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History

Named Sihanoukville in 1964 after the ruling prince of Cambodia, the booming port and its golden beaches soon drew Cambodia’s jetsetting elite, spawning the first Angkor Beer brewery and the modernist seven-story Independence Hotel which, claim locals, even played host to Jacqueline Kennedy on her whirlwind tour of Cambodia in 1967.

Alas, the party came to an abrupt end in 1970 when Sihanouk was deposed in a coup and Cambodia descended into civil war. The town – renamed Kompong Som – soon fell on hard times: the victorious Khmer Rouge used the Independence Hotel for target practice and, when they made the mistake of hijacking an American container ship, the port was bombed by the U.S. Air Force. Even after Pol Pot’s regime was driven from power, the bumpy highway to the capital was long notorious for banditry and the beaches stayed empty.

Peace returned in 1993 following the historic elections organized by the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia ( UNTAC) and in the ensuing ten years Sihanoukville has been busy picking up the pieces. First visited only by a few intrepid backpackers, guidebooks still talk of walls pockmarked by bullets, but any signs of war are hard to spot in today’s Sihanoukville, whose new symbol seems to be the construction site. After 30 years of housing only ghosts

Geography

Sihanouk Ville (Khmer: ក្រុងព្រះសីហនុ – Krong Preah Sihanouk), also known as Kampong Som is a small province in southern Cambodia on the Gulf of Thailand. This port city is a growing Cambodian urban center, located 232 kilometres southwest of the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh on National Highway 4.  Since there is much improve for road condition, we can reach Sihanouk Ville without worry. Because there is just improved the road from Phnom Penh and Koh Kong to Sihanouk Ville.

The province is named after King Father Norodom Sihanouk and grew up around the construction of Sihanoukville Port. Construction on the port began in June 1955 and it was the only deep water port in Cambodia.

The port was built in part due to the waning power of the French leading to the Vietnamese tightening their control over the Mekong Delta and hence restricting river access to Cambodia. Sihanoukville’s beaches have made it a popular tourist destination.

Economy

The economy of Sihanoukville is based primarily in its port for import and exports to the national economy. It has also an oil container port and cargo facilities. Other activities in the economy of the province include fishing, aquaculture, agriculture, mining, oil, factories (frozen shrimp processing, garment and Angkor Beer), real estate and tourism. In the last years the increasing of tourism has improved the construction of hotels and tourism infrastructures in the province. Foreign and national investment has been proven by the presence of newcomers to the city.

The province is also served by Sihanoukville International Airport, 18 kilometres (11 mi) from downtown, although it has a limited commercial operation. The planned flights between Sihanoukville and Siem Reap may encourage visitors to Angkor temples in Siem Reap to extend their stay longer.

Although there has a promise of massive Malaysian investment – development of Naga Island – As present the number of tourist numbers are still fairly low. These beaches are known for their quiet, cosy atmosphere and the large stretches of white sand and waters has become a popular spots for families on vacation can be enjoyed all year round. To catch a nice view on the city you best climb the small hill to Wat Leu. Wat Krom is another place of interest as this is a recently build pagoda, because the older one was destroyed by the Khmer Rouge and it houses a sanctuary called Yeah Mao, the guardian of the cost. Nearby to the town there are nice places for a detour such as the Ream National Park and the beautiful Kbal Chhay Waterfall.

Administration

For administrative purposes Sihanoukville is a municipality, holding the same status as a province. There is a provincial governor and three deputy governors. It is subdivided into 3 districts (Khan). The port has an autonomous administration.The districts are divided in communes (22 communes in total).

ISO CodeDistrictRomanizationPopulationCommunesVillages
1801មិត្តភាពMittakpheap67,440519
1802ព្រៃនប់Prey Nob75,1421465
1803ស្ទឹងហាវStueng Hav13,108310

Population

In 2008 there were 199,902 persons living in Sihanoukville province. The main ethnic group is the Khmer ethnic group. There are many other groups like Vietnamese, Chinese, Cham, Thai, French, British, Korean and Americans, especially because of its status as a port. 6.3% of the country’s total population (14,363,519 person in Cambodia, 2007, provincial government data), with 440,395 male and 462,635 female. The population density is therefore 87,7 people per square kilometre.

Weather

Sihanouk Ville is also enjoy  tropical climate with  warm and humid temperature. In the monsoon season, abundant rain allows for the cultivation of a wide variety of crops. This year-round tropical climate makes Cambodia ideal for developing tourism. Travellers need not to fear natural disasters such as erupting volcanoes or earthquakes, and the country is not directly affected by tropical storms. Cambodia has sun almost year round. The average temperature is about 27 degrees Celsius; the minimum temperature is about 16 degrees. December and January are the coolest months, whereas the hottest is April.

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