Sihanoukville from the hill

One of the best places to contemplate Sihanoukville is the Leu Hill. I use to call it the ‘Holy Mountain’ because it has at its top the Leu Pagoda and at its foot the Catholic Church. From this place you can appreciate the future of one of the most important cities of Cambodia.

I like the red roofs of most buildings. They contrast with the green views, because the city has a wonderful care for tress along its streets and parks. I really think that the best place of Cambodia is this Bahia of Sihanoukville: hills, sea, woods, houses with red roof, islands… There are not archaeological sites, of course. This is also the newest Cambodian cities and it was build after the Independence in 1953 by Norodom Sihanouk.

The population is something between 300,000 and 700,000. There is not an official census so far. I guess that the established population (I am one among them) is about 300,000. Looking to the town from the hill you can conclude such number. But as it is a growing place in many sectors and it means that there is a moving population that can double it. At the same time, Sihanoukville has a big area that includes places like Ream – where it is the airport – and many others. I am sorry I have to say things like ‘I guess that’, but there is not an official census to relay on. I have one of 2001 that puts numbers in 200,000. Therefore, I have to do things upon calculations.

The downtown, what we can see on the picture, could be 200,000 in population. From the hill we are above the CETE area. It is written CT, but Cambodians pronounce it in French. At the right of CT is the Leu Market and the Ekerea Street, going to the Golden Lions Square. At the left from the hill you have a good view of the port. You can appreciate the islands in the Bahia.

New constructions are under way. Especially hotel complexes and villas. There is already an idea that Sihanoukville must become an important city not only because it is the only deep sea international port of Cambodia, but also for its tourism. I would create a more thoughtful urban plan of the city. What I do not see is the cultural areas: libraries, galleries, theaters and more dedication to preserve the rich natural environments.


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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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