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Comparison Of Pattaya And Sihanoukville.


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Pattaya is getting expensive, Sihanoukville seems cheap, but is it as sanuk as Pattaya?

Appreciate comments concerning general similarities and differences, and is it really cheaper?

Most important though, how does the "nightlife" compare? Not interested in just sitting on a beach during daytime, and getting boozed at night. Any equivalent of Pattaya Walking Street, GoGos, outside bar complexes etc?

Thanks for comments from those that know.

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Pattaya is getting expensive, Sihanoukville seems cheap, but is it as sanuk as Pattaya?

Appreciate comments concerning general similarities and differences, and is it really cheaper?

Most important though, how does the "nightlife" compare? Not interested in just sitting on a beach during daytime, and getting boozed at night. Any equivalent of Pattaya Walking Street, GoGos, outside bar complexes etc?

Thanks for comments from those that know.

I haven't been in Sihanoukville for about six months, and I'm sure alot has been built (and destroyed) since then. But based on my last trip there.... it's very, very different to Pattaya. You're right in thinking it's a cheaper place to live, but that's largely because there are few high-end condos, restaurants and shopping outlets on which you can spend your money.

There aren't really any condo buildings at all, though there likely will be in the next 2 or 3 years. You can rent a house for $100-$300 a month or stay in a guesthouse closer to the beach for about the same. Most tourists there are backpackers on the SE Asia tourist trail, though like in Pattaya there are a lot of Russians and Chinese/Japanese/Koreans (who are mostly there for the large casino in town), and there are a few Western retirees. The US Marines come and visit sometimes too.

There is a good choice of Khmer/Thai/Vietnamese and international food and it's mostly very cheap. I remember going to a very fine French restaurant, where a 3-course meal for 2 was $60, with cocktails and a bottle of Chateau Lafite Rothschild. At a regular Khmer or Western place you'd spend less than $10 for a meal. The Anchor and Angkor beers are $1-$2 in the bars, and drinkable (not less than Chang or Singha). Free food and drinks in the casino, I guess you could spend all night making occasional 10 cent bets on the roulette table if you were really cheap.

There aren't really any Go Go bars as such, though pole dancing ladies are de rigeur in the regular bars. There's a row of beer bars on Victory Hill though nothing on the scale of Pattaya's Walking Street (more like the bar area in Lamai on Koh Samui but much smaller and less developed). There's a small cinema which shows movies on demand, a couple of gyms and a couple of supermarkets. The beaches are pleasant and fairly clean, I even like to swim in the sea though allegedly it is full of toxic waste from Taiwan. There are bars open very late, a few 24 hour places on the beach. There is a lot of cannabis, ya ba and opium floating around town, you'll be exposed to it probably on a daily basis. It is not the safest place in the world, but you will be safe if you don't flaunt your wealth, avoid the dodgier parts of town and avoid conflicts with the locals, especially the drunk or drugged-up Khmer male variety.

Sihanoukville is also surrounded by several very nice national parks. There is Bamboo Island off the coast, and the Ream national park inland, which has alot of waterfalls and secluded beaches.

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Re visas. I read that you can only get a 30 day tourist visa, renewable once. Can you get a new visa by crossing the border every 60 days as many times as desired, or is there a better way for those of us that do not qualify for a biz visa?

Most people refer to prices in $. Is that because you need $ to spend locally, or can you change £ to the local currency.

Thanks.

You don't need to qualify for a business visa, it's just a little more expensive than a tourist visa and you can extend it indefinitely. No questions asked (except maybe "you like my daughter?" or "you want tuktuk?") .It's possible to get 1 year extensions for around $300-$450 depending on where you get it - you'll need to ask somebody who actually knows for the exact price. I guess the theory is if you can afford to pay $20-$30 a month for a visa you're good for the Cambodian economy and you can stay.

The dollar is the de facto currency and the riel is the official currency and mostly used for amounts less than $1. The riel is more or less tied to the dollar at 4000 riel to the dollar so if you pay for something that's $9.25 with a $10 bill you'll get 3000 riel in change. Most of the ATMs just give out dollars. You can use Baht around the Thai border and Dong around the Vietnam border too.

Edited by Thewayup
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Re visas. I read that you can only get a 30 day tourist visa, renewable once. Can you get a new visa by crossing the border every 60 days as many times as desired, or is there a better way for those of us that do not qualify for a biz visa?

Most people refer to prices in $. Is that because you need $ to spend locally, or can you change £ to the local currency.

Thanks.

You don't need to qualify for a business visa, it's just a little more expensive than a tourist visa and you can extend it indefinitely. No questions asked (except maybe "you like my daughter?" or "you want tuktuk?") .It's possible to get 1 year extensions for around $300-$450 depending on where you get it - you'll need to ask somebody who actually knows for the exact price. I guess the theory is if you can afford to pay $20-$30 a month for a visa you're good for the Cambodian economy and you can stay.

The dollar is the de facto currency and the riel is the official currency and mostly used for amounts less than $1. The riel is more or less tied to the dollar at 4000 riel to the dollar so if you pay for something that's $9.25 with a $10 bill you'll get 3000 riel in change. Most of the ATMs just give out dollars. You can use Baht around the Thai border and Dong around the Vietnam border too.

A regular visa costs $20.00 , a buisiness visa $25.00 , for the past 3 years I have paid $280.00 for a years buisiness visa at a travel agent in Phnom Penh , pay the fee one day , leave your passport and pick it up next day after 5 pm . This is far cheaper and less inconvenient than the Thai visa runs , without the surly immigration guy or spending 12 hours to to it .

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This looked like it could have developed into an interesting and informative thread with Dumball and thewayup seeming to have some good info to share. Obviously someone broke the rules, but I for one would like to hear more about S'ville and its attractions (stand fast discussion on prostitution).

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Do enlighten me if I am wrong but I sense from the past year of male interest on this thread in Sihanoukville is mainly to do with the availability of females as opposed to land or restaurant opps. Patters has run its course then... looking for somewhere new to sew your seeds... ?

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Not been to Snooky but there is this lingering vibe that the expats who lives there tend to be 'at the end of the road' so to speak. :o

Failed in Thailand, gone to Cambodia anyone??!! :D

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Post and replies have been removed. Discussion of prostitution is not allowed on Thai Visa.

Is it possible to discuss the relative merits of Pattaya vs Sihanoukville without discussing prostitution? I'd wager that not a lot of people who are trying to choose between those two locations are looking for a conservative place to raise a family and to go to church on Sundays.

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Not been to Snooky but there is this lingering vibe that the expats who lives there tend to be 'at the end of the road' so to speak. :o

Failed in Thailand, gone to Cambodia anyone??!! :D

If you have never visited " Snooky" ,it is hard to give an objective view of its "pros and cons" .

Many of the successful businessmen in Snooky ,were also successful in Thailand before they made the move , and according to those I know and talk to they are doing even better nowadays.

I would not include the hole in the wall bar owners as success stories ,as they come and go with a similar regularity to those in Los.

But the owners of the established hotels , guest houses, restuarants , gymnasiums seem to do quite nicely.

To directly compare Pattaya and Sihanoukville is the mistake commonly made ,as there is no real comparison. It is a subjective thing which is all down to the individual and the lifestyle they seek.

If you crave the 24 hour ,in your face womanising and boozing scene , with admittedly superior infrastructure and facilities then Pattaya is where you should stay. (please) :D

But for a quieter,laid back existence , provided you can handle the ( in some cases ) lack of amenities and infrastructure ,which IMHO is more than compensated by beaches,free National Parks ,hassle free visas , much lower cost of living , nicer people ( both Khmer and expats ) then my money is on Sihanoukville.

Sihanoukville has most of the things you can find in Pattaya if you bother to seek them out, they may not be on such a grand scale but they are there to be found.

If you are the type who finds adventure in a bus ride to PP in a slow rattly old worn out bus , you have come to the right place , but if these sorts of amenities get up your nose then stay away.

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Not been to Snooky but there is this lingering vibe that the expats who lives there tend to be 'at the end of the road' so to speak. :o

Failed in Thailand, gone to Cambodia anyone??!! :D

If you have never visited " Snooky" ,it is hard to give an objective view of its "pros and cons" .

Many of the successful businessmen in Snooky ,were also successful in Thailand before they made the move , and according to those I know and talk to they are doing even better nowadays.

I would not include the hole in the wall bar owners as success stories ,as they come and go with a similar regularity to those in Los.

But the owners of the established hotels , guest houses, restuarants , gymnasiums seem to do quite nicely.

To directly compare Pattaya and Sihanoukville is the mistake commonly made ,as there is no real comparison. It is a subjective thing which is all down to the individual and the lifestyle they seek.

If you crave the 24 hour ,in your face womanising and boozing scene , with admittedly superior infrastructure and facilities then Pattaya is where you should stay. (please) :D

But for a quieter,laid back existence , provided you can handle the ( in some cases ) lack of amenities and infrastructure ,which IMHO is more than compensated by beaches,free National Parks ,hassle free visas , much lower cost of living , nicer people ( both Khmer and expats ) then my money is on Sihanoukville.

Sihanoukville has most of the things you can find in Pattaya if you bother to seek them out, they may not be on such a grand scale but they are there to be found.

If you are the type who finds adventure in a bus ride to PP in a slow rattly old worn out bus , you have come to the right place , but if these sorts of amenities get up your nose then stay away.

It only stands to reason that people who successfully run businenesses in Sihanoukville previously ran successful businenesses elsewhere. You could probably say that about almost anywhere, just as you could say that people who never have run a business before fail more often than they succeed.

Edited by OriginalPoster
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Not been to Snooky but there is this lingering vibe that the expats who lives there tend to be 'at the end of the road' so to speak. :o

Failed in Thailand, gone to Cambodia anyone??!! :D

If you have never visited " Snooky" ,it is hard to give an objective view of its "pros and cons" .

Many of the successful businessmen in Snooky ,were also successful in Thailand before they made the move , and according to those I know and talk to they are doing even better nowadays.

I would not include the hole in the wall bar owners as success stories ,as they come and go with a similar regularity to those in Los.

But the owners of the established hotels , guest houses, restuarants , gymnasiums seem to do quite nicely.

To directly compare Pattaya and Sihanoukville is the mistake commonly made ,as there is no real comparison. It is a subjective thing which is all down to the individual and the lifestyle they seek.

If you crave the 24 hour ,in your face womanising and boozing scene , with admittedly superior infrastructure and facilities then Pattaya is where you should stay. (please) :D

But for a quieter,laid back existence , provided you can handle the ( in some cases ) lack of amenities and infrastructure ,which IMHO is more than compensated by beaches,free National Parks ,hassle free visas , much lower cost of living , nicer people ( both Khmer and expats ) then my money is on Sihanoukville.

Sihanoukville has most of the things you can find in Pattaya if you bother to seek them out, they may not be on such a grand scale but they are there to be found.

If you are the type who finds adventure in a bus ride to PP in a slow rattly old worn out bus , you have come to the right place , but if these sorts of amenities get up your nose then stay away.

It only stands to reason that people who successfully run businenesses in Sihanoukville previously ran successful businenesses elsewhere. You could probably say that about almost anywhere, just as you could say that people who never have run a business before fail more often than they succeed.

That is not specifically true , but you are close , what the expats here in Cambodia express above all is the friendliness of the majority of Kymer people and the relative ease whith which one can assimilate and set up in buisiness . I have helped quite a few 'Newbies' get thier feet wet , all who have made future contact expressed a better feeling of somewhere they could settle and invite thier friends to join them .

Keep trying , you may find a 'Bone of contention' to make the point you appear to be attempting to make , though for what reason I have not the slightest idea . :D

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Not been to Snooky but there is this lingering vibe that the expats who lives there tend to be 'at the end of the road' so to speak. :o

Failed in Thailand, gone to Cambodia anyone??!! :D

What I have found is quite the opposite , rarely catch sight of an ex Thai bum here , in fact it is quite nice to meet people who are willing and with whom you can carry on ,an intelligiable conversation . The expats give the impression they want to do something worthwhile that will also benifit the locals , do not hear the constant tirade of "What's wrong with this country' , as is often the case in Thailand . No , I personally believe after experiencing both sides of the coin , Thailand is the end of the road for far too many expats , even if they had the desire and the accumen , I doubt they have sufficient funds to achieve anything worthwhile in making a fresh start . :D

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Not been to Snooky but there is this lingering vibe that the expats who lives there tend to be 'at the end of the road' so to speak. :o

Failed in Thailand, gone to Cambodia anyone??!! :D

If you have never visited " Snooky" ,it is hard to give an objective view of its "pros and cons" .

Many of the successful businessmen in Snooky ,were also successful in Thailand before they made the move , and according to those I know and talk to they are doing even better nowadays.

I would not include the hole in the wall bar owners as success stories ,as they come and go with a similar regularity to those in Los.

But the owners of the established hotels , guest houses, restuarants , gymnasiums seem to do quite nicely.

To directly compare Pattaya and Sihanoukville is the mistake commonly made ,as there is no real comparison. It is a subjective thing which is all down to the individual and the lifestyle they seek.

If you crave the 24 hour ,in your face womanising and boozing scene , with admittedly superior infrastructure and facilities then Pattaya is where you should stay. (please) :D

But for a quieter,laid back existence , provided you can handle the ( in some cases ) lack of amenities and infrastructure ,which IMHO is more than compensated by beaches,free National Parks ,hassle free visas , much lower cost of living , nicer people ( both Khmer and expats ) then my money is on Sihanoukville.

Sihanoukville has most of the things you can find in Pattaya if you bother to seek them out, they may not be on such a grand scale but they are there to be found.

If you are the type who finds adventure in a bus ride to PP in a slow rattly old worn out bus , you have come to the right place , but if these sorts of amenities get up your nose then stay away.

It only stands to reason that people who successfully run businenesses in Sihanoukville previously ran successful businenesses elsewhere. You could probably say that about almost anywhere, just as you could say that people who never have run a business before fail more often than they succeed.

That is not specifically true , but you are close , what the expats here in Cambodia express above all is the friendliness of the majority of Kymer people and the relative ease whith which one can assimilate and set up in buisiness . I have helped quite a few 'Newbies' get thier feet wet , all who have made future contact expressed a better feeling of somewhere they could settle and invite thier friends to join them .

Keep trying , you may find a 'Bone of contention' to make the point you appear to be attempting to make , though for what reason I have not the slightest idea . :D

Don't get me wrong, I think that many people that like Pattaya but regret it's commercialization would like Sihanouksville.

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Not been to Snooky but there is this lingering vibe that the expats who lives there tend to be 'at the end of the road' so to speak. :o

Failed in Thailand, gone to Cambodia anyone??!! :D

What I have found is quite the opposite , rarely catch sight of an ex Thai bum here , in fact it is quite nice to meet people who are willing and with whom you can carry on ,an intelligiable conversation . The expats give the impression they want to do something worthwhile that will also benifit the locals , do not hear the constant tirade of "What's wrong with this country' , as is often the case in Thailand . No , I personally believe after experiencing both sides of the coin , Thailand is the end of the road for far too many expats , even if they had the desire and the accumen , I doubt they have sufficient funds to achieve anything worthwhile in making a fresh start . :D

I just completed 6 months in Jomtien and I'll finish my final 6 months before I relocate to Cambodia for many of the same reasons mentioned here.Thailand has lost much of it's appeal in the past 6 months,from the airport occupation to the political turmoil to god knows what when the King passess how bad it will be here.Since I retired 3+ years ago,I have lived in Copan,Honduras and both coasts of Mexico and I find Thailand has nothing on either of them.

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I spent three days in Sihanoukville, and it was about two and a half days too long.

All of the motorcy boys insist on taking you to nasty little "fishbowls" full of depressed and obviously unwilling women, (regardless of where you ask to go as a destination) and I found it very distasteful and inhuman.

It was in your face and constant. (but not on the street)

Facilities were a bit backward, and the area is very spread out and hard to get around.

having said that, there are some nice restaurants, bars, beaches and venues.

I love Phnom Penh and have been there 7 times.

People, food, attitude, lifestyle great.

It is an awesome place and well worth at least a week.

I will open a business in Phnom Penh at some point.

A lot easier to do than here, and you get great support from other expats and from the Cambodians.

Needless to say corruption is endemic...............but a lot cheaper :D

Siem Reap is also nice, but obviously a lot more touristy and not along the same lines as the Pattaya crowd.

Cambodia uses US dollars as its currency (despite having the riel, which should be hung next to the bum-guns for drying off with.).

Whether it is "cheap" or not depends on what currency you earn or have, and how it compares to USD at the time.

If you want a destination to "rival" Pattaya (whatever that means :o ) you'd probably be better off looking at Angeles city or somewhere over in PI.

Sihanoukville is not comparable.

BTW - Cambodians are a lot less "aggressive", "playful" and "outgoing" than their Thai counterparts.

They are charming and less "deceitful", but also a lot less worldy and a lot more 'desperate'.

Everybody is on the make, and it gets a bit tiresome.

If you are used to it from places like Egypt and Thailand you'll be fine.

If you are not, you'll want to strangle somebody :-)

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Just drove back to Phnom Penh from Shinoukville today. Currently i live in PP and really have enjoyed it for the past 8 months.

Snooky, although its nice to be in the water and i love being wet, ( lived in Phuket for 20 years) i could not live there at all. In a word its boring.

There are a few nice beaches like Otres and Victory beach and then u have holes like Ochheuteal and Serenditpity which is full of back packers and down and out drinkers ( when u have $.50 happy hour beers thats the type u get)

The town has no appeal and nothing to do, the bars at victory hill are nothing compared to anywhere in thailand. Very few avialbale girls althought here is a chicken farm which we can not discuss here. Old freelances at freedom bar and the dolphin bar on the beach which stays open all night

Food nothig compared to thailand and although some food is cheap ( ate out last night for 2 people for $5.00)

dining is something u do cause ur hungry not to get the experience. Very few good places u would suggest someone must go to.

IT will all change and i figure 7-10 years till that happens. The russians are there and have purchased an island and a beach ( victory beach) and are building a bridge to their private paradise. They have a nice disco on the beach called the airport with a full plane inside!!

I find the Cambodians much easier going people than the Thai's but keep in mind that 50% of the poplulation is under 30 and the Khmer rouge is still on everybodies minds and their biggest fear is it might happen again.

The goverment is corupt but more stable than Thailand

The biggest draws;

cheap drinks

cheap cigs

cheap women

easily renewable 1 year visa for around $260/year.

no work permit needed

easy to set up a business/ NO KEY MONEY most places

So if u want to set up a cheap bar and drink ur life away this is the place to do it.

If ur looking at a business in PP u would be better off BUTY the economy is very low now and closely tied to the world market crash and the aiport closue did not help.

Cambodia magor draw is Angkor Wat but the interstructure and lack of good transport and roads makes travel a time consuming thing. Once they get mroe airports open and the roads fixed things can start to improve.

Bear in MIND outside of the things mentioned above Cambodia is NOT cheaper than thailand as most goods come from there.

Edited by phuketrichard
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Just drove back to Phnom Penh from Shinoukville today. Currently i live in PP and really have enjoyed it for the past 8 months.

Snooky, although its nice to be in the water and i love being wet, ( lived in Phuket for 20 years) i could not live there at all. In a word its boring.

There are a few nice beaches like Otres and Victory beach and then u have holes like Ochheuteal and Serenditpity which is full of back packers and down and out drinkers ( when u have $.50 happy hour beers thats the type u get)

The town has no appeal and nothing to do, the bars at victory hill are nothing compared to anywhere in thailand. Very few avialbale girls althought here is a chicken farm which we can not discuss here. Old freelances at freedom bar and the dolphin bar on the beach which stays open all night

Food nothig compared to thailand and although some food is cheap ( ate out last night for 2 people for $5.00)

dining is something u do cause ur hungry not to get the experience. Very few good places u would suggest someone must go to.

IT will all change and i figure 7-10 years till that happens. The russians are there and have purchased an island and a beach ( victory beach) and are building a bridge to their private paradise. They have a nice disco on the beach called the airport with a full plane inside!!

I find the Cambodians much easier going people than the Thai's but keep in mind that 50% of the poplulation is under 30 and the Khmer rouge is still on everybodies minds and their biggest fear is it might happen again.

The goverment is corupt but more stable than Thailand

The biggest draws;

cheap drinks

cheap cigs

cheap women

easily renewable 1 year visa for around $260/year.

no work permit needed

easy to set up a business/ NO KEY MONEY most places

So if u want to set up a cheap bar and drink ur life away this is the place to do it.

If ur looking at a business in PP u would be better off BUTY the economy is very low now and closely tied to the world market crash and the aiport closue did not help.

Cambodia magor draw is Angkor Wat but the interstructure and lack of good transport and roads makes travel a time consuming thing. Once they get mroe airports open and the roads fixed things can start to improve.

Bear in MIND outside of the things mentioned above Cambodia is NOT cheaper than thailand as most goods come from there.

Good post! Would just like to add that things I take for granted in Pattaya like that my internet is working 99% of the time (at least since I changed to cat), that I can get my computer repaired in an hour or two, that I can get almost whatever food I want whatever time of day it is, that I have 50+ models of jeans or sneakers to choose from when I need a new pair, that I can have great food from whatever corner of the world I feel like for dinner I can not take for granted when I stay in Sihanoukville.

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Sorry to disagree with you, but I left a gorgeous beachfront home in Roatan, Honduras and ran for my life to Thailand. If you live in Honduras you will need 24/7 bodyguards, and for $10, they will shoot you. Several of my neighbors were killed and I was constantly threatened. Plus, the police took off their name plates at night and went around robbing people. Not to say Thailand doesn't have its multitude of problems, but you will probably never be threatened. As far as ocean, scenery, and beaches, Mexico/Honduras are much nicer than most of Thailand. But the cost of living is higher than Thailand. I feel that safety is paramount wherever you live. Whatever country gives you peace of mind first, then entertainment, and finally a nice social life is the right place to be.

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Just drove back to Phnom Penh from Shinoukville today. Currently i live in PP and really have enjoyed it for the past 8 months.

Snooky, although its nice to be in the water and i love being wet, ( lived in Phuket for 20 years) i could not live there at all. In a word its boring.

There are a few nice beaches like Otres and Victory beach and then u have holes like Ochheuteal and Serenditpity which is full of back packers and down and out drinkers ( when u have $.50 happy hour beers thats the type u get)

The town has no appeal and nothing to do, the bars at victory hill are nothing compared to anywhere in thailand. Very few avialbale girls althought here is a chicken farm which we can not discuss here. Old freelances at freedom bar and the dolphin bar on the beach which stays open all night

Food nothig compared to thailand and although some food is cheap ( ate out last night for 2 people for $5.00)

dining is something u do cause ur hungry not to get the experience. Very few good places u would suggest someone must go to.

IT will all change and i figure 7-10 years till that happens. The russians are there and have purchased an island and a beach ( victory beach) and are building a bridge to their private paradise. They have a nice disco on the beach called the airport with a full plane inside!!

I find the Cambodians much easier going people than the Thai's but keep in mind that 50% of the poplulation is under 30 and the Khmer rouge is still on everybodies minds and their biggest fear is it might happen again.

The goverment is corupt but more stable than Thailand

The biggest draws;

cheap drinks

cheap cigs

cheap women

easily renewable 1 year visa for around $260/year.

no work permit needed

easy to set up a business/ NO KEY MONEY most places

So if u want to set up a cheap bar and drink ur life away this is the place to do it.

If ur looking at a business in PP u would be better off BUTY the economy is very low now and closely tied to the world market crash and the aiport closue did not help.

Cambodia magor draw is Angkor Wat but the interstructure and lack of good transport and roads makes travel a time consuming thing. Once they get mroe airports open and the roads fixed things can start to improve.

Bear in MIND outside of the things mentioned above Cambodia is NOT cheaper than thailand as most goods come from there.

Good post! Would just like to add that things I take for granted in Pattaya like that my internet is working 99% of the time (at least since I changed to cat), that I can get my computer repaired in an hour or two, that I can get almost whatever food I want whatever time of day it is, that I have 50+ models of jeans or sneakers to choose from when I need a new pair, that I can have great food from whatever corner of the world I feel like for dinner I can not take for granted when I stay in Sihanoukville.

You can get the majority of your needs in PP , Sihanook is still under developement which is part of the charm for many , many things are cheaper than Thailand once you find where to locate them .No , the ladies are not in your face , they show more discretion and are not always in your ATM .

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Thanks for all the replies, especially Shane and Richard.

However, we all know what I was really asking ( but cannot be answered directly ), so can someone please tell me if there is there an equivalent of the Pattaya beach walk ( you know what I mean ), but without getting the thread closed.

Is there a forum where I can discuss things as cannot be discussed here?

Thanks.

Edited by thaibeachlovers
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Hi!

I stay in Pattaya for around 2 years, visit SNK 3 times, in brief PTT comparing to SNK is a city, while SNK is a village (no matter of administrative status).

Peoples who prefer Cambodia often forget to mention difference in facilities ;-)

In case of nightlife its really easy to be misguided. For example Pocoloco at SNK cant be compared with Tony or Insomnia discos here. If you dont care about freedom of choice, value-for-money ratio and lifestyle, or how it feels, you might like SNK in some ways.

IMHO good for a visit, but not the best option for a long stay. Local (SNK) beachroad called "blue mountain street", you can find it easily as Rainbow hotel located just at far end of it. Try it once, then you will be able easily estimate difference between PTT and SNK ;-)

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Pattaya is getting expensive, Sihanoukville seems cheap, but is it as sanuk as Pattaya?

Appreciate comments concerning general similarities and differences, and is it really cheaper?

Most important though, how does the "nightlife" compare? Not interested in just sitting on a beach during daytime, and getting boozed at night. Any equivalent of Pattaya Walking Street, GoGos, outside bar complexes etc?

Thanks for comments from those that know.

I haven't been in Sihanoukville for about six months, and I'm sure alot has been built (and destroyed) since then. But based on my last trip there.... it's very, very different to Pattaya. You're right in thinking it's a cheaper place to live, but that's largely because there are few high-end condos, restaurants and shopping outlets on which you can spend your money.

There aren't really any condo buildings at all, though there likely will be in the next 2 or 3 years. You can rent a house for $100-$300 a month or stay in a guesthouse closer to the beach for about the same. Most tourists there are backpackers on the SE Asia tourist trail, though like in Pattaya there are a lot of Russians and Chinese/Japanese/Koreans (who are mostly there for the large casino in town), and there are a few Western retirees. The US Marines come and visit sometimes too.

There is a good choice of Khmer/Thai/Vietnamese and international food and it's mostly very cheap. I remember going to a very fine French restaurant, where a 3-course meal for 2 was $60, with cocktails and a bottle of Chateau Lafite Rothschild. At a regular Khmer or Western place you'd spend less than $10 for a meal. The Anchor and Angkor beers are $1-$2 in the bars, and drinkable (not less than Chang or Singha). Free food and drinks in the casino, I guess you could spend all night making occasional 10 cent bets on the roulette table if you were really cheap.

There aren't really any Go Go bars as such, though pole dancing ladies are de rigeur in the regular bars. There's a row of beer bars on Victory Hill though nothing on the scale of Pattaya's Walking Street (more like the bar area in Lamai on Koh Samui but much smaller and less developed). There's a small cinema which shows movies on demand, a couple of gyms and a couple of supermarkets. The beaches are pleasant and fairly clean, I even like to swim in the sea though allegedly it is full of toxic waste from Taiwan. There are bars open very late, a few 24 hour places on the beach. There is a lot of cannabis, ya ba and opium floating around town, you'll be exposed to it probably on a daily basis. It is not the safest place in the world, but you will be safe if you don't flaunt your wealth, avoid the dodgier parts of town and avoid conflicts with the locals, especially the drunk or drugged-up Khmer male variety.

Sihanoukville is also surrounded by several very nice national parks. There is Bamboo Island off the coast, and the Ream national park inland, which has alot of waterfalls and secluded beaches.

Let me begin by stating the original questions:

Pattaya is getting expensive, Sihanoukville seems cheap, but is it as sanuk as Pattaya?

Appreciate comments concerning general similarities and differences, and is it really cheaper?

Most important though, how does the "nightlife" compare? Not interested in just sitting on a beach during daytime, and getting boozed at night. Any equivalent of Pattaya Walking Street, GoGos, outside bar complexes etc?

Thanks for comments from those that know.

OK........I was seriously thinking about starting a business in Sihanoukille (henceforth, SV). I did a lot of research via internet and on the ground in SV talking with tourists and business owners. I decided the time was not right..........

Pattaya is no longer Pattaya.......at least the sanook place of the past. Depending on your age, you may or may not realize this. It has gone way downhill, especially over the past 10 years. And prices have gone way up. But, there are lots of things to do in Pattaya. And if you get sick, you are close to good medical treatment. A big downside is the visa changes that have taken place and pushed many expats to neighboring countries.

SV is growing fast.........but not fast enough for me. It is like Pattaya 25 years ago. Russians and Chinese and Japanese are putting lots of money into SV (new airport, deep water port, hotels, infrastructure.........streets have really gotten much better). The beaches are not bad but the water is polluted largely because of the raw sewarage that the govt. still allows to be dumped in the area.

The main beach (Orcheautal sp.) has been targeted by developers.........the shacks are coming down. The president has a new house right in the center of the beach (across the road, of course). The golf course plan was scrapped for reasons uknown, but my guess is that it will be the site of future condos/hotels.

As stated, a lot of money was put into infrastructure development........some roads are very nice now with good signs. Bus traffic from PP to SV has changed dramatically over the past few years. Now the busses are very nice, large w/ ac.........similar to Thailand.

The new airport will generate a lot of new travel.......rumour has it that it will be an international airport allowing passengers to bypass PP. (By the way, PP has grown tremendously over the past few years........lots of quality development).

Nightlife.......not Pattaya but the girls are there: Cambodians, Vietnamese mainly.

Housing: very different from Pattaya..........I don't think SV has any large condos or lots of housing for Westerners. But that is likely to change soon.

Hotels: Russians have built a 5star hotel on an island.........this is changing........you still have the bungalows but top end hotels are sprouting up. The govt. wants to turn the area into a tourists destination for "top quality" tourists. I think they got this insane idea from the cooks in Thailand who want the same.

One big downside in SV is the rainy season..........it is long and not pleasant.

What else? I thought virtually everything in Cambodia was more expensive than in Thailand. BIG POSITIVE: The govt. of Cambodia actively wants expats and foreign tourists to stay and spend money for as long as they want. Visa issues are non-issues in Cambodia. Thailand's idiotic rules are pushing expats and tourists away.

SV has great potential..........could turn into the next Phuket with proper planning. For those interested in business, it is growing and getting in on the ground floor is often the best strategy. You could be the first one to do so many things.........imagine having that opportunity in Pattaya 20-30 years ago.

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i agree with many of the above points. SV will be there in 7-10 years so if ur prepared to invest now and wait its a good idea

BUT living there is down right boring and u have to get everything u really need in Phnom Penh.

Turing into a Phuket. NO WAY. Although there are some nice islands in the area. diving no way compares to Similains and or the islands south outside Trang.

The airport is built and ready but there is problems as the owners ( related to the big wig) wants to much money to allow planes to land there.

Otres is slated for developmet and Och and ser wil be all torn down in the next few years. Even now they only get 1 year leases.

The 5 star hotel the Rusinas have is a joke as no one goes there and they charge you $25 to go visit which included the boat and a glass of wine. NO beach and nothing but high priced rooms. The islnad they own juus off Victory beach, ( where they built their disco) where they are bulding a brigde will be 5 star as well with a golf course and Casino.

The Marina and condo/apts are coming along ( next to Hawaii beach) and that would be a good buy in for a condo for less than $150,0

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