A Visit to Klang Leu

When you drive into or out of Sihanoukville on Route 4, you pass an uninspiring looking row of retail shops. That’s the visible part of Klang Leu. What you don’t see is the residential district just behind the shops. Sopheak’s sister lives there and we visit now and then. It’s like another world from Sihanoukville.

klang leu near Sihanoukville Cambodia

Klang Leu and Route 4

I took the shortcut to Klang Leu. It took less than 10 minutes to get there from the new Douceur du Cambodge (Artisan Cafe). They moved from their old location between Samudera Supermarket and Psah Leu on the 1st of September. Now they’re on Ekareach Street next to the Sokimex station. The new place is much larger and nicer than the old, but they haven’t upped their prices.

Artisan Cafe Ekareach Street Sihanoukville CambodiaThe shortcut takes you up a steep cement street that is often crowded with traffic moving too fast for such a narrow road. The first thing I noticed was that building was going on even here. This large apartment building wasn’t there the last time I took the road

back road to sihanoukvilleYou can barely see the little roads that lead to the residential district of Klang Leu. A couple of them are paved, but the paving peters out quickly and the dirt roads get rougher the further you ride. After just a couple of hundred metres, you feel like you’re in rural Cambodia. The houses are simpler and wide areas separate them. I took this photo at a birthday party, but if you look at the background, you get the idea.

Klang Leu residential area near Sihanoukville CambodiaKlang Leu isn’t a rich suburb, but it’s not poor, either. Most of the people have jobs at the port, the nearby Cambrew Brewery or in town. It has a rural feel and most of the people seem happy. I ran across these boys playing with their homemade kites and they all smiled when I asked them if I could take their photograph.

kids with kites in klang leuWe have our eye on a piece of land in Klang Leu. We’re not likely to sell our house, but if we could, we would buy it. It’s a large parcel and has hard title. It has a wonderful view and a rural feel, but it’s just 10 or 15 minutes away from Sihanoukville. I imagine we’d have to improve the access road. It’s hard to get down even in the dry season, but 20 or 30 metres of gravel doesn’t cost that much and the land is cheap at the far edge of Klang Leu.

So next time you’re on Route 4 and you pass one of the many dusty towns along the road, don’t judge what you see by the shops on the side of the road. Behind those shops are thriving villages where Cambodians live much as they lived before the Khmer Rouge.

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About Rob Schneider

Rob Schneider is a writer based in Sihanoukville, Cambodia, where he has lived since 2006.
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3 Responses to A Visit to Klang Leu

  1. John says:

    Hi Bob,
    you wrote this story earlier this month and obviously you did not come to the area where I live with my wife for two years now. About 1 km after the entrance and then 300 m left. We have had a situation like war for over five weeks but now it seems to have come to an end since Sept 26. A group of people tried to hog a piece of land about the size of ten hectars with the aim to sell it again. People have been cutting trees at night for weeks, soldiers shooting in the forest, police arresting people but they wouldn’t stop. On Sept. 26 a huge amount of soldiers and policemen tore down about ten hastily built huts. The deputy mayor and the chief of justice were present and I almost got arrested for making a video when they came to my neighbours house to arrest a woman who fled there. We have had a horrible five weeks and we were about to abandon our house when this all happened. But now it seems as peaceful as before.

    • Wow! Whenever I’ve been there, it’s been peaceful and quiet. I’ve heard stories about land scams there. Some people try to sell land they don’t have title for (and can’t get).

  2. Richard says:

    Thanks Rob
    Between your informative posts and Google maps, I keep adding to my mental picture of our area.
    Keep ém commin’ please.

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