Sihanoukville (Krong Preah Seihanu), formerly Kompong Som, is a seaside town in Cambodia. Formerly a laid-back beach destination, it has been transformed by Chinese investment and is now basically a giant construction site for Chinese resorts and casinos. For those not interested in gambling, it remains the launching point for beautiful islands nearby.
In a land with thousands of years of history, Sihanoukville is a colourful but tragic upstart. A joint French-Cambodian project carved a camp out of the jungle and started building the first deep-sea port in a newly independent Cambodia. Named Sihanoukville in 1964 after the ruling prince of Cambodia, the booming port and its golden beaches soon drew Cambodia's jet-setting elite, spawned the first Angkor brewery, and the modernist seven-story Independence Hotel which, claim locals, played host to Jacqueline Kennedy on her whirlwind tour of Cambodia in 1967.
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