After independence from France in the early 1950’s, Cambodia no longer had commercial access to the big Indochinese trading port of Saigon. Kampot, an earlier colonial port on the Southeast coast of Cambodia was too small for the nation-building plans at the time. In 1964, Sihanouville was born, as was the excellent Route 4, connecting the new modern port with the capital, Phnom Penh.
These days, Sihanouvkille is also known for its lovely white beaches, and delicious seafood. It is also a great launching point for fascinating journeys to Ream National Park, Bokor Hill Station, and quaint Kampot. Sihanoukville itself is spread-out over a number of peninsulas, each fringed with beaches. While beachside accommodation has until recently been basic, there are now a number of well-located new hotels, including several on popular Occheuteal Beach.
Sihanoukville is famous for its blood-red sunsets, best seen from Wat Leu monastery, the highest point in town. The town also has a wonderful, busy old-market, full of fresh produce, including wonderful exotic fruits. Tourism Union Indochina’s journeys to the south coast of Cambodia include visits to both Wat Leu and this great market and allow for free time on one of Sihanoukville’s fine beaches.