When you plan to travel to Cambodia you usually plan it around a visit to Angkor, next to Siem Reap to visit the ancient khmer civilisation ruins. If you plan on hitting the beaches then most tourists usually head across the border to Thailand with it’s numerous popular beaches including Koh Samui, Koh Chang, Phuket, just to name a few. However, if you’re short on time and budget and you want to visit the temples of Angkor and hit the beaches you can save time and money by heading south to Sihanoukville.
Sihanoukville is a beach town that is still relatively unknown compared to the beach mecca’s of Thailand but it offers beaches that are just as stunning with crystal blue waters, island excursions and a wide selection of hotels. Sihanoukville is by no means a small town, it has an airport where flights arrive from Phnom Penh and it is where the famous Angkor Beer opened its first brewery. There are buses that leave on an hourly basis from Phnom Penh from as little as $5 so it has become become more and more popular over the last few years as more and more tourists expand their horizons while in Cambodia. Sihanoukville or ‘Snooky’ as it has come to be known by the expats has been attracting more and more tourists looking to get away from the mass tourists of Thailand’s beaches.
The town has a number of beaches, the most popular being Otres beach, Serendipity beach and Ochheuteal beach. Otres beach has is a 4km long white beach which is more relaxed than the other beaches and has plenty of mid to high range hotels along its stretch of beach. It also has plenty of activities on offer such as windsurfing, kayaking and jet-skiing. Otres is split into two parts- Otres 1 and Otres 2. Ochheuteal or OC beach is more popular with western tourists which has plenty of bars and restaurants that suits all types of budgets. Serendipity beach is the probably the most popular out of all the beaches in Sihanoukville with it’s many bars and guesthouses right on the beach and it’s parties go on right into the early morning hours. There is also Sokha beach, which is a privately owned beach by Sokha Beach Resort but anyone can visit for a small fee. The other beaches that are worth a mention are Victory and Independence beach with are more popular with locals.
Sihanoukville also has a thriving market called Phsar Leu Market where you can buy fresh foods, fish and also a selection of souvenirs, if you are going to buy something then make sure you haggle as the prices are open to negotiation.
There are also a few options for day trips and activities that you can do from Sihanoukville. There is Ream National Park which hosts a number of wildlife species and mangroves, you can explore it by boat, bike and even foot and it is only 30 minutes away from Sihanoukville. Kbal Chhay waterfall is a great place to explore if you get tired from laying on the beach, it’s a place to take a cool dip and enjoy the beautiful views.
If you’re after a bit of culture then you can visit Wat Leu Temple, it’s located on top of a hill so the views from the temple are stunning and the temple itself is surrounded by gardens and if you’re lucky you may even see a few monkeys up here. Overall, I would recommend Sihanoukville as a welcome break if you’re looking to add a bit of beach to your trip to see Angkor Wat and it won’t take as much time or money as you might think.