In southern Cambodia lies a peaceful coastal city of Sihanoukville that is the best destination for travelers looking for a sunny retreat. Named after the Cambodian late king Sihanouk, this beach town offers many freshen up your soul through flawless white-sand beaches, unmatched seafood and exciting nightlife, all at a very low cost.
Also known to locals as Kampong Som, Sihanoukville is around a 5-hour drive from Phnom Penh. This city has been and will always be one of the most popular destinations for international travelers as well as Cambodians and upon visiting, you will know why. Here are the places that make Sihanoukville such a hot spot.
1. Ochheuteal beach
Start your trip by visiting tourists’ favorite beach filled with hotels, seafood restaurants and umbrellas set on its beautiful clean beach. Crystal clear sea water and white sand beach are definitely the highlights of Ochheuteal beach, where you can enjoy your day swimming or have a taste of their excellent seafood. Options for accommodation range from grandeur hotels to more budget-friendly guesthouses.
This 4-kilometer-long beach also offers fun activities such as snorkeling and surfing provided by the numerous shops stationed there.
2. Ream National Park
If the busy beach town isn’t the traveling experience you are looking for, fret not, as Ream National Park could be the ideal tropical retreat you are looking for. In contrast to the aforementioned beach, Ream is a quiet, yet adventurous attraction that brings you closer to nature. Relatively untouched by tourism, the national park is home to spectacular wildlife, marine life and plants including rare and endangered species.
Stretching over 210 km2 (81 square miles), Ream National Park is located 18 km (11 miles) from the lively Sihanoukville city. The park is bordered by the Gulf of Thailand as well as a freshwater river that flows into the sea.
3. Kbal Chhay waterfall
Tired of salt water and sand? Kbal Chhay waterfall is sure to freshen you up during your Sihanoukville trip. Standing at around 14 meters high, Kbal Chhay is a combination of multiple stairs of waterfall. Along the stream of water, you can find food stalls and restaurants where you can sit down and enjoy your time there.
The path to Kbal Chhay waterfall can be found 7 km outside of Sihanoukville city where you need to drive down another 9 km to reach the destination
4. Phsar Leu market
Being the largest traditional market in the city, Phsar Leu offers tourists a look into the lifestyle and culture of Cambodians. There you are able to find shops after shops that sell seafood, clothes, jewelry and souvenirs.
Put your haggling skill to the test at Phar Leu which is located just 2 km from Ochheuteal beach on 7 Makara Street.
5. Koh Russei (Bamboo Island)
If you feel like you’ve had enough of mainland Sihanoukville but wanted to explore some more, hop on a boat and take a day-trip to one of Sihanoukville’s many islands, Koh Russei. A quiet island of only a few dozen inhabitants, the beach hosts resorts with restaurants and bars.
Bamboo island is a short boat ride from Sihanoukville coast and you can take a ferry from Ochheuteal beach which departs at 10am.
6. Koh Rong
From chilled vacay during the day to awesome nightlife to thick jungle, Koh Rong is an island that has everything you need for a memorable trip. One of the island’s most popular beaches is Koh Toch beach which is filled with many options for guesthouses and bungalows. Along the coast you can find shops, bars and restaurants that offer a view of the ocean. For the more adventurous souls out there, you can rent motorcycles for 10usd per day to explore the thick jungle as well as other wonderful beaches of the island. After you’ve returned from your ride around the island at nightfall, enjoy your time at the numerous bars available nearby.
Koh Rong is 40km off the coast of Sihanoukville and there are multiple ferry services that offer to transport you there including speed boats that take about 40 minutes to an hour as well as slow ferries which take about 2 hours to get there.
7. Koh Rong Sanloem
Koh Rong Sanloem is Koh Rong’s smaller and less popular sister island, yet her Saracen Bay is just as beautiful. The crescent beach with flawless white sand is the main selling point of the island. There you can find a few different resorts and restaurants as well as some laid-back bars.
Koh Rong Sanloem can be reached through the same boat services as Koh Rong. Being only 4 km apart, you can also hire small fishing boats to travel between the two islands as well.