The Occheuteal Pedestrian Beach opens

Sihanoukville – A kilometer pedestrian beach along Occheutel is the new feature in town this month. Works to complete it began early year and now it changes the face of the most popular beach in town.

The ticket for parking at

I went along the pedestrian taking pictures and videos with my young reporters. In fact, it gives another perspective of the place: more organized, cleaner and easy to access. The beach is oriented south-east to north-west and it is more than one kilometer. Businesses were asked to follow a common design with a handsome thatch roof. Parking areas still under construction behind the restaurants and bars in front to the Kanda Street (the way along the beach.) Parking the vehicle in those areas cost 2,000 riels fee.

We talked with the owners of a bar-restaurant that is located at the most northern side of Occheutel. A Khmer couple, they were too keen to show their place. You will see them in the video soon. Both of them were satisfied with the pedestrian way, because it gives more comfort to the visitors. There is a hope that more visitors will come to enjoy the Sihanoukville beaches.

Even we are in the raining season and many complain of the low number of tourists, you can see everywhere on the beaches Western tourists alone or in group. Holidays see the coming of Cambodians visitors from Phnom Penh.

A group of four persons from Sweden at the bar – also in the video – said that Cambodia is a very beautiful and safe country. When I ask what they think was lacking in the country as international tourism, they answered that nothing, they like the country as it is.

What is lacking

A group of young European tourists in the Occheutel beach in Sihanoukville. 'Cambodia is a friendly and safe country,' they said to us.

However there are things lacking.

Of course, we are on an infrastructure development process that takes its time and needs its investment:

1. There is not a tourist or civic police on the beach. I would like to see among the line of restaurants, a tiny police station with at lest two tourist policemen or policewoman ready to guarantee security. You can say that the beach is safe and it is true, at least on a simple general view. The function of tourist police is to prevent accidents and incidents.

Now well, Sihanoukville has been spotted as a pedophile heaven and in a special way the Occheutel beach. If it is so true, everybody talks about it, journalists have reported so extensive about it, why we do not have tourist police in the Occheutel beach? Prevention is better than any other method to guarantee child safety and it is at large less traumatic. By sure, possible pedophiles will restrain to contact minors on the Occheutel beach if there are a couple of friendly policemen or policewomen going around, doing their duty as tourist guards as in any other corner of the planet.

Children at the beach during the night selling things to visitors. How to improve their standard of life?

2. Now that we talk about children, we can see the presence of them on the beach as sellers and beggars. Children doing that on the beach means that they have to do so, because their standard of life is too low. Most of them attend school, but there are some of them that cannot do it. A good solution would be to ban children from stay at the beach at any time of the day or the night, at least they are with a responsible adult. This kind of ruling has been applied in many other countries with pedophile risks like some places of Thailand and Colombia. It works, of course. No alone children and minors on the beaches. But in Cambodia this proposal should be done with care, because it can conduct to another kind of abuse. Many of those children, as it was pointed out, do not find other way of survival than work. We get then another problem: child labor. Banning children from stay at the beach must be supported by an alternative to improve their standard of life, guaranteeing their schooling and feeding.

3. It seems that safe practices for water sport on the beach still poor. As well as we miss the tourist police, we miss the safeguard. Of course, nobody has been reported drowned, at least near the beach and by such eventuality, there will be many improvised safeguards, but it would give a best impression if we have a safeguard tower on the beach watching the bathers.

 

The works for the Occheutel pedestrian beach this year.

Changing the face of the place.

 

You can have a look at the prices and menu in an Occheutel beach restaurant as November 17, 2010.

Young Cambodian tourists from Phnom Penh playing at the beach.

The presence of children at the beach as beggars or sellers is a common feature of the place. It would be better to ban their presence?

Child recyclers at Occheutel Beach. These boys live from gathering cans and bottles. How we can improve their standard of life and take them out of the streets and beaches?

Another common feature of Occheutel Beach: this 'blind' man walks along the beach with his two small daughters begging to tourists. How to improve their standard of life?

At the middle of the pedestrian beach, there is this small square known now as 'The Two Dolphins' for the monument to this beautiful creatures that use to travel through the Bahia in certain times of the year.

There is something that has not discussion: the views in Sihanoukville are wonderful, in summer or in raining season, an artist would enjoy it very much and get inspiration.

Another character of Occheutel: This lady goes along the beach selling sea fruits. She comes from the fishing village.

Child artisans trying to sell handworks to foreign visitors at the beach.

... and my young Cambodian reporters of Don Bosco, walking throughout the new Occheutel pedestrian beach , learning to see their country with other eyes , walking throughout their own history and society with the mind of Hermes ...

3 thoughts on “The Occheuteal Pedestrian Beach opens

  1. Hi Fr,

    Thanks for sharing these recent updates in Sihanoukville. The pathway makes the place look neat and inviting! I like the idea of having lifeguards for the safety of swimmers at the beach and having some police officers stationed at beaches to enhance safety not only for tourists and locals, but also for children at risk of abuse and slavery. No doubt these suggestions would improve Cambodia’s image and most definitely, its popularity as a tourist destination. :)

    • Who is willing to help me contacting a girl who stays every night after 01:00 in the Utopia bar.
      Please help.
      Her name is Tida, i send you a photo if you are willing to contact her for me.
      I would be thankfull for ever.

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