March 9, 2019 Sihanoukville NCL Jewel South East Asia March 4, 2019 We disembarked in Sihanoukville, Cambodia with a very open mind, knowing full well that we will not have the same comfort and luxury that we are used to, that we often take for granted. There was a money exchange kiosk setup just for cruise passengers. One could only hate this place or fall for it, no in-between. Those who do not like this port will even be more so, with the exorbitant visa fees that NCL charges. This is a country where cruise tourism is a relatively new phenomenon, and it shows in its rustic port, transportation facilities and the environment. The economy is therefore very dependent on tourism as new infrastructure are popping up at a rapid pace. We had booked a private tour by Tuk Tuk for 5-6 hours with www.sihanoukvilleguideservice.com, with the full amount payable to the guide at the end of the tour. Aya, our guide is also the owner, speaks perfect English, picked us up at 8.30am, just outside gate 01 about 800m from the ship. NCL provides a shuttle from Port to the city for $15 pp. What NCL did not advertise was a free shuttle from Port to Gate 01. As we had a 6-yr old with us, Aya substituted our Tuk Tuk with a vehicle, fully air-conditioned. There was Aya, the driver and the three of us. We later realised that most roads that we drove on were not asphalted such that there was considerable amount of dust that we would have otherwise been subjected to. We visited the Phsar Leu Market, Phsar Leu Pagoda, Kbal Chhay Waterfall, the Starfish Bakery & Cafe for a cold beer, the beautiful Otres beach and went back to Phsar Leu Market, at our request, to have a bite and to complete our shopping. Aya was a wealth of information and one can only see Cambodia, through the eyes of a local. A percentage of her earnings go towards the children's foundation. Our hearts melted at the will power of the people to come out of the state of their country in order to rebuild their future. This will be a long journey and we cannot turn our back on them.
Private tour. Lots of information given by guide and taken to Kbal Chhay Waterfalls which was an outdoor meeting area (raised platforms with roofs and hammocks) for businesses and local families. Impressive Golden Lion monument on a roundabout. Two temples, both impressive, one with lots of monkeys around. Really impressed with what is a very poor country trying to recover from a dark period in its history.
Visited: Nov 10, 2017
This will be a great country once they get it together. It's very dirty with trash everywhere and people just struggling. We went on a bus tour that was pretty intense. Terrible traffic and congestion everywhere. I had a hard time changing money and never found an ATM. The bills look alike so it was hard to see if I was getting ripped off. Definitely hold on to your purse here! They are doing a lot of construction in Sihanoukville and surrounding, but it looks a way off before they're prosperous. Bathrooms. Um. No. Just a hole in the floor here! No Uber.
Visited: Feb 28, 2018
This to me was one of the most interesting experiences. We live in Thailand for 4 months each year and this port and town is truly pepresnts a 3rd world country. The contrast between rich, poor and the influx of Chinese $ is astonishing. Speaking to the local,people, that is going to be a real problem with all the Chinese casinos being built. We rented a taxi and went to a beach resort where the contrast was even greater. The owner of the resort flew in on his private helicopter while we were there. It even added more to the disparity between the rich and working Cambodians. It has such potential, but it might be quite a few years before there will be a noticeable change..the garbage strewn around and lack of sidewalks was the most glaring and probably what was most obvious reason for this review. It really makes you appreciate the lifestyle we who are more fortunate are able to afford.
Visited: Dec 20, 2018
Nothing much to see nearby but I managed to check out white horse garden which is just outside the port. There are also locals offering your services at the port.
I am a runner. I run on every Port I'm visiting. Big mistake on this one. Stinky open sewer, dusty. But the people are nice though. We went to the beach and there's a lot of vendors that sell seafoods. Price is good. I have a love and hate feeling about the place.
The port does not have a lot to offer. We hailed a taxi for a few hours and toured a couple of temples, the market, had a beer at Jean Jean and then went to Independence Beach. It was enlightening and interesting. As the only port in Cambodia, it provided a glimpse into this changing area.
Visited: Dec 20, 2017
Small area still developing. No tours per se, but negotiate a tuk tuk to drive you around for a couple of hours
Visited: Dec 20, 2017
Used the shuttle to go into town. Incredibly poor but mostly dirty. Couldn’t wait to get back on the ship. Next day we took a little excursion which was interesting and informative. Temple rather different from the ones we saw in Bangkok and I mean that in a positive way. Only things that were well kept were the temples and the enormous number of casinos where the locals were not allowed to go. Could have done with just one day in the place.
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