Sihanoukville has crystal clear blue waters and delicious food.
Sihanoukville is the mini Cambodian beach vacation you’ve been looking for. The full name of the city translates to the “city of the holy Sihanouk” named after the infamous Cambodian King, Nordom Sihanouk, whose reign lasted for over 20 years.
During my 3-day trip to Sihanoukville, I loved lounging early in the morning watching the peaceful waves while slurping my Khmer noodle soup. Tranquil moments like this made the natural beauty of Sihanoukville linger in my mind forever. This is why I recommend any traveller in Cambodia to visit this serene city.
HOW TO GET THERE
There are multiple ways to get to this beach city. The first and probably the cheapest, is to take a private taxi from the capital, Phnom Penh. The ride is roughly four hours and should only cost you about 60$. There are also an abundance of bus companies in Phnom Penh that will take you to Sihanoukville for around 8-10$. Some of the companies are: Cambodia Post VIP, Bayon VIP, and Phnom Penh Sorya. There is also Sihanoukville airport, where you can catch flights to Sihanoukville from Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, and some other cities around Southeast Asia.
The huge influx of Chinese investment and developers in the region led to the expansion of mega-resorts and casinos. This is something that I would avoid in the city. Don’t fret, there are still loads of smaller boutique hotels on the beachfront that offer all of the usual amenities. In general, these lodging options are a lot more peaceful. I stayed on Otres Beach which has a slew of smaller beachside hotels. In that area, I would recommend looking at the Lakshmi Bungalow, White Beach Hotel, and Sea Breeze Resort. You can also travel to the more exclusive and quiet islands like: Koh Ron Sanloem, where you can stay at the Sol Beach Resort, and Bamboo Jam. Both of these hotels have quaint bungalow styles located on the beachfront.
Sihanoukville has many sites where you can avoid large casinos and simply enjoy the peace and quiet of the beautiful beaches and scenery. There are several islands off the coast with gorgeous hidden beaches. To name a few: Koh Rong, Koh Rong Sanloem, Koh Puos, Bamboo Island, and Koh Ta Kiev. You will have to take a boat there, but they are all fairly affordable and it is also a nice way to see some new views. On the mainland, some beaches that I would explore are Otres beach, Ochheuteal beach, Prek Treng beach, and Independence beach. Along these beaches there are loads of places to eat, lounge, and swim. If you are looking for something more to add to your beach vacation I would recommend finding a boating tour, so that you can explore the different islands and try snorkeling! Another wonderful site is Ream National Park which is only 11 miles from the city. Here you can find ecosystems of all kinds; Waterfalls, beaches, rivers, animal life…etc. This park is a hidden gem and a must-see in the Sihanoukville region.
I ate very well in Sihanoukville surrounded by beach vistas. If you are looking for a casual meal by the beach, you can find beach vendors all around you. If you are curious to know more about Cambodian street/beach food, check out this article. As far as restaurants go, there are many in the area to choose from. On Otres Beach, there are dozens of Khmer seafood restaurants, including: Beachy’s, Rendez-vous Restaurant and Cafe, Khin’s Shack, and many more. Near Ochheuteal beach, try Sandan’s and Easy Sihanouk for some more Khmer classics.