SihanoukVille, Cambodia

Things to know in SihanoukVille

Golden Lions
Traveller Information

It's all fun and Games

if you know what you're doing.  Where's a doctor when you need one?  Where's the ATM machine? Why is it so crowded today, when there was nobody here yesterday?




Travel Information......Things you need to know

The two official currencies of Cambodia are the Riel and US Dollar. Most small purchases are made in Cambodian Riel, and larger amounts (over a few dollars) are made in US currency. The current exchange rate is about 4,000 Cambodian Riel to one US dollar. You can exchange Thai Baht and Euros in some places as well. The banks all have VISA and Master Card withdrawal services, but check on withdrawal fees first if possible.   And then there's Western Union in an emergency.  Money can be transferred by phone within the country for a 50 cent or more fee.

Money Part 2
Dollars, dollars, everywhere, but you can't spend them all. Be careful when accepting large bills, as there are a few counterfeits out there. Also be warned: U.S. dollars ($5 and up) with small rips, writing on the bill, or too old will not be accepted anywhere. Don't accept it from anyone, don't expect other people to take this money from you either. Cambodian currency, the Riel, can be torn, taped, or look like it was printed at Angkor Wat 1,000 years ago, and it's OK to use. Check out UCB Bank downtown. Also, Mekong Bank, Cambodian Public Bank, ACLEDA, Canadia BankCambodia Asia Bank, located downtown on Ekareach Street, is the only bank opened on Sundays, nights, and holidays.   Next to them is Maybank, with the only no fee ATM in town.  $5 fee.

Some of these banks also have Western Union services. Recently, there've been a lot of ATM machines going in all over town as well.  Banks charge a fee up to $7 for ATM withdrawals.  Some charge 1%, or 2% fee, with a minimum of $2, and some charge watch out.

Help, I need a doctor
Medical services are very basic in SihanoukVille, and a bit better in Phnom Penh. Malaria is common in the jungles, but not in SihanoukVille.  Most all drugs can be purchased over the counter at dozens of pharmacies in town.   Chamroeun Chanlida Pharmacy has 2 locations and is the most Western in town.  The SihanoukVille Hospital is also open 24 hours, as are a couple dozen other clinics and hospitals....

Customs and Culture
Cambodia is a Buddhist country.  Monks walk around in the morning, collecting food and money to maintain the Wats (Buddhist Temples).  Most people light incense in their homes and businesses in the evenings.  The Cambodian people are generally very polite and respectful, and expect the same in return.  The also joke a lot.  The Buddhist religion is very tolerant of all views.

If you have any problem or disagreement here, best to smile and speak quietly and politely.  Showing anger or disrespect is only likely to cause more trouble.

HolidaysEvery week or three comes a yearly holiday.  Banks and government institutions are closed, but most other places are open for business.  In SihanoukVille, holidays (holiday schedule) are usually crowded with tourists from Phnom Penh.  If you see a holiday comes on a weekend, expect the following Monday to be a holiday as well.  Khmer's like to party like the rest of us.  Maybe even more!

Some people have it here, some don't.  If you are having it, make sure (guys) wrap it up.  "Number One" in Cambodia is a condom, not a number, and it costs about 25 cents each.  Use it. 

You can get your Cambodian Visa at most overland borders and at the 2 international airports, (for citizens of most countries), if you don't have one already.  A tourist visa cost $30 (plus whatever else they can get out of you if you come in by land), and you must have 2 photos.  It's good for 30 days and can be renewed once, while you're in the country, for another 30 days at around $55.
Also, in SihanoukVille, you can get a visa for Vietnam within a day, and at the best price in the world.  Stop by Ana Internet & Travel for more information.

The islands of SihanoukVille are primitive and mostly unspoiled (for the moment).  There's no public electric here.  (Koh Rong Island currently has electricity)  The bungalows and restaurants on the islands usually use a generator a few hours or more in the evening.   220 Volts.  The town has had several blackouts recently, and we don't have any information on if or when this will end.

Most businesses in town have a backup generator, and electricity works about 98% of the time or less here.

Police are everywhere in Cambodia.  But it's usually hard to find one when you need help.  Remember, if you want service, the $150 monthly salary of police doesn't cover all their cost.  If you need help, expect to pay for it.  

Telephone and Internet:
When calling Cambodia from overseas, the country extension is 855. Any phone number starting with a "0", you should not dial the "0" when calling from overseas. 

You can get a tourist SIM card for about $2, for both phone and internet, and local calls are 8 cents per minute, (less for international calls).  You can also get internet SIM cards for 3GB of 4G data per month for only $5, or $1 for one week and 1GB.  ($8 gets you 80GB a month, 4G)

Otherwise just call from your internet phone on Wi-Fi, which is free in over 3,000 places here.

Tourists can drive bicycles, small 100cc motorcycles, big dirt bikes.  BUT NOW, you don't want to drive on the road in most places.  Traffic has increased greatly, the roads have deteriorated greatly, and the driving skills of foreigners from one country have made the roads a dangerous place to drive, for those who aren't used to it.

UPDATE.  You can now use PassApp on your phone to get a Tuk Tuk very quickly, and at a great price.  Use it.

 Traffic travels on the RIGHT side of the road, except when it doesn't, and there are very few laws that are actually enforced.  #1 is don't turn your headlights on in the daytime.  #2 wear a motorcycle helmet.  #3 seems to be if your a foreigner, you'll be stopped and ticketed.  Cambodian driver's licenses cost about $40, require a day in Phnom Penh at the government office, and require paperwork and a half dozen photos.  You'll also need your original valid driver's license.  (oh, and you have to live here as well and have residency papers.)  While Cambodians don't seem to need licenses starting at 8 years old, foreigners are required to have one.  International Drivers Licenses apparently don't count.  Also, you must wear a motorcycle helmet (or any kind of helmet) when you're driving a motorcycle.  Beware of stopping at a red light, as you might get hit from behind.  Beware of going through a green light, as you might get sideswiped.  If the light is red and green at the same time, WATCH OUT.  If the stoplight is not working, it very well could be working in the other directions.  There are no stop signs here (there're 2 now, although one is installed backwards).  In general, BEWARE!  As a foreigner, you're at fault in almost every accident, regardless of who caused the accident.  And then there's the medical services (or lack thereof)

UPDATE! Watch out for the traffic light downtown that has green lights in both directions, then changes to no light in both directions.  Not funny!

Khmer is the language of Cambodia.  Some of the people older than 60 can speak some French.  Most all the students here learn English (and now Chinese).  Most all of the tourist places you will find in SihanoukVille have some English speakers.  Several foreigners have businesses here from over 50 different countries, speaking their native languages.  Tourism is still new to Cambodia, so you might like to try using some Khmer words such as "Please" and "Thank You" and you should be pleased by the response.

Post Office.
We've got a new post office. Just make sure to deliver your mail directly to the post office and get it stamped (the stamp they put over the stamp) as sometimes the stamps fall off before it is not delivered.

A Great page on Travel Information in SihanoukVille, Cambodia from ANA Travel.

at the sihanoukville bus station

convenience store

national bank of cambodia

sihanoukville police phone numbers

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