Nov 27 2012
Sihanoukville’s Victory Hill, or simply “the Hill” has acquired such a bad reputation, it’s almost embarrassing to admit to spending time there. That’s kind of a shame, though, because the Hill is Sihanoukville’s original backpacker zone and if you know where to go, can actually be a great place to stay.
The area most commonly associated with the Hill is encompassed in a triangle formed by three roads. One of them is the pockmarked bitumen road that continues on down to the port after you pass the last set of traffic lights on Ekareach Street. Another is the even more pockmarked road that is the first left you make after the traffic lights. That 100 metres or so of road is the section that has given the Hill such a bad name since the sleazier bars took over.
When you reach the Corner Bar at the end of this rough road, you reach the sunny side of the Hill. Recently paved with cement, one side of this road is dominated by cheap eateries, while the other is home to a couple of Sihanoukville’s best known guesthouses — Mealy Chenda and Dada Guesthouse. Mealy Chenda, the larger of the two, is arguably best known for their buffet dinners and ocean view restaurant, while Dada’s is famous for its friendly proprietor, Dada, and her lovely family.
These aren’t the only guesthouses on the Hill by any means. Take a left at the Corner Bar, for example, and you’ll find a couple of nice older guesthouses tucked away in the trees or take the road down to Victory Beach and you’ll pass several others, a couple of which are nearly brand new. Then there are the newer and flashier hotels and guesthouses on the main road to choose from.
Fancy a pizza or a TexMex speciality while watching big screen TV? If so, call in at the Corner Bar. Do you like well-prepared Western meals? Venture down the pockmarked road and try The Look, a family-run restaurant and bar that has continued to thrive even after so many others have closed or changed hands. Either of these is a great place to go for a meal and you won’t be bothered by any uninvited companions; but if it’s cheap eats you’re looking for, go back to the sunny side of the Hill.
Victory Hill wouldn’t be my first choice of places to stay in Sihanoukville; but it wouldn’t be my last, either. There’s a variety restaurants and accommodation to choose from; it’s close to lovely and relaxing beach Victory Beach; and you can’t get a better ocean view any place else in town for the money. Yes, there’s the seedy side of the Hill to contend with, but there are a lot of seedier areas elsewhere in the world and there’s no rule that says you have give them your business. Stick with the sunny side of the Hill and you’ll be fine.
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