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Difference between revisions of "Sihanoukville"

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(updated listing JJ's)
(Eat)
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*'''Seahorse guesthouse, bar and restaurant'''. Serendipity Beach main road, 150 meters from the beach in front of Utopia. Delicious western and Khmer food. Free Wifi and pool table.
 
*'''Seahorse guesthouse, bar and restaurant'''. Serendipity Beach main road, 150 meters from the beach in front of Utopia. Delicious western and Khmer food. Free Wifi and pool table.
 +
 +
* '''Taj Mahal'''.
 +
Classic Indian Cuisine Halal
 +
is located at the Orecheteal Beach sihanoukville
 +
From ancient palaces of Indian Sub-Continent to modern kitchens, hand-blended masalas remain a treasured element of the finest cooking. The rich spices found in these blends are imported from their native countries and mixed with the utmost care by master Chef M. Ahmad and his professional team  of the popular Taj Mahal Restaurant, one of the tasty points in Siem Reap.NOW in SihanoukVille at Ochheuteal Bech front on COBRA KTV M. Ahmad's inspiration came from researching the favorite dishes of many royal families who ruled India centuries ago. Free Wi-Fi. Price Range is affordable from 3 US$ to 10 US$.
  
 
*<eat name="Sunshine Cafe" alt="" address="Otres Beach" directions="" phone="012 82 84 32" url="" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">Great cafe and beach bar on the more relaxing Otres Beach. Run by a Polish lady and her family who cooks excellent food. It has a nice community atmosphere. Her Khmer partner runs boat trips, US$15pp, more interesting places than the other boat tours. He also does night fishing boat trips when there are sufficient numbers wanting to go. They also have a small number of simple beachfront rooms for US$5.</eat>
 
*<eat name="Sunshine Cafe" alt="" address="Otres Beach" directions="" phone="012 82 84 32" url="" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">Great cafe and beach bar on the more relaxing Otres Beach. Run by a Polish lady and her family who cooks excellent food. It has a nice community atmosphere. Her Khmer partner runs boat trips, US$15pp, more interesting places than the other boat tours. He also does night fishing boat trips when there are sufficient numbers wanting to go. They also have a small number of simple beachfront rooms for US$5.</eat>

Revision as of 19:53, 23 February 2013




Sihanoukville (Krong Preah Seihanu), formerly Kompong Som and familiarly just Snookyville or even Snooky is a seaside town featuring Cambodia's best-known beaches.

Privately-owned Sokha Beach

Contents

Understand

In a land with thousands of years of history, Sihanoukville is a colourful but tragic upstart. A mere fifty years ago, a French-Cambodian construction carved a camp out of the jungle and started building the first deep-sea port of a newly independent Cambodia. Named Sihanoukville in 1964 after the ruling prince of Cambodia, the booming port and its golden beaches soon drew Cambodia's jetsetting elite, spawning the first Angkor Beer brewery and the modernist seven-story Independence Hotel which, claim locals, even played host to Jacqueline Kennedy on her whirlwind tour of Cambodia in 1967.

Alas, the party came to an abrupt end in 1970 when Sihanouk was deposed in a coup and Cambodia descended into civil war. The town – renamed Kompong Som – soon fell on hard times: the victorious Khmer Rouge used the Independence Hotel for target practice and, when they made the mistake of hijacking an American container ship, the port was bombed by the U.S. Air Force. Even after Pol Pot's regime was driven from power, the bumpy highway to the capital was long notorious for banditry and the beaches stayed empty.

Peace returned in 1993 following the historic elections organized by the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia ( UNTAC) and in the ensuing ten years Sihanoukville has been busy picking up the pieces. First visited only by a few intrepid backpackers, guidebooks still talk of walls pockmarked by bullets, but any signs of war are hard to spot in today's Sihanoukville, whose new symbol seems to be the construction site. After 30 years of housing only ghosts, the Independence Hotel is up and running again, more and more Khmers and expats have settled down to run bars and restaurants, and the knowledge of what the New York Times dubbed "Asia's next trendsetting beach" is starting to spread.

Since Snooky is a relatively new city (1950) and did grow along with the steady growth of the tourists, all the negative elements came along. It is not safe (even for men) to walk alone on the beach after 9pm, there are plenty of glue sniffing kids and a lot of Java (Methamphetamine) smoking girls and boys and probably the worst Tuk Tuk Mafia (all with price agreements).

Get in

By plane

The small Sihanoukville Airport (IATA: KOS | ICAO: VDSV) is located 17km to the east of town, on the edge of Ream National Park. Cambodian Angkor Air [1] started flying to and from Siem Reap on December 14th 2011 with three flights a week.

By helicopter

Sokha Helicopters [2] offers a VIP charter service between a private helipad at Sokha Beach Resort and Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Charter rates start at US$1495 per flight hour plus 10% VAT & 10% SPT, with discount packages for stays at Sokha Beach Resort. Helicopters are modern, French-built Eurocopter Ecureuils with luxury leather seating for 5 passengers. Licenced pilots are from Australia and Europe. Flight time from Phnom Penh is 55 minutes and Siem Reap 1 hour and 40 minutes.

By bus

Phnom Penh Sorya Transport [3], GST Express, and Mekong Express operate hourly bus services from Phnom Penh, taking 3-5 hours and costing US$4.5-10, depending on the quality of the bus and the number of stops. The first bus leaves Phnom Penh at 7:00AM; the last bus leaves at 5:45PM. All buses arrive and depart from the bus station downtown near the Central Market. Tickets can be booked at the bus company offices, travel agencies, and many guesthouses. It is worth reserving a day in advance to be sure of a seat. National Route 4 between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville is one of Cambodia's best roads.

Rith Mony, Bun Thou, and Virak Buntham Express operate daily air-conditioned minibus service leaving at 8:30AM to/from the the border with Thailand at Koh Kong/Hat Lek, taking 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. They will also typically have pickup in front of the offices on the main strip in town at 7:30AM (at which point they simply drive over to the station to wait until the 8:30AM departure time.) You may be offered pickup at your hotel for a premium. Sometimes there are buses leaving at 2:00PM but the service may be available only with suitable demand and ticket prices may be higher (~US$15).

In 2010, Virak Buntham Express started a bus service from Ha Tien in Vietnam to Sihanoukville via the new Xa Xia/Prek Chak border post. (From Ha Tien, there is a ferry to Phu Quoc island, another popular tourist destination). Unlike even recent travel guides report, this trip now has become easy and straightforward. Visa on arrival for USD 25/550.000 VND (but bring a photo!)

By taxi

A chartered taxi from Phnom Penh's Central Market can make the trip in less than three hours and will cost anywhere from US$25-40 per car, depending on the petrol price of the day and how beat up the vehicle is. You can reduce the price by sharing seats, but be warned that Khmers will squeeze as many as eight people into the car, including two in the drivers seat, so most people will need to buy two seats for comfort.

By boat

Boats used to run daily from Koh Kong/Hat Lek (the border crossing with Thailand), taking around 4 hours and costing US$20/700 baht. However, the service was suspended in 2008 and it's unclear if it will resume, since travel by road is now cheaper, safer and just as fast. Several sources quote "persistent rumours" about a future ferry service with the nearby Vietnamese Phu Quoc island, but nothing happened yet.

Modest numbers of cruise lines offer one-day port visits, usually along with more stops in Vietnam enroute to or from Bangkok, e.g., Oceania.

By train

There are no passenger services on the Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville railway line. It may be possible to hitch a ride with the freight train security guards - enquire locally for further information. As of autumn 2010, there are efforts to make the Cambodian railways operational again. Since October 2010, a freight service from Phnom Penh to halfway Sihanoukville (Touk Meas) is operational.

Get around

Central Sihanoukville

Distances between the beaches are a little too long to walk comfortably, but getting around is easy, as the roads are wide and bike taxis (motodop) are everywhere. The standard price is US$1 per trip, although expect to haggle at night or if the distance is long. They'll gladly pile on two people and their luggage too. For larger groups, car taxis can be called up by phone (flat US$5 to most places around town).

There are dozens of the ubiquitous tuk-tuks around the new bus station and the accommodation areas. They are some of the most persistent and over-charging drivers in Cambodia; they have formed an "association" for price fixing - a trip to the bus station, US$2 in Phnom Penh, costs US$3 if your bus company pays but they will hit you for US$6 if you arrive at the bus station and want to go to the beach. If you have decided where you will stay it can help to call for a pick up; even if its not free, it may save you some overcharging.

The ride from the new bus station to Serendipity Beach should cost no more than US$3 during the day.

Another great choice to get around is to rent a scooter. Haggle a bit and you can get it for US$4 a day or more - it depends of a season. Fuel is not very cheap (about $1,25/l) but can be bought at many roadside shacks. However, as of 2009, renting scooters to foreigners is technically illegal, and the police may stop and fine you.

See

The town itself doesn't offer much to see.

Beaches

The main reason to visit Sihanoukville is the beaches. They are not as crowded as many of those in Thailand, but can be cramped on weekends and holidays. Like many beaches in Southeast Asia, they are covered in a lot of rubbish, but Otres Beach is very clean.

  • Victory Beach, (south of the commercial port). Plenty of budget accommodation nearby on Weather Station Hill. This beach is close to the seaport.
  • Independence Beach. Also known as '7-chann beach' after the seven-storey Independence Hotel
  • Sokha Beach. owned by Sokha Beach Resort, it is private but you can access it by paying a couple dollars. You won't have many people begging or trying to sell you something here.
  • Ochheuteal Beach. (Khmer: ​ឆ្នេរអូឈើទៀល - Chnay Occheuteal) is a long and narrow strip of white sand beach located in Sangkat No3. The northern section has now become known as Serendipity Beach, a popular beach with western tourists, noted for small guesthouse rooms right on the beach. There are around 30 beach huts serving good value meals and a wide selection of drinks,. a golf-course development at the southern end, and a cluster of mid-range hotels and restaurants near the MP base in the middle. Grass umbrellas, rentable beach chairs and little drink huts line the beach from one end to the other. Les Feuilles), within walking distance of the hotels. Further south along the beach in front of the golf course development, a number of budget traveler/backpacker oriented bar/restaurant/beach hangouts have sprung up offering chairs, umbrellas, drinks and a chill-out atmosphere.
Ochheuteal Beach - Sihanoukville
  • Serendipity Beach. Guesthouses and bar/restaurants right on the beach, open until the early hours. This beach seems to be the most popular and typically has the greatest number of people on the beach. Serendipity Beach is connected to Ochheuteal beach.
  • Otres Beach, (South-east of Serendipity and Ochheuteal Beaches). Amazing 4km long stretch of clean, white sands. less crowded and definitely more relaxed than other beaches in Sihanoukville. every season more and more beach bars and guesthouses are poping up along the beach. tourists will find accommodation in rooms or bungalows (prices ranging from US$5 - 30 p/night), e.g. Cinderella Beach Bungalows. Otres Beach is great place for lazy sunbathing but other activities also available (catamarans, windsurfing, kayaks, various boat trips, bicycles).

Other

  • Kampong Pier Nup Lok, (2 km north of the commercial port). The old fishing port. Offers some nice views.
  • Ream National Park. A wonderful mangrove nature reserve about 30 minutes driving from Sihanoukville. Take a moto to park headquarters for US$2. From there, park rangers offer walking tours for US$5 or boat tours for US$20 (4 people). Call in advance. The organised trips from Sihanoukville can be disappointing, as they sometimes fail to supply a proper guide and the food can be a bit dodgy.
  • Koh Russei (Bamboo Island). See the seperate article on Koh Russei for more information.
  • Koh Rong. See the seperate article on Koh Rong for more information.

Do

  • Go for a ride with Ride Cambodia Motorcycle Tours. They're based in Sihanoukville at the bottom of Serendipity Beach Road by the pier. By far the most competitively priced motorcycle tour operator in the country, they run single day trips out into the jungle and also run multi day trips across all of Cambodia. If you can ride a bike and fancy an adventure then this is the activity for you.
  • Scuba Diving. There are many islands off the Cambodian coast that have lots of coral and fish. All the dive boats in Cambodia leave from the Sihanoukville port area. There are 4 PADI Dive Centres, one of which, Scuba Nation PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Centre [4], provides a range of diving and snorkeling services, day trips. EcoSea Dive [5], offers SSI courses as well. The largest and newest dive centre, Island Divers [6], also offers various diving servixes. Angkor Dive [7]is also based on Koh Rong Samloem who offer over night trips to the island to not only dive, but also to experience the traditional way of life in a Khmer fishing village. The main scuba diving area is at Koh Rong Samloem Island located 14 miles offshore, as well as at Koh Tang Island 35 miles from Sihanoukville. Overnight trips are necessary in order to reach Koh Tang. There is also some shallow diving at Koh Tas some 6 miles from Sihanoukville, but it's mostly reserved for when the weather is too rough to get all the way to Koh Rung Sanloem. The best diving Cambodia has to offer is the overnight trips to the Koh Tang Group, where large pelagic are seen regularly and visibility is double what you will find at the closer sites. 2 dive day trips US$59-85, overnight trips US$185-325 all inclusive.
  • Golden Spa & Massage, (opposite monkey republic), 011921110, [8]. Offers a wide variety of massages as well as nail care, body scrubs and so on.
  • Snorkeling. Possible around most of the islands, with the best snorkeling being at the further our islands for visibility, corals and fish. Many restaurants at Serendipity Beach advertise a snorkeling trip for US$15, but most are incapable of properly explaining what their offer includes, but most will be the same trip organised by one of the travel agents which includes breakfast at the beach, a visit to two snorkeling spots and a 3 hour lunch break at Koh Russei (Bamboo Island). If you are serious about your snorkeling, you should consider going with one of the three scuba dive shops to ensure you get proper gear.
  • The Cambodian Children's Painting Project (CCPP) [9]. This is located on Serendipity Beach Rd. CCPP is a NGO which works with impoverished Cambodian children. Together with volunteers the children create art which is then sold to help support the children's families and the project itself. As part of the project children are provided with access to education, painting materials, sport activities, two meals a day, medical assistance and dental assistance. Social workers are employed to work with the children's families. You can help by becoming a volunteer, donating painting materials, buying a painting, donating money or by holding an exhibition of the children's art.
  • Unspoiled Island Day Trip. Finding a clean and unspoiled beach (apart from private Sokha Beach) is challenging in Sihanoukville but can be found a couple of hours away on the island Koh Rong Saloem. Daily ferries can take you there in the morning or a one-day trips including snorkeling, fishing, lunch and light breakfast can be booked at [10]. This particular company takes its passengers to a deserted 5km strip of pristine beach. It's run by an entertaining German man called Robert. There is also accommodation on the island at Lazy Beach. EcoSea diving [11] offer overnight trips to Koh Rung Sanloem as well, where accommodation is in small basic cottages. Price is 15 USD / Night (2011). Unfortunately there are a lot of sand flies on the island so expect to be bitten.
  • Jet Ski At least six tourists and one local boy were run over and killed at Ochheuteal beach and Ostres beach by Jet Skies since September 2009. The number of tourists and locals injured by banana-boats and jet skis is unknown. In 2009 the police marked a 'swimmers only' area with buoys along most of the beach but the employees of the jet ski & banana-boat operator completely ignore it and keep showing off silly but very dangerous high speed stunts just metres from shore and in the middle of swimmers to hunt and attract customers. Complaints to the police or tourist police are constantly ignored. On weekends you will see many very drunk Cambodian tourists on jet skies, chasing each other inside the swimming zone and ignoring the simplest safety rules. At Serendipity, the northern end of Ochheteal beach, Jet Ski drivers race between the corral bommies, completely disregarding the safety of snorkelers, damaging and killing with the oil in the exhaust marine life. A number of the jet skis are older models with 2 stroke engines. If three or four jet skies running at the same time, the whole beach stinks from the highly toxic exhaust fumes - not to mention the permanent chainsaw noise the beach is blasted with. If you want to enjoy a quiet, relaxed day on the beach go to one of the other beaches outside of town and pay 3$-5$US for a one way ride with a moto-dupp.

Buy

There are several small shops in the town, plus a standard Cambodian market ('Psaa Leu'). Although tourism is growing, don't expect large scale tourist markets. As at November 2008, there is still no tailor.

Several clothing and souvenir shops are opening downtown and around the Victory Hill and Ocheteaul area as well.

ATM machines can be found throughout the city. Downtown, there are ATMs from ANZ Bank, Canadia Bank, and Acleda Bank. There are also ATMs around the "Golden Lions", on "Beach Street", at CCS Hotel and one at the Golden Sands Hotel, Occheuteal Beach.

  • Rajana, (Above the Starfish Cafe), [12]. Handicrafts

Eat

Along the beaches, especially at Ochheuteal Beach, there are many food stalls and some restaurants serving grilled, meat, chicken and seafood with chips/fries and a beer for US$3-4. There are a good many restaurants in town as well. Sihanoukville has a surprisingly diverse set of cuisines.

  • The Beach Chalet, At Otres Beach. Cambodian and Western food, fresh and cheap. Prices are fixed all the year. The staff are friendly.
  • Angelo's Restaurant, Near Golden Sands Hotel, Excellent BBQ and Greek cuisine.
  • Grand Restaurant Kampuchea, Next to Angelo's and accross the road from the Beach Club on Tola Street. Tradional Kmwe food, with the Chicken Amok Curry a particular highlight.
  • Happa, Serendipity Beach Rd. Japanese teppanyaki, or hot plate, restaurant.
  • Cinderellas Coffee Shop, Serendipity Beach Road, opposite Monkey Republic. Very pleasant coffeeshop/cafe just off Ochheuteal Beach with comfortable indoor and terrace patio seating. Offering a reasonably priced menu with western, Korean and Asian dishes. In addition to coffee there is beer, wine & cocktails. Tel: 012-613380 [13]
  • Ku Kai, Serendipity Beach Rd. Japanese restaurant.
  • La Paillote, tel. +855-12-632347, Victory Beach. French-Khmer cuisine in one of the finest restaurants in the country. Entrees US$5-11.
  • La Reserve Sihanoukville, on Victory Hill, Gourmet French Cuisine with Master Chef Patrick Escribe, Table de France.
  • L'luna d'Autunno. Italian Restaurant situated on the right hand side of Ekareach Street, a short way before the bend down to the Golden Lions. The staff are well trained & friendly, and prices are not overly expensive, with pasta or pizza at around US$8-9.
  • The Look Bar and Restaurant [14]. On Victory Hill in Bar St. Free pool, multiple TV-Screens, WiFir and a wide selection of drinks and food. Weekly blues/rock/rock'n'roll live music and BBQ with latino music.
  • Maharajah Royal Indian Cuisine Halal Siem Reap's popular,Now opened a sister restaurant in SihanoukVille, at Victory Hill +855-15-966221 menu from US$3~10 [15]
  • The Reef Resort, tel. +855-12-315338, Serendipity Beach Road. Tex-Mex, ribs and steaks.
  • Mick and Craig's restaurant. Near the Golden Lions. A Sihanoukville institution which has been providing comfort food in Sihanoukville since 1997. Their Mexican menu and Sunday roast are particular favourites [16].
  • Noh Kor Phnom, Occheuteal Beach (inland, on first road to beach when coming in from town). Friendly no-frills seafood restaurant with an extensive menu of over two hundred options.
  • Same Same But Different. On the beach, reasonable food, good price, good staff. Excellent Thai Green Curry.
  • Seahorse guesthouse, bar and restaurant. Serendipity Beach main road, 150 meters from the beach in front of Utopia. Delicious western and Khmer food. Free Wifi and pool table.
  • Taj Mahal.

Classic Indian Cuisine Halal

is located at the Orecheteal Beach sihanoukville 

From ancient palaces of Indian Sub-Continent to modern kitchens, hand-blended masalas remain a treasured element of the finest cooking. The rich spices found in these blends are imported from their native countries and mixed with the utmost care by master Chef M. Ahmad and his professional team of the popular Taj Mahal Restaurant, one of the tasty points in Siem Reap.NOW in SihanoukVille at Ochheuteal Bech front on COBRA KTV M. Ahmad's inspiration came from researching the favorite dishes of many royal families who ruled India centuries ago. Free Wi-Fi. Price Range is affordable from 3 US$ to 10 US$.

  • Sunshine Cafe, Otres Beach, 012 82 84 32. Great cafe and beach bar on the more relaxing Otres Beach. Run by a Polish lady and her family who cooks excellent food. It has a nice community atmosphere. Her Khmer partner runs boat trips, US$15pp, more interesting places than the other boat tours. He also does night fishing boat trips when there are sufficient numbers wanting to go. They also have a small number of simple beachfront rooms for US$5.

Drink

Golden Lion Plaza at Occheteal beach, 10 friendly bars in one street.


The trend on Serendipity Beach is to advertise with permanent 'Happy Hour', which usually implies cocktails for US$2-2.5 and draft Anchor beer for as little as US$0.50-0.75. The latter is only recommendable if you don't mind drinking it with ice, however, as it's often not as cold as it should be.

  • Dolphin Shack, Located on Serendipity Beach. US$0.50 happy hour draft, US$2 Vodka Mixers, outside dance floor. Be careful of you belongings and watch your drinks for tourists are known to be robbed and/or drugged.
  • Sky Bar & Restaurant, [17] Located just off Serendipity Beach. US$0.75 draft all day, US$2.50 cocktails, popular Western and Khmer food, run by 4 super friendly sisters. A great place to hang out and make new friends.
  • The Nap House, Located right on Serendipity Beach. From Golden Lion Roundabout, go Beach Road south and continue on steep road down to beach. Last plot on the right, beach front. Open air disco. Loads of people. Open until late.
  • Maybe Later - Located on the down to Serendipity Beach. Late night bar and Mexican restaurant offering tacos, burritos, quesadillas, nachos and more. Good cocktails and quality drinks.

Bars located in town:

  • Captain Morgan, Golden Lions Plaza. Nice looking bar with friendly staff. Food and snacks. Open until very late.
  • Cheers Cambodia - The First 100% Gay Boutique Hotel, Restaurant and Bar in Sihanoukville [18] Has seating for over 60 at the moment & standing room for over 200, surrounded by palm trees & gardens the bar is located behind the Hotel so it is very private, the bar is tastefully lit by led lights. [19]
  • Star Bar, Located downtown behind Shell gas station. Extremely cold Anchor draft beer (happy hour 50c, rest of the day 75c). Friendly waitresses. Good pool table. Decent kitchen with western oriented menu. Popular Wednesday evening barbecue US$2.

Sleep

Accommodation ranges from basic guest houses on the beach to four-star resorts. There are plenty of guesthouses, however, the cheapest guesthouses directly on the beach frequently sell out. Pre-booking is necessary at peak times such as at New Year.

Budget

Koh Ta Kiev island - tree houses on the beach (Cambodia)
  • Angkor Inn, +85516896204. Downtown. Good value rooms starting at US$5 for fan and cold water with cable TV. US$6 gets you hot water and 10+ there are air-con options also. Restaurant with free wifi in front. Across from Freedom Bar, can be a little bit noisy in the evening.
  • Apple Guest House, (100 metres off Serendipity/Ochheuteal beach.), +855 97 857 3786, [20]. Ochheuteal Beach. 15 clean rooms, close to the center. 2 minutes from the beach, private garden, rooms have cable TV & free Wi-Fi. Motorbike rental, laundry, internet, international calls and a very useful 24/7 convenience store. From $8-$15.
  • Castaways Beach Bar, 012998492. checkout: anytime. Old Otres Beach. Simple bungalows directly on the beach, some with en suite bathrooms. 100% Cambodian family run business. Lovely family contact. Moto can be rented, laundry available, and food will be cooked whatever you like. Ignore the menu and let Ouk (the owner) decide what to eat. Free wifi available, pool table, and used books. In Otres 2 (south end of the beach), near Secret Garden Resort. $12-20 ($10 negotiable long-term) Email: ox.castaway@hotmail.com (10.560142,103.558931)
  • Cinderellas Dive Resort & Beach Bungalows, Otres Beach. Oceanfront beach accomodations. Great diving and nice service. [21]. Rooms from US$6-25. Sihanoukville is surrounded by small and unspoiled islands and has one of Cambodias nicest beaches, the Otres Beach. It is still not overloaded with tourism. All rooms with fan. Tel: 012-613380
  • Diamond Guesthouse, (30 metres from Serendipidity Beach). Quiet, safe, relaxing. Helpful staff. fan room: US$10; air-con room: US$15.
  • Green Mood Guest House, +855 0978 949366, [22]. Victory Hill. Big and quiet rooms from US$2.5-12. 2 minutes from the beach, private garden, free wi-fi, billiard table, backpacker central in Victory Hill, Italian management. Restaurant offers Italian and Khmer food. Every Friday night free
  • JJ's (formerly Ana's Khmer Kitchen), +85516368110. Run by an English couple, John and Jackie, JJ's is on the main road in the centre of Sihanoukville. Helpful, friendly staff and management. Good food, clean and good value. Offers free and computer access to guests. Long-stay discount rate available. From US$8-17.
  • Mick and Craig's Guest House, [23]. Rooms with Fan and bathroom set in a tropical garden. Clean and comfortable. Great Restaurant with great value meals. US$8-12.
  • Monkey Republic, (Serendipity Beach), [24]. Bungalows with fan and private bathrooms set in a tropical garden. Backpacker central since 2005 - Restaurant serves big value meals and the bar is a lively backpacker hangout.
  • Oasis Hotel Sports Bar & Restaurant, 012 638 947. Downtown. Large Rooms with air-con and Cable T.V. free pool table live sports on the BIG 3 metre screen. Tasty, award winning Pizza Famous Australian Steaks. Do not take room 201 as its very loud facing the bar. Rooms need to be taken care of...
  • Rega Guesthouse (Le Jardin aux Hibiscus), (50 metres off Serendipity Beach on the main road), +855 17950515, +855 12 219505 (), [25]. Very clean, 50 metres from the beach, excellent omelettes among other food items. US$8-20.
  • Sakal Bungalows, Victory Hill. US$4-15. Offering some cheapish pleasant huts above the bar with sea views (over a huge concrete building next door) and more expensive air-con rooms. The menu is brief but the food is excellent. The bar has a 61 inch TV for sport and films, and stays open as long as it needs to, which is generally 24/7. Tel +855 12 806155, +855 12 489377. [26] , [27]
  • Same Same But Different, (next to Malibu Hotel). Guesthouse, with basic rooms US$10-15.
  • Seahorse guesthouse, Group 14, Village 4, Quarter 4, Mittapheap District Serendipity beach, Sihanoukville, Cambodia (Serendipity Beach main road, 150 meters from the beach), +855-69551450 +855-962619501, [28]. Fan rooms 8-12$, dorm 3-5$. Free Wi-Fi and pool table. Early breakfast and the best Khmer and international food in restaurant with balcony sea-view.
  • Small Hotel. Downtown, behind Caltex. Clean and comfortable air-conditioned rooms US$6-15. Superb kitchen with swedish, international and Khmer food.
  • Savannphoum. 300 metres from Serendipity Beach. A nice alternative for people wanting to stay close to rather than on the beach; most of the guests are Khmer. Good and cheap Khmer food, clean rooms around US$10, cheap scooter rental.
  • TEN103, Koh Ta Kiev Island (call or e-mail in advance and you'll be picked up with the boat at Sihanoukville), 092-502374 (), [29]. It's the former Jonty's Jungle Camp. It's possible to sleep in a tree house or in a hammock with a mosquito net. The facilities are very basic but that's just what makes the place so special. The Koh Ta Kiev island is full of unexplored jungle, lovely beaches and has almost no tourism. US$7-25.
  • Pacinos guesthouse, Karaoke street, +(855)34 630 1010 (), [30]. checkin: anytime; checkout: 12 am. The night market is really close so you can grab some cheap food there. Also the have high speed wifi in the rooms. Rooms are clean and safe (got security cameras). directions can be found at facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pacinosguesthouse Email to book anytimee. US$7-15.
  • The Mango Rooms, Serendipity Beach, +(855)0973048628 (), [31]. checkin: 1:00pm; checkout: 12:00nn. The Mango Rooms is located in Sihanoukville along Serendipity Beach. The hotel offers a quiet stay at their seaview rooms and bungalows overlooking the beach. Guests can enjoy the seaside restaurant serving homemade cuisines and dine at a romantic table by the beach. US$20.

Mid-range

  • Above Us Only Sky - Bar & Bungalows, (From tranquility guesthouse follow the beach in the more quiet direction, it is 3 buildings further on.), +855 (0) 898 22 318, [32]. Spacious bungalows on a very quiet part of the beach. It has fan and air-conditioning rooms and a nice sitout in front of the bungalow with comfortable chairs and couch and brilliant ocean view. WiFi is available. There is also a nice little bar downstairs. No restaurant, but there are plenty nearby. (10.606201,103.5204107)
  • Cheers Cambodia - The First 100% Gay Boutique Hotel, Restaurant and Bar in Sihanoukville, (About 1km past CT Clinic going towards the new bus station), +855 (0) 34 934 585 (), [33]. checkin: 2pm; checkout: 12 noon. All of our rooms are Deluxe; there is nothing standard about Cheers. All rooms are en suite fully tiled bathrooms 4-6 metre square with Panasonic hot showers, furnished to the highest standards with furniture from Malaysia, the latest LG LCD flat screen televisions and air conditioning, cable TV, hand made curtains, custom made beds, in room fridges and free Wi-Fi in all areas. All air-con Deluxe: US$39-$69.
  • Coasters, (Serendipity Beach), [34]. One of the older restaurant/hotels on the beach, with older wooden huts (fan only) and newer brick buildings (air-con). Location on the beach is superb, close to nightlife yet quiet, but rooms are extremely basic, plumbing is dodgy (to say the least), restaurant gets mixed reviews and service continues to draw complaints. Reservations also have a habit of being meaningless, as the owners have a habit of giving the rooms away to whoever is there first. Fan room: US$8; Beachside air-con: US$60.
  • Coolabah Resort, (Serendipity Beach), +855 (0)17 678 218, [35]. Brand new hotel located just 300 metres from Occhuetal and Serendipity beaches. Air-conditioned rooms with king beds or twins and all amenities. Jacuzzi pool, massage & beauty treatments available. Seafood restaurant & air-conditioned bar. Live music Wed & Saturday plus Monday quiz night. US$35-80.
  • The Cove Beach Bungalows, (Serendipity Beach), +855 (0) 12 380 296 (), [36]. Khmer-style wooden bungalows, air-conditioned rooms and apartments with balconies giving ocean views. Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and includes a variety of both western and Khmer cuisine. US$14-50. US$14-50.
  • Golden Rooster Hotel, (Victory Beach), +855 (0) 81 830 848 (), [37]. Luxury, spacious rooms with stunning views over Victory Beach. Western cuisine and excellent pizzas. Flynn's Bar, Wifi, pool table US$30-45.


  • Malibu Beach Hotel, (Serendipity Beach. From town centre, go straight through the roundabout with the lions, continue to the top of the hill and then follow the rocky track downhill, rather than remaining on the road). Another one of the older stalwarts, now encroached on both sides by noisy nightclubs. At the bottom of that, turn right, the Malibu Beach Hotel is the first on the left. There have been a couple reports of theft, from the rooms and from the safe. Air-con rooms: US$30.
  • Malibu Beach Bungalows, (Serendipity Beach). A branch of Malibu Beach Hotel, and better in all respects - if you want to be on Sokha Beach.
  • Reef Resort, (Serendipity Beach), +855 (0) 12 315338, [38]. Boutique hotel with swimming pool. Air-con rooms. US$35-80, including breakfast.
  • Seaside Hotel, (100m from Ochheuteal Beach). Rooms with air-con and hot water shower. US$30-60, with breakfast.
  • Tranquility Guesthouse, (Serendipity Beach), +855 (0) 16 573 785, [39]. Rooms with fan or air-con and cold/hot water shower, private bathroom, cable TV. US$10-50.
  • The Don Bosco Hotel School, (2.5 km from Otres Beach), (), [40]. A new (2008) 3 star hotel in a lush garden with a swimming pool, air-conditioning, and free wifi, pick-up and shuttle to the beaches and city. It is also an Hotel School helping young Cambodians to learn a skill and find a job. US$30-60 including breakfast.
  • Independence Hotel, Street 2 Thnou, Sangkat No 03, +855-3494-3300, [41]. After opening in 1962 as the town's elite accommodation at a cost of 30 million riel, this hotel was subject to decades of neglect and eventually abandoned to squatters. A Chinese group repaired the damage and the hotel reopened in December 2007. A modernist concrete seven-story block on top of the cape and with great sea views, it has a pretty pool and attractive, expansive gardens. A nice touch are some black and white photographs of the hotel in its heyday. The best feature is the adjacent clean pale sand private beach which has crystal clear water and some big rocks, although this may currently be under development as the hotel are planning bungalows. Some distance from town. From US$140, breakfast included.
  • Sokha Beach Resort, (Sokha Beach), +855-34 935-999 (), [42]. checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. An international-class beach resort. Very bland and a bit rough around the edges, but the beach is gorgeous and hassle-free, and the resort is family-friendly with children swimming pools and playgrounds. try their best Restaurant Lemongrass and "The Deck" Tapas Bar 180° views of the Gulf. Promotional rates: US$140-810.
  • Swiss Garden Guesthouse, +855(0) 97 573 60 06 (), [43]. The Swissgarden Cafe and Guesthouse is located in a quiet area near Ochheuteal Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in Sihanoukville. There is a nice tropical «Garden Cafe» which is perfect for relaxing while enjoying a fresh original Swiss Coffee. The comfortable double bed rooms are equipped with air condition, TV and private bathrooms with hot shower. US$ 15-25. (10.60320,103.52894)

Stay healthy

Medical services in Sihanoukville are very limited and basic. The best medical service is offered by the CT Clinic. This is the only clinic trusted by expats who live in Sihanoukville. The public hospital should be avoided at all costs, as it is terrible. In case of major trouble evacuation is necessary.

HIV/AIDS is nowhere near as prevalent as it was, but the infection rate is still relatively high within certain high risk groups such as female sex workers. In 2006 the infection rate for brothel-based female sex workers was estimated to be 14.7%, but government initiatives have raised the rate of correct and consistent condom use to over 90%. However, many sex workers are now operating outside of brothels, so the rate could be significantly higher in this group. [44]

Contact

Sihanoukville's area code is 034.

Internet

There are many internet cafes and most guesthouses and many hotels offer free internet access. Almost all now have Wi-Fi. For an up to date on-line guide of prices, listings and travel info see the Sihanoukville Guide - SHVguide.com

Probably the best mobile phone network for use in Sihanoukville is metfone. Great reception and decent speed GPRS internet. You can easily register for daily unlimited mobile internet by texting ON3 to number 111. It costs $0.70 per day. This can be cancelled by texting OFF to number 111. The metfone SIM card costs $3. It works well at Otres Beach unlike some other networks and is the only network that works on Koh Russei (Bamboo Island). Tethering / Personal Hotspot capable phones such as the iPhone 4 or newer models, or high spec Android phones will work fine with metfone. To set that up, the APN is metfone, leave username and password fields blank.

Post

The new main Post Office is 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.

Consulates

The Vietnamese consulate on Ekareach Street issues 30 day tourist visas while you wait. As of January 2013, the cost is US$60. The opening times are 8AM-noon and 2PM to 4PM, M-F, 8AM-noon on Saturday. A detailed guide to the application process can be found here.

Get out


Routes through Sihanoukville
Phnom PenhKampot  E noframe W  END





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