Posted by: James Shannon | October 9, 2011

Sauntering Around Sihanoukville, Part II: The Haves And The Have-Nots

After perusing the post I made on Sihanoukville several days ago, you may be tempted to think that the place is a glitzy, sexy, “it” place to be.  And one day, it very well may be.

But being barely a decade removed from the end of a civil war that tore the social fabric of this country to shreds, Sihanoukville, and the rest of Cambodia are still busy picking up the pieces.  While rapid economic progress is being made, the fact remains that Cambodia is one of the bottom 20 poorest nations on Earth.  The wealth gap, as you may imagine, is enormous.  Tonight’s post aims to show a little of that, while hopefully remaining respectful…

Heading back to the hotel from the beach, burnt to a crisp in less than an hour and a half (being March however, the sun was getting stronger!)

After applying aloe gel to my sunburn to take the edge off of it, I decided to walk over to another spectacular beach I had heard about, Sokha Beach.  The walk over however, took me through some of the real Cambodia.  Pictured above, a vacant lot where a house used to stand.  Guess it got reduced to rubble during the war…

Very simple, ramshackle shops/houses …

… sit right next to mega-mansions housing the uber-rich and/or the uber well-connected people within the Cambodian government.

Arrival at Sokha Beach, the most pristine beach in the area, made so by the daily cleaning of any and all rubbish that washes up, or blows over from other areas.

The next day, I planned to take a trip uptown to get my visa for Vietnam processed (visas for the country need to be pre-arranged, they are NOT issued on arrival), so I hired a moto driver for $1 USD and headed for the Vietnam consulate…

On the way there, I observed that the local anti-littering initative is not taking hold just yet, it would seem…

Indeed, land pollution, along with the extreme poverty  witnessed in many parts of Sihanoukville, stand out as this region’s greatest challenges moving forward.

After enduring the rough parts of my visit to this Cambodian beach town, it was time to relax … curling up in a basket chair with a prime view of the town’s fishing fleet, anchored in the shallows…

Enjoying a glass of $0.75 Anchor draught while I contemplated my next destination, Phnom Penh…

After darkness began to fall over the town, I made my way back to Koh Pos Guesthouse to prepare for an early morning … for it was then I was to depart for Cambodia’s chaotic capital, Phnom Penh!



  1. Great blog, James.

    • Thanks Mom! 🙂

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