Sihanoukville is a port city in the south of Cambodia and overlooks the Gulf of Thailand. The city is named after King Father Sihanouk, but it also known as Kompong Som. Sihanoukville suffered from war and it was the place of the last official battle in the Vietnam War. These days the city attracts tourists with its fine beaches and laid back atmosphere. The city also attracts foreign and national investors. It has a population of some 18 thousand people.
Sihanoukville was founded in 1960 after Cambodia became independent from France. French-Cambodian people carved a camp out of the jungle in 1955. They began building the first, and only, deep-sea port in order to communicate with international trade. During the Vietnam War the port was used by the Vietcong and later by the American army. The last ten years the city has been picking up the pieces. The Independence Hotel is up and running again and more and more Khmer people are running bars and restaurants.
Sihanoukville has some good beaches for relaxation. The popular beaches are Ochheuteal, Sokha, Otres, Independence and Victory Beach. Some beaches have there own beach resorts. There are more than a dozen islands to hop around. You can take water taxis to go scuba diving, snorkeling and swimming. Be aware that the beaches can be covered in more rubbish than you might be used to. There are businesses that tried to dump their waste into the city.
Travelers to Sihanoukville require a valid passport and visa. American citizens will receive a visa upon arrival valid for 30 days in exchange for $20.00 US. There’s also an exit fee of $25.00 US when leaving the country.