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Sihanoukville

Orientation

Most of Sihanoukville's beaches are on the southwest coast of the "peninsula" with Independence Beach to the north and Otres to the south. Sihanoukville Town is off the beach, a twenty minute walk (or five minute motodop ride) from Ochheuteal Beach. All the main services are in town, but basic facilities, like internet cafes, can be found at many of the beaches.

Banking
The Sihanoukville branches of most major banks stand side by side along Eakreach St in the downtown area. These full-service banks exchange currencies, cash travellers cheques, and give cash advances. They all have 24-hour ATMs. For money transfers, Canadia Bank has Moneygram and Acleda Bank has Western Union. Stand-alone ATMs and money exchange businesses dot the other neighbourhoods. On Serendipity Beach Rd there are three ATMs as well as a Western Union outlet at the top of the road. A Canadia ATM is in front of the Seaside Hotel. On Victory Hill, there is another ANZ Royal ATM across from the Mealy Chanda Guesthouse.

Most ATMs, such as ANZ Royal, accept foreign cards with the Maestro and Cirrus logo. They levy a hefty $4 surcharge, however. Canadia Banks offer fee-free withdrawals.

Acleda Bank 135 Eakreach St, Sihanoukville. T: (034) 320 232. Open Mon-Fri, 07:30-16:00 and Sat, 07:30-12:30.
ANZ Royal Bank 215 Eakreach St, Sihanoukville. Open Mon-Fri, 08:30-16:00.
Canadia Bank 197 Eakreach St, Sihanoukville. T: (034) 933 490. Open Mon-Fri, 08:00-15:30 and Sat, 08:00-11:30.
Union Commercial Bank195 Eakreach St, Sihanoukville. T: (034) 933 833. Open Mon-Fri, 08:00-15:30 and Sat: 08:00-12:30.


Internet
Most guesthouses and hotels in Sihanoukville have WiFi — be sure to ask before you book if it's a requirement. Additionally, many have computers for guests to use. Restaurants and bars also frequently have WiFi, and you can find a decent connection just about anywhere on Serendipity Beach Rd.

Online offers WiFi hotspots around town for a fee. Their connection is fast and reliable. They sell cards of various denominations: 2 hours for $2 and 20 hours for $10, for example. You can buy the cards at various hotels in town.

Internet shops around town offer a full range of internet services including Skype, scanning and DVD and CD burning. Two of these are Casablanca books on Serendipity Beach Rd and Sapphire Connections in Victory Hill.

Casablanca Books Serendipity Beach Rd, Sihanoukville. T: (012) 987 073. Open daily, 08:00-22:00.
Sapphire Connections Weather Station Hill, Sihanoukville. T: (011) 487 977. Open daily, 9:00-late.


Medical care
Medical care in Sihanoukville leaves a lot to be desired; it's substantially worse than Phnom Penh (which isn't that good to begin with). If anything seriously serious happens, plan for an airlift evacuation to Bangkok or Singapore. You've got travel insurance right?

The CT Clinic is the preferred medical provider in town. They've got English-speaking staff and some are foreign-trained. They can help coordinate evacuations for more serious issues. Dr Hoare is recommended by local expats.

CT Clinic #47 Borei Kamakor St, Sihanoukville. T: (081) 886 666; (034) 936 666. ct_clinic@yahoo.com

Police
Police in Sihanoukville, as in the rest of Cambodia, are to be avoided whenever possible. You'll certainly interact with them if you rent a motorbike, as one of their main sources of income is stopping foreigners on bikes and giving them on-the-spot fines or asking for bribes. The best way to avoid this is by having all of your paperwork in order, including having a Cambodian driver's license. Getting the license can be a hassle, but can be organised in town by Ana Travel.

Most visitors opt to not get the license and just pay the fines, which can be negotiated down to a dollar a time. This is a good deal: if they actually fill out the paperwork and give you a "real" fine, it will cost $25. Keeping small bills in your pocket is a good idea so you won't have to pull out your wallet when stopped. Telling the police that the amount in your pocket is all you have is a good way to get the fine dropped to that exact amount.

For other issues like theft, expect to pay a bribe if you want anything to be done. Police make very little money in Cambodia — certainly not enough to support a family on. It's best to see their payment demands as fees for services.

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