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sihanoukville... worth it?

  • sinstone

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    short and sweet.

    i hated the south of thailand and would love to catch some more beach action. heard mixed reviews about sihanoukville... any suggestions? should i just wait for malaysia/indonesia?

    cheers!

    #1 Posted: 14/8/2009 - 22:25

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  • Lother

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    I think it kind of depends on why you hated the south of Thailand. Sihanoukville is similar to the beach places in Southern Thailand in some ways, but different in others.

    But anyway, I generally like Sihanoukville, especially outside the high season. Occheuteal has a pretty good vibe overall and there are other beach alternatives too of course, and I feel the beaches on the whole are on par with Pantai Cenang on Langkawi for example.

    #2 Posted: 15/8/2009 - 08:44

  • sinstone

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    just too packed... was expecting something more quiet (dream on).

    i heard that sihanoukville's beaches were being fenced up because of land disputes and mega construction. is this true?

    thanks!

    #3 Posted: 15/8/2009 - 08:50

  • somtam2000

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    Sihanoukville is always going through some land title or another -- I'd only start to worry if there wasn't some scandal going on.

    As per Lother, some like it some don't -- parts of it have a pretty sleazy side to it and that dissuades some -- that said there are no shortage of pretty good and not-too-busy beaches to pick from.

    I wouldn't go out of my way to go there -- especially if you're heading to Malaysia and Indo -- but it's only a few hours from Phnom Penh, so if you've the time, give it a whirl!

    #4 Posted: 15/8/2009 - 09:28

  • sinstone

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    thanks somtam, decision taken, will not go. i'm still thinking about kampot though... any opinion there?

    cheers!

    #5 Posted: 15/8/2009 - 09:35

  • somtam2000

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    Yeah I like Kampot -- Kep too. We've just had a bunch of new research come in on those two spots and looks like there are lots of new spots to stay. The material should be online next week some time.

    #6 Posted: 15/8/2009 - 09:38

  • sinstone

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    perfect timing!!! thanks heaps! keep up the amazing work... travelfish is making this trip SO much more enjoyable.

    cheers!

    #7 Posted: 15/8/2009 - 09:40

  • sayadian

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    Somtam, you write.
    'parts of it have a pretty sleazy side.'
    Referring to sihanoukville.
    Doesn't every place in this part of the world have a sleazy side? I'm thinking about Karaoke joints etc.I don't think Sihanoukville is any worse than anywhere else.Unles you're discriminating against western sleaze as opposed to the local kind ;)
    I'd like to stick up for Snooky here,if you like to party it has plenty to do,you can eat fresh seafood for a song with the waves lapping at your feet and if you want quiet, go to Otres where you can find yourself a hammock a few yards from a clean turquoise sea and stay put all day drinking cold beer and eating freshly prepared fruit salad. altenatively you can go to Kampot, Kep and experience the re-colonisation of Cambodia.Lots of French businesses selling their version of 'Cambodian cuisine',after you've marvelled at the half dozen old colonial buildings (that should take all of 5 minutes) you can bathe in the muddy, shallow waters of Kep.and before someone mentions the Kep seafood...it's just as good on the beach at Snooky.

    #8 Posted: 15/8/2009 - 15:22

  • somtam2000

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    Sayadian -- fair call, though I'd go to Kampot just to get pepper -- we're down to our last half kilo!

    On the sleaze angle, I do think that side of Sihanoukville is particularly bad. I'm not so much talking about the karaoke joints, but more the underage aspect, but yes agreed -- hang out on Otres Beach and you'll see little of that side of things.

    And I do agree Sanooky has the better beaches -- Kep's is a shocker!

    #9 Posted: 15/8/2009 - 15:36

  • sayadian

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    If there is a paedophile scene in sihanoukville(and I'm not sure that's the case) it certainly isn't in your face. I've been there at least a dozen times and I've never seen any evidence of it.
    Let's not forget why these European creeps first chose S.E. Asia.Up until a few years ago the trafficing of underage girls was acceptable in Thailand and Cambodia.Thankfully,the Thais have stamped down on this and it seems the Khmer are following suit.

    #10 Posted: 15/8/2009 - 16:04

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  • kiwibc

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    I'd have to agree with somtam2000 here. We were there a couple of months ago and found it to be the only place in Cambodia we didn't like. We did see old guys with what definately looked to be well underaged girls and a few weeks after we left we saw in the news that they'd busted a couple of western paedophiles there. The rest of Cambodia we also saw the 'western guy with younger girl' thing but Sihanoukville was the only place we saw such a vast age difference and the girls looked way too young by anyones standards. The beaches were nice but the hassling was endless (at one point we actually had a QUEUE of hawkers lined up to hassle us!) and when I was swimming in the sea a bunch of young boys surrounded my partner and tried to distract her while attempting to slice her bag open. I had a do a sprint from the sea to save our stuff and chase them off!

    #11 Posted: 24/8/2009 - 15:56

  • Lother

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    It is often difficult for westerners to tell how old an Asian person is, and vice versa, in my experience. The girls you saw with old men may have looked young and such age differences can sure look strange, but I can assure you that actual underage prostitution does not go on openly ANYWHERE in Cambodia. Yes, it exists, like in many countries, and is probably more common than in most countries of the world, but it's not something you would just "come across".

    That said, it is true that there is quite a bit of the foreign-oriented sex trade going on in Sihanoukville. No-one needs to take part if they don't want to and I don't feel it's that in your face there compared to many places in Thailand for example, but of course if the whole concept thoroughly repulses you, then maybe avoid S'ville.

    #12 Posted: 24/8/2009 - 16:13

  • sayadian

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    have to agree with Lothar.The girls in that part of the world usually look a lot younger than they are.If someone is so prudish it bothers them to see an older man with a woman a lot younger than him, they are in the wrong part of the world.It's a very common occurence in SE Asia.Why are people so judgemental?

    #13 Posted: 25/8/2009 - 00:10

  • cdnexplorer

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    "If someone is so prudish it bothers them to see an older man with a woman a lot younger than him, they are in the wrong part of the world.It's a very common occurence in SE Asia.Why are people so judgemental?"

    I think you're missing the point of concern. The majority of older men seen with younger asian women are directly contributing to the sex trade industry, which is a PROBLEM that should not even exist. And if the man is with an underaged girl (under 18), does that not bother you as well? Just because it's a common occurence doesn't mean it's right, and those who find it disgusting 'prudish'. Sayadian, you need to either rephrase what you said or take a look at yourself.

    #14 Posted: 25/8/2009 - 13:52

  • somtam2000

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    I absolutely agree with Lother, that it is easy to underestimate the age of an Asian man or woman -- I've lived in Asia for over 12 years and still get caught out occasionally thinking someone who looks like a teenage daughter or son is actually a (very-legal-aged!) wife or husband.

    Cambodia (not just Sihanoukville ) has a serious problem with child prostitution. As per the following report from Ka Set on Siem Reap :

    "A field study was carried out in Siem Reap at the beginning of this year by IJM and showed that 60 out of 80 brothels inspected by the team offered minor prostitutes."

    Full story here

    I realise that I steered (somewhat inadvertently) the conversation in this direction with my post at #6, and I'm certainly not suggesting that this issue is restricted within Cambodia to Sanookyville (it's not), but the "Pattayaish" bars that sprang up in Sv after Thailand kinda tightened its visa enforcements gives first time visitors the impression that Sihanoukville can be very sleazy -- and parts of it can be.

    How visible it is, is a completely different question -- you're EXTREMELY unlikely to see a Khmer or western man canoodling with a minor at the local internet cafe -- or bar for that matter -- but it does happen.

    As an aside, our previous to last researcher (a western woman) who covered Sihanoukville had a very difficult time of it, but, by the end of it, she quite enjoyed herself, hanging out on Ko Russei and Serendipity -- the weather was good and she met some travellers she really got on with. When we lived in Phnom Penh we used to go down there for weekends regularly -- as I say above, "if you've the time, give it a whirl!"

    #15 Posted: 25/8/2009 - 15:02

  • sayadian

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    cdnexplorer writes
    'The majority of older men seen with younger asian women are directly contributing to the sex trade industry'
    With respect, this is the type of prudish behaviour I was indicating.
    The minute you see an older man with a younger woman you assume prostitution! You can't really be sure in Cambodia.I think it is very different to Thailand where, for example, if you see a guy in his 50s with a young woman it's probably a financial arrangement.In Cambodia it is part of the culture.Younger women go out with and marry older men.Fact.I know a Khmer woman who many years ago when she was 16 was wooed by a Taiwanese in his 50s.She freely married him and is adamant there was no pressure from her family.In a society which is conservative and without any social security system to fall back on security is extremely important in a marriage and older men are seen as likely to be more stable and supportive in a marriage.She is now a widow but she has nothing but good words to say about her husband.On the other hand I am in no way condoning relationships with underage girls.(that I believe is under 18 in Cambodia),just pointing out that women do look a lot younger in this part of the world than they really are.Therefore don't jump to conclusions.
    Let me ask you a question.
    If you see a young westerner with a local girl do you still assume she is a prostitute? Because the young guys go with prostitutes too.On the other hand she could be his girlfriend,wife, etc...
    As far as seedy bars in Snooky.All I can say is there are plenty of bars without 'hostesses' so it's hardly turned into Pattaya.
    Generally, I believe the 'phaedophile scene' in SE Asia was in the past far worse than anything in Europe.That is many Asian men found it acceptable. Thankfully attitudes are changing.
    Personally ,I hate the whole sex scene in SE Asia but I don't know enough about the people I see on the streets to make these judgement calls so unless I saw something blatantly wrong I reserve judgement

    #16 Posted: 25/8/2009 - 15:55

  • sayadian

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    Somtam wrote
    'As an aside, our previous to last researcher (a western woman) who covered Sihanoukville had a very difficult time of it...'
    Not quite sure what you mean? Plenty of western women go to SV without difficulty.You imply (probably unintentionally) that the place is somehow bad for women.I don't think it's as bad or seedy as Koh Samui, where there have been some nasty attacks on lone women.I am not aware of anything like this is SV.Although there have been some robberies I am not aware of any attacks on women.
    That aside, I would agree with you that SV has gone downhill over the last 2 years with the influx of the Pattaya crowd but this isn't evident on the beaches, you really have to go searching for hostess bars in SV.They are not in your face like Pattaya or Koh Samui.The taxigirls hanging around the beach bars are pretty well behaved compared with their Thai cousins and if a family walked into a beach bar they would probably be unaware that the nice Khmer girl playing with their children was a working girl.

    #17 Posted: 25/8/2009 - 16:24

  • cdnexplorer

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    "The rest of Cambodia we also saw the 'western guy with younger girl' thing but Sihanoukville was the only place we saw such a vast age difference and the girls looked way too young by anyones standards."

    Your example is a Khmer woman marrying a Taiwanese man. Let's be honest with ourselves and everyone else on the forum - we all knew that the discussion dealt with older Western men and younger asian women. That's what my point was directed at.

    "With respect, this is the type of prudish behaviour I was indicating."

    I'd rather be prudish than ignorant. I'm not making premature judgements about individuals, but anybody with a clue knows it's a very serious problem - and more often than not, that old white guy with a really young cambodian girl is one of those pedos. If you really feel the need to defend that point....then i won't bother.

    #18 Posted: 25/8/2009 - 16:24

  • sayadian

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    cdnexplorer, you say
    'and more often than not, that old white guy with a really young cambodian girl is one of those pedos'
    There are a number of points here.
    Firstly, I am sure we can agree that anyone going to Asia to look for underage girls in beneath contempt.
    Secondly,Although these reprehensible people do come I think the problem is exagerated, that's not the same as saying it should be tolerated.
    Thirdly, the authorities in this part of the world now take this problem very seriously because of western pressure (I believe)In the past the idea of buying young girls was unfortunately acceptable in many Asian cultures.Thailand springs to mind as a notorious example.
    Fourthly, what you say above isn't always true in Cambodia.Many men have Khmer families. How do you know the girl he is with isn't his daughter, don't jump to conclusions.
    and what I said.'older man with a woman a lot younger'isn't the same as saying what you did.I said a 'woman much younger', I didn't say.'really young girl.If you have proof this is happenning go to the police. I assure you they will take action.That is as long as he is a Westerner not a rich Khmer you've fingered.
    As far as the thread is concerned. It clearly states the question. Is it worth visiting SV.Implying it's more seedy than anywhere else.I just disagree.
    You say
    'Your example is a Khmer woman marrying a Taiwanese man. Let's be honest with ourselves and everyone else on the forum - we all knew that the discussion dealt with older Western men and younger asian women.'
    Did it? does that mean you only scrutinise the behaviour of western men and Asian men's behaviour is perfectly acceptable? The Taiwanese was just one example.many men from many countries have these relationships and get married and have children...
    You may not like it but it happens.

    #19 Posted: 25/8/2009 - 17:39

  • Voyagner

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    I've been to Sn a couple of times now. Never saw any significant age differences.

    The sex trade 'problem' so often takes aim at western men and is always cliched it is however locals and other asians who make up the bulk of the really dark stuff that goes on, including pedophilia.
    There is nothing wrong with paying for sex if that is your thing, it is the human trafficking and underage stuff that is wrong. The "hostess" bars you see in cambodia are mostly clean, particularly if they are owned by westerners, the girls are free to decline going with anyone they don't want to.

    #20 Posted: 26/8/2009 - 19:59

  • MADMAC

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    I am with Sayadian all the way on this. To wit:

    1. The vast majority of southeast asian men use prostitutes (numbers are around 90% in Thailand). If you bother to pay attention when getting off the beaten path, you can't help but notice it (most people don't pay attention).
    2. My wife is 13 years younger than I am and she is quite attractive in the opinion of most people. Invariably when going somewhere together in Bangkok, we get dirty looks (mostly from western women) as it's assume I am "exploiting" her. My wife can't stand it.
    3. Our daughter is 4. I dread the day when someone assumes I am a pedophile, but this has already happened to a friend of mine, so I expect it will happen to me too.

    If prostitution is a problem for you, either put on a set of blinders or don't come, because it is a significant part of the social scene here and it is unavoidable. Of course, if you are too obtuse to notice it among the indigenous persons, then no worries, just avoid places where westerners go.

    #21 Posted: 26/10/2010 - 17:49

  • exacto

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    Personally, I blame Somtam for steering the thread towards this topic!

    When I was single and living in Bangkok in the late 90's, I dated local women and even had a few longer-term relationships. Most folks, both Thais and westerners, assumed that the women I dated came from local bars. It was annoying, but I figured you can't fix stupid so I let it be their problem and not mine.

    It is kind of a bummer even now when I travel through southeast Asia on my own, since due to my age and being by myself people often make certain assumptions about why I'm there.

    I'm not necessarily a big fan of the sex for hire scene either, but as MADMAC says, it is a huge part of the local culture. As with other parts of the world, I imagine that when the local economies develop enough and alternative opportunities are plentiful enough, then the working girls can make other choices. But I'm not sure even then that you won't see some of this behavior in Thailand due to the deep roots it has in local culture.

    #22 Posted: 26/10/2010 - 23:05

  • MADMAC

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    Exacto
    And of course the rest of the countries in the region. I used to think economics was the only reason, but it's not. Of course it's a factor, since we are talking about money here. But my sister in law was doing it when I met my wife, and I offered to set her up in business in the village so she could go back home and live a normal lifestyle. Nope. Not interested, for a whole host of reasons. She worked in the industry for ten years before finally giving it up and moving back home. She and I are on very good terms, and we have talked about it a few times. She said it was exciting and she was hooked on the lifestyle (obviously not her words - but to that effect). And even as these countries economies improve, that will happen unevenly and there will always be a desire to have yet more. I don't see it changing anytime soon.

    #23 Posted: 27/10/2010 - 00:16

  • casper_kh

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    I have lived in Thailand for 3 years, and have now been in Cambodia ( Sihanoukville ) for a little over 3 years. I can honestly say that I have never lived in a more 'friendly' place.

    The beaches, whilst not exactly 'world class' are plentiful and enjoyable. Ochheuteal is by far the busiest, and yes with this comes hawkers same as anywhere. They aren't as insistent as other places though and easily ignored if you so wish.

    The main reason for visiting Sihanoukville is for the relaxed though abundant nightlife and dining, plenty of great restaurants around Ochheuteal area, many comfortable, well priced hotels / guesthouses and more than enough bars selling 50c beers and $1.50 spirits to keep the party running.

    Yes, horror of horror's! you will occasionally see a middle aged man holding hands with a 20 year old girl. Shock! Call the police / media!

    Get over yourselves, it's not illegal and it's certainly not 'prostitution' in the way that it's applied to western society. Spend some time here, forget your biased western opinions and listen to the people who live here ........ open yourself up to the real world and get some life experience from your travels rather than judging foreign cultures by your own PC standards.

    #24 Posted: 31/12/2010 - 15:55

  • tom48

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    Focusing on prostitution blinds people to so many other aspects of these countries. It exists everywhere, in every country in the world. In some parts of Asia, it is just more out in the open. Other places it is underground. My advice to women traveling in Asia is to go there with an open mind. Maybe even go into a bar and buy a drink for one of the bar girls, talk to her, get her story, you might be surprised.

    #25 Posted: 29/4/2011 - 09:53

  • sayadian

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    'Maybe even go into a bar and buy a drink for one of the bar girls, talk to her, get her story, you might be surprised.'
    Tom
    After she's said;
    'What's your name?..You very handsome man...you buy me drink.'
    the conversation kind of dries up.That's one reason I don't frequent hostess bars in Cambodia.Maybe it's different in Thailand.

    #26 Posted: 29/4/2011 - 13:32

  • robschneider

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    Getting back on topic:

    I like Sihanoukville more all the time. I've been here for over 5 years now. The Serendipity end is much nicer now and I recommend it as a base. Ochheuteal is my least favourite beach, though. I prefer going over to Otres, Independence or Independence Beach. If you like something upmarket, try Airport Beach. The "beaches being fenced in" rumour applies to a big stretch of Independence Beach, which has been fenced in. There is still an entrance, though, and they are in the process of building grass roofed cafes along the beach. It has been fenced because there is a huge resort slated to be built there.

    The reason why I like Sihanoukville is because it isn't a "cookie cutter" tourist town. It's a place that is just finding itself. It only became a province of Cambodia a couple of years ago and the land title issues have only recently been resolved. That's why development is proceeding so rapidly now.

    I read a lot of stuff about the crime, prostitution, corruption, etc. That hasn't been an issue for me, but I don't stay out late, get in fights or do drugs. In any culture, it's always best to be polite with the locals and avoid places and situations that could get you into trouble. The only times I have felt threatened were twice when stoned/drunk barang (foreigners) threatened me - once for politely asking a guy to move his motorcycle, which was blocking the entrance to an internet cafe. If you're interested, I wrote about some of my experiences in my blog, The Sihanoukville Journal.

    #27 Posted: 1/5/2011 - 13:45

  • sayadian

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    'I read a lot of stuff about the crime, prostitution, corruption, etc. That hasn't been an issue for me, but I don't stay out late, get in fights or do drugs.'

    but most visitors want to stay out late.

    I used to love Sihanoukville but I wouldn't go near it anymore.The Serendipidy end was great.I remember Same-Same bungalows, then it was taken over by barang who put the prices up and don't offer the same laid back attitude.My general rule of thumb is stay out of the foreign owned places and you'll enjoy yourself better and stay out of bars that have skanky meth-head girls hanging out and stay away from dark areas near the nightlife at night.You'd be better off going to the Islands for the beaches.

    #28 Posted: 1/5/2011 - 13:58

  • MADMAC

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    I just re-read this thread when I noticed this line:

    "I think you're missing the point of concern. The majority of older men seen with younger asian women are directly contributing to the sex trade industry, which is a PROBLEM that should not even exist."

    BWAHAHAHAHAHA - what planet are you from? It certainly isn't earth. I have lived in 7 different countries and been to many more. Even in Yemen, of all places, there is prostitution. Saying the sex trade shouldn't exist is like saying the food industry shouldn't exist. It's utterly laughable. Some women are always going to be willing to trade nookie for something, especially money. And some men will always be willing to buy it. Always was that way, always will be that way.

    #29 Posted: 1/5/2011 - 14:02

  • robschneider

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    Wow! You're quick to reply, sayadian. Obviously, my reply was for the benefit of those who don't want to party, get stoned and pick up "skanky meth-head girls." I went to a writing workshop on Easter Sunday. There was a couple there who were visiting Sihanoukville with their 5 children. They were all loving it. I don't want to get into a childish argument, so won't post another counter-argument to your next reply, which I am sure is coming.

    #30 Posted: 1/5/2011 - 14:05

  • sayadian

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    Ok Rob, take it easy. I'm just warning people about certain aspects of Sihanoukville,you know those places exist; and forewarned and all that.
    The majority on here are young people who WILL want to party.
    Take the example of the overloaded party boat that went down the other week there.
    Clearly, it seems to me that a lot of people who travel have an assumption they will get Western standards of health, safety and policing.Cambodia is great but you need to be aware that you are in a less controlled environment.

    #31 Posted: 1/5/2011 - 14:16

  • sayadian

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    Madmac
    Most of them in Sihanoukville have got a drug habit to support.
    But that's the way in goes in alot of place I suppose.Junkie prostitutes are the most dangerous beasts on Earth. ;-)

    #32 Posted: 1/5/2011 - 14:20

  • casper_kh

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    Actually, if you'd spent more than a few days (i'm guessing here, but confident), you'd know that MOST of the girls DO NOT have a drug habit to support.

    In fact, many of the 'worst places' in town have been closed and cleaned out, such as 'the chicken farm' and 'blue mountain' area .... not a bad thing.

    Feel free to rage on about junkie prostitutes and other things you know nothing about though.

    #33 Posted: 1/5/2011 - 19:40

  • sayadian

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    Wow, what a storm I've caused.
    I presume you mean the chicken farm down by the port. Didn't realise it had gone. Blue mountain gone too.I can hardly believe that as it was one of the most dicreet places in S'ville.
    You'll be telling me next that all the girls in Freedom bar are regularly drug-tested.The thought that all those Vietnamese girls are not smoking ice is hilarious.When did they reform? I was talking about the freelancers who hang around there and Victory hill.It's a cesspit of thieving,skanky tarts and if they've cleaned it up I'll drink to that.
    I can believe that some effort is being made because last time I was down from Phnom Penh I WAS told the new police chief was getting serious.

    I still think there is a serious security issue to be addressed in Snooky, not least adherence to Maritime Safety, that of course was another Barang thinking he could make a quick buck and finding the reality was different.

    It's a good thing if families come to the town but I would say that Thai beach resorts are far safer.

    Koh Kong has now started to get more visitors and the beaches are actually nicer than Snooky though they haven't got the facilities.But it is now possible to hire a motorbike and take it down to the beach there. KK doesn't have any of the the security issues that S'ville has and is probably one of the safest, friendliest places in Cambodia. Quite a few new guesthouses have been buit in the last year or two and Paddy's bar (he's actually Khmer not Irish) has some of the best Khmer cooking in the country.

    Casper I'm not going to start a 'who knows Cambodia better' contest with you.

    I know you guys are trying to make a living down there and you don't want me to give bad publicity but I'm only telling it as I see it. It's a fact that a lot of the 'old crowd' have moved to PP because of these issues.

    #34 Posted: 1/5/2011 - 20:14

  • casper_kh

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    Posts: 6

    Well you're right about many people leaving, I know many people who've gone home, gone to another country or gone to PP, but you're vision of Snooky is wrong.

    There are practically no Viet's here in town, with no blue mountain or chicken farm, where would they be? There are no, and never has been any freelancers up on Victory Hill, as much as I hate the place, it's simply not true. Overpriced beer and bad attitudes a plenty, but no Viet's and the only drugs are used by the expats and tourists.

    Freedom Bar, yes still the hangout of choice for a few Taxi Girls that are left, but more commonly now, they prefer to spend time at Utopia, JJ's or Jam Bar. Strangely enough, mixing with the younger tourists rather than the 'old men'.

    Yes, the town is changing, infact I myself am considering moving to PP, but certainly not for any reason to do with 'safety', prostitution or 'bad areas'. The town is changing and if anything, it's becoming too 'clean'. I preferred the 'wild west' image it used to have.

    As for the 'friendliness' of Koh Kong? EVERYTHING is overpriced and charged in Thai Baht, that's not very friendly for a town in Cambodia. The border guards there give the worst impression of the Country to every visitor that passes through, how many times of you heard of the Visa Scam?

    Crime is on the increase in Thailand, as it is everywhere, I lived there for 3 years and whilst personally I never really felt 'unsafe', I feel much safer in Sihanoukville .... and yes, i've had my fair share of 'wandering' around the seedy areas, for what they were.

    Decent hotels are shooting up all over Sihanoukville, the 'quality' of visitor is changing, the beaches are being tidied up, some would call this improvement and whilst it's not what I wanted to see (I have no investment here in town), I would have to say the place is looking better.

    I'm not 'flying the flag' for Sihanoukville, but I wont ignore anyone's unqualified or out of date views to pull it down either.

    #35 Posted: 1/5/2011 - 21:25

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    'As for the 'friendliness' of Koh Kong? EVERYTHING is overpriced and charged in Thai Baht'
    You haven't been there in awhile Casper, those days are gone.With the 'new' road everything is dollars and Real as per elsewhere.I'd say KK has plenty of nice guesthouses now but could do with a few more decently priced eateries.I'd say Paddy is the only one in town to make an effort.Yes, those border immigration people are a disgrace but tourists can get around that by getting an e-visa.
    Maybe S'ville is trying so I'll give it another go soon.
    BTW
    I probably know you.I'm from the time when Chris had The Asylum,Chenda 'The Banshee' and Jonty was still digging latrines for the jungle camp. I see chris now and again he's morphed into a teacher.(Sorry admin for the personal stuff, won't make a habit I promise but couldn't find a way to P.M.)

    #36 Posted: 1/5/2011 - 21:43

  • casper_kh

    Joined Travelfish
    31st December, 2010
    Posts: 6

    Yes, know Chris, but not too well.

    Looks like everywhere is changing then, I hear even PP is poised to move all the Hostess bars bar from the Riverside, gone will be 104st, 136st, etc.

    Ahh progress ...

    #37 Posted: 1/5/2011 - 21:51

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6409
    Total reviews: 10

    Interesting that this place causes such an emotional response.

    #38 Posted: 4/5/2011 - 17:51

  • robschneider

    Joined Travelfish
    16th April, 2011
    Location Australia
    Posts: 35

    Any place this controversial must be worth a visit! And no, I don't have a business here, as implied above. I just like it. I really don't know why I encourage backpackers to come. I prefer it in the rainy season, when it's quieter.

    #39 Posted: 4/5/2011 - 18:45

  • casper_kh

    Joined Travelfish
    31st December, 2010
    Posts: 6

    Love it or Hate it, Sihanoukville is a "see it for yourself" kind of place.

    My only advice is, don't compare it to anywhere else you've been and leave your 'western, media generated opinions' at home.

    Do that and you'll have a great time amongst warm and friendly people.

    #40 Posted: 4/5/2011 - 18:54

  • 9preciousGe-
    ms

    Joined Travelfish
    13th January, 2011
    Posts: 82

    wow - very interesting read

    #41 Posted: 5/5/2011 - 18:03

  • eastwest

    Joined Travelfish
    17th December, 2009
    Posts: 772

    Indeed. I actually find it a disppointing town in both ways.

    It's not the sodom & gomorra that people say it is. Just a strip and a few bars with taxi girls.
    Neither is it the family place people pretend it to be.

    In the end it's just a boring ugly town (not the surroundings which are beautiful) with a few hotspots for people seeking certain things for sex, fun, gambling, family or otherwise.

    #42 Posted: 5/5/2011 - 18:33

  • Thomas922

    Joined Travelfish
    1st July, 2007
    Location Global Village
    Posts: 346

    I found S'ville a nice place to relax a bit before moving on. Been a few years since my last visit but I agree the rainy season is a good time to get away from everyone. I saw no more "older guy" younger girl stuff than I did anywhere else. A certain poster attacked Sayadian unfairly. He was clearly not supporting underage sex. None of us are. But people jump to sooo many conclusions in SEAsia that they ignore at home. I fondly remember getting girls to go to markets to buy stuff. They get better prices and translate for you and all you gotta do is tip em and buy some extra goodies for mamma. Not kids but 20 plus types. They are surprised when you only want them to guide you not keep em for you know what. Of course every westerner looks at you like you are or have been a freak. Whatever.
    I don't want a grown man on back of my moto all day.
    In Tokyo this is an EVERYDAY every hour occurrence. High school girls selling it to other Asian men to be able to buy goodies (brand name stuff). And this is a rich country. I am stateside at the moment and just got an email about a local site where the college girls around here are offering sex with older guys. Why? More benefits. They are gonna do it anyway, I guess they want something sometimes.
    So people please stop acting like minding your business means supporting a crime. Every single one of us has sisters, nieces, etc. Insinuating that a fellow poster is supporting women being pushed into the "industry" is as low as it goes. That is uncalled for. Everyone does not have to be an activist to be against something.

    #43 Posted: 8/5/2011 - 11:39

  • robschneider

    Joined Travelfish
    16th April, 2011
    Location Australia
    Posts: 35

    I hope that "certain poster" wasn't me. I had some issues with Sayadian, but never thought he was indicating he supported underage sex. Anyway, Thomas992, that was a great post. I can't think of a thing to add except to suggest that anyone who stumbles across this should go to your post and read it carefully.

    #44 Posted: 8/5/2011 - 12:36

  • Thomas922

    Joined Travelfish
    1st July, 2007
    Location Global Village
    Posts: 346

    Nah wasn't u. just didn't want to attack anyone or make them defensive unless they want to come out with it. For people thinking this is a SEasia thing they need to open their eyes.

    #45 Posted: 8/5/2011 - 13:14

  • camillasw

    Joined Travelfish
    28th April, 2011
    Posts: 4

    i would say sihanoukville is definitely worth it. we spent a week there out of a seven week trip even though it was raining torrentially every day..! (of course, sod's law, the day we decided to leave it was sunny!) we stayed in monkey republic which i would definitely recommend. it is a nice place to relax in between other sightseeing places. definitely go there!

    #46 Posted: 18/5/2011 - 21:58

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Well. I've finally had time to visit for the last few days.On the plus side the bars look good on the beach but within half hour we had one skank with eyes like saucers ask if we were interested she sleeps on the beach apparently.Went into The Full Moon'; bar on the beach and within 10 minutes was offerered heroin and methamphetamine and this was by the staff!Spoke to a friend of mine who has been a motodop down there for years said nothing had changed as far as danger was concerned still a good place to get robbed.Lost count of the number of taxi girls hanging around the beach looking for custom as there were very few visitors.IMO I'm happier and safer in Phnom Penh.If someone wants the beach best go to an Island.

    #47 Posted: 11/6/2011 - 11:19

  • robschneider

    Joined Travelfish
    16th April, 2011
    Location Australia
    Posts: 35

    I'm beginning to believe in parallel universes. I haven't been asked if I want to buy drugs or been hustled by taxi girls in years. I go to the beach. I relax. I come home. That's not to say there's not a drug problem in SV. There was in America, too, last time I looked, and in Europe, and in Australia. Just wasn't part of my reality. If it's part of yours, maybe you should start thinking about some lifestyle changes.
    http://www.sihanoukville-cambodiajournal.com/2011/06/10/big-police-raids-in-sihanoukville/

    #48 Posted: 11/6/2011 - 13:32

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6409
    Total reviews: 10

    Rob
    What bars were you in? It would appear to be different bars from where Sayadian was.

    #49 Posted: 11/6/2011 - 14:13

  • robschneider

    Joined Travelfish
    16th April, 2011
    Location Australia
    Posts: 35

    That's the crux of the issue, isn't it? It's not the city you're in, it's where you hang out that makes the difference. I find backpackers annoying, so I avoid places where they hang out. Maybe that's my secret.

    #50 Posted: 11/6/2011 - 14:25

  • eastwest

    Joined Travelfish
    17th December, 2009
    Posts: 772

    I have to support Rob on this.

    I've been to numerous bars in SHV over the years and some of them were backpacker hangouts (although not my favorit sort of venue) like Utopia, Dolphin and numerous other beach shacks of which I don't know the name and I've seen plenty of taxi girls but never was offered drugs by either staff or taxi girls.

    Places like the Happy Hippie and so on I've never visited and obviously things would be offered there. Perhaps the Full Moon fits that category. I wouldn't be surprised given the name.

    #51 Posted: 11/6/2011 - 14:34

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6409
    Total reviews: 10

    OK, I too don't hang out where backpackers hang out - when I am in Bangkok (we don't have hardly any backpackers here). But I guess the test would be are you hanging out in bars where there's nothing going on? Or where it's just local scene?

    I remember reading a book called "Phra Farang" about an English guy who became a monk. He moved to a village temple in a province and said he didn't see any prostitution and so forth - the dude was a monk. He wasn't going to be in places where that was happening and he probably was in the Wat all night. Of course he didn't see that. But I guarantee it was there.

    #52 Posted: 11/6/2011 - 15:09

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Rob
    I've been writing on here a long time and your the first guy who has made me angry.You have a damned cheek making accusations like that.The bar we went in was just the first we checked out.Try to get it through your head.We were there for 5 minutes before we were offered the drugs, later some kids about 13 years of age came up to my wife and I on the beach trying to sell meth-amphet.As far as taxi-girls they were everywhere and lots of skanks.The motodop I know has lived there and I've known him for the best part of 7 years, he keeps on repeating to me the same message-Sihanoukville is a hole.We loooked at a let just down from Sunday guesthouse he warned me that the place was infested with meth smokers who would not hesitate to rob us and we'd be crazy to take the place.

    #53 Posted: 13/6/2011 - 15:14

  • robschneider

    Joined Travelfish
    16th April, 2011
    Location Australia
    Posts: 35

    I guess I'm the first one to make you angry because I'm the first one to counter your " Sihanoukville is a hole" argument. If you said, "In my experience, Sihanoukville is a hole," I wouldn't have been so rude. In my experience, Sihanoukville is not a hole. It's been my home for 5 years and I feel inclined to defend it.

    In my experience, Phnom Penh is a hole. I've been pickpocketed there 3 times and motodops always try to sell me drugs and take me to prostitutes. I don't feel inclined to go on a rampage about it, though. I'm sure there are a lot of pluses to the city, if you live there and know your way around. I don't, so I'm not about to try and come across as an authority on the place.

    Oh, enough said. I've got to get back to work.

    #54 Posted: 14/6/2011 - 10:34

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6409
    Total reviews: 10

    Guy who has just visited briefly, guy who has resided there a while - got to go with the guy who has resided there a while.

    #55 Posted: 14/6/2011 - 13:13

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    ''That's the crux of the issue, isn't it? It's not the city you're in, it's where you hang out that makes the difference. I find backpackers annoying, so I avoid places where they hang out. Maybe that's my secret.''
    We were on the beach not hanging out anywhere.The Full Moon was the first bar we visited within 5 minutes we were given a price list of drugs.Later on sitting in one of the seats near the water a couple of young kids came up selling meth.The motodop I know has lived there for years so does he qualify as a resident? Plus he's Khmer.I don't like being called a liar or somebody implying I was looking for drugs.

    #56 Posted: 16/6/2011 - 10:32

  • Thomas922

    Joined Travelfish
    1st July, 2007
    Location Global Village
    Posts: 346

    OMG! I didn't even realize this thread started in 2009!!

    OK gentlemen..we have established that Snookyville is both laid back and relaxing..(which I found) and also a sex and drug haven...which I saw some of too. Circumstances will lead you either way and you may find what you are not looking for OR you WILL find what you are looking for. But isn't that everywhere in SEAsia? Especially Cambodia? Have white face..you will find locals trying to make money on drugs and rightfully so because there is someone in EVERY group of travelers who is at least tempted to do em if they aren't regular users.

    #57 Posted: 16/6/2011 - 11:16

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    http://www.khmer440.com/chat_forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=20863

    Have a look at this report on Sihanoukville from the website Khmer440.
    I have to agree.
    Sihanoukville gets sleazier, dirtier and more dangerous every year. The only thing going for it is the cheap beer and wonderful seafood on the beach.
    it's just a haven for drug peddlars and thieving taxi-girls.
    I would advise anyone to head for Vietnam, much better beaches and no pushy, rude barang bar owners.


    BTW I was there last week with the girlfriend for the food and beer nothing on earth would get me in that filthy water.
    It looks very empty despite high season just lots of underworked tuk-tuks and motos. Are there no other jobs, apart from, of course, waiting at table 15 hours a day for a pittance, begging and thieving?

    #58 Posted: 7/12/2011 - 05:25

  • robschneider

    Joined Travelfish
    16th April, 2011
    Location Australia
    Posts: 35

    I don't have time to write a complete rebuttal to what Sayadian says, but please check out my blog, Sihanoukville Christmas 2011. In my opinion, it all boils down to where you hang out and at what times. I do get offered drugs by motodops when I'm in the Serendipity area, but not when I'm downtown, just as I was offered drugs and girls when I was on the riverfront in PP last week. I don't like it, but where there's a market for something, you will find someone wanting to sell it. As for jobs for Cambodians, just go downtown or to construction sites and you'll see there are plenty.

    #59 Posted: 7/12/2011 - 19:25

  • KatMachine

    Joined Travelfish
    8th February, 2011
    Posts: 26

    How bout going to the Philippines? I went to Sihanoukville in Otres Beach. For me, its quite lovely.


    Edit: snip - please no blog drops like this

    #60 Posted: 16/1/2012 - 18:09

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Most of the aid money being thrown at Cambodia is going on these construction projects Rob mentions.It provides kick backs for the 'elite'. Unfortunately it also encourages land clearance with people being thrown onto the street.
    I'd like to know (genuine question) who is going to occupy all these apartment/housing projects going up in Sihanoukville ? Is the policy aimed at the Asian market because I don't think Sihanoukville can compete with Thailand for your average family holiday.I was there last weekend on my own bike so did a tour around.I was amazed at the number of homes/hotels going up. Sure it provides work (in the short term) but not everyone is a builder.The locals I know down there say they are having a lean time.After all there is a world recession.The only ones coming in numbers are the Russians.
    I have a love/hate relationship with Sihanoukville but would recommend anyone to visit and come to their own conclusions if only for the fresh tuna and 50 cent beer on the beach.You can't get value like that in Phnom Penh.

    #61 Posted: 16/1/2012 - 21:59

  • robschneider

    Joined Travelfish
    16th April, 2011
    Location Australia
    Posts: 35

    The apartment building boom began after it became legal for foreigners to own property that's not on the ground floor, but they are not limited to foreigners. Middle class Cambodians are buying them as well. Obviously the builders are speculating and many have put their projects on hold or slowed down completion dates. There is, after all, a GLOBAL housing slump.

    What Western expats don't get is that only a small portion of Sihanoukville's planned growth is reliant on Western tourism. The port capabilities are expanding, the Special Economic Zone is attracting Chinese companies and Korean enterprises own a great deal of land here as well. That's just to name a couple of things. Also, the airport is now operational and other transportation links are in the works as well.

    On my block at least, there are enough jobs around that locals are beginning to pick and choose. One 18 year old I know has gone from being a security guard to a construction worker and now got a job working in the new Holiday Inn Casino. A waitress I know just got offered a job downtown at $50 a month more than she was offered at a barang restaurant in the Serendipity area and no, going out with customers is not part of the deal.

    Motodops tend to be fairly lazy and those who hang out in touristy areas see only the worst side of Sihanoukville, namely the drug/sex/party tourists and Cambodians who cater to them. Yes, it's a big problem, but the main thrust of efforts here, corrupt or not (show me a country that's not corrupt!), is to improve Sihanoukville's image and make it a main centre for commerce as well as tourism. Whether it succeeds or not will depend largely on the world economy. Cambodia's is actually in relatively good shape.

    You can choose to focus on the negative or on the positive. I choose the latter and there's a lot of evidence to back me up. Check out the article linked to on this post and others linked to from there for a better idea: Is Cambodia Southeast Asia's Best Kept Secret?

    #62 Posted: 16/1/2012 - 22:56

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Thanks for the constructive answer Rob.As you say though the Asian market is going to be a big player down there.Maybe you're right about motodops because surprise, surprise the people I was talking to and have known a long time are in this trade and seem to be suffering economically.
    The point of touristy areas though.. that by definition is where the tourists are going to hang out.so not much chance of avoiding the seedy side.
    I agree from your description there are a lot of positives for the town but with a world depression I fear the whole thing may come to nothing.I hope things improve.The people deserve a better life.Probably be down there again in a couple of weeks for a break.I was surprised to see how the Russians are coming in droves, only because, for them, Vietnam is a better option as they need no visa.
    What's going to happen to Victory Hill? It's become a bit of an anachronism now. Still about the seediest part.I did enjoy the cheap and good food up there though.We went in the daytime but even then it seemed over-populated with taxigirls.But that's life.

    What do you think of that Marina? The main building looks like it was designed by Joe Stalin. Architecture doesn't seem to be the strongest suite of the Cambodians.Ugly is the only word I could use to describe it.
    All the best.

    #63 Posted: 17/1/2012 - 03:38

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Went to Sianoukville for a few days, just returned last night to Phnom Penh.
    Nothing had changed.
    Within half an hour I heard a disturbance whilst sitting on Ocheatel beach.
    A Chinese family had just discovered their bag with everything in it: passports, money, tickets had been stolen whilst they were having dinner.
    The restaurant owner told a very distraught Chinese family to see the Tourist Police -5 minutes later they returned.
    'What happened?' My wife asked as she speaks fluent Mandarin.
    'Nothing.' said an incredulous Chinese man.
    'They did nothing.Not even offer to look for the criminals.'
    You could see he could hardly believe such lazy, ineptitude.
    I didn't want to spoil his day further by explaining the lazy, corrupt Cambodian police would take a further $50 next day so he could have a police report to take to his Embassy.
    What a wonderful impression for a Chinese family to take back to China.Not so much the thiefing, which is rampant on the beach, but the fact that the Cambodians couldn't care less...and they want a tourist industry!!!
    So, a warning to all backpackers.Keep your possessions under wraps and don't expect anything from a police force that is only there to screw money out of you.

    #64 Posted: 22/1/2012 - 01:40

  • jringsak

    Joined Travelfish
    7th December, 2011
    Posts: 9

    This thread makes it clear that a visitor's experience in Sihanoukville can be highly variable. In high season the scams, crime, and general seediness definitely are at a peak. It can be a much more relaxing place in low season.

    In regards to the crime/theft mentioned above, Sihanoukville definitely has more than anywhere else in Cambodia, including Phnom Penh. Most of the other tourist destinations (Siem Reap, Koh Kong, Kampot, Kep, and up north in the -Kiri provinces, from what I have heard) are much safer and have a considerably less seedy vibe. There's the occasional bag-snatching, but if you're smart about your travels and reasonably cautious, they are no more dangerous than most large cities in the West.

    Timing can make a big difference for a visit to Sihanoukville. I was most recently there over New Year, which is a big drawn for Cambodians- there were still plenty of western tourists, but the Cambodian crowds far outnumbered them, and the seediness level seemed to go down a notch.

    There are also some very nice areas around Sihounville, particularly Ream National Park and some of the islands. They don't have a lot of the pitfalls of Sihanoukville city itself.

    #65 Posted: 22/1/2012 - 22:12

  • robschneider

    Joined Travelfish
    16th April, 2011
    Location Australia
    Posts: 35

    jringsak wrote: " I was most recently there over New Year, which is a big drawn for Cambodians- there were still plenty of western tourists, but the Cambodian crowds far outnumbered them, and the seediness level seemed to go down a notch."

    Actually, I think the seediness level is dropping every year. Honestly, I've seen more and more couples (both young and old) and families this year than ever before. I know backpackers think they're awesomely cool, but many of them really creep a lot of Cambodians out. My wife never used to like to go to the Serendipity restaurant strip because of them, but now she likes it and we often meet nice people to chat with (including backpackers). An exception was a couple of weeks ago when we went for falafels and a dreadlocked/pierced/tattooed young man was sitting with his girlfriend who also had dreads. My wife couldn't eat, she was so frightened.

    Also, sex tourism doesn't seem to be growing here as much as it used to be. If the Hill is anything to go on, tourist numbers there seem to remain stagnant, while they're booming on the other side of town. Maybe there's a degree of naive optimism in that assessment, but I'll stick with it.

    I have to concede that dealing with the police can be less than satisfactory. I'm lucky I guess to have a family who knows which police to go to when you have a problem, but down at Ochheuteal it must be different.

    #66 Posted: 22/1/2012 - 23:01

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Rob
    You say your lucky because you have the right connections but your average tourist probably and quite rightly feel the police could have done something
    In my experience in other countries the police usually know the perpetrators and only have to 'round up the usual suspects'.
    What clearly upset this young Chinese family with children was the complete lack of police action.What are these Tourist Police supposed to be doing other than protecting the tourists from these people?!
    .We have a shrewd idea who are the perpetrators from talking to the owner of the restaurant.They are a gang of ladyboys who pretend to sell bracelets in order to get close to people.If the locals know these people-why don't the police?
    I felt very sorry for this family, I hope everything works out for them.

    #67 Posted: 23/1/2012 - 05:27

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6409
    Total reviews: 10

    I wonder if it would be illegal to take a Gucci hand bag, put a Krait in it, zip it closed, and then put the bag down next to you while you have dinner? If nobody steals it, fine, take it home and let the snake go in the woods. If somebody steals it - oh well... They wouldn't be doing that again. Maybe a Krait is too extreme. Maybe just your standard mole viper whose bite doesn't tend to be lethal - just hurts like hell.

    #68 Posted: 23/1/2012 - 10:33

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Whilst I was in Saudi Arabia you'd see stacks of tv's boxed up and left behind the retailers small wall and jewellers with masses of gold with some little kid looking after the shop: but there was very little crime.Maybe that's because the punishment for stealing was chopping off the right-hand.
    Seriously though a little pro-active policing would go a long way as the thieves on the beach are well known.Back home the police send the worst offenders Xmas cards to remind them they haven't been forgotten.

    #69 Posted: 23/1/2012 - 23:13

  • neosho

    Joined Travelfish
    13th August, 2008
    Posts: 386

    In the 1930's after Frank Phillips (Phillips Petroleoum) became rich he used to have a yearly party at his ranch in NW Oklahoma. All the notorius outlaws of the day and the sheriffs , FBI men looking for them met for a party. Guns were checked at the entrance. Everyone got along great and the agreement was the outlaws were given a 24 hour head start. It happened for several years. I guess my point is that as asia developes, hopefully their police forces will evolve also. We still have a lot of crooked cops in the US.

    #70 Posted: 24/1/2012 - 03:04

  • robschneider

    Joined Travelfish
    16th April, 2011
    Location Australia
    Posts: 35

    I wrote a post this morning, Some Alternatives to Ochheuteal Beach. That one was for tourists who don't like to leave the general Sihanoukville area. I spent the afternoon at the far end of Otres Beach and had a wonderfully relaxing day and everyone there seemed to be enjoying themselves. Next time I'll take my camera.

    If you only feel safe with surveillance cameras tracking your every move and TSA agents groping you at the airport, I'd say America was the place to be. Personally, I prefer to look after my own welfare. A little common sense goes a long way towards ensuring your safety in SV. Go back 15 or 20 years and there might be reason for worry, but not now - not if you have a brain.

    #71 Posted: 24/1/2012 - 05:45

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6409
    Total reviews: 10

    Sayadian
    This ain't Europe, and I don't want it to be. If I wanted to live in that tight ass place, I wouldn't have left. I prefer dealing with Thai cops to German cops.

    "I guess my point is that as asia developes, hopefully their police forces will evolve also."

    Hopefully not. Things are just fine the way they are here.

    "Personally, I prefer to look after my own welfare."

    Rob, you and I are in violent agreement here.

    #72 Posted: 24/1/2012 - 12:13

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    For a start I'm as careful as hell when I'm on the beach so never get any trouble (touch wood) but I doubt whether this Chinese family were so savvy. I think the point I'm making isn't that the crime is unusual anywhere but the attitude of the cops is.They receive a salary to fight crime not sit on their butts watching tv.
    I'm surprised that no one has shown any sympathy for the family's plight.
    I don't quite see your point Rob,that there has to be constant surveillance, just a little help from the police.It isn't too much to ask, is it?
    I should add that these guys are Tourist Police specifically there to help tourists. I can't see the point in having a specialist unit that does sweet fanny adams.

    #73 Posted: 24/1/2012 - 23:43

  • robschneider

    Joined Travelfish
    16th April, 2011
    Location Australia
    Posts: 35

    I already said I felt sorry for the couple and I, too, wish the travel police did their job. I'm just weary of the whole subject and frankly wonder why you keep belabouring it. The only reason I even post replies here is to provide some balance to your insistent Sihanoukville bashing. We've both made our points, so why not let it rest?

    #74 Posted: 24/1/2012 - 23:49

  • casper_kh

    Joined Travelfish
    31st December, 2010
    Posts: 6

    know how you feel Rob, had that same feeling a way back.

    I live in Sihanoukville, operate a business here (guesthouse, bar, restaurant), so some would say i could be biased. However, I honestly wouldn't have invested the time and money i have here unless i genuinely saw the good in the place.

    Yes, many people around the beach know me, so maybe I don't get offered drugs for this reason. But then again, we have all 19 rooms full now and have been for some time. Nobody has every experienced the same things that Sayadian has despite some being here since we opened 5 months ago.

    Ok, moto's occasionally talk about 'ganja or girls' but come on, for many that's the attraction of the place and in all reality can't be seen as a negative. I've pretty sure the moto's know their target market.

    As for the police, hey, Cambodia has corruption, big deal. Try doing anything official in Italy!

    The police here don't get much of a salary from above, most of what they earn comes from what they can gather from businesses and the public. So, if you want 'justice' it will cost you money. Face it.

    Sihanoukville has a live and let live attitude, and in many peoples opinion the whole town is developing, becoming more stable and generally going the right way.

    You can always find something to complain about if you really want to, but why would you, move on, get over it.

    #75 Posted: 25/1/2012 - 00:49

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Oh, I am so sorry that you guys find it such a bore to see a family having all their possesions stolen.I suppose it doesn't do much for business.If you want to verify the story the restaurant is the one at the end of the dirt lane that leads to the beach ,you can't miss it because the smell of garbage and raw sewage hits you just as you reach the beach.and as my missus has just said over my shoulder the million flies there will guide you in
    .I can't recall this thread being about girls or ganja just plain lazy policing.

    I expect the Chinese will go to Italy next year if that's your recommendation

    Me? I'm already paying taxes on my property back in the UK to finance the Cambodian 'elite's' lifestyle

    'So, if you want 'justice' it will cost you money. Face it.'
    .
    As far as the police not getting a decent take home pay perhaps some of those thousands of Lexus owners with custom trim could pay a bit of tax to finance them.
    Perhaps they could chip in a bit for the army of beggars on the beach too as, surprise, surprise it's the barang they always head for because they know they won't get anything off their own people.

    'and in many peoples opinion the whole town is developing, becoming more stable and generally going the right way.'
    Yes,I noticed the fine roads on Victory Hill, the mud has dried now and you just have to negotiate the dust and potholes. A definite improvement.
    and then you have that lovely Stalinesque villa at the end of Ocheteal where once stood a sustainable fishing village.I see they've rehoused the people in tin-shacks on that new road up from Otres to the market that they've been building for the last 7 years.I have actually met local people down there who see reality-land evictions, profiteering etc. I think you are wearing blinkers.

    #76 Posted: 25/1/2012 - 04:46

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6409
    Total reviews: 10

    Sayadian
    Once you made the point, it's enough. You think the place sucks, the cops are useless. So buyer beware. Got it. No point in beating a dead horse.

    #77 Posted: 25/1/2012 - 05:42

  • chinarocks

    Joined Travelfish
    17th June, 2011
    Posts: 684

    Well said MADMAC.

    For what it's worth I spent a very enjoyable 10 days in SV a few years back. Found everyone very friendly, didn't get stiffed out of any of my possessions and didn't get any smell of raw sewage.

    #78 Posted: 25/1/2012 - 10:14

  • lynardo

    Joined Travelfish
    4th December, 2011
    Posts: 3

    Kampong Som is about 2 hour drive from Phnom Penh.
    Ochheuteal is a relatively small stretch of beach.The area adjacent to the beaches are pretty filthy. The beach itself was ok, but nothing special.
    The beaches on the islands were cleaner and more picturesque. I'd recommend those over Ochheuteal. If you want to go to the beach away from the locals, then go to Sokha Resort.

    #79 Posted: 25/1/2012 - 13:00

  • neosho

    Joined Travelfish
    13th August, 2008
    Posts: 386

    I wasn't advocating a system like we have in america. Just adding a little civility in this Lazarus thread.

    #80 Posted: 25/1/2012 - 17:29

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Normal 0 MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman";}Madmac:
    You say by your own admission that you’ve never been to Cambodia.So by definition your comments are mere trolling.
    You think theplace sucks’Where did I say that?
    Perhaps you shouldstick to subjects you know something about
    .
    I’ve never said I dislike Sihanoukville .
    In fact, I’ve beenthere 3 times since Xmas and I’ve always had a good time, never been rippedoff, never had any problem with anyone.

    What I DO take umbrage with is people telling me everythingis hunky-dory there just because they are building lots and lots of new hotels,villas and casinos. I’m sure this gives many people employment and good luck tothem but in a world recession it seems a bit hopeful.
    Frankly in the 8 years I’ve known Sihanoukville I’ve neverseen development in what I find more important, that is the infrastructure ofthe town. The roads are still full of potholes. The garbage is still left torot in the street or behind the restaurants. Someone mentioned they’ve neverseen raw sewage. Well if you take the dirt road to the beach opposite where theold GST used to be as you approach the beach the smell will knock you out. The newstalls put up by Golden Lions have piles of garbage rotting behind the servingarea. Attracting rodents and swarms offlies to the detriment of the children playing there. They put up new stallsand nobody thought about garbage disposal! Of course, there’s no money in it. Thewaste from the lavatories on Ocheteal Beach is pumped out perhaps 10metres in thin blue pipes.

    When I first came to Cambodia 8 years ago the only thing yousaw on the roads were old Camrys whilst now it seems half the population ownbrand new $50,00 dollar 4*4s and at gasoline 5000 real a litre I wonder howthey can afford it?
    . Casper says.
    As for the police, hey, Cambodiahas corruption, big deal.

    Very constructive. Idon’t think.
    I’ve got a betteridea.

    Surely it wouldn’t betoo much to ask if the nouveau riche put their hands in their pockets and pay alittle bit of taxation
    The result would be a better paid police force which wouldgo a long way to eradicating corruption.
    Unfortunately most of the investment in Sihanoukville hasgone on construction because that is where the kickbacks come from and isresponsible for the appalling land clearance problems. Making a better life forpeople, like providing reliable low cost housing, proper garbage collection anddealing with the endemic problem of beach beggars doesn’t generate any incomefor the elite.
    No, Madmac it doesn’tlook like I’ve got my point over when you have facile comments that.
    ’I didn’t smell any sewage’ when I was there etc.
    Cambodianeeds to improve its lot by improving its infrastructure, admittedly a lot hasbeen done in other parts of the country but I don’t see much change in Sihanoukville
    BTW who mentioned drugs in this posting? It’s about the needfor vigilant policing. Try reading it properly.

    #81 Posted: 26/1/2012 - 02:00

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6409
    Total reviews: 10

    Sayadian
    Social commentary on how another society, over which we have no influence, can better itself is useless. Might be fun, but useless.

    What is useful here is commentary on whether or not you think a place is worth visiting and why or not and why not. And if so, what are the potential hazards - things to be aware of. In that context the story of the Chinese family and your perception that the risk factors for theft are higher and that inept local police mean you have little recourse if faced with theft are useful.

    As for taxation - there is nobody here who is in a position to influence the taxation policies of Cambodia. Come on now. What is your point with comments like that? "Need for vigilant policing"??? How is anybody reading this going to change the police policies of Cambodia?

    #82 Posted: 26/1/2012 - 03:42

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    'An exception was a couple of weeks ago when we went for falafels and a dreadlocked/pierced/tattooed young man was sitting with his girlfriend who also had dreads. My wife couldn't eat, she was so frightened.'
    Madmac: how can you take these people seriously when you get drivel like this posted.
    She couldn't eat because he had dreadlocks.Is he serious?? God half of these hippies walk around like this.It's obviously not the place for him because dreadlocks don't put me off my food.
    this is a joke right?
    T
    hey are telling me it's a wonderful place, I'm just making suggestions for improvement.Surely the idea of an improved police force would bring in more visitors and more revenue.How do you know Cambodians aren't reading this thread.Anyway half these guys on here are barang living there they don't seem to give a toss as long as their selling their overpriced beer.Personally I always eat and drink at local owned places because of the quality of the locals that live there.The Khmer have a much,much better attitude.The barang just want to screw every cent out of you while the locals want you to enjoy a good time.BTW it was a local who suggested that the Chinese go to the police not me and she was clearly disappointed atthte result.


    #83 Posted: 26/1/2012 - 06:11

  • eastwest

    Joined Travelfish
    17th December, 2009
    Posts: 772

    It's not very often but I find myself in violent agreement with Mac this time.

    #84 Posted: 26/1/2012 - 06:26

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Madmac
    As a Cambodian 'virgin' I'd like to give you a bit of insight into this society.I hope you won't take it the wrong way.
    If you go into a Cambodian restaurant you can, believe it or not, buy food from the beach vendors and sit and eat it at their tables and chairs.Of course, they appreciate it if you buy a beer as custom is always welcome.You can walk in and use their washing facilitie and toilet without anyone being bothered.They are a very easy going people.All the barang have brought Sihanoukville is increased prices and an attitude which dismisses what I have described which is Cambodian custom and generosity.I was amazed myself as I know you couldn't do the same in Thailand.
    The second point is that the internet is a global information souce now so you can't say something small written on here wouldn't have a influence on people.
    Who knows.That's it, as I'm definiltey going off thread now.

    #85 Posted: 26/1/2012 - 06:35

  • robschneider

    Joined Travelfish
    16th April, 2011
    Location Australia
    Posts: 35

    Sayadian - After 26 posts on this thread since 2009, I'd say it was time to move on. I, too, will find better things to do with my time.

    #86 Posted: 26/1/2012 - 06:45

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Madmac
    'What is useful here is commentary on whether or not you think a place is worth visiting and why or not and why not. And if so, what are the potential hazards - things to be aware of. In that context the story of the Chinese family and your perception that the risk factors for theft are higher and that inept local police mean you have little recourse if faced with theft are useful.'
    Thanks for acknowledging there was some useful advice there.The rest was just answering criticism.
    The above might come in useful too.Always eat and drink at a local owned place.Better value, better attitude.

    #87 Posted: 26/1/2012 - 07:05

  • chinarocks

    Joined Travelfish
    17th June, 2011
    Posts: 684

    "That's it, as I'm definiltey going off thread now."

    Well done sayadian, you lasted a full half hour you complete and utter tit.

    #88 Posted: 26/1/2012 - 08:03

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6409
    Total reviews: 10

    Well, it was a great converation! Eastwest, I'm surprised. I agree with what you write often.

    #89 Posted: 26/1/2012 - 09:10

  • eastwest

    Joined Travelfish
    17th December, 2009
    Posts: 772

    Yeah, perhaps I've worded it wrong. It's mostly the sidetrack stuff (salsa, war history/doctrine and so on) that you post that I I don't have much with. Can't even say that I disagree. I mostly don't have an opinion about it.
    And besides you seem to be writing more travel related stuff now. A while ago it seemed as if you were always looking for controversy in an otherwise normal topic. A bit like the period sayadian is going through at the moment it seems

    #90 Posted: 26/1/2012 - 17:19

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Eastwest
    I appreciate your criticism and will always take on board someone's polite views. I don't necessarily agree since I put out a lot of advice which is most DEFINITELY travel related.The rest is just me having a 'fight' with the ' Sihanoukville is wonderful' cliche.' Definitely not topic related I will agree but I was not the only guilty party.

    Perhaps I should just ignore them.I've always tried to be polite and on thread but if you think I'm drifting off topic I apologise.
    There has been a tendency lately on here to be less than constructive in the arguments and I will make a big effort to stay away from the 'playground jibes'
    e.g.'utter tit'.written by Chinarocks.
    C
    ompletely uncalled for and unacceptable and I abhor threads that descend into name calling. It actually shows that the poster has nothing more constructive to say and is designed to provoke.

    Rob
    You don't own the thread, I make points when I see them. My experience of theft on the beach I think is moot and whether you like it or not the idea that the police do very little is a warning to other travellers. If I have come across people having bad experiences in Sihanoukville I will certainly use them as a warning to potential visitors.Try not to be so patronising. What is so relevant in a comment that 'people with dreadlocks frighten your wife?' The place is full of hippies with all sorts of weird garb.
    Do I have to keep on repeating that I actually like Sihanoukville and visit often but there is a great deal of theft on the beach and very little police help-both points should be taken on board by future visitors. I would advise visitors to make sure they keep their possesions firmly attached to them and not let 'cute' children too near as a minority of them are thieves.
    Other than this I would definitely recommend Sihanoukville as a great destination.I still miss the barbequed tuna on the beach.

    #91 Posted: 26/1/2012 - 20:16

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6409
    Total reviews: 10

    I like Sayadians posts too. I like his edge. It's not all "the food is wonderful" or "the people are so nice" kind of fluff. That stuff is OK too. But sometimes it's a little too Ward and June Cleaver like, and not enough reality based. Sayadian sees things as they are - I like that.

    #92 Posted: 26/1/2012 - 21:22

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    'it's a little too Ward and June Cleaver like'
    That got me puzzled but luckily I just had a drink with an ex-U.S.marine so he's filled me in.
    .Brits aren't going to have a clue what you're talking about though.Unless of course I've been away too long, because I'd never heard of them.
    ;-)

    BTW
    Can you sit on the river of another capital city and drink fresh beer waiter served for 75cents and great pizza for $4.50.Phnom Penh has got a lot going for it.

    #93 Posted: 27/1/2012 - 01:41

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6409
    Total reviews: 10

    You didn't have "leave it to Beaver"??? Christ, the country is just a cultural void!

    "Gee Wally, do you really think we should do that?"
    "Sure Beave, I mean, no one is going to care about those old boards anyway."

    "Ward, I don't think the kids should have soda with lunch."
    "Oh June, I don't think one glass will hurt them."

    This kind of banal dialog, kisses on the cheek when Ward comes home from Work, June always dressed in the same kind of dresses... In their entire world there is no profanity, no sex, no violence and no hints of it either.

    #94 Posted: 27/1/2012 - 02:57

  • Barang

    Joined Travelfish
    28th July, 2012
    Posts: 1

    It was interesting to read this thread. I live in Sihanoukville and have witnessed the whole of the Paedophile Myth from 2003 until today. Sihanoukville at best was a possible "future destination" for Foreigners that had become disenchanted with Pattaya or Thailand as a whole.
    Most of these people quickly made a turnaround because of the lack of infracstructure. Except for the once beautiful beaches (now more and more are fenced up or sold to private resorts) there is not a lot that would entertain tourists here. (except if you are in drugs or happy to be drunk all day). Most western Tourists stay between 2-5 days max and if they are not beeing robbed or harrassed by souvenir selling kids at the beach, enjoy a good break at the beach before heading on.

    Most of the thread here lacks evidence of why sihanoukville is now seen as a rathole with a rampant paedophile and sex tourism problem. Some 3000 NGO in the "Vicitimizing Business" have been just to happy to make the western world believe that this is the truth. Paedophiles exist everywhere in the World. That does not make it any better. But in Cambodia foreign funded NGO are having a ball and great income on this Myth. For more info www.tpf-cambodia.com

    #95 Posted: 28/7/2012 - 07:12

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Wow this thread might make a hundred and we can have a party.
    In all the time I've known Sihanoukville (and I lived there for my first year in Cambodia) I have never really seen a 'phaedophile scene' .
    In fact, when in 2005 I lived by the beach at Serendipidy there was only one 'girlie' bar and that was Freedom (with its fully-clothed pole dancers). Most of the sex scene was local i.e the Blue mountain and the shanty town down by the port. Both of these have gone now but seemed to have been replaced by a lot of western owned 'girlie' bars a la Thailand.
    You are dead right about the beaches, very soon there will be nowhere to swim unless you book into an expensive hotel. Building lots of casinos there too makes me suspect that the people in charge want the Asian trade not the backpacker crowd. The Russians seem to be appearing too.(great place to launder money with a dollar economy) :-)

    I'm kind of nostalgic for the old Sihanoukville but things always change and usually for the worse when it comes to beauty spots.

    #96 Posted: 28/7/2012 - 10:34

  • robschneider

    Joined Travelfish
    16th April, 2011
    Location Australia
    Posts: 35

    Otres Beach is still pretty mellow. The first section is filling up fast, but there's still a long empty stretch. Easier to get to, too, now that there's a new road to Otres Beach. Well, not new, but recently resurfaced.

    Interesting point about the paedophile/sex tourism "problem", Barang. Everything seems to get blown out of proportion here. Maybe it has something to do with the backpackers' choice of drugs? It's been an ongoing mystery to me for six years.

    #97 Posted: 28/7/2012 - 20:19

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    'Everything seems to get blown out of proportion here. Maybe it has something to do with the backpackers' choice of drugs?
    What is their choice of drugs and why does that blow everything out of proportion? Genuinely interested in your answer.
    Drugs of every kind are freely available and there is always one waiter who will ask you what you want on Ocheteal and, of course, Victory hill is even more renown.

    You're right about Otres beach but isn't that also marked down for development?
    They've actually finished the road from the town, I'm amazed.

    As far as the bar scene goes Sihanoukville gets more like Thailand everyday. Which was the point I was making in my nostalgic reverie.

    #98 Posted: 29/7/2012 - 02:37

  • robschneider

    Joined Travelfish
    16th April, 2011
    Location Australia
    Posts: 35

    There was a question mark at the end of the sentence. I'm as genuinely interested in finding an answer as you are in mine.

    My latest blog, Sihanoukville Police Checkpoints! mentions an incident I'm still bewildered about. 2 barang pulled over for not wearing helmets out of total of 5, yet the guy says to me: "They only stop barang!" and makes a scene.

    #99 Posted: 29/7/2012 - 05:01

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    I sat one day near the Golden Lions drinking a Dtukalok and watching with amusement the efforts the locals make to avoid the police checkpoints.One guy with 2 friends on the back rode swiftly down the steps into the little amusement park and up Karaoke street.Another girl tried to look away pretending she couldn't see the policeman waving her in but lost her nerve when he started running after her (can you imagine that! a Khmer policeman expending energy.)
    You are right there is no discrimination when it comes to stopping motorcycles.
    $1 fine, that's pretty cheap; in Phnom Penh I had to pay $2 (my lucky $2 too) for an illegal turn (BS) I have a licence so they couldn't get me on that one but the policeman actually apologised for taking my money explaining it was the end of the month and they were broke.Luckily they didn't seem bothered that the bike had Vietnamese plates and was strictly speaking totally illegal as it's temporary import permit had long since expired.
    Some years ago there was supposed to have been a campaign against foreigners on motorbikes without drivers licences which pissed some people off because:
    a) they hadn't been informed by the hirer that they needed a licence!!!
    b) the police confiscated the bike and demanded hundreds of dollars to return it.

    .I've never met anybody this has happened to so it could just be an urban myth but I think it was mentioned on a few Cambodian blogs. Maybe this is why the barangs got upset?

    #100 Posted: 29/7/2012 - 06:15

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    At last I feel vindicated after my posts about Sihanoukville were derided. Even told I probably only spent a weekend down there by RS.
    So read these opinions on Khmer440 seems plenty people agree with me. I was living there over 8 years ago and it was a nice laid back place.Not now.
    Read on
    http://www.khmer440.com/chat_forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=25936
    This is a typical quote which I picked because the same happened to us a few times, just for refusing a ride.
    'A couple of years ago I shook my head "no" to a moto in Snooky and the moto replied "**** you!" No moto in PP has ever said that. There does seem to be an attitude problem in Snooks. Too bad, it could be such a great place. I miss the clean air there.'

    I must say I feel a lot safer in PP than KS.

    Anyway you should all get lots of info now about the local scene there written by a man who confesses he never goes out and is in bed by 10 p.m.

    #101 Posted: 23/10/2012 - 08:36

  • yomanvin

    Joined Travelfish
    19th October, 2012
    Location India
    Posts: 8

    I didn't read through all the entries, but Sihanoukville is totally worth it for Otres beach. It's not commercialized like your generic SE Asia beach. Stay and 1 day boat tours are cheap as well(you can haggle the price of the latter)
    Plus, there's a restaurant (advertised as Indian I think) which plainly puts up a sign "A joint - $1.50"

    #102 Posted: 26/10/2012 - 07:35

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    They all used to sell joints in Ocheteal. I lived in 'Same Same but different' (what an original name!)
    I've got some pictures of Otres when there was nothing on it. Got a feeling it will not be quiet and peaceful for long. So enjoy it while it lasts. I saw their running boat trips now.
    It's hard to imagine but I remember the only guy running trips to the Islands from Ocheteal was an English guy called Jonty.
    I'm not overly concerned Vietnam has a huge coastline, plenty of beautiful secluded spots.
    Sihanoukville is weird.You got Victory Hill on one hand then you've got a marina which looks like it was designed by Stalin.
    I'm sure I'll be back there come January. Got a love/hatred relationship with the place.

    #103 Posted: 26/10/2012 - 07:46

  • yomanvin

    Joined Travelfish
    19th October, 2012
    Location India
    Posts: 8

    Wait? Used to?! You mean not anymore?
    I'd stayed at this place called Mushroom point. The dorm was real cozy and trippy. Otres can get crowded at times but the fact that both tourists and locals come there makes it all the more likable.

    #104 Posted: 26/10/2012 - 07:57

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    No, but I visit.There about one month ago. What locals are you referring to? Usually the Phnom Penh Khmer spend weekends and holidays on Ocheteal. They take all the seating, order one beer then get their own food and drink out, trash the beach and leave the poor owners to clear up the mess. Then they drive home completely shitfaced.Try driving up to PP on a Sunday night and watch the carnage.
    If you like Otres go see the Pagoda.The monk there is a really nice guy.

    #105 Posted: 26/10/2012 - 09:49

  • James_

    Joined Travelfish
    14th February, 2013
    Posts: 5

    "short and sweet. "


    First words in this thread. Funny how that turned out.


    I've been in SHV for about three of the last four months, and I find much of what sayadian says as disingenuous in places, deliberately belligerent in other, and just plain suspect in certain parts. I mean, every time he goes to this place he is instantly surrounded by all the horrible things he claims is part of the town, despite those stories only coming through stories and rumours to pretty much anyone that lives or stays here.


    The police story I found really odd. The police know all the criminals where he's from? Any time a crime happens they just go round them up and that's that, huh? Yeah, ok. No worries. Somehow crime doesn't exist in this world of his (oh, despite his police knowing 'criminals'). I come from a first world country with low crime, but the only reason I would ever go to the police there was for the report to give the insurance company. My friend had his car broken into years ago and when he asked the cops what they were going to do about it they laughed at him.


    So, Sihanoukville: The most popular beach is Ochheuteal, with guesthouses on the water at one end, to the right of the pier, and to the left a long line of barang-oriented bar/restaurants before you get to the dolphin statues where it becomes Khmer-oriented. The big bars are Dolphin Shack and JJ's, the former being the biggest, recently expanded into its neighbour, and has plenty of girls looking for a good time and a bit of cash. Not like Thailand - not even close. These girls are quite demure and will try to catch your eye, rather than rushing up and grabbing you by the arm, trying to drag you off somewhere. That sort of thing drove me crazy in Thailand. Not least because it was the ladyboys that were the most aggressive. There are those as well, but not aggressive like in Thailand, though you should always watch your valuables when they're around.


    Further up, on the hill above the beach is the backpacker joints, with Utopia being the party location, thereby attracting a few 'taxi girls', but very low key in that regard - they're usually there chatting with friends and dancing and playing pool like any other girl, looking to pick up but, horror to the puritans I know, would like a few bucks as well. Hell, its no more expensive than the money a western girl will expect you to spend on her while you're picking her up back home. The other places are more laid back and I would recommend them to any who doesn't want the party scene (and woeful hygiene) forced on them. They are Monkey Republic, The Big Easy and Led Zephyr.


    Downtown there are a few bars about, spaced out a fair bit, not really easy to find/know about to begin with for people just passing through. The Freedom bar has become the Freelance bar in case anyone was in any doubt about the place. Not easy to accidentally stumble into what you thought was a regular bar and be surprised. Same goes for the Wolf Den. There are very nice places like the Bavarian, Emerald and G'day Mate, if you're dragging the missus along.


    Victory Hill is for whoring. But business is bad there, while Ochheuteal is booming and Otres is developing quickly.


    Otres is a great beach. Accommodation is a bit more expensive, but worth it unless you're here for the Dolphin Shack parties and JJ booze cruise (which most seem to be). Otres is mostly undeveloped, easy for swimming, with great stretches without people and just parkland instead of bar shacks. Unfortunately the locals do have a habit of throwing their rubbish everywhere, the same as any part of Cambodia. For him complaining about rubbish in Snooky I have a photo of a river in PP that is almost dammed by the amount of crap dumped in there. And in case anyone was wondering, yes there is free pickups of rubbish around SHV, even along the dirt roads amongst the slums. But people are still too lazy to even throw their rubbish in a bin or even a plastic bag for the garbo's to pickup. They will pick up any plastic bag on the side of the road but not every piece of loose plastic around, though I've seen them try to scoop up particularly horrendous areas by hand - futilely, of course.


    Open sewers are pretty rare, and most tourists won't see one. The most common reason for obvious effluence is, again, Khmers throwing so much crap on the ground it ends up in the drains and you get areas that back up and flow over the roads.


    The islands are beautiful, the beaches are awesome, no hawkers or tuk-tuks or beggars or rubbish. Prices can be relatively high, though, and Snookyville can make a great base.


    On drugs and that nonsense, I have never, nor heard of anyone else, been offered drugs by any staff of any bar in town. Which is not to say it doesn't happen, but gees somebody here has just the worst luck in the world. His mates, however, the tuk-tuk drivers - damn, they are shocking here. Anywhere in town you will get hassled by them, but its down by Ochheuteal - anywhere past the Golden Lions, where every time I get multiple offers of drugs, and always at least one that follows along behind me on his moto (I like to walk, and always walk to the beach from up near Psar Leu if I go there alone) with the line "Sir, tuk tuk, sir, tuk tuk... weed? Lady boom boom? Sir?"


    So, there is crime and the warnings are the same as Western countries re: belongings and going out at night. One plus side is most barang girls in Snookyville could easily slap around a Khmer man. They're usually bigger than I am and I have no fear walking into a group of shady but always weedy looking locals. There are open sewers but you're unlikely to ever smell one. There are girls who will go with you, but you don't have to take them home, and they seem really like regular girls rather than people that have a job that needs doing like many barang-popular parts of Thailand (and Victory Hill). There are beggars and hawkers that will hassle you, mainly in the afternoons, but there are nicer and hassle-free beaches. There is cheap beer - free beer if you want to go party - and cheap BBQs and easy swimming beaches, which may not be nearly as beautiful as the beaches back home but at least I've never felt like I might drown in waist deep water.


    There is the easy living of downtown, with really nice places for 100$ a month, that third-world charm of Psar Leu and 75c noodle w/meat dishes in stalls carried around as a moto sidecart (the guy actually told me it was rat meat once, but I don't know if he was just making fun of a barang he thought didn't speak Khmer - anyway, it tasted good and was cheap).


    Really, I can understand anyone not liking the place, but not people who seem to hate it because it has more things than what they want, and are militantly opposed to change within what they consider there own little world.

    #106 Posted: 14/2/2013 - 06:09

  • Greatlookin-
    guy

    Click here to learn more about Greatlookinguy
    Joined Travelfish
    2nd August, 2012
    Location Earth
    Posts: 43

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    Wow! Nice write up James. Thank You! I am taking the overnight sleeper bus from Saigon to "Snooky" (heh!) tonight and looking forward to all the good times. Have heard Utopia has $1 a night "party dorms" (woah!) and the party never stops. Have also heard that there is sod all to do during the day, as this is mostly a beach party town type of place.

    Suits me just fine :-)

    #107 Posted: 1/3/2013 - 07:03

  • robschneider

    Joined Travelfish
    16th April, 2011
    Location Australia
    Posts: 35

    If you're a party backpacker, Sihanoukville is a party town and that's all you'll see or know about the place. There's plenty to do during the day if you're not suffering from a hangover and are willing to explore beyond the party zones. Here's one example: Sailing a Hobie Cat in Sihanoukville.

    Do as you please, but please don't typecast Sihanoukville based on your limited knowledge and experience. It's not fair to the majority of the locals: Where is Sihanoukville's Ochheuteal Beach?

    #108 Posted: 1/3/2013 - 20:15

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    A Party Town!
    Clearly you've never had experience of Koh Samui, Pangan, Pattaya (if you're older) and I could go on and on.
    I was in Sihanoukville last week and in the evenings/nights sat on the beach outside 'In My Dream' (yes, I know what it sounds like but actually it's a restaurant on the beach run by a Khmer lady) and I heard nothing except the lapping of the sea, apart from those irritating cheap Chinese fireworks which occasionaly go off. It's very relaxing.
    There are a couple of places on the Serendipidy end, my friend now works in one which caters for bikers (take note Madmac) called Gas something or other which blast a bit of music. Walking around away from the beach you actually notice that it's still predominantly catering to the locals with lots and lots of Karaoke bars and shady nightclubs.
    It's main redeeming feature is it's such a cheap beach scene. Nice room $7, barbeque 3$, beer 75 cents- you can't beat that.
    You still have a lot of irritating beach vendors and pro beggars but just ignore them and eventually they'll get the message.
    Certainly the change now is becoming more rapid. Putting shop houses along the derelict land that fronts the beach has helped to make it look a lot more salubrious. Though unfortunately that doesn't mask the smell of rotting garbage when it's hot or burning plastic bags of garbage to keep warm when it's chilly.
    Sailing a Hobbiecat is fun better than irritating the hell out of everybody by racing jetskis in and out of the swimmers on Ocheteal.

    #109 Posted: 2/3/2013 - 00:57

  • Greatlookin-
    guy

    Click here to learn more about Greatlookinguy
    Joined Travelfish
    2nd August, 2012
    Location Earth
    Posts: 43

    Just reached "Snooky" (love that word!) and checked into the human mosh pit known as... Utopia. Groovy! $1 rooms and 25 cent happy hour beers. It is party time lads!! :D :D

    #110 Posted: 2/3/2013 - 07:16

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    At those prices Utopia must be a charity. How do they make a profit?

    #111 Posted: 2/3/2013 - 10:32

  • Greatlookin-
    guy

    Click here to learn more about Greatlookinguy
    Joined Travelfish
    2nd August, 2012
    Location Earth
    Posts: 43

    Ha ha, no idea how they make a profit. Must be because they have other dorms for $2, $3 etc. With air-con, private toilets etc. I am staying in the cheapest option. Fans and common shower rooms & loos. Proper cheap 'n cheerful backpacker ishtyle! :D

    The low beer prices are for their happy hours. Otherwise it is 75 cents or even $1 sometimes.

    My friends and I just work the bars based on their happy hour times. Plenty of "free drinks with this flyer" offers. Cheap booze and a great nightlife scene. ACE!

    #112 Posted: 3/3/2013 - 07:07

  • Snookieboi

    Click here to learn more about Snookieboi
    Joined Travelfish
    14th April, 2013
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 61

    Is your belongings safe there i wonder, seems a bit too easygoing.

    #113 Posted: 14/4/2013 - 11:02

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

    Joined Travelfish
    24th July, 2012
    Posts: 2148
    Total reviews: 11

    Some interesting banter above^

    Even if u have a gf the same age some western women give the evil stare. They must be unhappy with their own situation.

    #114 Posted: 27/3/2014 - 20:39

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