Inquiry Submission By Timgin
I know there is a thread on here about how bad Sihanoukville is, but thought it worth updating from our trip via Sihanoukville a couple of weeks ago.
We had to go via here to get to Koh Rong Samloen and even though we had read that Sihanoukville is bad, we had no idea quite how bad it would be. ‘Bad’ turned out to be the understatement of the year.
It is like a war zone. Simply that. If you are old enough to remember, someone described it to us as looking like Beirut post war, a sentiment we had to agree with. We are all regular travellers and take things with a pinch of salt but this is the worst place any of us have ever seen/been to.
The roads are disgusting and are glorified dirt tracks with big heavy lorries clogging up the traffic so to get anywhere takes forever. At the side of the roads (main or otherwise) are piles of rubbish/building materials/rubble with no control over them and what looks like no date in sight for them to be cleared, monitored or even acknowledged.
We heard that the Chinese are bringing in their own workers also to build the hotels and casinos, so the Cambodians do not even benefit from increased work opportunities. Someone told us that the Chinese workers are housed in storage containers whilst there so the local hotels/guesthouses do not even benefit.
We had to wait where the ferries come to Sihanoukville from the islands (Serendipity Pier) and counted in our direct view, 28 large cranes on the skyline which gives you some idea of the scale of the building going on – it really is a s**thole. We were really quite shocked how bad the situation is.
Such a shame as by all accounts, it used to be a lovely place. The only thing you could recommend it for now would be either a new business of touring building sites as a commodity, or a study in how much damage can be done to a community by alleged back handed investments which allegedly do not benefit the locals. It is a disgrace and such a shocking place to witness. Such a shame also as the islands are so beautiful by contrast. Two groups of guests at our hotel on KRS cancelled their proposed Otres beach stays as it would be like staying in what I imagine Syria looks like right now. Appalling.
Avoid at all costs.