Where: Sihanoukville, south east of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, South east Asia
When: Nov – January
Happenings: Scuba diving for fantastic sealife and wrecks
Remember to Bring: Snorkel mask if you fancy a spot of casual sea spotting
Where it’s at
Bordered by the popular destinations of Vietnam and Thailand, Cambodia is now the place for the more intrepid traveller. Sihanoukville is Cambodia’s premier beach town and its second city. Situated 150 miles southeast of Phnom Penh, along the US restructured Highway 4, sits the once sleepy fishing village Sihanoukville or Kampong Som as it is known to the locals. Seven miles of uncrowded, white sand beaches, warm blue waters of the Gulf of Thailand and a plethora of pristine islands are waiting to welcome any visitor in search of rest and relaxation. These unspoilt beaches and relaxed atmosphere are a traveller’s paradise.
Getting to Sihanoukville from Phnom Penh is quite easy. The journey will take around three and a half hours by car or a bit more in one the many air-conditioned buses that leave from the city until 1.30pm towards the coast everyday, although be prepared for an uncomfortable jam-packed ride and some reckless driving with this option.
Where to stay
In the town, cows mingle with buses on the streets, and the beaches are largely undeveloped, offering only sand and surf, although the city has many restaurants and hotels for international tastes. The new Serendipity Beach at the far end of Ochheuteal is a new popular resort amongst tourists and weekend visitor from the capital Phnom Penh. There are plenty of places to stay, both along the beach and in town, and many fresh seafood restaurants to keep you satiated while enjoying the seaside life.
For the more adventurous, the numerous islands and miles of coral reef create excellent scuba diving sites. There is enough untouched wildlife beneath the waters, such as giant clams, leopard sharks and soccer ball sized jellyfish to make a marine biologist ecstatic as well as a few shipwrecks and a downed US helicopter to swim through. The Diving Outfitters in town segment the islands into three groups: Kampong Song, Ream Group and Royal Group. Which group to choose will depend on the amount of time you have, your level of diving experience and the type of marine life you would like to see. There are even island excursions for those who just wish to find an empty tropical beach and some small areas for snorkelling.
Other things to do
Victory Beach, also known as Hawaii Beach, is a great place to watch the ships coming in and going out. It’s also the scene for watching the best golden kissed sunsets in the region.
What our for…
Crime is very prevalent on the beach, so don’t leave anything unguarded, even for a minute.
Sihanoukville Home Page
For detailed information on what to do, where to stay, and where to dive in Sihanoukville.
Beaches of Sihanoukville
An overview of the surrounding beaches and the best sunset views.
By Susi O’Neill