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Sihanoukville

Sihanoukville

Sihanoukville Overview
Sihanoukville, normally recommended in Cambodia tour package, is all about the ocean, located on the Gulf of Thailand. The pristine beaches, the sparkling clear water, the cooling sea breeze, the fresh crab, the swaying hammocks make it easily the best place in Cambodia to chill, especially if you have just visited the bustle of the capital Phnom Penh or the heat of the temples at Angkor Wat near Siem Reap. It is also about eating, drinking, a varied nightlife and great hotels, casinos, and restaurants, all of which cater for all budgets from backpacker hostels to luxury.
Sihanoukville History
This was till 1954. The Mekong came under the control of Vietnam with the end of Indochina resulting in the decision to construct a new port for successful sea trade in Cambodia. Kampong Som was chosen for its depth of water and accessibility. The town was later named Sihanoukville. What followed here next is referred to as the History of Sihanoukville.
 
According to the History of
Sihanoukville, the construction of the port was brought about by a French-Cambodian construction team from1955 to 1960 with funds from France. Another major construction leading to the development of the town was the road to Phnom Penh, Route 4, which was funded by the USA. The town first emerged as a settlement for the workers.
 
In the honor of the
king, the new port town was named Sihanoukville. The historical development of Sihanoukville states that the town reached its zenith in the 1960s due to the success of the port. Due to the booming Sihanoukville Tourism, the town witnessed the construction of the Independence Hotel on the Independence Beach in Sihanoukville, the Angkor Brewery, villas on the Ochheuteal Beach in Sihanoukville, and the St Michael's Catholic Church. The History of Sihanoukville, Cambodia says that the port went through construction work again from 1965 to 1970. It was stopped due to the Lon Nol coup d'etat.
 
One of the major phases of the History of Sihanoukville was its role in the American Vietnam conflict. It helped the anti- American forces in Vietnam in acquiring weapons. In 1975 the S.S. Mayaguez, a U.S. container ship
was captured by the Khmer Rouge. The USA attacked an island close to Sihanoukville. The ship was released after a fierce bombing.

Another major turn in the History of Sihanoukville was hosting the Australian, Belgian and French military units of United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) in 1992 and 1993
UN-sponsored elections. Later the town saw an influx of foreign tourists which was disrupted by the murders of the 3 backpackers and 3 expatriates. The location has attained stability post 1997-1998 with the end of the Khmer Rouge making. Today it is a popular tourist destination emerging out of its past of war and murder. The numerous restaurants, bars, and hotels with a large number of tourists have changed the face of the city.
Sihanoukville climate and best time to visit
The climate in Sihanoukville is a tropical one that is warm and humid with three specific seasons. The cool and pleasant season, which is the best time to travel on the Cambodia travel packages takes place from November to February with an average temperature of 20°C to 28°C, with the hot and dry season lasting from March to May (April is the hottest month), when the temperature has the potential to reach 36°C. And the wet season runs from May to November.
Sihanoukville Transportation

By plane
You can fly into Sihanoukville (from Angkor Wat, Phnom Penh, or Vietnam), or take the Sihanoukville Express Train (which comes from Phnom Penh and Kampot.)
 
From Phnom Penh, 
buses, vans, and cars leave several times a day. Buses leave from 7 until 9 pm.  Prices are $5 - $12. The ride is 4 - 6 hours.
 
By Boat
From any beach or hill in town, you can see islands. Most of the beach places, restaurants, and guesthouses can arrange day trips, overnight trips, scuba diving, snorkeling, and island trips.  The day trips to the islands with snorkeling and breakfast and lunch generally cost about $15 and up.  Get your own boat with captain for $80 or more for the day.


By Car
Cars leave from the Central Market in Phnom Penh near Monivong
street and are about $50 for a whole car, or $10 per passenger. (note: if you want a comfortable ride, buy the whole front seat for $20, they usually pack 2 people in the passenger seat.).   About 4 hours to Sihanoukville.  There are now comfortable Vans to and from Phnom Penh for about $10.
 
By Train
Train service is now on most weekends, between
Sihanoukville and Phnom Penh, (with a stop in Kampot). Prices are $4 to $7.  You can buy tickets at the train stations (sometimes).  Travel time:  Sihanoukville / Phnom Penh - 6++ hours.  Sihanoukville / Kampot - 2 hours.  Tickets $4 for short trips, $7 for Sihanoukville. 

Things to do and see in Sihanoukville

The main attraction is the beaches: There are too many to list but in general, if you start at the downtown area and walk in either direction they become less crowded, and with fewer hawkers trying to sell you a massage, bracelets, and, yes, hair removal using cotton threads. 
 
The beaches also offer you a choice of many kinds of seafood and BBQ food outlets; you won’t find fresher crab or squid anywhere. You can snorkel or dive (there are several registered PADI courses available), sailboard, hire a jet ski by the hour, buy a giant inflatable turtle for the kids, or use a free sunbed outside many of the beach bars. It’s only fair to purchase some food or drinks if using the beds. Watching the stunning sunset with a cocktail or two is also well worth hanging on for.
 
Out of town, you can visit the waterfalls (best in the rainy season for obvious reasons) lie in a hammock on the not quite so pristine beaches at Ream National Park, or from here take one of many boat trips to the islands just off shore. If you are a group you can charter one of the larger boats for a day trip to one of them for a very reasonable $30. The National Park area is also a favorite
with bird watchers, being home to many rare species.

Sihanoukville Travel Tips
Like other destinations in Cambodia tour package, there is all manner of hawkers sell about everything such as seafood, fruit, drinks, herbal remedies and traditional massage. Some of them have been known to pilfer unattended possessions. So, keep a close watch on your valuables, or leave them at a trusted beachside shack when going for a swim.
 
Also, take a note that Cambodia is a conservative society, which reflects clearly on the local people's choice of beachwear. And you can show your respect for the local culture by choosing modest beachwear.

With transportation in Sihanoukville, should always agree on a price beforehand. Ask your hotel to make arrangements.
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