Introduction

Located in Sihaknouk Posted by Peng Bunchheang

Sihanoukville is a coastal city in Cambodia and the capital city of Sihanoukville province, located at the tip of an elevated peninsula in the country's south-west at the Gulf of Thailand. The city is flanked by an almost uninterrupted string of beaches along its entire coastline and coastal marshlands bordering the Ream National Park in the East. A number of thinly inhabited islands - under Sihanoukville's administration - are in the city's proximity, where in recent years moderate development has helped to attract a sizable portion of Asia's individual travelers, young students and back-packers.

The city, which was named in honor of former king Norodom Sihanouk, had a population of around 89.800 people and approximately 66.700 in its urban center in the year 2008. Sihanoukville city encompasses the greater part of four of the five communes (Sangkats) of Sihanoukville provinces' Mittakpheap District.

This rather young city has evolved parallel to the construction of the Sihanoukville Autonomous Port, which commenced in June 1955, as the country's gateway to direct and unrestricted international sea trade. The only deep water port in Cambodia includes a mineral Oil terminal and a transport logistics facility. As a consequence, the city grew to become a leading national center of trade, commerce, transport and process manufacturing.

Sihanoukville's many beaches and nearby islands make it Cambodia's premier Seaside resort with steadily rising numbers of national visitors and international tourists over the course of the last two decades. As a result of its economic diversity, the region's natural beauty and the considerable recreational potential, a constantly increasing number of seasonal and permanent foreign residents make Sihanoukville one of the culturally most varied and dynamic population centers in Cambodia.

Despite being the country’s premier sea side destination, the town and its infrastructure remain after decades of war and upheaval very much disjointed and architecturally unimpressive. Infrastructure problems persist, in particular related to water - and power supply, international standard health facilities remain limited.

As the tourism sector is by 2014 still insignificant in comparison with neighboring Thailand, Sihanoukville's future will largely be defined by the authorities' capability of a successfully balanced management in order to protect and conserve natural resources on the one hand and the necessities of island and - urban development, increasing visitor numbers, expanding infrastructure, the industrial sector and population growth on the other.

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