Fire Destroys Popular Sihanoukville Backpacker Hangouts

While I was out swimming at Otres Beach today, I noticed black plumes of smoke in the distance. It was definitely a big fire, but it looked much further away than the Golden Lions. I thought maybe it was in the port area and then, frankly, forgot all about it. When I got home a couple of hours later, I discovered the fire had destroyed several popular Sihanoukville backpacker hangouts, including Mick & Craig’s, Monkey Republic and the Dive Shop.

mick & craigs in sihanoukville destroyed by fire

All that remains of Mick & Craig’s is the sign

I didn’t get the names at the time, but was just told the fire was “close Ana Internet,” so I jumped back on my motorbike and rode over to have a look. Foolishly, I let 6 year old Lita and 5 year old Luna talk me into taking them with me. After getting a few photos, I realised what a bad idea that had been and took them back home. There were way too many people, motorbikes, cars and fire trucks to make me feel like the girls were safe.

monkey republic in sihanoukville cambodia destroyed by fire

A Monkey Republic fan surveys the devastation

I don’t have any verifiable details about the fire, but according to family members who went there, it started at about noon; the cause was a short circuit or other electrical problem; and the fire trucks, which are stationed outside of town in Klang Leu, didn’t arrive until 2 hours later. At first I was told that 5 businesses were destroyed, but later the number was upped to 9. I only saw the 5, but apparently several others were behind the street front businesses.

The Dive Shop, Sihanoukville Cambodia destroyed by fire

The Dive Shop gone, but their sandwich board remains

Mick & Craig’s and Monkey Republic were Sihanoukville institutions that thrived even back when Sihanoukville was far less popular than it is today. They were the kinds of businesses I thought would be there forever. They were in a prime location and had nice long leases. What could possibly go wrong? All I know of the Dive Shop is that once when I went in asking for information, the proprietor invited me to go out to the islands on a clean up day with him. I had to pass, but appreciated the offer.

fire truck after devastating Sihanoukville fire

Fire truck douses the embers

Well I won’t jabber on. When and if I hear more, I’ll update this post. In the meantime, here are some photos I took with my phone.

crowd after fire on Serendipity Road, Sihanoukville Cambodia

The fire drew a huge crowd

About Rob Schneider

Rob Schneider is a writer based in Sihanoukville, Cambodia, where he has lived since 2006.
Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Fire Destroys Popular Sihanoukville Backpacker Hangouts

  1. louie says:

    Admit I was rather rude. But I have experience that triggered that response. I think it’s irresponsible to take young dependents on bikes… on or off road.

  2. Linda Grey says:

    Maybe now monkey burn not so many drugs available in sihanoukville and it will be a better place for a holida

  3. louie says:

    I wonder whether it’s out of ignorance, or lack of funds to buy safer transport, that you would risk young dependents’ lives on a motorbike.

    • Rude much? Although your self-righteously judgemental comment doesn’t really merit a reply, I’ll just repeat what I wrote in my post:

      “Foolishly, I let 6 year old Lita and 5 year old Luna talk me into taking them with me. After getting a few photos, I realised what a bad idea that had been and took them back home. There were way too many people, motorbikes, cars and fire trucks to make me feel like the girls were safe.”

      In other words, their safety is uppermost in my mind. There’s nothing unsafe about motorbikes per se, but they are a worry in traffic. That’s why I take quiet side roads when I have passengers.

    • Sean Austin says:

      Louie……you’re an idiot…!!

      Obviously one that has no clue about Asia, motorbikes, S’ville, or anything else probably. Better to shut your pie-hole when you’ve got nothing of merit to say.

      • I was thinking along the same lines, Sean, but tried to be a little more tactful.

        • Sean Austin says:

          Lol… it was just such an idiotic, uninformed comment.

          You definitely showed restraint.

          Btw, I saw the fire also. Shocking. Even more so to look at how far back it burned.

          Read in the Post that there was no water for fire trucks when they first arrived.

          Most restaurants have had to dig wells to deal with chronic water shortages but Monkey didn’t have one and likely couldn’t put out fire when it started.

          Sad.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>