The nights of the king in Sihanoukville

Sihanoukville becomes the capital of Cambodia every holiday. It is now a tradition that  thousands of Phnom Penh families move to the beaches’ city to enjoy their holidays.

The not-yet enough avenues of the youngest Cambodian city become full of modern cars with the Phnom Penh plaque everywhere. Different to high seasons for international tourism when Sihanoukville is invaded by Western tourists, the holidays belong entirely to Cambodians.

O’Cheteal is crowed by Cambodian families. They stayed one or two nights on the beaches, before they take the NR4 back to Phnom Penh to continue the busy life of the capital.

Cambodians are less complicated than many foreigners for enjoying the beaches. They even can sleep on them, without the worry to pay any guest house, hostel or hotel. Tends are enough and cooking on the places is just fun and more delicious than getting a sophisticate menu of an expensive restaurant with names in Barang letters.

Dancing is part of the travel. Fires and game fires will thunder all the night. Games and walks through the growing capital of the south of Cambodia. Sadly, there is not yet a hygiene awareness and garbage on the beaches will be their main proof. You can see their children throwing waste to the sea in front to the indifferent faces of their parents and the scandalized eyes of some foreigners.

The city is now the favorite place of those who live in Phnom Penh. It is good news, especially for our local economy. At the same time, it gives a more Cambodian face to a city that seems at the hands of barangs. Little by little all those business made exclusively for foreigners, with titles in English and French, might open their options to the Cambodians, the authentic owners of the country.

You cannot find a single computer in the café Internet’s city with Khmer Unicode fonts. They are prepared only for foreigners.

Other thing that must be included in the city is the creation of a more lively cultural life: libraries, movie houses, theaters, clubs… they must be a part of what is a city, especially thinking in the local youth.


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About Albeiro Rodas

Albeiro Rodas (in Cambodia Sky Ly Samnang), is a MA in Digital Communication, independent journalist and a Salesian of Don Bosco from Amalfi, Colombia, based in Cambodia since 1999. He is the creator of the Don Bosco schools of journalism in Sihanoukville and Kep with young people from poor communities and the founder of the Don Bosco Kep Children Fund. Medal for Social Commitment UPB (2010); among the 100 more upstanding Colombians abroad (Marca Colombia, 2012, and among the 12 Colombians that are making this a better world 2013 (

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