Victory Hill Area

Sihanoukville Travel Blog

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St. Michael's Church
 

I decided to go up to Victory Hill for the area's finest pizza at the Australian-run Corner Bar. I had the moto taxi take the round-about way so that I could check out St. Michael's Church which sits at the base of Sihanoukville Mountain. Built in 1962 to serve local Catholics, the church was used as a prison from 1975 to 1979 under the Khmer Rouge regime then as a storage facility until it reopened in 1993. Designed by the noted Cambodian architect Vann Molyvann - who also designed the Independence Monument and Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh - St. Michael's impressive brickwork includes a ship's sail at the front and boats on the sides. The church remains active today, serving about 50 families, primarily Vietnamese.

 

I had the motorbike driver drop me off on nearby Victory Hill and paid him $2 for the 'detour' and the wait while I photographed the church.

The 'Hill'
Also known as Weather Station Hill, this is the original backpacker center for Sihanoukville and offers low budget ocean-view bungalows and guesthouses. Several upscale hotels have appeared in recent years. The Hill - about two miles from the downtown area - is rather quiet by day but bustles every night with a wide variety of international restaurants, bars and thriving nightlife that rages into the wee hours.  The normal 75-cents to $1 moto taxi fare from the more quiet downtown area doubles late-night.

 

I enjoyed a pepperoni pizza and bottle of Coca Cola at the Corner Bar then walked the short distance down the hill to the Victory Monument. That monument was constructed in 1985 to symbolize Cambodia's friendship with Vietnam for its assistance in the victory over the Khmer Rouge regime  in 1979.

Cruise ship as seen from Victory Hill
Just about every major town in Cambodia has this monument. My downhill walk continued to nearby Victory Beach.

 

Once thriving with numerous open-air bars and eateries, Victory Beach is rather quiet these days - undergoing development. Since my visit last year, a new pier has been added and a Russian Antanov AN-24 twin-engine airplane has been put on static display. Spiral stairs lead to its forward door but it was pad-locked shut. Only a handful of foreigners basked on padded lounge chairs in front of the two or three local restaurants that were open. A white cruise ship docked at the nearby port terminal. I had seen it on occasion over the past three seasons but have no idea where it comes from or where it sails. I'd only ever seen its passengers ride by on air-conditioned busses while touring the Sihanoukville area.

Victory Beach is an excellent spot for watching sunsets but I walked back up the hill and took a moto taxi back to town and the Freedom Hotel.

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St. Michaels Church
St. Michael's Church
The Hill
The 'Hill'
Cruise ship as seen from Victory H…
Cruise ship as seen from Victory …
Victory Hill
Victory Hill
A Quiet Victory Beach
A Quiet Victory Beach
Along Victory Beach
Along Victory Beach
AN-24 display
AN-24 display
Victory Monument
Victory Monument
Front of St. Michaels
Front of St. Michael's
St. Michaels
St. Michaels
Antanov AN-24
Antanov AN-24