Sihanoukville, Cambodia

I was in Sihanoukville three years ago when I did a two week tour of Cambodia.  At that time I stayed at a hotel on the beach and we toured the main sites around the town and the surrounding countryside.  This time I just took the opportunity to walk around the downtown area and through the market.  This is not a tourist centre so the local people in the market and the taxi drivers were quite anxious to get what business they could from the passengers.  Unfortunately their aggressive behaviour put many of the passengers off.  However, I found that giving a simple no thank you and walking away was adequate to get them to leave you alone.  They are very poor in this country.  I think that it is one of the poorest in the region.  There are also many beggars who have been maimed by mines and it will take many years and many billions of dollars to demine the entire country. Most people ride motor bikes and there was quite a mob scene in front of the local market when the nearby school got out at noon. (photo) This town used to be a main recreation area before Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge took over the country.  Today, it is still the main port of Cambodia but there was very little business being conducted in the port. There has been a lot of effort to renovate older housing and to build new housing (photos).  There was a new market right behind the old one but it was only about 10 % full.  There is an effort to attract tourists to the beach hotels which are mainly two and three star.  There are a lot of guest houses in the town and you will be amused by the ad for one I saw on the back of a local tuk tuk (photo). If you look closely, you will see that this D.D. Canada guesthouse offers poutine along with free wifi. The Khmer Rouge foot soldiers were settled on farms and in fishing villages throughout the country and some of them are in an area south of this town. The idea is that they should be productive and keep out of trouble.  Fishing is the main source of income and I got a photo of a fishing boat heading out to sea from the village on stilts where most of them live, as we sailed away. 


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