Sihanoukville also known as Kampong Saom, is a province in southern Cambodia on the Gulf of Thailand. This port city is a growing Cambodian urban center, located 185 kilometres (115 mi) southwest of the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh. The province is named after King Father Norodom Sihanouk and grew up around the construction of Sihanoukville Port. Construction on the port began in June 1955 and it was the only deep water port in Cambodia.The port was built in part due to the waning power of the French leading to the Vietnamese tightening their control over the Mekong Delta and hence restricting river access to Cambodia. Sihanoukville's beaches have made it a popular tourist destination.
The province is served by Sihanoukville International Airport, 18 kilometres (11 mi) from downtown, although it has a limited commercial operation. 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 in Phnom Damrey on 25 June 2007 from Siem Riep,has caused concerns.
Sihanoukville attracts tourists with its relaxed beach atmosphere when compared to Thailand's more developed ones. However, the city has attracted not only tourists, but several NGOs and foreign and national investors in the last years in order to develop not only the growing tourist industry, but its capacity as an international sea port and other sectors like textile and real estate.In Sihanoukville is also located the main factory of Angkor Beer, the Cambodian national beer.
Sihanoukville was the place of the last official battle of the United States army in the Vietnam War, although the incident took place outside Vietnam. It is known as the Mayag?ez incident on May 1215, 1975 between the US forces and the Khmer Rouge. Currently, visitors dive in Koh Tang, one of the Sihanoukville islands where the major battle to free the SS Mayag?ez took place. Divers can see two shipwrecks 40 metres (130 ft) down.
On 22 December 2008, King Norodom Sihamoni signed a Royal Decree that changed the municipalities of Kep, Pailin and Sihanoukville into provinces, as well as adjusting several provincial borders.
Occheuteal Beach and Serendipity Beach
Occheuteal Beach is a long and narrow strip of beach lined with Casuarina trees, grass umbrellas, rental chairs and little drink huts. Many huts were bulldozed by the government to make way for a supposed new resort. This has raised concerns with human rights organizations. The northern section has become known as Serendipity Beach and is a popular beach with western tourists, noted for small guesthouse rooms right on the beach. Aside from these guest houses on the beach there are around 30 beach huts serving good value meals and a wide selection of drinks. Most popular huts along this stretch of beach are the Shore bar which hold regular beach parties. The sustainability of the Occheuteal beach was a primary consideration of various stakeholders, which brought about the development of a tourism development and management plan in 2005.
Beyond a small headland at the south end of Ochheuteal is the similar Otres Beach.
Sokha Beach is located just west of Serendipity Beach. This beach is privately owned by Sokha Beach Hotel, the first five-star luxury beach hotel in Cambodia. It provides many facilities with a wide white sandy beach, but hotel guards may prevent visitors who are not guests from going on to the beach.
There are more than a dozen islands off the coast of Sihanoukville for tourists to hop around. Most of them are yet to be developed for an overnight stay with the exception of Bamboo Island or Koh Russei in Khmer. Many guesthouses, restaurants and cafes on Ochheuteal and Serendipity beaches offer trips and packages to these islands.
Soon Nail Island (also called Magic Island because it looks like a mushroom) will have a hotel run by the Russian owners of the Snake House. They already have a pier and most of the hotel and restaurant are finished.
It is situated west of the Sihanoukville coast. It offers the fantastic strand of beach on its southwest, stretching about 5 kilometres (3 mi). It has fresh water resources on the island and a bustling fishing community on the southeast with basic supplies including fresh water, fish and crab.
Koh Rong Samlon
It is a bit smaller than Koh Rong and situated on its south. Beautiful beaches are on the east coast, where a large heart-shaped bay with some shellfish cultivation is located, and on the north shoreline facing Koh Rong. The marine life around Koh Rong Samloem is very diverse and offers some amazing diving.
It is located quite far from the main shoreline of Sihanoukville. Going there requires trippers to stay overnight on board. It offers interesting diving spots most of which are not frequently explored. The island is home to a military outpost and travelers should expect to be boarded by military personnel when out at the island.
Hotel in Cambodia hotel in Banlung (Ratanakiri) hotel in Siem Reap hotel in Sihanoukville hotel in Battambang hotel in Kep hotel in Kompong Cham hotel in Kompong Thom hotel in Kampot hotel in King Island (Koh Sdech) hotel in Phnom Penh hotel in Koh Kong