Cambodia

Sihanoukville and Koh Ta Kiev

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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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