Route 4. With the 1997-1998 demise of the Khmer Rouge and the political/military stability of the last couple of years , both the road and the train are now ( in 2000 ) considered safe , at least from any military threat. But political and legal fallout of the murders continue as the home countries and relatives of the victims demand justice, and the UN and Cambodian government struggle with the political and legal complexities of bringing the perpetrators to trial.
The current population in this province is about 235,190 people or 1.6% of the country’s total population (14,363,519 person in Cambodia, 2007, provincial government data), with 117,250 male and 117,940 female. The population density is therefore 271 people per square kilometre
Climate: Cambodia can be visited throughout the year. However, those plans to travel extensively by road should be avoided the last two months of the rainy season when some countryside roads may be impassable. The average temperature is about 27 degrees Celsius; the minimum temperature is about 16 degrees. December and January are the coolest months, whereas the hottest is April.
General information about the provincial climate:
- Cool season: November- March (20-28c)
The best beach weather begins with the end of the rains in November. The dry, warm, breezy weather that follows lasts through January. Night temperatures can get down to a chilly 20° but the days hover around 28°-30°. Many think December and January are best with their balmy temperatures and blue skies.
Money Though Cambodian riel (R) is the official currency, US dollars are currently the de facto tender in Cambodia. Most businesses, especially hotels, restaurants, airlines, markets and souvenir shops set their prices in US dollars. Change of less than one dollar is given in riel. Always carry some small riel for minor purchases. 500 and 1000 riel notes are the most common and useful denominations. Money changers tend to give a slightly better exchange rate than the banks. When accepting US dollars, inspect the bills carefully. Marred riel is acceptable tender, but the tiniest tear in a large US note renders it worthless in Cambodia.
ATMs Sihanoukville now has several ATMs with international access including: downtown at ANZ Royal Bank; at the Ocean Mart near the Golden Lions; at the Golden Sand Hotel on Ochheuteal Beach; at the Holiday Palace Hotel on Victory Beach; at the Total Station downtown and at the convenience store opposite Mealy Chenda Guesthouse on Weather Station Hill.
Credit Cards Visa, MasterCard (MC) and JCB cards are the most widely accepted credit cards. AMEX and the ANZ Bluespot card are coming into wider use. Most businesses charge a 2%-4% fee on credit card payment.
Travelers Checks Travelers checks are accepted at most banks, many hotels and some restaurants. AMEX in US dollars are the most widely accepted travelers checks. Ana Internet offers currency/travelers cheque exchange and Visa and MasterCard advances.
Cash Transfers 'Instant' cash transfers can be done through MoneyGram or Western Union. Ordinary telegraphic transfers are available at all major banks.
Banks Banks provide currency and travelers check exchange, credit card advances, telegraphic transfers and all usual banking services. Most banks are open from 8:00 to 15:00 or 16:00PM, Monday through Friday. Some are open Saturday mornings until 11:30.
|Sights & Activities|
The beaches at Sihanoukville are in a state of flux, as developers move in to cash in on the tourism boom. The best all-rounder is Occheuteal Beach; the northern end has emerged as quite a popular traveler hang-out nick- named Senndipity Beach, while further south it is popular with Khmers and midrange tourists staying in the nearby hotels. Serendipity Beach is a cool place to chill out with a drink, but it gets very crowded these days and has rocky waters. It may also be given a new name by the time you read this, because, as we write, there is a comical court case unfolding about the rights to the name. Chuck, the American who coined the name, claims he owns rights to it and is suing anyone who uses it in their marketing! Lining the back of Occheuteal are pine trees, which provide useful shade in the heat of the day. The sand stretches on southwards for a couple of kilometers and it’s worth trekking down here if you want a bit of privacy. A new resort is slowly under construction in the central part of the beach.
Just around a small headland at the southern end of Occheuteal Beach is Otres Beach, a seemingly infinite strip of empty white sand. Government officials are eagerly dividing up land behind the beach, but for now there are still no bungalows and fewer visitors make it here than to other beaches around town. To get to Otres Beach, follow the road behind Occheuteal Beach before branching left then right around a small headland or follow Ph Omoouy east out of town from Psar Leu for about 7km: both are rough tracks.
Occupying all of Sokha Beach , the new Sokha Beach Resort, Sihanouk-ville’s first full resort complex, is offering upscale accommodation, restaurants, water sports, and more. Sokha Beach is about 1 kilometer long and comparatively wide so that there is plenty of sand left during high tide. It is perfectly groomed these days, fairly quiet by comparison to Ochheuteal, and is open to the general public as well as guests of the resort.
The beach has the most beautiful characteristics-large beautiful sand beach, shallow water and quiet sea. We found the beach has specific either geographical aspect or the arrangement. Most of tourists who visit here are foreign tourists. They usually stay at Crystal Hotel and Seaside Hotel. At Ochheuteal’s extreme northern end, the area popularly known as ‘ Serendipity Beach ’ is the only beach in Sihanoukville to offer bungalows and guesthouse rooms right on the sand. Over the past coupleof years ‘Serendip-ity’s’ popularity has grown exponentially, as have the number of bungalows, hotels, and restaurants. The beach now offers several mid-range and budget places including Coasters’, and Cloud 9’s well-known bungalows, Uncle Bob’s 24-hour restaurant and budget rooms, and Eden Bar’s budget and mid-range rooms and popular beachfront bar. There are also places popping up between ‘Serendipity’ and the Golden Lion Traffic Circle such as Endless Summer and Mick and Craig’s Sanctuary Bar and Guesthouse. To get to ‘ Serendipity Beach ’ follow Ekareach Street straight through the Golden Lion Traffic Circle, and up and over the hill.
At over two kilometers, Victory Beach is quite long, but like Independence Beach , the sandy area is narrow, making low tide the best time. Victory is really two beaches divided by a rocky point and a small hill. The southern beach is sometimes referred to as ‘King’s Beach,’ ‘ South Channel Beach ’, or ‘ Lamherkay Beach ’, but ‘ Hawaii Beach ’ seems to be catching on as the appellation of choice. Like the other major beaches, southern Victory is now lined with umbrellas and little drink huts, though not as densely as Ochheuteal. There are a few boats on the beach that take tourists out to the nearby islands for a fee. Victory Beach north of the rocky point is a park at one end and a port at the other. It is a great place to watch sunset and the big ships come and go from the port. Chney Molop Chhrey seafood restaurant is right on the beach and the Holiday Palace Casino and Hotel is on the beach road.
Kbal Chhay Waterfall
Locates in Khan Prey Nup in seven Kilometers distance from the Sihanouk Ville, then turn left more nine Kilometers by a red soil road. The waterfall of Kbal Chhay has many souces from the mountain range at the seaside. The history of Kbal Chhay waterfall was found in 1960. Until 1963 Kbal Chhay was arranged as the clean-water sources to give Sihanouk Ville, but the arrangement failed. It became Khmer Rouge hideout . In 1997,Kbal Chhay was turned into the developing zone. In 1998, it was bid by Kok An Company on constructing road and changing this site for tourist resort for local and international tourists. Nowadays, the Royal government of Cambodia has changed this site to the clean-water sources for giving clean water to Sihanouk Ville.
Ream National Park
Ream National Park , officially called Preah Sihanouk National Park, the park has become known as “Ream” because it is in the Ream commune. The park was established in 1993, inaugurated in March 1995, and encompasses 21,000 hectares of coastal area including sandy beaches, mangrove forests, the Prek Tuk Sap estuary, off-shore coral reefs and two islands ( Koh Thmei and Koh Ses ). Macaques, sun bear, dolphins, over 155 species of birds, and other animals may be seen by visitors. The park also contains rarely glimpsed species such as mouse deer and pangolin and there has long been rumor of a tiger, but no confirmed sightings. Park facilities are not fully developed so it is best to arrange a guided tour such as a jungle walk or a boat trip at the Park Office (located 18 km north of Sihanoukville, 500m off Route 4 on Airport Road , opposite the entrance to the airport). The office is open 7 days per week 7AM to 5PM and there are usually several guides of varying linguistic skill levels on hand. Park Office phone: 012-875096. Several guesthouses in Sihanoukville can arrange transportation and tours of the park. There are set programs offered by the Park though itineraries are flexible and can be tailored to individual or group needs. Prices may vary.
there are many islands off the Cambodia coast that have lots of coral and fish. All the dive boats in Cambodia leave from the Sihanoukville port area. There are 2 PADI Dive Centers, 1 SSI Dive Center and instructors from NAUI and CMAS working at smaller dive shops in town. The main scuba diving area is the Koh Rung Group located 14 miles offshore. There is also some shallow diving at Koh Tas 6 miles of shore. The best diving is the overnight trips to the Koh Tang Group, 35 miles from Siahnoukville, where large pelagic are seen regularly, visibility is double what you will find at the close in sites. 2 dive day trips US$59-70, overnight trips US$185-195 all inclusive
|Dining & Shpping|
There is no shortage of restaurants in Sihanoukville; almost anything you want, you may get it. There are plenty of moderately priced Cambodian and international restaurants. Almost every restaurant offers Cambodian food. For the budget minded, check out the inexpensive Chinese places and the local food stalls and noodle cookshops next to the centre.
Villa Garden Restaurant & Bar
Sihanoukville does not offer souvenir shopping comparable to Phnom Penh or Siem Reap, but Sihanoukville’s shopping opportunities are growing. Several convenience stores/small supermarkets are now scattered across the town, offering a good selections of all of the usual traveller’s needs. And now there are even a few cool souvenirs to be had in Sihanoukville. There are some good T-shirts available at bars and guesthouses and some cool clothing and accessories for sale at places like Boom Boom Room. Of particular interest, the very popular NGO-based Cambodian arts and crafts association, Rajana, has just opened its first outlet in Sihanoukville, located above the Starfish Café.
There are several small shops in the town, plus a standard Cambodian market ('Psaa Leu'). Handicrafts organization Rajana has a branch above the Starfish Cafe. Although tourism is growing, don't go expecting large scale tourist markets like Siam Reap, Phnom Penh, Bangkok, Phuket. As at November 2008, there is still no tailor.Several other clothing and souvenir shops are starting to open, both downtown and around the Victory Hill and Ocheteaul area as well.
|Best Time to Visit|
Sihanoukville is one of the most beautiful places in the face of the earth. This beach town is internationally famous for its natural beauty, pristine beaches and palm trees. Cambodia’s leading beach town is located in the southern part of Cambodia on the Gulf of Thailand and is the third largest city in Cambodia. The place is a tropical getaway and provides ample options for seas foods, snorkeling and scuba diving. If you are planning a trip to Sihanoukville you must be wondering about the Time to go to Sihanoukville and AsiaRooms.com is ready to provide you with ample information about When to go to Sihanoukville.
The hottest seasons are unbearable and the temperature rises up to 35°C to 37°C and the mercury is low during the coldest months. When asked When to go to Sihanoukville it is recommended to visit the place after the end of the rains in November. The best beach season begins right after this. A warm breeze continues to blow during this period and lasts through January. December and January are the ideal Time to go to Sihanoukville. Because of the excellent climatic condition it has evolved over the years as one of the most popular holiday destination.
Coming to Sihanoukville you can engage yourself in various activities around the town. Swimming, scuba diving, game fishing and snorkeling and shopping are some of the important activities in which you can take part. Going to Sihanoukville you can visit various places of interest including Buddhist Temple and other cultural cities.
Sihanoukville area code is 034.
There are many Internet cafes in Sihanoukville, some guesthouses and many hotels offer the facility. The best is Ana Internet in the town centre between ANZ bank and The Orange Mini Mart. They can also book flights and renew visas there.
The new main Post Office is now near the Victory Park on the left hand side of the road as you go to Victory Hill. There is also a branch at the market downtown, but here you can only leave your postcards during office hours as it does not feature an outdoor mailbox.
The Vietnamese consulate on Ekareach Street issues 30 day tourist visas on a same-day basis. As of April 2008, the cost was US$27 for Cambodians, US$35 for foreigners. The opening times are 10am-12pm and 2pm to 4pm Monday to Saturday.
Most visitors to Sihanoukville travel from Phnom Penh by bus. There is also an increasing number of visitors coming to Sihanoukville by ferry or road from Koh Kong (Had Lek / Koh Kong border crossing) and by the new and improved road from Kampot. At present, there are no regularly scheduled flights to Sihanoukville. Speaking to tour companies or even your accommodation provider in Cambodia or Thailand is the best way of getting up-to-date information - but be sure to shop around!
The main gateway into the city is by boat as Sihanoukville International Airport has been closed for operations after a fatal plane crash. There is a daily ferry from Thailand which takes approximately 4 hours, 30 minutes, with buses and taxis arriving from Phnom Penh on national route 4 with a journey time of 4 hours.
From Phnom Penh: National route 4 from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville is one of Cambodia's best roads. There are regular bus services with Sorya and GST from Phnom Penh (Central Market) which takes about 4 hours at a cost of 16000 Riel, or US$4.50 through a guesthouse. The first bus leaves at 7:15 AM, the last one at 2:30 PM. All buses arrive and depart from the bus station downntown.It's worth reserving the day before or at least a few hours in advance to be sure of a seat. Mekong Express also runs two buses a day for US$6, as does Capitol Guesthouse.
From Koh Kong/Hat Lek (border crossing with Thailand): The road between Koh Kong and Sihanoukville now is paved and generally in good condition, with ferries replaced by bridges, and the trip takes about 5 hours. "Local" and "Tourist" minibuses service this route; they are always jam-packed, and the trip can be uncomfortable. "Local" service price depends on how much space you want (a whole seat, half a seat, or a space on the roof); foreigners can expect to pay around US$6-8. Rith Mony bus co., Bun Thou bus co., and Virak Buntham Express operate daily bus service leaving at 8:30 AM. These are regular air-con buses which offer assigned seats for $6-8. They will also typically have pickup in front of the offices on the main strip in town at 7:30a (at which point they simply drive over to the station to wait until the 8:30 departure time.) You may be offered pickup at your hotel if you book there (usually at a slightly inflated price over what you can get directly at the ticket office.) Sometimes there are buses leaving at 2:00p in the afternoon but the service may be available only with suitable demand and ticket prices may be quite high (around $15.)
|Map of Sihanouk Ville|