For those who do not know or have forgotten school geography lessons, Sihanoukville is a small resort town located on one of the peninsulas in the South China Sea near the Gulf of Thailand. To people of an older generation, it was known as Kampongsaom. Renamed in the 1970s during the civil war, the city was renamed Sihanoukville after the overthrow of the bloody Khmer Rouge regime.
Sihanoukville is practically the only resort place in Cambodia, not counting Kepa and a few islands with gorgeous desert beaches. The coastline here is expressed in several narrow and long strips of white sand, some of which are almost uninhabited. They come here for the exotic, clean sea, white sand beaches. Resort infrastructure is underdeveloped, but the city is actively built up and promises to become one of the popular recreation areas of the Asian region.
Meanwhile, its quiet provincial character and the beginnings of service Sihanoukville resembles small resort towns of the Soviet period. But the plus to choose Sihanoukville is a small number of tourists and relatively inexpensive prices. There is also the possibility of secluded recreation on some beaches on the mainland and nearby islands.
History of Sihanoukville
Cambodia was a French colony for almost a century. Neighboring Vietnam and Laos were also under the protectorate of a strong European power. International trade in Cambodia was conducted mainly along the Mekong River, where a deep-water port was built. Later these places fell to Vietnam.
In 1953, Cambodia became a fully independent state. And since the country had a coastline of 440 km, it needed its own "sea gate". The first and today's largest international port was built near the small village of Kampong Saom. The site was ideally suited for such a construction. The port, and with it the rapidly growing city, was named Sihanoukville in 1964 in honor of monarch Norodom Sihanouk. The Cambodian king personally oversaw the development of this part of the country.
The construction of the docks went on from 1955 to 1960, sponsored by France. Simultaneously with the construction of the docks, the national road No. 4 to Phnom Penh was under construction, funded by the United States government. The seaside city also required a developed infrastructure. For the guests of the city were built hotels, the most posh and expensive was the Independence Hotel. An oil depot, a wine and beer factory were built.
Another page in the history of Sihanoukville was the city's participation in the U.S.-Vietnam conflict. During the war, there was a weapons transshipment base on the coast of the Gulf of Thailand. Here in the sea near Sihanoukville was the last battle of the Vietnam War. In May 1975, the U.S. merchant ship Mayaguez was seized by the Khmer Rouge. U.S. Special Forces attempted to free the ship and were defeated. The U.S. aircraft bombed the coast near Sihanoukville. The landing Special Forces also engaged in combat. "The Mayaguez was liberated.
The Khmer Rouge came to power and established a dictatorial regime in the country. To erase all memories of the exiled monarch, Sihanoukville was renamed Kampongsaom. The city was quickly impoverished and turned into a slum. It was only after the overthrow of the bloody government that the resort town began to develop again. Since the late 90-ies the Cambodian government made a bet on Sihanoukville, cherishing the hope to turn this coast in the likeness of the Thai city of Pattaya. In recent years, overseas investors have also stepped up, predicting a great future for the modest resort.
In 2007, the French architectural firm Seura submitted to the Cambodian government a 90-page master plan for the development of Sihanoukville. According to it, the city was to become the second big economic center not only in its country, but also in all of Southeast Asia. The main areas where it was planned to make large investments were commerce, tourism and industry:
- Commerce. The plan was to further develop Sihanoukville Deep Sea Port, the only such facility in Cambodia. Since ships from various countries dock here, the city will continue to develop its role in terms of international economic relations.
- Tourism. Since 2000, gradually increasing flow of tourists coming to Sihanoukville from Russia and the Asian region. They are attracted by the opportunity to see a new country and relax on the coast of the former Kampongsaom. To this end, there are beaches stretching for many kilometers. In the industrial port of the city it is planned to create special berths for tourist ships, and in the settlement itself to build hotels and develop the rest of the infrastructure.
- Industry. The port area is a large economic zone. A Ford assembly line has been opened in the province itself. There are also factories engaged in sewing clothes. It is planned to increase the number of enterprises.
Now it is difficult to imagine that Sihanoukville may become one of the most attractive vacation destinations of Cambodia and neighboring countries. So far, the leader is neighboring Thailand, and Vietnam has a lot of interesting places for tourists. But the flow of foreign investment in the future of Cambodia is increasing annually, and the growth of GDP in the country has remained stable for several years. Even today in Sihanoukville you can relax in a good European level hotel. But hurry up. Along with the fame of the city begin to rise in housing and land prices. By the way, the prices for the latter are almost Moscow prices.
How to get to Sihanoukville
Sihanoukville has its own airport. It is located 18 km from the city and was put into operation back in the 1950s. But for a long time did not work, as the country was in a civil war. Its consequences affected the development of Cambodia for several decades. And only in 2007, the Sihanoukville Air Harbor was modernized and received its first passengers. Today the local airport connects the city with other regions of the country and abroad. Every week planes land and take off here carrying passengers to China, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.
From Russia there are no direct flights to Cambodia. You can take a connecting flight to one of the neighboring countries, and from there get to Phnom Penh. The distance from the capital of Cambodia to Sihanoukville is 230 km. Every day on this route there are several regular buses, and it takes 4-5 hours to get there. Ticket price for one person will start from $6. You can get faster by cab, but you have to pay $45-60. There are buses from Ho Chi Minh City and Pattaya to Sihanoukville. As an option, there is another route: fly to Siem Reap from Thailand, and from there by plane or bus to the former Kampong Saom.
The railroad between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville was built in the 1960s. After the civil war, rail services were interrupted all over the country. Freight service resumed in 2010 and passenger service resumed in 2016. Trains run on schedule several times a week. The travel time is almost 7 hours. One train is usually designed for 200 people. Air-conditioned cars have seating. The cost per trip will cost $5-7.
Nature has no bad weather
So, not to scold this very weather, as well as Russian frosts and thaws, you can spend the winter months in Sihanoukville. At this time there is the so-called high or dry season. High - because the flow of tourists increases. Dry - it's from December to March there is almost no rain. For example, the amount of precipitation in January is only 7 mm. The average temperature during the winter months is 30-31 ° C, but at night it is cool as the tropics, about 20 ° C.
The highest temperatures here are in March and April, when the thermometers reach 35°C or higher during the day and it's also hot and humid at night. Spring is followed by the low season, which lasts from June through October. It rains for a long time on the coast. This is when 80% of the annual rainfall falls. But the good thing about the tropical climate is that you can sunbathe between rains. True, the latter may come for several days at a time.
The climate of Sihanoukville is tropical, and the unique topography (mountains and islands) is a barrier to winds, various storms, floods and other natural disasters.
The population of Sihanoukville
The population of Sihanoukville is small - about 100 thousand people. But by Cambodian standards, it is a large enough city, ranked in the top ten by the number of residents in it. During the high season, thanks to the influx of tourists, the number of people increases markedly.
The bulk of the local population is employed in tourism, with several thousand more working in the international port. In addition, Cambodians traditionally grow crops and fish. Townspeople have a good knowledge of English, so it will not be difficult to communicate with them. As for French, it is remembered only by the old-timers. After all, back in the middle of the last century, the state ceased to be a colony of France and gained independence.
The income level of the natives is low, so many count on the tourist season. These days, the beaches are full of hawkers selling food and sundries, strolling masseurs, cosmetology girls offering thread depilation.
It is not uncommon to see children asking white people for an extra dollar. The outskirts of Sihanoukville are not the best place to visit. The poorest people live here, and their huts resemble real slums. But with all this Cambodians are quite philosophical about life, always smiling and often happy with life. Although many girls want to marry white men to ensure a sufficient standard of living for themselves and their families.
Since the 2000s, Sihanoukville has also been appreciated by Russians. Today, several hundred families from the former Soviet Union live here. The Russian diaspora has opened its own stores and set up food production, so you won't miss pelmeni and kvass. They also own several cafes, diving centers, and the best disco in town, the Airport, located in a decommissioned hangar.
The following questions will not go unanswered: "Where to eat? What to eat?" The tourist city offers vacationers a wide variety of cuisine. In addition to the national dishes, you can also taste the gimmick, in the form of overseas burgers and local insects. But do not go hungry and lovers of traditional cuisine, the choice of food here is large.
Most cafes and restaurants are located on Tola and Mithona streets, and are crowded along the city's most popular beaches. Prices are usually quoted in dollars and riel, more often in one U.S. currency, for the convenience of tourists. On the coast lunch will be much more expensive than ordering similar dishes somewhere in the city center. Some establishments in the season also work at night. And during the day many cafes offer a reduced price for drinks on a special Happy Hour.
Cafes and restaurants have a huge selection of fish dishes, various seafood prepared in every possible way. Blue crabs, brought here from Kepa, are also served for those who wish.
It is worth trying the treats of Khmer cuisine, the motto of which can be expressed as follows: "Nature gives - you can eat!" You can eat fish, eggs, seafood, meat, herbs, fruits and vegetables. And all of this is added specific sauces and seasonings, which give the food a special taste. A traditional Cambodian lunch includes rice and three other main dishes. So it's impossible to go hungry here.
The spicy fish pate "prohok" and shrimp paste "kapi" are important flavor components of many dishes. They may be unfamiliar to European tastes, but in Cambodia they are added to many dishes. In Sihanoukville, you can try Cambodian dishes: soups, salads, grilled meat and poultry, many dishes of rice. There are several varieties of rice and it is prepared in different ways.
Locals do not eat bread, but there are baguettes for visitors. They are baked according to special recipes left over from the time of French colonization. It is also worth trying a variety of tropical fruits and freshly squeezed juices. There are a huge number of fruits and many of the names sound quite exotic to the unspoiled Russian tourists: tamarind, lychee, and others. In Cambodia, and paradise for coffee lovers. In the country, each province grows a different species and produces its own variety, different in color.
In Sihanoukville, there are cafes and restaurants offering Thai, Indian, Mexican, Japanese, European and Russian cuisine. Italian catering outlets prepare pizza and various Italian dishes, and for fans of all things French there is an opportunity to try frog legs. There are several supermarkets and markets in the city, where you can buy food and cook yourself if you want.
Although Sihanoukville can not be called a shopping paradise, but you can buy everything you need here. There are many large and small stores, markets, pharmacies, ATMs, cafes and restaurants. Large shopping centers are not found here, there are a few supermarkets, souvenir and clothing shops. The main majority of outlets are located in the area of "Golden Lions".
The Psar Leu central market in Down Town is very popular. The Samudera store, located nearby, is of interest to tourists. There is a good selection of food, alcohol and industrial goods. Since Sihanoukville is home to the Russian diaspora in the city, you can buy products familiar to residents of Russia. Local merchants, natives of the former Soviet Union, make pelmeni, dumplings, sell dairy products, smoked meat, kvass.
Tourists may be interested in traditional handkerchiefs made of homespun or manufactured silk. The fabric is often decorated with gold threads and colorful patterns. Cambodian jewelry, usually made by Vietnamese immigrants, is also popular. Some of them have natural sapphires, there are deposits of it in the country. Tourists also like silver jewelry. But it is worth remembering that Sihanoukville is not a rich city, and you can often come across a fake.
There is no public transportation in Sihanoukville. Townspeople and visitors travel to their destinations on motorcycles and scooters. Both are called motorcycles here. Cambodians have been mastering two-wheeled transport since childhood, often carrying the whole family of up to 5-6 people and heavy loads on them at once.
Cabs in the resort are represented by ordinary motorcycles and cars. There is also an Asian know-how or the so-called tuk-tuk. It is a motorcycle, to which is attached a two-wheeled cart with seats for passengers. The entire structure has a roof over it, so you can easily admire the local beauty and the smells around you on the ride.
The fare here is fixed: a tuk-tuk ride in the center will cost $1-3, and to get from remote areas to the beach will cost $5-7 dollars. Experienced tourists are advised to always haggle with the cabbie, the locals are wise and cunning in oriental way never refuse to rip the passenger extra dollar. There are a lot of tuk-tuks in the city, so you don't have to look for them for a long time. Their main parking areas are near the beaches, near markets, large hotels and stores.
If you want, you can rent a motorcycle or bicycle. There are also car rental shops. But according to Cambodian law, drivers must have a local license. A license is also required to rent two-wheelers, but the police usually turn a blind eye to their lack of foreigners.
Minor traffic incidents are solved quickly by gently offering a few dollars to a brave policeman. The rule of thumb on the roads is that the biggest is the right, so cars and the occasional buses are given way without question. Be prepared for poor quality roads and special rhythm of traffic, typical for all developing Asian countries.
Security and communication
Personal safety and the safety of one's belongings are worth taking care of in every country of the world. Even in prosperous Europe there may be people who need other people's things much more than the owners themselves. Cambodia is no exception. The population here is poor, and any white person is a priori rich.
Crimes against the person are the exception rather than the rule. But to ask to share a purse or an interesting thing, the locals do not mind. There have been cases where tourists have snatched purses and expensive phones, stolen things from open windows. Therefore, requires the observance of basic precautions:
- You should not carry large sums of money. But if it is necessary, hide them more securely.
- Valuables and money are better placed in a bag carried on the belt.
- Do not leave things unattended. This applies to the beach, the cafe, and the hotel room.
- Close windows and doors when leaving your home.
- Do not walk in remote places away from the center, and night walks in an unfamiliar country can not end very favorably.
In Sihanoukville there are almost all cellular operators in Cambodia. Tariffs for international calls here are quite low. So, a minute of call with Russia will cost about $0.1. Mobile Internet at the resort is available even in the smallest catering points. Internet cafes are also open, and in large hotels and hotels wireless wi-fi is often free.
The Sihanoukville landline system also works, although it is quite outdated. You can call from a hotel, intercom or post office. There are still street pay phones, from which to call a payphone card. They are sold in stores and at the post office. From such a telephone you can call other countries.
Where to stay
To date, the resort of Sihanoukville is a budget holiday destination. But there are expensive hotels, and more are planned to be commissioned in the near future. Luxury hotels are located on the coast and have their own fenced off and well-groomed beach areas. Independence Hotel Resort & Spa, Chan Boutique Hotel, Lakeside By Sokha Beach Resort offer guests cozy stylish rooms, great food and a lot of entertainment.
A cheaper accommodation option is hostels, guest houses or gesthouses, apartments. But the most exotic type of local housing - bungalows, located on the shore in the water. This type of accommodation is justified. In the house on the water will not crawl snakes and various insects. Bungalows are usually covered with palm leaves, they are not hot, and the proximity to the water removes the issue of daily trips to the beach and back.
The sea and beaches are what Cambodians and tourists from all over the world come to Sihanoukville for. The city is surrounded by many kilometers of sandy shores. Since Sihanoukville is just developing as a resort area, the beaches are not as crowded as in neighboring Thailand. Perhaps some of them are a bit dirty, but worth a little farther away from the crowds, you can find yourself on a deserted beach with almost pristine sea and sand. The water temperature during the holiday season is kept between 26-28 ° C.
This is the farthest beach in Sihanoukville. It is located on the southern outskirts of the city a few kilometers from another beach Serendipiti. At Otres, the straight coastline stretches for 4 km, with many plants growing along it.
The beach infrastructure is unevenly represented. In the northern part there are many restaurants and bars, rows of sun loungers with bodies of vacationers, small shops with tourist essentials. Here on the shore you can also find catering outlets that cook different dishes, including vegetarian.
There are ATMs and a pharmacy in this part of Otres. The second half of the beach is mostly deserted. But even this part of the coast has been recently landscaped. Behind the sandy strip there is a tiled walkway and gazebos have been installed. There are a few rare cafes here and a new pier. And in the distance houses and hotels are being built. So not far off the time when the entire Otres will be filled with vacationing public.
Beach Otrez may appeal to lovers of outdoor activities. There is a windsurfing station here. Perhaps the word "station" does not suit a small house where the equipment is stored and the owner is located. But the sailing boards are new here, and instructors clearly explain and show how to manage this semblance of a sailing ship. There is a rental catamarans and kayaks on the beach. And those wishing can test themselves in kitesurfing and snorkeling.
Ochheuteal Beach and Serendipity Beach
These are two of the most popular beaches in the city, located next to each other, so you can't even see where one ends and the other begins. The beaches are located almost in the central part of the city. From the main square of Sihanoukville to the coast just two alleys.
In high season, it gets crowded. And that expression comes to mind, when "there's nowhere to fall". But if you walk a few hundred meters along the coast to the south, there's peace and quiet, rare tourists and almost no peddlers, annoyingly trying to sell their goods.
At the junction of the two beaches there are many stores, restaurants and cafes. Each catering outlet marks its territory with sun loungers and tables. So, having bought something from the food, here you can settle down to rest. Sell on the beach and alcoholic beverages, including special Cambodian beer Angkor (Angkor).
Serendipity is a small beach, Ohchutil stretches for 2 km along the coast. But most vacationers are located in the central, busier part of the coast. The locals also like to relax here. Therefore, the beach is quite dirty, not always cleaned. Bars and cafes on the beach also work in the evenings, and the area is filled with the sounds of multilingual music. At Serendipity Beach, you can settle in bungalow houses, built almost by the water. There is also a pier, from which the tour boats depart. The southern edge of Ohchutila is deserted, a favorite spot of fishermen and aqua-bikers.
In Sihanoukville, all beaches are public, like Sokha, which belongs to the city's most luxurious hotel Sokha Beach Resort. However, to get here, you have to get past the brave guards, who do not miss a chance to scam white tourists for a few dollars. And according to hotel rules, anyone can rest on this part of the coast.
Bathing and sunbathing are absolutely free, and you have to pay $20 per person for a sunbed. For this amount you can also use the local pool, sauna, gym, ride a swing, take a towel at the reception and even get one of the drinks for free on request. And you can sunbathe on the beach all day long.
The beach area is small - only one kilometer, but it is clean and well-groomed, it is carefully monitored, cleaning debris from the sand and coastal waters. Hotel guests use all the beauty of the hotel area and the beach for free, to pay for the rest of the guests. But maybe 20 dollars is not such a high price for comfort and convenience, and most importantly, the absence of intrusive and ruthless peddlers.
The beach gets its name from the hotel built on the nearby hill. Over the years the Independence Hotel has been visited by many celebrities. In 1967, according to some reports, Jacqueline Kennedy stayed here.
Independence Beach is quiet and peaceful. There are few cafes and bars, and part of the beach is part of the local casino. There are rows of sun loungers in front of the catering outlets, and the rest of the area is deserted. At the weekend by the water are a lot of people, but on normal days the coast is empty. This is due to the fact that the residential neighborhoods are located at a distance. But there is a lot of construction in front of the beach, and soon there will be a new neighborhood with hotels and restaurants.
Hawaii Beach is located in the northern part of the city, not far from the bridge with the speaking name of Russian. The length of the sandy shore here is short, and part of it is given over to local catering outlets. The cafes almost approach the water itself and stand on the stone debris left over from some buildings. The food here is mostly Sihanoukville residents, the cafes are quite shabby, and between the trees run streams of waste into the sea.
Then stretches a wide strip of beach, surrounded by gazebos and walls of hotels. At the opposite end there are neat cabins for holidaymakers. Here there is a clean beach area belonging to the Emario Beach Resort hotel.
This beach is located south of the seaport and close to Sihanoukville City Hall. The strip of coastline here stretches for only one kilometer. From time to time there are tides that reduce the legal meters of the beach. But the coast is always crowded, because the area is inexpensive housing, and locals prefer to rest close to home. There are several catering outlets serving traditional Cambodian food.
Near the beach there is a pier, where small boats of natives are moored. In the evenings there are many cafes and night bars in the area. There is also a local Russian diaspora, which owns several cafes, a club "Airport", a private clinic. The latter also provides medical assistance to Cambodians.
Prek Treng Beach
This is the northernmost beach of the city, located on the shoreline behind the international port. It is quite a long drive from the center, so Prek Treng Beach is not so popular with the local population. Here and the usual stores and pubs, and from the buildings there are only rare lonely pavilions. But the beach is amazingly beautiful and its wide strip of white sand is washed by the incredibly blue waves of the sea. It is easy to get to the beach, there is a new road with a good surface.
For those looking for solitude and paradise on earth, it is worth choosing a vacation on one of the islands. In the vicinity of Sihanoukville there are a lot of them, there are both large and very tiny. Local guides offer excursions to uninhabited shores. The beaches here are pristine, and scuba diving in the coastal crystal waters will introduce you to the tropical fauna. It takes hours to get to Koh Tang and Koh Prins, so some excursions include overnight stays in local bungalows. Another island, Koh Russei, is part of the National Park. It is home to several species of rare birds.
Koh Rong and Koh Rogn Samloem are inhabited islands, if we can count a couple of villages, a few small hotels and bungalows on the shore as civilization. The rest - it's snow-white beaches, water the color of turquoise and umbrellas made of straw over the deck chairs. Getting to the islands is not difficult: every day from the pier in Sihanoukville, several ferries depart in different directions. Several small restaurants are open on the beaches, where you can try dishes of sea creatures. Local fishermen deliver fresh catch to the chefs every day.
Holidays on the islands have already been appreciated by Europeans. And in high season hotels are overcrowded. It is especially crowded (by local standards) on weekends and New Year's vacations. When in the northern part of the hemisphere is frosty and snowy, the islands in Sihanoukville water temperature does not drop below 25 ° C. Many young people also come here, so in the evenings the atmosphere is cheerful and romantic.
In its 60 years of existence, Sihanoukville has not acquired many attractions. The city is still developing and under construction. In the meantime, fidgety tourists who are not enough just lying on the beach and need to explore the entire area, are invited to visit a few places.
The unofficial symbol of the city is the golden lions, which are found literally everywhere: in souvenir kiosks, local temples, next to the houses. And the most famous pair of felines is on the central square of the city. An unknown novice sculptor has depicted a standing formidable lion and a lioness lying nearby.
The temples of Wat Leu and Wat Kraom
There are two temples near the city on the hill: Wat Leu (Upper Pagoda) and Wat Kraom (Lower Pagoda). The first is located at the highest point and you can get there from the Golden Lions Square on foot in 30-40 minutes or by tuk-tuk, reducing the time to 20 minutes. Both temples stand on land partially cleared of jungle. The hike to the top of the hill may be a little difficult, but the beautiful scenery along the way and the beautiful view from the observation deck will quite pay off the effort.
The temple grounds are a large park area with shady alleys and a complex of Buddhist buildings with various statues. The pagoda itself is built in the classic manner of authentic Cambodian temples with bright colors and many sculptures.
The temple is accessed by steps guarded by many-headed serpents and golden lions. The complex of Wat Leu also includes an active monastery inhabited by monks. Children from poor families often become novices of the monastery. Not far from the monastery there are also burial places of the ashes of famous monks. Inside the pagoda, in addition to religious items, there is a boat in which local swimmers participate in the annual festive races on the Mekong.
Below on the hill is another temple, Wat Kraom. There are many different statues here as well, and the most famous of them is the reclining Buddha. The temple here is dedicated to the goddess Ya-Mao, who in a former life was an ordinary woman, but after her death she was incarnated as an unearthly creature. She is feared and tried to placate her by bringing gifts of bananas. Of course, the local temples can not be compared to the same Angkor, but to feel the spirit of Buddhism and learn the lives of monks, it is quite possible. From the observation deck of the Upper Temple you can admire the surroundings.
Next door to the temples peacefully inhabits a troop of humanoid. No one in Asia is surprised by monkeys now, but what tourist will refuse to observe the behavior of our smaller brothers. Local macaques are more well-behaved than in India, and for the bananas (which can be bought right there) show wonders of agility and dexterity. They will not snatch the dainty fruits out of your hands, but they will pull the edge of your clothes with a reminder. And they will jump and enjoy life and free treats.
Ream National Park
There are a total of 23 national parks in Cambodia, one of which is located 18 kilometers east of Sihanoukville. The park covers an area of just over 200 square kilometers. This includes the sea coast, mangrove forests, the mouth of a river, coral reefs and two nearby islands. There are villages and people living in the park, it is almost 13 thousand people.
The park was founded after the end of the civil war in the nineties of the last century. The purpose of creating such an area was to protect the country's forest resources and preserve rare animal species. There are about 150 species of birds in Ream, some of which are on the verge of extinction: the Javanese marabou, the milkvetch and others. Many monkeys, turtles and several other rare animal species live in the park.
Tourists can get acquainted with the park during various excursions. Both hikes and motorcycle tours through the protected area have been developed. A boat tour along the Prek Tuk Sap River is also offered. Such a trip will allow you to see and life of Cambodian villages, located here on the river banks. There are cafes and two hotels in the park, so you can stay in the heart of Ream National Park near the sea.
Kbal Chhai Falls
A few kilometers from Sihanoukville, among the jungle and mountains, is the Kbal Chhai waterfall. To get here, tourists and locals usually walk along a picturesque stream. The waterfall is fed by local mountain streams. During the high season, there is little water, but during the rainy season, it reaches a height of 10 meters and a width of 8 meters.
For a time after Sihanoukville, Kbal Chhai was the source of clean and fresh water for city residents. The civil war changed the situation and the place was occupied by the Khmer Rouge. In the late 90s, a road was built here and the area around the waterfall was landscaped. In our time, the delivery of water to the coast was resumed. Not only tourists but also locals like to come here to the ringing streams of water. Enterprising Cambodians here were opened several shops with food and souvenirs, cafes, built many outdoor pavilions with hammocks, benches and tables.
Cambodians come here with their families and have picnics. Tourists are more active in this regard and try for a long time to capture the surrounding beauty. It is allowed to swim in the waterfall, which in the local hot weather is absolutely necessary. And after the water procedures it will be nice to lie down in a hammock and take a nap under the sound of water. Drinks and food are also available here on the grounds next to the waterfall. Hammocks are paid, but if you buy groceries and ready-to-eat meals, the gazebo will be provided for free.
The flow of tourists to Sihanoukville is increasing every year. Many people appreciate the new destination for the opportunity of a quiet and secluded vacation on the coast, unspoiled by civilization. There is a demand for active recreation. Local travel agencies offer walks on boats and sailing yachts along the coast, visits to neighboring islands, tours around on buggies and motorcycles. Walks on the sea, if desired, can be combined with fishing.
The city's beaches and nearby islands offer opportunities for water sports. The city's diving center also has Russian instructors who can teach you how to dive with special equipment. Those who are afraid of depth, but want to see the sea beauty, are offered snorkeling or diving with snorkelers. Even at shallow depths off the coast of Sihanoukville is home to a variety of marine life and vibrant vegetation.
Off the coast of Sihanoukville in high season, there are almost no high waves, so surfers at this time here is nothing to do, unless you take the wind as the driving force. On the beaches offer rental equipment for kitesurfing or gliding on a board by flying a kite. Wind also helps fans of windsurfing. At first it is a bit difficult to manage the sail and move through the water. But after taking a few lessons from an instructor, you can safely dissect the sea surface.