Dec 07 2012
Like the rest of Cambodia and much of Southeast Asia, Sihanoukville has a predominantly Buddhist population. On top of that, most visitors to Sihanoukville do not come from countries with Christian traditions, meaning Christmas isn’t a huge occasion. Happily for those wanting to get into the Christmas spirit though, establishments who cater to Western tourists celebrate Christmas in style; and where they don’t, backpackers and other visitors wing it and create their own Christmas festivities.
For Santa hats and Christmas decorations, Samudera Supermarket in downtown Sihanoukville will have everything you need. As Sihanoukville’s longest established market catering to Western tourists, they know exactly what their customers want and set up their Christmas display early. Aside from your essential Christmas gear, Samudera also has a great selection of Christmas nibblies and bubbly, so if you’re making your own Christmas celebrations, they are a good one-stop Christmas supplies centre.
One thing Samudera lacks is a large selection of toys for kids. For those, try the toy store a couple of shops up from Samudera on Makara Street or Psar Leu. Look for the stacks of bicycles and tricycles out front to find the shop, but go inside to find the toys. They cost more than the toy stalls inside Psar Leu, but are generally better quality.
When it comes time for Christmas dinner, there’s something for every taste in Sihanoukville. Mick & Craig’s Guesthouse and Restaurant, on Serendipity Mithona Street between the Golden Lions and the top of Serendipity Road, is a Sihanoukville institution that always has a Christmas bash. Both turkey and vegetarian Christmas dinners are on the menu and the staff dresses for the occasion. I’m not sure if they’re planned or spontaneous, but at some point, Christmas carols erupt and everybody joins in. For a family-friendly Christmas dinner, Mick & Craig’s might be your best bet. If they’re packed, don’t despair; no doubt there will be Christmas celebrations in many of the other restaurants in the vicinity.
If you’re looking for something a little more intimate, yet still family-friendly, try A’Chaar Restaurant on Victory Beach in front of the Victory Beach Hotel. Last year was their first Christmas celebration and they’re doing it again this year. We’re told it’s best to book ahead and show up at around 17:00, so you can be settled in for sunset.
Not family-unfriendly, but geared more towards backpackers, flashpackers and music lovers, Led Zephyr, at the top of Sihanoukville Road, has Christmas special dinners and entertainment lined up from Christmas Eve through to Boxing Day. One of Sihanoukville’s newest live music venues, Led Zephyr is a combination restaurant and nightclub. Featured artists and open mike performers range from mellow acoustic guitar renditions of classics from the 60s and 70s to reggae, blues and just about everything else. On Christmas, no doubt, there will be some interesting renditions of old Christmas favourites to sing along to.
A good way to experience a white (sands) Christmas is to take a daytrip out to a neighbouring island. From Serendipity Pier, you can choose between a longtail boat or one of the double-decker party boats that depart daily for both day and evening cruises. Gather a group if you can to make it more affordable.
For more information about Christmas dinners and events mentioned above, contact the venues directly.
Mick & Craig’s
Mithona Road, near Golden Lions
T: (0346) 555 000
Victory Beach Hotel, Victory Beach
T: (012) 8155 500
Top of Serendipity Rd
T: (077) 528 545
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