Sihanoukville is fast becoming a popular beach retreat for those travelling around Cambodia. It is even becoming the No.1 destination in the country surpassing that of the Temples of Angkor next to Siem Reap for some travellers as it has a number of beaches and islands to explore and visit. One of the most popular tourists activities to do therefore is to combine the beaches and islands and go island hopping.
There are a number of tours that you can arrange through local travel agencies and hotels, ranging from $15 to $70 depending on the privacy and the islands you wish visit. I arranged a private boat tour for 2 people through my hotel from 11am -5pm which cost a reasonable $50.
As I was staying on Otres beach 2, the boat picked us up right up on the shore. It included the use of snorkeling gear only but as you have the boat all to yourself you can more or less dictate where you would like to go and how much time you would like to spend in each place. If you opt to do some of the cheaper tours they will include a free pick up from your hotel, boat fee, breakfast, lunch, drinks and use of snorkeling gear too, but you will be doing the tour with many other people and there is a set route.
The boat picked us at around 11am and we were taken to the first of our 3 islands. Our first stop was snorkeling off the coast Koh Chanloh. We didn’t dock at the beach but instead just stopped a few meters from the shore. The water was quite deep and at first I didn’t see much but as soon as I got closer to the reefs I saw an array of fish. It was a fun and enjoyable experience especially as I really enjoy snorkeling so we spent quite some time here and even finding time to relax on the boat and then go back into the water. As the tour was private it was entirely up to us how long we wanted to spend in each place.
We then moved onto our next destination which was my favourite Island- Koh Ta Kiev. We landed on a golden stretch of beach and despite the fact that the island has been leased to French and Chinese property companies- for the moment Koh Ta Kiev has a handful of eco- friendly, rustic accommodation as we found out as we explored the Island. We found a hideaway resort where we stopped and had lunch, relaxed on the beach and swam in the pristine waters. The resort uses solar power to generate its energy so I was very impressed with how environmentally friendly it was. We spent a few hours exploring the various tracks and looking for secluded beaches.
We stayed on the island until around 3:30pm and then left for our 3rd island- Koh Tres. Here we stopped a few meters from the shore and went snorkeling again. This time we saw plenty of coral and sea-life, in particular Sea Urchins, so make sure you don’t swim too close to the coral. We also saw a swordfish and in terms of colourful coral and fish it was better than snorkeling off Koh Chanloh. We boarded the boat around 5pm and made it back to shore to watch the beautiful sunset from the hotel.
The highlight of my visit was this tour and I would highly recommend to go island hopping either in a group or private tour when you visit Sihanoukville.