When I started the Sihanoukville Journal, it was because I saw a lot of good things in this town. I hadn’t read many positive reviews, but I think that was because people didn’t notice the village atmosphere of most of the town. All that’s changing, though, and we’re moving to Kampot. It’s not just us, either. I was talking to a friend the other day and he named six people he knew who were moving there. He has bought land in Kampot and another friend moved to a rural area near Kampot.
I went on a motorbike ride from our house to Serendipity Beach today. It was a short ride, but I saw an astounding number of high rises. The first one I ran across was D’Seaview. It’s a huge development designed for wealthy people. I can see it rising in the distance from my office and they work on it day and night. I know this because I see glowing lights and the crane turning at night.
D’Seaview is opposite Pearl City, which was the first large development. I have no idea when it will be finished, but it’s huge. I continued down the road and turned left and ran across another large development. This is what it is going to look like when it’s finished.
Then I turned left at the end of the road and continued up towards the Golden Lions. I didn’t get far before I saw another big development. This one hasn’t been started yet, but they seem to go up fast now that heavy equipment has arrived in Sihanoukville.
I thought I was going to get some respite from the developments until I got to Ochheuteal Beach, but I was wrong. These two developments are very close to the Golden Lions and there are now about eight casinos in the Serendipity Beach area.
I knew where I was going next. i wanted to take a picture of the now naked Ochheuteal Beach. There used to be a series of restaurants here, but they have been torn down to make way for a huge resort (and probably casino) right on the beach. This is what it looks like now.
The long green fence marks the span of this development. I’ve seen a drawing of it and it is huge.
This is what I photographed along a short distance. I posted some photographs of developments elsewhere in an earlier post, Development in Sihanoukville. Even those photos were the tip of the iceberg. Wherever you go in Sihanoukville, you see resorts (usually near the beach), casinos (even on side streets) and apartment buildings going up.
It’s not the Sihanoukville I used to know and I don’t like all the developments. Kampot is a quieter town and not slated to have 60 or 70 casinos built any time soon. I don’t like saying I don’t like Sihanoukville anymore, but it’s true. I defended the town for years, but over the last couple of years, too many huge developments have been springing up and the traffic is getting worse. And Otres Beach is not being spared, either. As I wrote in Sihanoukville is Growing Fast Everywhere You Look, a huge development is going in there and that’s just the beginning. An article in Move to Cambodia says: “the fear is of the development of big hotels and soulless casinos, and the community is rife with rumors of multi-million dollar deals.” It’s already happening in Sihanoukville and Otres is next on the list.
We’re hoping we’ll find the quiet haven we used to have in Sihanoukville in Kampot. I’ll have to find a beach to swim at, but since Kampot is near the coast, I don’t think it will be a problem. Some beaches there are undeveloped, so I’ll be able to enjoy quiet swims surrounded by nature. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that Kampot will remain a clean, quiet city for a long time to come. We’ve heard rumors of a port expansion, but that will be for random tourists on cruise ships, so hopefully they will only come sporadically.
I renewed my website for another year, but you may be seeing posts from Kampot in a couple of months. Either that or we’ll build in Klang Leu and I’ll still be close to Sihanoukville. We bought a rural block of land in Klang Leu, but someone offered us more money for it and we’ve decided to look at houses in Kampot, where prices are lower than Sihanoukville Time will tell, but one thing is for sure: we want to get out of Sihanoukville because of all the developments and increasing traffic.