Sihanoukville, otherwise known as Kampong Som, is a popular seaside town that was famed for the best beaches in Cambodia. It is located approximately 6-7 hours from Phnom Penh, and is currently experiencing a massive growth in terms of economy. This is mainly due to the influx of Chinese visitors that have come to enjoy – and even live – in Sihanoukville.
The city was named after the former king Norodom Sihanouk. It is a relatively young city, but has grown since the Sihanoukville Autonomous Port was constructed. This opened its docks for unrestricted and direct international sea trade. It is, in fact, the only deep water port that Cambodia has. And it also boasts of having an oil terminal as well.
Recently, Kampong Som has received Chinese investments at high levels that resulted in several casinos opening in the city. As it is, the city’s ethnic make up has evolved to include thousands of mainland Chinese workers, investors, and developers who have come to settle in the city. In fact, Mandarin signage is visibly seen and is increasingly replacing Khmer and English. In addition, reports show that there is an increase of organized crime and drunken violence within the city. Currently, Sihanoukville is among the major cities that are in the One Belt One Road Initiative that China has.
Going to Sihanoukville
There are various methods travelers can use to visit Sihanoukville. These are:
- By air – Cambodia Angkor Air and some helicopter companies have started to bring in guests by air.
- By bus – There are a number of bus companies that offer bus rides from Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, as well as other nearby provinces.
- By train – The rail network in Cambodia has also been recently restored, and it offers comfortable means of travel to Sihanoukville.
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Getting around Kampong Som is relatively easy with its tuktuks and motodops everywhere. Passapp is also available, although sometimes if you take Passapp from Otres 2, they may ask for a flat rate fare. Usually around $8.
- Stay at Samot Baitong Resort for that relaxing atmosphere despite the ongoing construction in the city.