Why I like living in Sihanoukville

I started this blog because I hadn’t read many positive blogs or articles about living in Sihanoukville. Most of them focused on the worse parts of the city and others made stuff up. That includes some mainstream publications. I read one article in the Sydney Morning Herald that said half-built hotels were “derelict” and wouldn’t be finished. If the writer returned to Sihanoukville, she would see they have all been completed.

I wanted to avoid making my site personal, so I’ve written little about why I like it here. It’s a blog, so I should be able to write what I want to. I have no idea why I made up that rule, so here’s . . .

Why I like living in Sihanoukville

I could focus on the negatives, but I chose to focus on the positive things about living here. Negatives include trash on the beaches. I don’t like it, but I can ignore it and focus on the warm water and beautiful views. Here’s a photo of one of my favourite swimming beaches. I still call it Victory Beach because it’s near Victory Hill, but I’m not sure it’s called that any more.

living in Sihanoukville: beautiful beachesI used to go to the other side of the pier, but now I go to this side. For one thing, they keep the beach clean on this side. Since they tore down the Airport on the other side of the pier, no one picks up the trash on the beach. This little restaurant serves coconut milk straight out of the coconut and other snacks. They also look after my stuff for me. I gave them my phone and wallet yesterday and the waitress didn’t steal any money. During the week, the only sound is the lapping of wavelets against the shore. On weekends, children play on the pier and you can hear them laughing as they jump off the pier and play on their rope swing.

When it’s not windy, I go swimming at Sokha Beach. When it’s windy, Victory Beach is sheltered from most of the wind. Yesterday, for example, there were whitecaps at Independence Beach and even more whitecaps at Sokha Beach. There were none at Victory Beach.

I love to swim. The water is always warm here and I can always find a place to swim. That’s one reason why I like living here. Another reason is that I am able to support a family on my freelance writing income here and indulge in daily cappuccinos and dinners out. If I lived in Australia, I’d only be able to support myself and would rarely if ever be able to indulge even in a cappuccino. Here I can have one or two cappuccinos every day and have my pick of restaurants. I can get a good meal and two small glasses of wine for $5.00 at one Cambodian restaurant. If I go upmarket, I can get a delicious Italian meal and a glass of wine for $7.50.

living in Sihanoukville: good restaurantsThese are my two current favourite restaurants. They’re both on the Hill, but they both serve delicious food. I usually go to Irina Franca because Raphael’s is more popular and I can’t sit outside. Irina is a wonderful Russian woman who serves home made Russian and Italian food. Both restaurants are reasonably priced. I’m not a big fan of the Hill, but the food is good and there is less traffic when I go in that direction.

Swimming and food are two reasons why I like living in Sihanoukville, but they’re not the only reasons. I was able to make freelance writing my career here because I could afford to. The first year was tough and I didn’t start making enough to indulge myself until about 2013. Now I’m making a reasonable living and freelance writing is the first job I’ve had I really enjoy. I’ve had others that were okay, but I love freelance writing. In Australia I could only do it sporadically. I made good money on articles for print publications, but never enough to make a career of it.

The reason I’ve written this article is because some people think I’d be better off in Australia. I disagree. I live comfortably here and have a Cambodian family. I get a lot of pleasure out of knowing I’m being of service to my family. In Australia I’d only be able to take care of myself. Living in Cambodia has made my life fuller than it would be in Australia. Australia was great, but times have changed. I like living in Sihanoukville for the reasons stated above and more. The city is growing fast and we’re talking about moving, but I don’t think I’ll leave Cambodia.It feels like home to me now.

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About Rob Schneider

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

10 Responses to Why I like living in Sihanoukville

  1. Hello, nice to see someone blogging about Cambodia; it’s difficult to find quality blogs on the country. Anyway, I am also a freelance writer with a family I want to move to Cambodia. However, my family only consists of myself and my 4-year-old daughter. Can you elaborate on the cost of living there? Housing, schooling, food, are my main questions. Is the schooling all day long or just a few hours? Any info you could offer would be awesome. Maybe you have another post that goes more in depth? I don’t know, I’ll search now, but I await your reply 🙂

    • Apartment prices are going up I’m told. It’s because Chinese are snapping them up by offering more money. Internet is good here and living is still less expensive than other countries. I live quite comfortably on the money I make freelance writing. It wouldn’t be the case in Australia or the U.S. I also support a family of five.

      • I’ve read schooling is quite inexpensive. Seems like for such a low-cost they might be lacking in something. Can you offer any opinion on the quality of education there at such a low cost?

        • I send two kids to a private school. Costs around $850 a year. I sent one to an English school that was more expensive, but he wasn’t learning anything. My daughter can read full sentences and spell a lot of words, so I think cost is not the only consideration. Another school costs $1000 per child, but I don’t think it’s any better than the one we’re sending them to.

  2. Antony says:

    Hi there, I’m glad you can afford a good living with tour family in a place that you like.
    Also congratulations for your amazing rankings on Google! I think you’re 1st or 2nd for “living in Sihanoukville”.. I live in Thailand with my wife and I really want to take a break from here, and Cambodia seems like a good spot for a relaxing vacation! Any reasonably prived hotel that you would recommend me? Possibly without many girls-chasing old farangs around 😉
    Cheers, thanks!

  3. Rebecca says:

    I have a question for you, Rob. You mentioned that you support your family easily there, but it sounds like your wife and children were all born and raised in Cambodia. Is this true? I have a single friend who moved to Sihanoukville and is really living the life, but with kids to feed and educate, it seems like it could be difficult. Do you think it would be easy for an American family to move to and reside in Cambodia?

    • School is pretty inexpensive here. About $60 per month. I also pay $15 a day for food. In exchange, the family cleans the house; does the laundry; and takes care of anything that needs fixing. I get a lot of satisfaction from knowing the kids go to school and are well-fed. I also can make as much in a day as most Cambodians make in a month. If I lived in Australia or the U.S., I’d only be able to support myself and couldn’t go out for coffee or dinner. I think you need to check it out first and then decide. Some people don’t adapt to the culture as well as others. More families are moving here, but most of them are from Europe.

  4. Conor says:

    I like you positive comments.Too often only negative comments are posted. Sihanoukville is a great place to live and getting better. No country is 100% safe and here is much better than it was six years ago. The people are very friendly and treat you well as long as you do the same. Too many barang think they are better than Cambodians and treat them like 2nd class citizens. We are lucky that we are allowed to stay here without too much red tape. Visa regulations are changing and many troublemakers and law breakers might have difficulty renewing their visas. Let’s respect the country we call home.

  5. Steve Stewart says:

    Always an enjoyable read Rob; you capture many of my thoughts (although I haven’t yet taken the plunge and gone ‘full time’ in Sihanoukville). I always look to see if you have found any new places; one such place a while back was ‘Ocean Box Cafe’ and you have also referred to ‘Yasmine’; both far classier versions of restaurants/ bars than you might expect to find!

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