This is one of the lesser known, but most beautiful places in Cambodia. While many people will choose Thailand when looking for a beach vacation, Sihanoukville is just as beautiful and offers just as much white sand and sun as its rivals in Thailand. This location is especially good for those that are simply not interested in crowded beaches or neighboring cities. Because this is still something of an undiscovered gem, Sihanoukville gets fewer visitors. For those that do visit, however, there is always plenty to do and see. As a seafood lover myself I really enjoyed the area. Overall it was very laidback although there are even more remote or less touristy places than Sihanoukville, like some Koh Kong islands.
Here’s what you need to know about visiting this area:
Sihanoukville is one of the newest cities in Cambodia. What does that mean? It means that the area is not as affected by some of Cambodia’s long and often tumultuous history as the rest of the country. Building began in 1955, to become a deep water port—the only one that Cambodia has ever had. It was finished five years later and named after King Sihanouk, though because the area was originally called Kompong Som, many of the locals still refer to this area by that name.
One of the reasons that this area is not well known is because of the lock down the Khmer Rouge put on this area during its reign. Only a few intrepid backpackers knew about this area, and most of its visitors are still backpackers who are looking for a beach area that is off the beaten path. The tourists who do know about the area actually usually stay on the islands off the coast, leaving the town to backpackers and locals. Some would call the city seedy, but it is really no seedier than any other city. Stay out of the bad parts of town and you will be safe.
The Sihanoukville Beaches
The area hosts three main beaches—Ochheuteal, Otres, and Sokha. All are white sand, all have a distinctly tropical feel. Sokha is definitely the most beautiful, but the other two have their merits, too. All three are extremely clean and are usually neither crowded nor noisy, which make them the perfect place for an afternoon nap in the sun or for a day of splashing in the water. No matter what you like to do on the beach, Sihanoukville is the perfect place to do it!