was the only Cambodian port our cruise ship docked during this
Southeast Asian route.
This time, we teamed up with four other cruise members to save money.
We hopped on a
"Tuk Tuk Car" for the city tour.
We first stopped at
a "fishing village" which had nothing offered to tourism. The
village" is basically an empty port with several fishing boats
docking there with no fisherman. After that, the driver brought us to a
"national park". We didn't see anything in that "national
park" either. It turned out it was the park office. If we wanted to see
the park, we needed to go a bit further. We declined due to our limited
time in Sihanoukville. The driver then brought us to see the
"waterfall" which looked beautiful from the picture. When we
got there, we paid $2 USD each for the entrance fee. We had a hard time
finding the waterfall and when we finally found it, it actually looked
more like a creak than a waterfall. We then went to several temples for
sightseeing. We sadly saw lots of school age children there begging for
money. We were told not to give money to discourage them from begging.
However, we gave money to a disabled soldier and an elderly beggar. We
simply couldn't walk away from those who really need help. Again, there
was little to see in those temples designated as tourist points of
government has lots of work to do to jump start its tourism! We then
Those beaches reminded me of Nha Trang beach in the 70's: pure and
We met several
Vietnamese-Cambodians on the beach doing nail business. They apparently
no customer. We
didn't see how they sanitize their tools after each service! We attempted
to have lunch on the beach but backed out due to ridiculously high
prices. Those restaurants there were mainly owned and operated by Chinese
serving tourists. The menu only listed prices in USD. Aware of the
situation, the driver brought us to a five star hotel which offers
reasonable lunch menu. Of course, we still paid a bit higher than mom and
pop eateries on the street but we were willing to pay a bit higher price
for food hygiene, air condition, rest room facilities and beach view.
When we were touring
Sihanoukville, we saw trash everywhere. There was not a single trash can
to collect trash so
people just threw it all over the place. Health will be a serious issue
in the long
run if the
government doesn't correct the issue. We also noticed the whole city was
literally under construction with three main structures being built:
casino, hotel and shopping mall. Approximately half of the streets were
paved. The rests were dirt streets. We didn't bring a mask so we used
beach towel from the cruise ship to cover up ourselves when the "Tuk
Tuk Car" was on dirt streets. "Land for lease" signs can
be seen throughout the city. I was told only a decade ago, Sihanoukville
was a small, peaceful beach town with backpackers going there to enjoy.
With heavy Chinese investments in recent years, Sihanoukville will
quickly and surely become agambling city in Cambodia.
I personally think
Sihanoukville is not ready for tourism. The city infrastructures are not
place. This was our
first stop at Sihanoukville and we don't see ourselves coming here again
the near future.
Khai Minh, UCLA and Investools
Angeles, 20 Jun 2019