Sihanoukville: A Cambodian City Losing Its ‘Cambodian-ness’

Unchecked development by Chinese investors has come at a cost, freezing out locals and changing the city’s character.

Sihanoukville, the coastal city and only deep sea port of Cambodia, is no longer a sleepy, undeveloped town for backpackers. This is a fact that should be welcome. But the rapid urbanization has caused social and environmental impacts that cannot be ignored. The lack of “Cambodian-ness” and “inclusiveness” is something that needs to be discussed.

The whole city is under construction, with cement trucks running across unfinished roads; large-scale cranes sweep across the whole city landscape ready to erect high-rise buildings one after another. At a very fast speed, the city has changed unrecognizably into a construction and casino boom town.

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