The city of Sihanoukville in Cambodia is very popular for its beaches, casinos and over-all laid-back vacation atmosphere. It is a city of peace and tranquility, in stark contrast to the hustle and bustle of Phnom Penh, the capital city. Since international tourism is steadily rising, local government is working hard to improve situations in health in Sihanoukville, although today, medical services in the city are still very limited and basic. Public hospitals are unreliable and typically avoided by foreigners and expats, except for the prominent Sihanoukville Hospital.
The most important hospital is the Sihanoukville Hospital, locally known in Khmer as Muntee Pet Jumka Jake. As the largest hospital complex in Southern Cambodia, Sihanoukville Hospital offers a wide range of medical services, which include General Medicine, Pediatrics, Surgery, X-Rays, Maternity, Ophthalmology and care for HIV/AIDs patients. This is good news for tourists and expats, especially considering the fact that the hospital is located along a major tourist area between downtown Sihanoukville and the famous Ochheuteal Beach.
The hospital understands that tourism is steadily growing in Sihanoukville, which is why it is trying to keep up with the growing demands. The hospital is continually undergoing expansions and renovations. Since it is a public hospital, it receives funding from the Cambodian government, United Nations, Red Cross, foreign governments, and non-government organizations. Most services are free.
Meanwhile, the most popular medical center for expats is the CT Clinic, located on Borei Kamakor Street. It is equipped with an ambulance and an evacuation system for major medical emergencies.
However, the last thing in the minds of local and foreign tourists is to check out hospitals and medical clinics. The idea for coming here is to enjoy a kind of vacation that can only be offered by Sihanoukville. It is important, therefore, for tourists to observe healthy practices and avoid getting sick.
The most common health concerns when vacationing in a tropical country are the sun, rain and bugs. Sihanoukville is just a few degrees above the equator, and to put simply, there are days when it is scorching. First-time western vacationers will be surprised by just how hot Asia can get. Dehydration is a problem and so it is very helpful for tourists to always have a bottle of mineral water in hand. While it gets very hot at noon, rains could all of a sudden fall because of the monsoons. The sudden change of weather and rise in humidity can easily make the unsuspecting tourist nauseous.
Then there are the bugs. Mosquitoes are not only pesky and annoying, but also carriers of diseases such as dengue fever and malaria. Tourists must put on mosquito repellant when strolling along at nights or by damp and dark areas. It is better to stay in the safety of one’s hotel room whenever possible.
Lastly, sexually adventurous tourists should be warned that HIV/AIDS is widespread in Cambodia. Unofficial reports reveal that more than 25% of all sex workers are HIV/AIDS positive, but that is clearly a conservative count.
When traveling to any Southeast Asian destination, tourists must always practice caution and observe common health practices. Asian beaches as those in Sihanoukville are Paradise-like, but the experience could easily be marred by common problems that concern the weather, bugs, sex trade, and poor medical care. Tourists must individually be responsible in taking care of their health in Sihanoukville.