SihanoukVille, Cambodia. The main tourist destination in Cambodia, after the magnificent temples of Angkor Wat. Beaches, islands, resorts and Cambodian culture. SihanoukVille is the fastest growing city in the country.
Also home to the main port for Cambodia, and the third largest airport in the country. Flights to and from Angkor Wat every day, and weekly flight to Phnom Penh. A large casino playground with 12 casinos and counting. Now, also home of the largest brewery in all of Asia, the Angkor Beer Brewery (and Carlsberg and Kronnenberg.) And Wintertime, November through February, SihanoukVille really "Shines".
Currently, there are only 3 world class resorts in SihanoukVille, (1 is on SihanoukVille's Islands) with many more planned or in progress, especially on the islands.
SihanoukVille is located on the Southern Coast of Cambodia on the Gulf of Thailand. Surrounded by small hills and islands, it's about a 4 hour drive from the Phnom Penh airport, or a 30 minute helicopter ride.
Most of the activities here surround the beaches and islands. There are also over 300 foreign owned restaurants, hotels, and clubs in town, catering to most tastes.
Over a dozen islands, most, sparsely populated, are located within a few minutes to a few hours from the mainland. Some of these have basic bungalows and restaurants, and are used as bases for fishing, snorkeling, and scuba diving. One entire island is a 5 star resort, (although the size of a football field), and many 3, 4, and 5 star resorts are currently being under construction.
Water Sports are growing in SihanoukVille. Fishing trips, sailing, scuba diving and snorkeling, swimming, jet skiing, kayaking in the ocean and river, and island trips covers most of the water activities here.
Traditional Cambodia still lives on in SihanoukVille, but mostly outside of town in the small villages. Steung Hauv, a fishing village about 40 minutes out of town, Bet Trang village near the airport, and small dirt streets off the main road to Phnom Penh are the closest examples of how Khmers lived and worked hundreds (or thousands) of years ago. Some of these villages are without electricity, and the main form of transportation is walking, bicycling or riding a cart behind a cow.
Cambodian currency consists of Khmer Riels and U.S. Dollars. There are several banks around town, and most have ATM's, traveler's check exchange, and will exchange several foreign currencies. All the resorts will also take U.S. dollars, Euros, Thai Baht and a few other currencies. Please note: U.S. dollars must not be ripped or torn. You can't pay for purchases with torn money, nor do you want to accept it from anyone. Cambodian Riel is exchanged at around 4,100 Riels to one U.S. dollar. It's good to have one dollar bills and some Cambodian money if you're outside of your resort.
During Cambodian public holidays, the town of SihanoukVille fills up, and sometimes there are no accommodations to be found. Best to make reservations during these times if possible.
SihanoukVille is going through rapid changes now, and it's interesting to see where it's coming from and where it's going. Wintertime is the best time to visit SihanoukVille!