Sihanoukville kämˈpôngˈ sôm [key], city and seaport (1994 est. pop. 75,000), Sihanoukville prov., S Cambodia, on the Gulf of Thailand. Although a new city (completed 1960 and named in honor of Norodom Sihanouk), it is the principal deepwater port and commercial outlet of Cambodia. Constructed to compensate for the loss of sea access via the Mekong River upon Cambodian independence, the city and port were built on mud flats, with French aid, and grew with the construction of a highway and railroad to Phnom Penh. In the 21st cent. a Chinese-operated special economic zone has been developed. The city has an international airport, and the area's fine beaches have contributed to Sihanoukville's development as a tourist center, with casinos catering to Chinese visitors.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Cambodian Political Geography