Sihanoukville is Cambodia’s primary coastal party town, almost every tour of the country will include a couple of nights stay here. I confess I’m not much of a beach person, but there’s enough interest along the coastline to keep the likes of me occupied, and there’s an endless choice of restaurants for the foodies.
Sihanoukville is a town of two centers, the transport and domestic shopping hub is set some distance away from the coast and isn’t particularly inspiring – the focus for all travelers will be the beaches along the coastline. I stayed very close to Serendipidy beach which was a good choice, even if you don’t stay near this beach be sure to make the effort to witness at least one sunset from here during your stay.
Further north is Victory Beach, a quieter location if you want to avoid the crowds with some good restaurants, but also a stark reminder of how quickly Cambodia is changing. There is huge outside investment going on in the region, and from Victory Beach you get a feel for that with the once stunning view across to Snake Island obliterated by a massive bridge, built by the Chinese, connecting the island to mainland.
The intent is to turn Snake Island into a private resort. It must be a difficult dilemma for Cambodian’s, desperately wanting investment, but perhaps not quite so happy to see the repercussions of it.
It’s well worth taking a day excursion to one of the nearby islands if you can. I visited Koh Ta Kiev, a tiny island with a long stretch of sandy beach, a few roaming cows, a restaurant, and not an awful lot else.
For a handful of dollars you can stay on the island in one of the beach huts that have been constructed. It’s hugely peaceful, and when I was there almost completely deserted. Although I’m not a beach person as I said before, being on this island felt amazing.
Sadly, all that is about to change. As of 2014 the island has started to see the development, with plans to build a resort and casino with Chinese and French investment. I only discovered this about 10 minutes ago when checking I had the name of the island correct, and I was shocked to read of what is happening there. It was a small slice of unspoiled paradise that within a couple of years will be no more. It’s such a shame
Developments have already started, with huge stretches of pristine jungle cleared through the middle of the island to make way for a highway that will ultimately connect the casino to the airport via a $40M bridge. We can all monitor further developments here.
Not the most positive end to my series of blog posts on Cambodia, but as with so many other destinations in the world, change is the only ever constant.
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