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Sihanoukville

Sihanoukville is Cambodia's port and holiday beach town. Plenty of islands are located right in front of it within a 25km range. The city has countless restaurants, bars, hotel and guesthouses where accommodation starts for 3 dollar a night and goes to several hundred at Sokha resort. The main touristic area is Ochheuteal baech with it's Serendipitiy on the right end. On weekends and Khmer holidays the city always gets crowded with Khmer people coming down by car from Phnom Penh for relaxing on beaches.

Sihanoukville - History 2006

Initially it all started with tourism and a couple backpackers at Victory Hill where the most places at the touristic mainstreet converted in the meantime to girlie bars. Victory Hill is rather the place where longterm residents and all those coming for 6 month a year have been living. Victory Hill was once a charming area with all sorts of people. It had all you needed with small restaurants, a couple bars and mostly backpackers have found their place to stay even there were a few better class accommodations around as well. Bsside of Victory Hill a couple bungalows settled on Serendipity beach with a dusty road leading down but not much more has been available for western visitors. Those days just very few cars were on the already existing Ekareach street. Most transportation was done with motobike taxi drivers called motodups and a couple Tuk Tuks have been available as well. But alltogether streets have been quite empty as noone of the Khmers could afford any car nor any better motorbikes. Victory beach was then converted by the russians where they put an Antononov airplane right on the beach but they let 6 beach shacks exist there which give the beach still kind of a charme.

Sihanoukville - History 2010

Plenty of westerners with an idea in their head streamed into Sihanoukville to settle down and made quite a lot of changes. Serendipity area got the main touristic area in town. Plenty of guesthousees, hotels and new bars have been built around Utopia and Ochheuteal beach. Victory Hill has still been one of the touristic magnets where livebands have been playing. Famous as well was Freedom bar in the middle of the downtown where mostly Pattaya style older people have been looking for freelance girlies. Those days nightlife always changed. It was always just one place finally made it to attract the bigger crowd at nights. Sometimes it was Utopia, those days it was Chiva on Ochheuteal which was the biggest and best nightspot Sihanoukville ever had but it went all back to Dolphin as they have the connections to fill up their place with it's powerful owner sitting on top of the Ochheuteal beach Sangkat 4 police. Even there were far better places than Dolphin in past, noone had the better arguments when guns and troubles have been sent to their places to bring the crowds back to Dolphin. But plenty of tourists visited Sihanoukville probably often wished a bit better nightlife than what was offered and it's probably the reason why plenty of longterm residents finally moved away from Sihanoukville. Otres beach was on the way to get a funky touristic spot but when it was all done, the government made plans to build kind of a Dubai behind the beach. Ideas of Queenco existed with building 1000s of rooms and masterplans have been done for a skyscraper city. Same days half of the existing funky infrastructure has just been flattened and those western poeple with their funky ideas just lost from one moment to another just everything. Eversince in the meantime the middle of Otres beach is a uninhabited park area with kind of a park nobody would ever go. Those days a few tourist boats existed with Suntours, Freedom, Diveshop and a few others which brought backpackers and tourists over to the islands. No infrastructure existed at Koh Rong Samloem more than a Dive base and a few basic bungalows. Those days Dive shop moved it's base to Koh Rong where a funky traveller village has been growing very quick.

Sihanoukville - History 2013

Plenty of Chinastyle hotels and guesthouses have been built to make Sihanoukville as quick as possible ready for the crowds. Kind of touristic rooms having grids on small windows and let tourists look instead to a pool nor garden out to a paved parking area for the cars. So Sihanoukville started to grow quicker than ever before but most things have been built would never attract any western person and was rather done for the crowds of people coming down from the capital at weekends. People from Phnom Penh usually go down to Sihanoukville at fridays and return sundays. They need parking areas for their cars and fill up hotelrooms with up to 10 people. Some of them stay at the better Sokha hotel and some of the Khmers just book the 5 dollar rooms and all they need is a coolbox to sit somewhere on the beaches or at the Khmer run shacks on Ochheuteal with their families having the car parked behind. Plenty of casinos have been built for all those Khmer people liked to gamble for their quick new money they made in the capital so Sihanoukville started to get a gambling town. You could not compare those Casinos with those from Macao in size. But not rarely there were Khmer people gambling for millions of dollars in those Casinos and plenty of known, powerful, corrupt Khmer which made the quick dollars with their crimes lost it all in those casinos. One famous story was the actual Sihanoukville police chief which gambled for all his money and land titles and lost it all. But plenty of westerners as well usually have been sitting in Fortuna Casino where they went with their girlies and teached them how to gamble for money. There were funny stories when sometimes western and Russian business people left back to their homecountries and in the meantime their left back girlies have been further gambling in those Casinos for the western guys houses, cars and whatever else the had to loose as quick as possible. Sihanoukville was governed by a few powerful people which have alltogether not been very educated and just have all been on the right place at the right time in their high positions. All of them in government, police and high port positions have been able to make fortunes into their pockets and they protected themselves with their chairs they have been sitting. So this was why no westerner really wanted to come anymore to build something up in this town as anyone would just have lost all his things. Plenty of westerners had to give up their businesses as they just made not enough money anymore. Less and less western people came as well as less western tourists. Eversince the Catamaran ferry to Koh Rong started it's operations there was not really a reason to come to Sihanoukville anymore. Sihanoukville had far to high hotel prices in the middle class and most of the rooms just have not been good enough for those prices they expected to be payd. A couple hotels settled down at the end of Otres beach called Otres 2 but as well probably not many people wanted to pay 100-150 dollar for a room having not even a TV inside. So there have been a couple mistakes done which attracted less and less tourists. Victory Hill got quiet as never before as the Russians overgave the beach to a Chinese investor which just took away the last remaining charming thing with those few beach shacks existed. Everysince noone ever would go to Victory beach anymore and where was no beach there went no tourist. So guesthouses and hotels around Victory got emptier as well and whole Victory Hill started to shrink. All the places have been converted to girlie bars and most of those bars have just been empty. There was a time where Sakal Bungalows next to Victory beach had a daily full house and was a meeting point for all longterm residents but even this place got as empty as never before. The main touristic area was the Ochheuteal beach area and this was not as in ancient times anymore where everybody knew each other and found new people to chat around the corner. Ochheuteal beach was in the meantime rather a anonymous area on the way to be prepared for mass tourism. But with by far not good enough hotels for western people. Plenty of the residents started to leave Sihanoukville and moved on to Phnom Penh or Siem Reap or left the country as it was not same anymore. The Khmers overtook the businesses but it got anonymous that way for westerners which all came to Cambodia to socialize in past.

Sihanoukville - History 2014

It's hard to say where it goes with Sihanoukville. But stories of western business owners are usually in common with a long face. Many of the few ones still remaining at Victory Hill are on the way to leave and get back to their home countries. Of course there are still people frequenting Serendipity area but for most there is not this funky ambiance anymore as it got too much Casino and Chinastyle with a lack on ambiance. So whatever Sihanoukville was now is just a place for the crowds from Phnom Penh coming with their cars on weekends down to sit on beaches, gamble in Casinos or go with friends for Karaokes. There would not be a single reason to go out in the city anymore as the ancient magnet Freedom bar which opened once again as Freelance run by French people got closed. Staying at Ochheuteal beach as a western tourist means an anonymous stay and there are likely by far better places in the world where to go for that sort of money hotels in the meantime charge. For 75 Dollar a night in a Cambodian resort to get a uncharming room, there will probably still be any options in Thailand which will offer for such prices quite nice bungalow rooms right on the beach instead on the 3rd road behind the beach. All other middle class hotels the samee subject. There are of course any other basic rooms available at Ochheuteal but noone of them gives any traveller or western tourist really a reason for a longer stay in Sihanoukville than just for a few days. A bit sorry for this city but landprices have been to too high and leases went out too short that any smart and funky people with good ideas would have done somehting nice. So whatever Ochheuteal beach is in the meantime is a Chinastyle concrete tower hotel style which rather scare western tourists away than to attract them. And this is what really happened as in December 2014 where high season would have filled all hotels up in past, everything was just empty and just a very few western tourists have been in town. Maybe it changes again, but as long there is not anything better built than this Chinastyle mess, no western tourist would ever have any reason to get to Sihanoukville. And of course, those ones spending 150 dollars up for their rooms a night won't get to Sokha hotel and rather decide for a real hotel in Thailand or somewhere else where a 5 star hotel really knows what 5 stars mean. So those 400 rooms at Sokha hotel are usually quite empty as well as it's water bungalows having no ambiance around which are built in the swamp behind. They are looking great inside, but western people probably as well found out, that they rather will book a real water bungalow in Thailand or the maldives where they got clearwater with Manta rays below their bungalows instead of this stinky swamp. So Sihanoukville probably needs any people leading the tourism in future a bit better and whatever happens at Otres, they probably have just one more chance to make any mistakes until noone ever will come for a visit anymore. God thanks now the Khmers started to understand that they should build bungalow style things with a swimming pool in the middle. But the next mistake they are doing on Otres is, they squeeze those bungalows that tight together that probably no one as well really wants to stay there. Another problem at Otres, it has absolutely no nightlife as probably Dolphin still is watching out that nothing else in city could grow. So those few powerful people on the top of government almost achieved to kill the tourism in this city together with the so corrupt police which had in the past few years just one idea how to deal with tourists. The hassled them on streets day by day with fines or bribes for having lights daytime on their motobikes or having no Khmer driver licence. So all those things are a reason for western tourists to go back home and say. 'Fuck yeah' i have been in Sihanoukville but i will never go there again. Another thing is the new nightlife area next to Golden Lion with around 30 bars. Everyone just next to each other as in Pattaya and music is coming from all sides. Most of the bars have almost a 0 ambiance but where else would you go at nights in this town. You got still Dolphin on the beach but after a few days nightlife in this city it's over and everyone got not enough reason to stay any longer or to settle down. So Sihanoukville got anonymous and not even a magnet for girlies anymore. Those few better looking ones all moved on to Phnom Penh where they all are sitting in Pontoon in the meantime. A couple few left back in Sihanoukville are the Ice addicted girlies hanging out in Dolphin and even there was a pirates cave which gave a bit better ambiance just next door, it somehow got as well converted to Khmers from the French owner and eversince it's empty as well. So you could say, this little police chief which has been killing all what came up for a nightlife in Sihanoukville is probably one of the major reason why Sihanoukville tourism crashed.

Sihanoukville - Why visiting Snookyville

Reason for a visit in Sihanoukville are beaches and islands and it's not a place which would offer alot of culture or special landscape. Many people coming are straight heading to the islands. All accommodation on Sihanoukville's islands offer just basic accommodation with the Songsaa and Mirax exception which go Mick Jagger class. Those looking for any better accommodation close to a beach will feel better on the mainland.

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