Photo: Beach scenes at Otres Beach.

Most of Sihanoukville’s beaches are on the southwestern point of the peninsula with Independence beach to the north and Otres to the south. Sihanoukville town is off the beach, a 20-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.

Ekareach Street is the principal artery linking National Route 4 (the road to Phnom Penh) with Ochheuteal. It passes through downtown Sihanoukville before terminating at the resolutely kitsch Golden Lions Traffic Circle. From here, you can go straight ahead to find Ochheuteal and Serendipity, left for Otres 1 and 2, or right to follow the still scenic coast road which leads to Sokha, Independence, and Victory beaches.

Banking
The Sihanoukville branches of most major banks stand side by side along Ekareach Street in the midtown 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.

On Serendipity Beach Road, numerous ATMs are dotted along either side of the street; on Victory Hill, there is an ANZ Royal ATM at the shop across the road from the Mealy Chanda Guesthouse, and an ABA ATM lies half-way along each of Otres 1 and Otres 2.

Most ATMs, such as ANZ Royal, accept foreign cards with the Maestro and Cirrus logo, however they levy a hefty $4 or $5 surcharge. Canadia Bank offers fee-free withdrawals for Visa cards issued in Europe. There is a Canadia Bank ATM on 14 Mithona Street, half-way along the second block.

Acleda Bank: 135 Ekareach St, Sihanoukville. T: (034) 320 232. Open Mon-Fri, 07:30-16:00 and Sat, 07:30-12:30.
ANZ Royal Bank: 215 Ekareach St, Sihanoukville. Open Mon-Fri, 08:30-16:00.
Canadia Bank: 197 Ekareach St, Sihanoukville. T: (034) 933 490. Open Mon-Fri, 08:00-15:30 and Sat, 08:00-11:30.
Union Commercial Bank: 195 Ekareach St, Sihanoukville. T: (034) 933 833. Open Mon-Fri, 08:00-15:30 and Sat: 08:00-12:30.

Internet & Communications
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. If your hotel has neither WiFi nor computers, then there is Kamreal on Serendipity Beach Road, a real estate agent which also has publicly available computers.

Kamreal: Serendipity Beach Rd, Sihanoukville. T: (093) 377 767. Open daily, 09:00-22:00.

If your phone is already unlocked, you can buy SIM cards very cheaply and easily in Cambodia, for which you will simply need your passport. If you don’t want to go into town, there is a small, unnamed shop attached to Utopia on Serendipity Beach Road, where you can buy a Smart Traveller SIM for $5, which includes $5 credit and 4G.

Utopia Shop: Serendipity Beach Rd. Open daily 08:00-21:00.

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, described as “the best of a bad bunch” by one long-term expat. Their services include CT scan, ultrasound, electrocardiogram, ENT endoscopy, ambulance, birth delivery, minor surgery, inpatient beds and emergency, and they will also send a doctor to you if required. They have English-, French-, Filipino- and Chinese-speaking staff and some are foreign-trained. They can help coordinate evacuations for more serious issues, and can also handle your insurance company for you.

CT Clinic: #47 Borei Kamakor St, Sihanoukville. T: (034) 936 666. Emergency ambulance service, T: (081) 886 666, (089) 886 666. ct_clinic@yahoo.com.

The pharmacy on the Golden Lions roundabout, at the turn off for Serendipity Beach Road, is reasonably well stocked with medicines, toiletries and cosmetics, including sunscreen. They speak English and can provide first aid and wound dressing services in case of emergency. A small, minimally-stocked pharmacy can also be found half-way along Otres 1, in case of emergency.

Pharmacie Chamroeun Chanlida: Golden Lions Traffic Circle. T: (034) 934 748, (017) 500 056. Open daily, 09:00-23:00.
Sonita Pharmacy: Otres 1. Open daily. 09:00-18:00.

For dental care, CT Clinic recommend Dr Nuon Voeun, who is their referral dentist. You’ll find him opposite the International Clinic on Ekareach Street.

Dr Nuon Voeun: #268 Ekareach St. T: (016) 887 000.

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 if you’re planning on staying for a long time.

Most visitors opt to not get the license and just pay the fines, which can be negotiated down to a dollar or a couple of thousand riel 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. (Do be warned if riding without a valid license your insurance may be invalid.)

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. It’s best to see their payment demands as fees for services.

There is a tourist police contact point inside the Tourist Information Centre at the junction of Serendipity Beach Road and 14 Mithona Street.

Tourist Police: Serendipity Beach Road. T: (034) 657 9888, (011) 683 307, (097) 725 5543. 10.60914 103.52190

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Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Sihanoukville? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Cambodia.


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