Sihanoukville Location Profile

Sihanoukville Location Profile


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Sihanoukville, or Kampong Som in Khmer, is the fourth-largest city in Cambodia. It sits on the southern coast and is a hub for trade, business and tourism. The coastal city is the capital of Preah Sihanouk province. Over the last few years, Sihanoukville has exploded with development. This is mainly due to skyrocketing tourism and foreign investment from China. Indeed, Sihanoukville is a vital part on China’s One Belt, One Road initiative. However, the current construction boom has also had a negative impact on the province. Continued demand for land has pushed up prices, making it higher than high-quality beachfront land in Thailand and Vietnam, while the tourism markets in Thailand and Vietnam are more developed. The soaring rents of accommodation and commercial premises have caused many residents and business owners to relocate outside the city center. There’s a reason that Preah Sihanouk province was originally name after the King. There’s definitely something magical about the enchanting landscape. Indeed, the lifestyle in Sihanoukville is one of leisure and calm. You really have to experience it to truly understand.

Key Information

Sihanoukville (in Khmer “Kampong Som or Kampong Saom”) was established in 1964 in order to create Cambodia’s one and only deep-water port. It was chosen as a port city for its depth of water, protection from the elements and accessibility. Since the initial establishment, the province has experienced steady growth. Lately, that growth has exploded in terms of real estate development and tourism. The provincial capital, Sihanoukville was chosen in honour of King Norodom Sihanouk, who fought for the independence of Cambodia from the French and later on rallied the Khmer people after the time of the Khmer Rouge. Today, Sihanoukville is an economically vibrant city filled with tourists and foreign workers. It has earned the moniker “Rising Star of the Southwest”. Many visitors to Sihanoukville make a pilgrimage to this Buddhist temple. Wat Leu, located in forested area atop Sihanoukville Mountain, is 1.5 kilometres from the centre of the city. Many people looking for peace and quiet have trekked up the mountain to visit the sacred spot. In addition, Wat Leu is also visited by many photography enthusiasts, who note that it is one of the best places to take pictures of Sihanoukville. To reach Wat Leu you can take a moto or tuk-tuk. A moto ride from the city centre costs around $2. A more scenic tuk-tuk ride costs a bit more, however.

Sihanoukville is now viewed as the next big investment hotspot and prime land for development is being snapped up quickly. The province contains the Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone (SSEZ), which is 3 kilometers from an international airport and 12 kilometers from a deep water port. Sihanoukville is the only deepwater port in the Kingdom of Cambodia and an economic corridor that gathers many popular industries.Sihanoukville’s current economic renaissance is mainly due to its strategic location and presence of important businesses and industries. The main industries include transportation and logistics, tourism, fishing, processing and manufacturing, clothing and real estate. The SSEZ's proximity to international transportation hubs make it an attractive area for companies looking for easy access to South East Asia's busy trading routes. Due to the rapid inflow of foreign direct investment (especially Chinese investors), Sihanoukville has become an important part of Cambodia's economic growth. Its development has also led to the construction of surrounding areas such as Yunyang National Park and Guogong Island. Infrastructure, tourism and real estate development have all been rapidly developed. With the support of the government, the area of ​​Sihanoukville continues to expand and will become the next tourist hub after Siem Reap. In addition, the investment of China and ASEAN has greatly promoted the development and growth of the real estate industry. It is now regarded as a hot spot for investment, and high-quality development land has already been sold out. The multi-functional terminal with a total cost of about 74 million US dollars has been officially launched in June 2018. Freighters below 50,000 tons can be directly reached. This multi-functional terminal is an important gateway to the national economy and allows Cambodia’s agricultural and industrial products. Being able to export to the international market, it also connects Highway 2, Highway 3, Highway 4, Railway, and the "Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville " highway.

The total population of Sihanoukville has exceeded 300,000. The resident foreign population exceeds 200,000, of which 150,000 are Chinese. As a port city, Sihanoukville city has about 80,000 Chinese, which is the same as the local population. This concern has increased local hostility towards the newly influx of Chinese residents. In Sihanoukville, the two communities live side by side, but they rarely interact.

Things To Do in Sihanoukville

Compared to the capital, Sihanoukville shopping options are a bit limited. Though there are no international-grade shopping centres there similar to Aeon Mall, that could soon change. Construction of Furi Times Square Mall is currently underway. It is expected to be completed before the end of 2019. For now, the best shopping options are Samudera Market, Orange Market and Lucky Ocean Supermarket. Orange Market has a wide selection of imported goods, as does Samudera. Want to pick up some souvenirs? Stop by Unique, or M’Lop Tapang. If you want to truly shop like a local make sure to visit either Phsar Leu or Central Market. Koh Rong is an island 25 km off the coast of Sihanoukville, in the Gulf of Thailand. With an area 78 square kilometres, it is the second largest island in Cambodia. Largely undeveloped, the island has earned the moniker of “unexploited paradise island”. Spread over 45 km of the island are 23 white sand beaches, making it a premier destination for beach lovers. The waters surrounding the island are excellent for snorkeling and scuba diving. Accommodations vary widely in the area. There are wooden bungalows, hotels and almost everything in between. There are also restaurants, bars, laundry shops, stores, ATMs, and pharmacies.

Sihanoukville is famous for having some of the best beaches in Cambodia. They are known for their immaculate white sands and crystal clear waters. Below are some of the best and most popular beaches in and around Sihanoukville. The islands near Sihanoukville were sold to some large resort developers, and some exclusive beach property rights were also sold to luxury hotel operators. As far as the hotel is concerned, whether it is located by the beach or the popular private island hotels on Koh Rong Island, Koh Rong Samloem Island, and Gualong Islands, all have experienced explosive growth in the past few years. Espiciallyt in 2018, two internationally renowned resorts, Six Senses on Krabey Island and Alila on Koh Russey, have opened. Krabey Island is located south of Sihanoukville, only 20 minutes by boat from the port. Large resorts all provide island-wide tourism experience services, as well as snorkeling, deep diving, and various beach facilities for tourists to enjoy.

Sihanoukville has excellent dining options. Both Khmer and international food are abundant. Indeed, restaurants run the gamut from budget eats to luxury dining. You’ll surely want to try the seafood at Treasure Island. Ernie’s Burger is purported to be amazing and Douceur du Cambodge offers up loads of French pastries. If you want to dine while also supporting a humanitarian cause, head to Sandan. Part of the Friends International Group, the restaurant serves local fare and trains underprivileged youth to be food industry stars. Want to take a culinary journey? Try falafel at Sok San Village, Mediterranean food at Olive & Olive, Kamasutra’s Indian food or the pizzas at Papa Pippo's on Otres. Sihanoukville is best known for its fresh-caught seafood with a plethora of eateries to enjoy these local flavours - from seafood shacks that line the beach, to more upmarket restaurants aimed at holidayers. On the beaches, you will find excellent value for money on popular evening BBQs, and the freshest seafood in Cambodia.

Sihanoukville is a town that knows how to party with no shortage of bars and night spots. There are a variety of beach bars and off beach options, including live music venues and hostess bars. Alcohol is highly inexpensive. Sihanoukville has one of the best nightlife scenes in all of Cambodia. Many beach bars host all-night parties. Foreigners seem to congregate there nightly. La Vogue SkyBar located on the beach and it is a good place for nightlife, where you can enjoy great drink, the swimming pool alone with the sea view provides visual enjoyment, and there are cute DJs at night. Aqua Beach Lounge is another place worth visiting for nightlife, this beach club offers very good Indonesian cuisine.

Transportation options in Sihanoukville are surprisingly diverse. You can get there by plane, train, bus or even boat. For getting around town most people stick to the roads, or boats if you’re heading to one of the islands. Overland: There is no intercity public transportation in Sihanoukville. However, there are readily available taxis and tuk-tuks. Tour buses and car rental companies have service points in the city center. Boat: Gaolong and Koh Rong Samloem have ferry services every day. Access to other smaller islands is generally provided by local resort operators. In addition, tourists can rent small boats and medium-sized cruise ships at hotels, travel agencies and transportation agencies for sightseeing, fishing and diving. Flights: There are 11 international airlines operating in Sihanoukville International Airport, of which 6 airlines fly to 17 provinces and cities in China. The airport is currently undergoing major renovations, and the completion of the new terminal is expected to increase the throughput of 500,000 passengers annually. After completion, Sihanoukville International Airport will become the largest airport in Cambodia. In addition, Qixinghai Beach Resort Casino on Gaolong Island will cost US$500 million to build a private airport. Although Koh Rong Island is not located in the city of Sihanoukville, the completion of this airport will also be a key channel because it is only a few hours’ drive from Sihanoukville. Highway: The road conditions in Sihanoukville are relatively good. National Highway 4 can directly lead from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville. National Highway 48 connects Gaogang Province in the southwest, and the highway ends at the Thai-Cambodian border.

Sihanoukvillet has a population of over 200,000 resident foreigners, most of whom are Chinese. Sihanoukville is the only special economic zone in Cambodia. The Sihanoukville Port Economic Development Zone has gathered a large number of Chinese light industrial bases and is a landmark project on the “Belt and Road”. In 2018, about 230,000 tourists were recorded to have arrived in Sihanoukville International Airport (KOS). By Q3 2019, this number jumped to almost 550,000 arrivals, according to data from the Ministry of Tourism. The increase in direct flights to the Sihanoukville International Airport has directly contributed to the steep rise in tourist arrivals to the province, including flights from Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, and most important, China. Final figures are yet to be released but it can safely be assumed this number will rise by Q4 2019. It has to be noted that the government announced in August 2019 that it will no longer be renewing online casino licenses in Cambodia. The decree specifies that currently registered online casino operators will be allowed to operate until their licenses expire in 2020. The announcement has already prompted most online casinos to move their operations elsewhere, with over 400,000 Chinese workers leaving the province by December 2019, according to the General Department of Immigration. The government, through a multi agency operation, will strictly be enforcing the ban throughout the country starting January 1, 2020.

Explore the Area

Sihanoukville province is located in the southwest of Cambodia, approximately 232 kilometres from the nation’s capital, Phnom Penh. It sits on a peninsula within the Gulf of Thailand and is the Kingdom’s premier seaside destination with various beautiful beaches along the coastline and tropical islands scattered about offshore. Sihanoukville’s location makes it a convenient getaway for almost anyone in the region. It’s just a short flight away from Thailand, Vietnam, China, Korea, Japan, India and many other countries in Asia. The city has its own international airport and seaport that can also dock cruise ships. It takes about 6 to 7 hours to travel from Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh. A few miles off the coast of Sihanoukville are a bevy of tropical islands. While not as well-known as Phu Quoc in Vietnam or Koh Tao in Thailand, these islands are increasingly becoming popular with locals and foreign visitors alike. They are popular for diving, snorkeling, fishing and swimming.

Real Estate in Sihanoukville

Khans in Sihanoukville

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