Sihanouk Ville province is a small southern province of Cambodia. The capital sits on a peninsula with beaches and tropical islands around. Sihanouk Ville (also known as Kampong Som) was founded in 1964 to be the only deep-water port in whole Cambodia. It is gradually being redeveloped as a tourist attraction, but despite the promise of massive Malaysian investment-a casino is planned for Naga Island-tourist numbers are still fairly low. Also it’s nice with sand beaches and several paradise islands have made it popular as a tourist destination.
In honour to the King, who fought for the independency of Cambodia the provincial capital was called Sihanouk Ville. Located in the southwest corner of Cambodia, 232km from Phnom Penh, Sihanouk Ville can be reached via National Highway No 4. White-sand beaches that include O’chheuteal, Sokha, Pram Pichaen, and Deum Chrey beautify this coastal city. These beaches are known for their quiet, cozy atmosphere and the large stretches of white sand and clear waters and these make them popular spots for families on vacation. These seaside paradises with the refreshing coolness of the fresh water streams can be enjoyed all year round.
Business opportunities in Sihanouk Ville are varied from financial activities to tourist and travel-related industries in conjunction with the government's objective of making Sihanouk Ville a major tourist destination besides its status as an International Offshore Financial Centre. The government welcomes both foreign as well as local investors to participate on a joint-venture basis.
This famous see side resort is formed by wide and huge streets and quite new big concrete buildings, which lost any impression former architectonical of colonial style. As the town is not a small place due to it's wide spread urban areas, the best way to get around is to hire a motorbike. Beside the nice beaches and some very nice vantage points there isn't that much to see in the town itself.
To catch a nice view on the city you best climb the small hill to Wat Leu. Wat Krom is another place of interest as this is a recently build pagoda, because the older one was destroyed by the Khmer Rouge and it houses a sanctuary called Yeay Mao, the guardian of the cost. Nearby to the town there are nice places for a detour such as the Ream National Park and the beautiful Kbal Chhay Waterfall.
With its palm-studded shores and warm, clear waters, it hardly comes as a surprise that Preah Sihanouk attracts crowds of locals, expatriates, and tourists eager for a beachside holiday. Do as locals do and enjoy the stretches of powdery white sand with a chilled coconut and some toothsome grilled seafood. Or, indulge in a beachside massage, take a dip in the sea, and go for dinner in any of the local restaurants that serve fresh crabs, prawns, lobsters, fish, and scallops in a mouth-watering array of styles.
There are dozens of untouched islands off the coast of Preah Sihanouk: Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samlon both feature blissfully uncrowned beaches with palm-shaded shorelines. Being a beach town, there are also many sea-based activities for adventurous visitors, including boating, island-hopping, fishing, diving and snorkeling in crystal clear waters. For the expert enthusiast who wants to explore the mysterious underwater world of coastal Cambodia, the province has PADI Dive Centers and qualified instructors who know just the right spots to take you. In the evenings, the nightlife heats up, and those in search of pulsing bars and nightclubs won't be disappointed. Many entertainment venues, especially those on Weather Station Hill, stay open well into the wee hours.
Sihanouk Ville History
The history of Sihanouk Ville goes back only as far as 1955 when the area was known as Kampong Som. In August of that year, a French / Cambo- dian construction team cut a base camp into the unoc- cupied jungle where the Hawaii Seaview Restaurant now sits. They laid the groundwork for the construction of the new Port of Kampong Som - a project that had been set into motion by the 1954 dissolution of French Indochina.
Prior to 1954, Cambodia maintained international sea trade via the Mekong. But the end of Indochina meant the Mekong delta reverted to the control of Vietnam. Seeking unfettered access to the ocean, plans were made to construct a new ocean port. Kampong Som was selected for water depth and ease of access. Construction of the port and Route 4 (the road to Phnom Penh) was carried out from 1955-1960. Funds for construction of the port came from France, and from the USA for the road. The town began as housing for workers just south of the port. Upon completion, the town was renamed Sihanouk Ville in honour of the King.
Sihanouk Ville’s heyday came in the 1960s. Although Kep was more popular as a holiday destination, the commercial success of the port led to a flurry of construction and expansion including the construction of the Independence Hotel (abandoned but still exists on Independence Beach in a dilapidated state), the original Angkor Brewery (closed in 1975 and reopened in 1991), a Truck & Tractor Plant, Wat Chotynieng (aka Wat Leu), St Michael's Catholic Church (constructed in 1960, closed in 1975 and reopened in 1993), dozens of villas on O’chheuteal Beach (destroyed in the 1980s) and other structures. There was also a second phase of port construction, which began in 1965 and halted with the Lon Nol coup d'etat of 1970.
Sihanouk Ville entered the history of the American/Vietnam conflict when, during the late 1960’s and early 70’s, it served as a transit point for weapons bound for anti-American forces in Vietnam. The town’s most direct involvement came on May 13, 1975 when the Khmer Rouge captured the S.S. Mayaguez, a U.S. container ship. As part of an attempt to release the ship, the U.S. attacked Koh Tang, an island near Sihanouk Ville, and met fierce resistance, suffering heavy losses. American bombers struck the naval base at Ream, warehouses at the Port, the old airport, the train yard and the oil refinery north of town. The ship and its crew were released May 15, during the battle.
During the UN sponsored elections in 1992 and 1993, Sihanouk Ville played host to the Australian, Belgian and French contingents of UNTAC (United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia). After the elections, foreign tourists started coming to Sihanouk Ville for the first time, but tourism came to an abrupt halt with the tragic 1994 Khmer Rouge murders of 3 backpackers taken from a train on the way to Sihanouk Ville, and of 3 expatriates taken from a taxi on Route 4. With the 1997-98 demise of the Khmer Rouge and the political/military stability of the last couple of years, both the road and the train are now (in 2000) considered safe, at least from any military threat. But political and legal fallout of the murders continue as the home countries and relatives of the victims demand justice, and the UN and Cambodian government struggle with the political and legal complexities of bringing the perpetrators to trial.
Sihanouk Ville Geography
Sihanouk Ville is located in the south of Cambodia. It is 185 kilometres (115 mi) south- west of Phnom Penh in a small Peninsula and Bahia. Beaches are the main feature that attracts national and foreign visitors.
A small archipelago is embedded by the Sihanouk Ville Bahia off its south and west coast. The commercial and international port is located at the northwest. The limits of its territory: North and West Koh Kong province, East Kampot province and south Gulf of Thailand.
Beaches that line the west contour of the city from north to south are Victory Beach, Lamherkay Beach, Koh Pos Beach, Independence Beach, Sokha Beach, Serendipity Beach, O’chheuteal Beach and O’tres Beach. The most popular beaches are O’chheuteal, Sokha, Independence and Victory. Tourists can take water taxis to the nearby islands for diving, snorkeling, and game fishing.
The peninsula is separated from the central plains of Cambodia by the Damrei Mountains, especially the Bokor. The city is also besides the Ream National Park (210 km2) and it includes the islands of Koh Thmei and Koh Sei.
Being a rather small province, Sihanouk Ville has two main urban centers: the port itself and the Prey Nob District, 46 kilometers from Sihanouk Ville downtown to the north. The city is connected to Phnom Penh by National Road No. 4; to Kampot Province by NR 3 and to Koh Kong Province.
The country has a tropical climate - warm and humid. In the monsoon season, abundant rain allows for the cultivation of a wide variety of crops. This year-round tropical climate makes Cambodia ideal for developing tourism. Travelers need not to fear natural disasters such as erupting volcanoes or earthquakes, and the country is not directly affected by tropical storms.
Climate: Cambodia can be visited throughout the year. However, those plans to travel extensively by road should be avoided the last two months of the rainy season when some countryside roads may be impassable. The average temperature is about 27 degrees Celsius; the minimum temperature is about 16 degrees. December and January are the coolest months, whereas the hottest is April.
General information about the provincial climate:
-Cool season: November- March (20 - 28c)
-Hot season: March- May (26 - 35c)
-Rainy season: May - October (24 -34c, with humidity up to 90%)
The best beach weather begins with the end of the rains in November. The dry, warm, breezy weather that follows lasts through January. Night temperatures can get down to a chilly 20c but the days hover around 28-30c. Many think December and January are best with their balmy temperatures and blue skies.
At the end of January, Sihanouk Ville begins to warm and continues to get hotter through July (maximum 35c). After February, cool “mango showers” occasionally blow in from the north. December through June is said by some local outfitters to be the best scuba weather with clearer (though cooler) waters than the rest of the year.
The current population in this province is about 235,190 people or 1.6% of the country's total population (14,363,519 person in Cambodia, 2007, provincial government data), with 117,250 male and 117,940 female. The population density is therefore 271 people per square kilometer.
Because of the importance of exports to Cambodia's eco- nomy, Sihanouk Ville and its port are earmarked for further significant development by the local government and through international monetary sup- port.
Sihanouk Ville is for sure largely tourism-based but additional financial and industrial initiatives are also underway. One major government objective is to make Sihanouk Ville a premier tourist destination as well as an International Offshore Financial Centre. Foreign and local investors are invited to participate in a range of joint business and financial ventures. The agricultural sector of Sihanouk Ville plays definitely not a big role in the provincial economy, as the rocky peninsula isn’t the place for cropping and such things.
Sihanouk Ville does not offer souvenir shopping comparable to Phnom Penh or Siem Reap, but Sihanouk Ville’s shopping opportunities are growing.
Several convenience stores/small supermarkets are now scattered across the town, offering a good selections of all of the usual traveler's needs. And now there are even a few cool souvenirs to be had in Sihanouk Ville. There are some good T-shirts available at bars and guesthouses and some cool clothing and accessories for sale at places like Boom Room. Of particular interest, the very popular NGO-based Cambodian arts and crafts association, Rajana, has just opened its first outlet in Sihanouk Ville, located above the Starfish Caf.
The Rajana shop has a good selection of Cambodian arts and crafts, jewellery, textiles, coffees, spices and more. Another local NGO, M Lop Tapang, offers products made and marketed by disadvantaged women under the Mother under the Tree, Snardai project. Available are at Holy Cow, Starfish Caf, and Geckozy.
A souvenir unique to Sihanouk Ville: scale model wooden Cambodian fishing boats handcrafted by a local French shipwright. The models are detailed wooden miniatures of fishing boats used along Cambodia's coast, and are accurate copies inside and out. Each is individually numbered. Available is at Map Water Sports.
Tourist Attractions in Sihanouk Ville
Doeum Chrey Beach
Doeum Chrey Beach is locat- ed in front of the City Hall. Few tourists swim here because there is a big restau- rant nearby. It is popular with tourists who like walk along the beach, however, because there is a picturesque park filled with statues, making site popular with photographers.
Independence Beach gets its name from the deserted hulk of the 7-storeies Independen- ce Hotel at the north end. Locals call this beach o’tel brampi choann (hotel 7-sto- ries). It is labeled “7-Chann Beach” on the in town street sign. Independence is more than a kilometer long, but the sandy area is much narrower making the beach best when the tide is low. The beach is wider and more tourists toward the northwest end near a small fresh water lake (which is the source of the town's fresh water and is rumored to contain crocodiles). At the other end is the beach's only hotel, Sea Breeze. Grass umbrellas and drink vendors are only hotel, Sea Breeze. Grass umbrellas and drink vendors now line the beach from end to end but it is still much less frequented than other beaches. The road up to the old Independence Hotel is often frequented by a small troop of Rhesus monkeys. The current hotel was reopened after completed the undergoing renovation in the newest 4 star luxury resort in Sihanouk Ville The pretty Independence Beach is so named for the seven-storey Independence Hotel that sits atop the headland Locals refer to the hotel as the 7-storey hotel -- while street signs refer to the beach as "7-Chann Beach" -- we'll stick with Independence Beach.
The Independence Beach in Sihanouk Ville is a calm and quiet sea side destination in the city of numerous beaches. It is just the place for you to spend some quiet moments with your loved ones while taking pleasure in the untamed beauties of nature. With no interruption at all, you can spend time in this Sihanouk Ville sightseeing spot just the way you want to.
An endless strip of sand glistening in the sun, followed by the soothing blue water, is a picture of the Independence Beach in Sihanouk Ville. Un- perturbed by the happenings beyond its vicinity, this beach takes you far away to a land of fantasy. As its name suggest you can literally feel liberated in the freshness of the entire surrounding. However as a matter of fact the Independence Beach at Sihanouk Ville has been given this name after a popular hotel that used to be in this area, the Independence Hotel but has now been replaced by a lovely resort. The entire area of the beach is larger in length than in width and covers a distance of over a kilometer. Right next to the Independence Beach in Sihanouk Ville is also the Sokha Beach on its western side.
Relaxing and watching the quiet movements of nature are the best things that you can do at the Independence Beach in Sihanouk Ville in Cambodia. You can literally lie down while sun bathing on the spotless clean seaside, while the cool sea breeze brushes your face. If you get too tired of the heat then you can always rest under shades of the grass umbrellas that are so popular here. The Independence Beach of Sihanouk Ville is also ideal for enjoying a nice picnic with friends, family and loved ones. Moreover there are several small restaurants and food corners in the area of the Independence Beach in Sihanouk Ville, thus keeping you fully supplied with delicious sea food dishes during you visit here.
Adjacent to the Independence Beach in Sihanouk Ville is also a lush green garden area, well maintained and decorated with statues. Thus offering so many great things this is one of the beaches in Sihanouk Ville that is surely worth a visit.
Kbal Chhay Waterfall
Sihanouk Ville in Cambodia stands distinctly as one of the yet unexplored beach des- tinations in Asia. It holds the inspiring history of once ravaged by the political up- heaval and bouncing back to life and fervor to become Asia’s next trendsetting beach. Destination was (as per the reputed New York Times). Sihanouk Ville formerly known as Kampong Som offers fabulous Sihanouk Ville Tourist Attractions that are sure to leave you simply flabbergasted. One of the must visit tourist attractions in Sihanouk Ville is Kbal Chhay Waterfalls in Sihanouk Ville which is known for its fascinating natural beauty.
The Kbal Chhay Waterfalls at Sihanouk Ville is situated on the Prek Teuk Sap River located about 30 minutes away from Sihanouk Ville. These falls can be best viewed during the wet season in Sihanouk Ville. The wet season in Sihanouk Ville occurs between July to October. It is during this time that the Kbal Chhay Waterfalls in Sihanouk Ville is the most attractive with white froth of water cascading down. During the dry season however the Kbal Chhay Waterfalls in Sihanouk Ville remains almost non existent with water just managing to trickle down.
The Kbal Chhay Waterfalls of Sihanouk Ville, Cambodia is actually a collection of 3meters to 5 meters high waterfalls which originates from different sources along the mountain ranges. However, only three out of the collection can be sighted. Besides being just a picturesque sight, the location of the Kbal Chhay Waterfalls in Sihanouk Ville is also a popular picnic spot where you can spend you day amongst the greenery and serene natural ambience of Kbal Chhay Waterfalls in Sihanouk Ville. The area also offers abundance of food and drink stand that drink stands for refreshments if you need any.
Location is at Khan Prey Nup in seven-Kilometer distance from the Sihanouk Ville Town, then turning left more nine Kilometers by a red soil road. The waterfall of Kbal Chhay has many sources from the mountain rank at the seaside. The history of Kbal Chhay waterfall was found in 1960. Until 1963 Kbal Chhay arranged as the clean-water sources for providing to Sihanouk Ville, but the arrangement was failed became a hidden place for Khmer Rouge. In 1997, Kbal Chhay was changed to the developing zone. In 1998 Kbal Chhay was for bid by Kok An Company on constructing road and changing this site as tourist resort for local and international tourists. Nowadays, the Royal Government of Cambodia has changed this site as the clean-water sources for providing clean water to Sihanouk Ville.
Kbal Chhay Waterfall is located 16 km north of Sihanouk Ville, and is fed by many different water sources from the nearby mountain ranges. The waterfall itself is multi-tiered, and is about 14 meters high. It was discovered in 1960. It has become quite popular among Khmers due to it being a major location for the 2000 movie “The Giant Snake”, which is the most successful modern Cambodian movie.
Koh Pous (Snake Island)
"Koh Pos is an island about 1 kilometer from Lomhe Kay (Relaxing) beach, off the coast of Sihanoukville. The beach is flat and very quiet. It is attracts few visitors, because it is undeveloped. Those tourists who do visit the island travel in groups and bring their own food. This little beach is home to the rather oddly named Treasure Island Seafood Restaurant, and although not on an island, you can see islands and it's certainly a treasure of a spot, with seafood that many an expat will tell you is the best in Sihanoukville."
The island of Poh Kos is situated 800 meters offshore from beach Ha-wai in Sihanoukville (Snake Island). The island is mostly preserved jungle habitat, providing a harmonious place for monkeys, king cobras, pythons and other poison snakes. On the north side of the island is a charming beach popular with fishermen who enjoyed swimming and relaxing after a hard days work. The island is mainly popular with the adventure tourist. Koh Pos is a little rocky but is convenient.
Very few Cambodia tour makers come here because it is still undeveloped. So those Cambodia tour makers visit Koh Pos (Snake Island) in groups and bring their own food during their Cambodia holiday.
The island is peacefully removed from the noise and congestion of everyday life, yet just a minute away over the private bridge from Sihanoukville, the third largest Cambodian city.
The 900-meter bridge, dub- bed "Techo Morakat Bridge", connects from the city of Preah Sihanouk to Koh Pos, which is being developed as a high standard tourism desti- nation by a Russia's Koh Pos Cambodia Investment Group Ltd.
Koh Pos Island, Sihanoukville, Cambodia–a few short years ago an exotic destination attracting adventurous vacationers, sport fishermen and scuba divers from around the world. Today the area is destined to become the new “gold coast” location of South-East Asia.
Its natural beauty and welco- ming culture attracts inter- national visitors and investors who sense the near-future opportunity of the region. In this part of the world the azure Gulf of Siam stretches along hundreds of kilometers of unspoiled coastline creating a near endless array of white sand beaches edged by lush tropical forests.
The coastal Preah Sihanouk province is considered as the country's third economic pole after the capital Phnom Penh and the main destination of cultural and historical heritage areas of Siem Reap-Angkor Wat temples.
Koh Pos is a luxury mixed-use development uniquely inhabiting the entire tropical island off the coast of the Kingdom of Cambodia. It is currently in the active stage of design and construction and projected to have various zones encompassing residential, commercial and entertainment facilities located on the territory of 120 hectares.
Koh Rong Island
Koh Rong has so much to offer, from 43 kilometres of impossibly gorgeous, pristine beach front, along seven bays, all teeming with corals, marine life and fluorescent plankton, as well as dense forests covering much of the 78 square-kilometre interior.
For years Koh Rong was almost completely undeveloped save for a diving outfit and a few bungalows, though that has now changed beyond recognition, in particular on the southern patch of Koh Touch. The rapid development has mostly affected this stretch of yellow-white, southeast-facing sand, which now resembles nothing so much as our image of a mid-18th century Caribbean pirate port, only with party bars instead of brothels.
Serviced by the fast boat from Sihanoukville as the fourth stop, Koh Touch is a sandy, guesthouse-packed stretch that has earned Koh Rong its party-island reputation. We found that to be largely true still, though there are plenty of other businesses along here that are seeking to offer something a little more profound. It may take a little while to get there, but they’re working on it.
All the other beaches on Koh Rong, however, are an entire universe apart, offering far more seclusion than you’ll find on Koh Rong Samloem (except for Lazy Beach), for, in general but not always, less money. It is easy to find a quiet refuge on this island.
The main beaches away from Koh Touch include Long Beach (also known as Sok San Beach, and 7km Beach), Long Set Beach (aka 4k Beach), Coconut Beach, Palm Beach and Lonely Beach. There are even more among Koh Rong’s seven bays, but weather prevented us from getting to them.
You’ll find accommodation on Koh Rong ranging from the cheapest bed-bug infested flophouse to Cambodia’s premier luxury destination, Song Saa, where a royal villa can set you back more than $4,000 a night.
Dotted among the bays, visitors can indulge in diving, snorkelling, mountain biking, trekking, kayaking and boat trips. At night, watch the luminous trails the phytoplankton leave behind.
The island is so gorgeous in fact that a film production company has set up a permanent base here on Soksan Beach, making the most of the deserted beaches and exceedingly beautiful waters for filming all sorts of movies and programmes, including reality TV show Survivor.
Koh Touch: is where you’ll find the lower-end offerings, plenty of guesthouses, plenty of chances to party, with DJs, live music, barbecues, restaurants and more. Just remember, the closer you are to Coco’s, the later you’ll be awake. The clientele closest to the village are mostly backpackers and divers who have come to enjoy the nightlife, with expats and couples preferring more seclusion further along the beach at quieter, more spread out accommodation.
We felt a real sense of community among many of the business owners on Koh Touch, who have banded together to set up things like Friends of Koh Rong, which supports community development projects, the local school, healthcare and cultural projects, especially for the kids of migrant workers, the people who likely built the guesthouse you’re staying in. They’re responsible for setting up the medical centre, which was behind Coco’s when we visited in mid-2016, but is moving, which provides free healthcare to locals, as well as advice and support to travellers.
On that note, the island has not been set up with a system for managing wastewater yet, and while leases are so pre- carious it’s hard for individual businesses to band together to deal with the problem, as it will require a not-inconsider- able investment. In that case, don’t ignore—as we did, despite the warnings we’d received—small cuts on your feet. They will turn very nasty if not covered and regularly cleaned.
Sok San: is a sleepy village atop a seven-kilometres stre- tch of white, white sand, that’s a world away from Koh Touch. There are regular direct slow boats from Sihanoukville and a fast boat primarily serving the production com- pany based there, with an accordingly irregular schedule. Family-run over-water stilted bungalows and basic beach huts are the order of the day here. Most of the bungalow resorts do their own food, but we stopped off for a cooling drink at The Moon, about halfway along the village, where the smells of Thai food coming from the kitchen nearly made us faint. The newish 154-room Sok San Beach Resort is, bar Song Saa, probably the loveliest property on the island, and pretty reasonably priced to boot. Beautiful bungalows at Sok San Beach Resort.
A handful of other one-off resorts are set around the island at Lonely Beach and Palm Beach, while Coconut Beach has seen its options jump up to four, and there is now a similar offering on our favourite beach, Long Set, just a little east along from Koh Touch. Many of these organise their own boats from Sihanoukville. From Koh Touch, the interior of the island is largely undeveloped and travelling between beaches requires trekking or a boat; the latter is relatively expensive.
The Cambodian government has sold Koh Rong to an investment group, which has plans to build an airport and "ecological" resort. Development activities have so far had something of a stop-start-stop quality to them, though the plans for a five-star hotel and casino at the southern end of Long Beach look set to be realized by December 2016. Based on what we’ve seen so far, beauty and congruity are not going to be among its chief attractions. Long Beach, in all its... longness. Photo: Nicky Sullivan
So far the development group has left the bungalows alone. The operations pay rent and have signed agreements say- ing they will leave whenever they are ordered to. So if you want to take advantage of Koh Rong's perfect beaches, diving, snorkelling and phosphorescent night swimming (subject to availability), go now.
Koh Rong Samleum
Paradise Found In Cambodia
Unspoiled Tropical Island Paradise In The Gulf Of Siam
Welcome to our comprehen-sive and independent guide to the tropical island paradise providing up to date infor- mation on how to get there, where to stay, what to do and when to go featuring many videos and descriptions of the various resorts and bungalow complexes located on the white sand beaches that are found around the tropical island including those on the stunning Saracen Bay, Koh Rong Samleum, also spelt Sanleum and Saleum, is situated eighteen kilometres due west of Sihanoukville, the main beach resort of Cambodia, in the Gulf of Thailand and is reachable in about forty-five minutes by fast ferry or about two hours using one of the slower converted fishing boats depending on the conditions.
Koh Rong Samleum is a peaceful “getaway” destination which is much more tranquil and also much less developed than the larger island known as Koh Rong situated about a ten-minute boat ride to the north.
The clean beaches of the smaller island suffer substantially less of the noise and light pollution that has become a problem on the sister island due to the extensive construction work as well as the all-night bars and party music that blasts out to attract the budget travelers dancing through the night.
Samleum is being actively protected by the Wonderful Wildlife of Samleum project to maintain the unspoiled natural beauty of the island, keep the pristine beaches clean and minimize the noise and light pollution that impacts the indigenous animal population.
Koh Rong Samleum Accommodation:
There are now many levels of accommodation available on the island from luxurious air-conditioned Khmer-style villas right on the beach through to the numerous beach bungalow complexes that dot the shoreline of Saracen Bay and Mpay Bay as well as on a few other secluded beaches. For those traveling on a budget there are guesthouse rooms available in Mpay Bay fishing village.
Moonlight Resort The One Resort The Pipes Resort
Currently Koh Rong Samleum is trending on social networks and has been recently named by the Huffington Post as one of the “Places You Need To See In The Next Decade”
"What the beaches of Thailand were like 20 years ago... utterly serene and beautiful. Calm, clear water laps lazily on idyllic white sand beaches, and there's not much else to do but kick back and enjoy the sun, sand and waves. Word will get out -- it always does. So get to these islands before they become overrun with tourists"
Now that news of the spectacular natural attractions on the island are spreading over the internet and with the growth of the high quality accommodation options right on the beach the island is seeing a large increase in visitors looking for more luxurious waterfront bungalows. This has resulted in many bungalow operations upgrading their facilities differentiating the island from its neighbouring island of Koh Rong which appeals more to the budget conscious all-night partying single travelers.
There are comfortable bungalows suitable for honeymooners and romantic couples searching for the deserted tropical island experience as well as a growth in accommodation suitable for families with children including resorts that have 24 hour electricity, air conditioning, a swimming pool and family bungalows with multiple rooms.
The 2016/17 high season consists of the period from November through May, which is the usual tourist season for Cambodia, as well as the European holiday season of July and August.
Koh Rong Samleum measures approximately nine kilometres long and five kilometres at its widest point although the distance from Saracen Bay on the sunrise side of the island to the sunset side of the island is little more than a pleasant one-kilometre walk through the jungle and boats can be hired for trips around the island to visit the different beaches.
Koh Rong Samloem Island's main feature is the white sand enclosed bay named Saracen Bay boasting an unspoiled three-kilometre long beach on which much of the recent high quality development has taken place and is the location of the main boat pier that links the island with mainland. From Saracen Bay there are paths which allow visitors staying in the bay to reach the other beaches on the island and explore the island's attractions.
is at the north of the island and is now served by boat services from the mainland. It has seen many of the new budget accom-modation options from individual bungalows to guest house rooms being built either on or a short walk from the beach. It gets its name from the local fishing community called Village Number 23 as in the Khmer language 'M'pai Bei' means twenty-three.
Scuba diving and fishing trips are available from the island and can be arranged through the locals or the bungalow operators. Also there are great places for snorkeling around the island if you tire of lazing on the beach or swimming in the pure turquoise waters.
Kayaking, jungle trekking and mountain biking are just some of the organized activities that are offered although the majority of visitors are content to kick back and enjoy the beautiful beaches and amazing views.
Internet and mobile telephone coverage is available at most places using a local SIM card and the data transfer tends to be quite slow along with the island's pace of life. It is recommended to buy a Metfone SIM card with a data plan for a handful of dollars before leaving for the island in order to get cheap access to the network as this seems to offer the strongest signal and have the greatest coverage. An increasing number of bungalow operators are supplying a high speed internet connection although it is currently only available at the more luxurious places as this is expensive for the resort owners
The Koh Rong Samloem Full Moon Parties have recently been held at the Good Vibz Camp which is located high up in the jungle above and well behind The Beach Island Resort on Saracen Bay although they tend to only take place during the high season. The parties can see an influx of people for the night from both the mainland and Koh Rong plus special Christmas and New Year parties are also held
Boat Sihanoukville to Koh Rong Samloem: Return boat fares from Sihanoukville cost around $ 20.00 - $ 30.00 depending on the type of boat and can be purchased from the booking offices by Serendipity Beach Pier or purchased from the agencies offering accommodation on the island which are mostly found in and around Serendipity Beach Road in Sihanoukville.
Boats can also be found for the short hop over to the larger and more developed party island of Koh Rong.
There are currently no banks or ATM machines on either Koh Rong Samloem or Koh Rong and credit / debit cards are not accepted so visitors must take US dollar cash with them to pay for food, drink and activities. Business owners appreciate if you can take some small denomination notes as changing large notes can often be problematic
Song Saa Islands
"Forget the Maldives, this is the really place to be…Song Saa Island Cambodia. This first private island in Cambodia has it all. In pure Maldivian style it has rustic over water villas where from the glass floor in your lounge area you can be amazed at the variety of marine life living under your feet, this comes after you have softly awoken with your first sight of the blue sky, and sea, which blends in with your infinity private pool. Also a stair on your sun deck will give you access to the sea where you can say hello to the friendly fishes."
In the sapphire waters of the Gulf of Thailand, Cambodia’s islands nestle like dazzling natural jewels. Song Saa Private Island lies secluded in this magnificent seascape, just 30 minutes by boat from the international airport of Sihanoukville.
Most of the islands remain undeveloped – deserted oases of virgin rainforests, tropical reefs and glistening white beaches.
While Cambodia’s islands share the same dazzling qualities that made Thailand’s islands so famous, they remain a truly unspoiled paradise.
You’ll be among the first foreigners to experience this beautiful, untouched world, where rare hornbills will land close to you. In this private intimate setting, you will lose yourself in the natural world. No intrusions. No work.
The Song Saa resort spans the two islands of Koh Aun and Koh Bong, connected by a footbridge over protected waters. The name Song Saa means "Sweethearts" in Khmer.
Song Saa Private Island mirrors the beauty of its environment. Think intimate. Think luxurious. But above all think harmony—with all the elements of nature that make this place so special.
Twenty five exclusive over-water, beach and rainforest villas are nestled discreetly on one of the islands—the other left as a sanctuary for abun- dant flora and fauna including hornbills, sea eagles, old growth rainforest and rare orchids.
A five-star, over-water restaurant and lounge take full advantage of the islands' spectacular sunsets, seascapes and starry nights. Guests can explore the island's reef with the resort's resident marine biologist, wander the virgin rainforest or lie on the pure white sands that fringe turquoise waters.
The facilities of the resort: Over-water restaurant,
beach bar, Champagne bar, swimming pool, gym, water-sports and dive center, children’s club, and marine education center. A wellness center and nature trails are located on an adjacent private island, accessible via a footbridge.
The resort is unlike anything else in the archipelago, with its oversize pool villas, Khmer-inspired cooking by Chef Neil Wager (who came over from Seychelles’ North Island), and many other indulgences.
Don't miss a night at the movies. Relax in your private sala with a glass of wine and bowl of popcorn while the butler sets up a large sail screen and projector for an al fresco screening of the movie of your choice.
"Though I didn’t mention it as one of my goals for my round-the-world trip, being on the beach was deeply embedded in my plans. I love the sun, the sand and the saltwater. Waking up to waves and not wearing shoes. There’s something special about losing oneself on the beach. And that’s exactly what I did on Bamboo Island (Ko Russei), just off the coast of Sihanouk ville here in Cambodia.
My island life, as it turns out, is pretty awesome. Somehow I manage to wake up around 8am, something I’m completely incapable of elsewhere. A quick swim, some breakfast, a book, a hammock, eventually lunch, my Moleskine, my thoughts. Life is good. Repeat in the afternoon. Sunset. Dinner, drinks, loud music at night. Stars, phosphorescent algae, a campfire. Life is very good."
Koh Russei: is really a jewel of a beach with fine pink or ochre sand and a deep and mysterious forest. For those loving the sun falling into the sea whilst surrounded by jungle sounds, Koh Russei is the place. An island of gentleness. An island of passion. Its virgin, private and intimate characteristics make it a site for high-end development, and positively compare with the world's most exclusive sites.
The best time to visit islands is during the monsoon season. Between November and February, northerly winds pick up and can make the group more difficult to navigate.
There are currently five resorts of basic wooden bungalows on Russei. Four are situated on the beach where the boats come in and only one makes use of the terrific and pristine sand of the other. The ten-minute walk between beaches is a pleasant one; they're connected by a path that traverses the island through a jungle forest filled with deafening cicadas.
There are little things to do on Koh Russei as it is a paradise for relaxing journey to the nature. You can swim all day, read in a hammock in the morning, go on a fishing boat or play volleyball with the fishermen a number of shirt- less sarong-wrapped anglers play during the day. There are bonfires and barbecues by night. The bar and restaurant has a full menu, offering the usual beach fare such as omelettes, French fries, curries and soups.
At Bamboo Island, all bunga- lows are equipped with fans and mosquito nets. Toilets and cold water showers are shared. The generator runs when it's dark and goes off about 11pm.
Remember to take the following: insect repellent, coils, soap, sun block, toilet paper, any snacks you fancy, extra liquor if you have a big group, a hammock, a bed sheet, and a first aid kit might be a good idea. Getting there: Ana's travel agency in Sihanoukville will pick you up from your hotel ($15 for a day of island hopping including Koh Russei) or Coasters boat leaves every morning at 9.30am from O’Chheu Teal beach in Sihanoukville ($10 return to Koh Russei).
Koh Ta Kiev: Just four kilome- tres and one hour away from the mainland, Koh Ta Kiev is one of the closest islands to Sihanouk ville and on the itinerary of many of the popular day trips and island tours that leave from the town and O’Tres Beach. Not so many people stay overnight on the island though, which is a shame because it's beautiful and has a few easily accessible beaches.
Like most of the islands in Cambodia, Koh Ta Kiev has been leased to a foreign company -- the same French outfit that owns, or has taken 99-year leases, on half of Koh Russei and parts of Ream National Park. They have ambitious plans for high-end resorts and boutique luxury hotels, though there was no sign that so much as a sod had been turned when we visited in mid-2016.
A second 99-year lease has been granted to a Chinese Malaysian firm who, according to media reports, plan to spend US2-3 billion dollars "developing" the island. All they seem to have done so far is trip down an awful lot of trees in order to create a road wide enough to be a dual carriage-way through the forest. Nothing more seems to have come of that yet either, though of course one never knows.
That shadow means there are still just a few choices for accommodation on the island, consisting of budget options Crusoe Island, Koh Ta Kiev Bungalows, Ten 103 Tree house Bay and Coral Beach on the west side, and Kactus and Last Point on the east. It’s easy to walk between the east side resorts, though Last Point is a good half an hour walk through the jungle away from Ten 103.
Three lovely yellow-sand beaches shaded by pine trees are accessible on the island, and coral reefs make for excellent snorkeling. Crusoe Island is at the northernmost end of Long Beach, then Koh Ta Kiev and Ten 103 Bungalows, with Coral Beach at the southernmost, tucked around the corner from Ten 103 with its own secluded bay. It's possible to walk the entire stretch -- Coral Beach is accessed through the bar area of Ten 103. The pine needles make this long sandy stretch of sand seem less “pure” than it might otherwise feel, and the tide comes in high so it isn't all that wide either. On the other side of the island, Last Point and
Koh Tang: It is quite far from the main shoreline of Preah Sihanouk province. Going there requires to stay overnight on board. The island offers many interesting diving spots which are seldom explored.
This island is home to a military outpost and travelers should expect to be boarded by military personnel when out at the island.
Best places to stay in Koh Ta Kiev
A selection of some of our favourite places to stay in Koh Ta Kiev.
The Last Point
The easternmost acco- mmodation on Koh Ta Kiev, The Last Point has wooden bungalows both on the beach and buried in the jungle behind, the “jungalows”. There’s also a very cute, open-fronted, two-tier dorm looking straight out to sea. Imagine waking up to a glorious sunrise virtually any day of the year. The top floor will pick up the best perspectives.
Ten103 Tree house Bay
Ten 103 Tree house Bay is named after the latitude and longitude location of the camp, which you may need because with so much surrounding jungle it’s barely visible from offshore. Hidden among the barely-contained jungle, and overlooking its own corner of the beach, Ten 103’s tree house bungalows offer a sense of seclusion while never being far from the beach, or the bar.
The Last Point
The easternmost acco- mmodation on Koh Ta Kiev, The Last Point has wooden bungalows both on the beach and buried in the jungle behind, the “jungalows”. There’s also a very cute, open-fronted, two-tier dorm looking straight out to sea. Imagine waking up to a glorious sunrise virtually any day of the year. The top floor will pick up the best perspectives.
Get campy on the beach in one of Crusoe Island’s tents, set on secure platforms if you wish, with mattresses and pillows for maxi- mum comfort among the pine trees. Those on a tighter budget could choose one of the hammocks, or if your preference is for a more solid environment, there are four wooden bungalows to hole up in.
"You can opt for an over- night trip to Koh Tang which is 35 miles away and renowned for its fantastic visibility and majestic corals.
Koh Tang is an awesome place to travel to if you have passed your Open Water course and really want to experience some deep waters. The visibility is fantastic, with most divers reporting views of at least 20 metres every day".
Koh Tang Island, is an island approximately 43 km (27 miles) southwest off the coast of Cambodia in the Gulf of Thailand. The only inhabitants on the island are Cambodian military personnel. The Khmer word "Koh", meaning island, is also commonly transliterated into English as "Kaoh". Koh Tang Island is 6.5Km long and between 1.7Km wide to 80 meters wide.
The island is rock fringed with its highest point at its northern extremity. Two shallow coves press into the eastern and western neck of its northern plateau. The eastern cove has a long shallow coral sand beach.
The small islet Koh Mul/Tuich lies about 1.3 km to the East and Koh Domloung (potato) island about 2.2 km to the South. The islets Koh Tee Mui (8.4 km off) and Koh Tee Bpi (9.6 km off) complete the Koh Tang archipelago.
Koh Tang Island was the site of the last combat action during the U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia during the 1960s and 1970s.
On 1975 U.S. Marines on board U.S. Air Force helicopters landed on the island in hopes of finding the crew of the SS Mayagüez, which had been captured by Khmer Rouge gunboats on May 12.
The crew of the merchant vessel were not on the island as U.S. Intelligence had reported, but had been transferred from the ship to the nearby Cambodian port town of Sihanouk ville. This city on the mainland is also known as Kampong Saom. The capture of the vessel SS Mayagüez by Khmer Rouge forces and subsequent assault on Koh Tang became known as the Mayagüez Incident.
Koh Tang today is mostly forgotten as the last battle ground of the Vietnam War. Underwater there are no visible artifacts or evidence that the battle ground was here. The USA MIA teams are still looking for a helicopter lost and never recovered during the Mayaguez incident, but many here speculate that it was found a long time ago, and like the other submerged wrecks in this part of South East Asia was salvaged for the metals that they are composed of.
Koh Tang today is one of the best scuba diving areas in Cambodia with several Sihanouk ville dive companies running overnight trips out to this large uninhabited island group. Large fish like cobias and sail fish as well as large schools of jacks, snappers and fusiliers swim over the reef in large numbers as damaged reef section are repaired by mother nature, with new coral colonies of “apcora” (a commonly known variety being stag horn coral) growing at a rapid pace, and the fish stocks displaced start to recover. The diving is good, no crowds and several large shallow sections, as well as the deep reefs escaped damage, so there is ample dive opportunities interspersed with the damaged coral beds. The most famous dive site in Cambodia would be Virgin Reef which has never been completely dived due to its large size, is blessed with healthy fish stocks and some amazing coral gardens stretching for hundreds of meters out from the island.
Koh Thmei is part of Ream National Park but this hasn't stopped the government from selling a substantial amount of the island to the highest bidder. Right now the island is mostly empty; although a few families live on the island, there's not so much as a village and the only current accommodation is the eight wooden bungalows that comprise Koh Thmei Resort. Their owners believe that they were allowed to open because of their eco-friendly policies; they power it by day using solar panels and have a complex natural water filtration system. You'll occasionally find the local police drinking beers there who have a station round the corner — a 10-minute walk away along a narrow, long stretch of sandy and shell beach from the small resort.
A 99-year lease has been granted to one of the main property developers in Sihanouk ville, a Malaysian firm, which plans to build a resort town on 2,000 hec- tares of the island and a bridge to the mainland.
They've promised to protect at least 40% of the island but we're not holding our breath. No white sand, but still pretty.
A week before our last trip here, in late 2014, the first inklings of action seemed to have taken place — though in Cambodia this doesn't necessarily mean much more will happen for months, if not years. The diggers had moved in and cut down a stretch of forest to create a clearing for what may become a road and, in time, no doubt the resort that is the nightmare of most seekers of natural, deserted, tropical-island beauty. This is taking place at the other end of the island from Koh Thmei Resort, where you'll be pleased to know you'll only hear the lapping of waves.
Thus the island remains practically pristine. Flanked by mangrove forests, the island is a natural paradise that is as far from Sihanoukville as night is from day. Koh Thmei is the habitat of many types of interesting wildlife, particularly birds. Over 150 types of birds make their home in the park and a trip to the island offers ample bird-watching opportunities. To be fair, they seem to have their share of bugs as well.
A lazy day and a boat. What more do you need?
The beaches are sandy — not as glowing yellow as others we've seen, with plenty of shells making more of a crunch than a squeak underfoot. A problem with almost all the islands we've visited in Cambodia — thanks to ocean currents — is that plenty of rubbish gets washed ashore. Based on the fact so much packaging is written in Vietnamese it seems a lot comes from there; Phu Quoc is spitting distance from Koh Thmei. Thankfully Koh Thmei Resort does a grand job of keeping its beaches litter free with daily tidy ups.
“Koh Totang is an unspoiled, amazing island. What a chance to experiment such an amazing place, thanks to nomads land Cambodia for letting us get back to the roots in a beautiful and seriously astonishing surrounding, this island is special, snorkelling is colourful and with unexpected various marine life, thanks for the wonderful welcome and long life to the nomads."
Koh Totang is a small island just next to Koh Sdach, home of Nomads Land beach bungalows. Without doubt offers some of the best snorkelling in the area, around its rocky coasts hold huge intact coral gardens. It has several beaches westerly and easterly facing. The Nomads Land serve organic meals, sunset cruises, and hammocks where you can enjoy the great view of the sea. It's about 5km north of Koh Sdach.
Koh Totang is a small, wild, naturally stunning, undiscovered and completely unbelievable island; serene and untouched. There are only nine other lovely neighbours living here, a few dogs, many secret beaches and plenty of space to call home.
Nomads Land is the only guesthouse and restaurant on the island – it is completely undeveloped.
Only 1.3 km by 500 meters in size, you can take an easy 20 minutes jungle hike to a private beach on the other side or go for a stroll around the island during low tide in about three hours.
Koh Totang is in a beautiful and untouched 12 island archipelago in the Koh-Kong province. Located 60 kilome- tres from the Thai border and 60 kilometres from Sihano- ukville, we are out of reach from your everyday tourist, but easily accessible for those looking to get away. Just 5 km away, the closest and most popular island in the Archipelago is Koh Sdach – a small fishing village with a population of around 2000 families and two local guesthouses.
The 11 other islands of this Archipelago, including ours, are almost completely deserted.
Koh Totang is surrounded in all directions by a beautiful coral reef, it’s rocky coastline host colourful marine life, beautiful birds and hidden sandy beaches. Eagles and Falcons soar overhead through the jungle and toucans sing during breakfast in a nearby tree.
Fireflies, phosphorescence and natural ocean luminescence leave the beach and sea glowing with neon light.
Wild elusive Iguanas lurk through the jungle. Grass- hoppers, praying mantis and crabs make a pleasant sur- prise on the path back to your bungalow. An incredible vari- ety of butterflies fly through the coastline meadow and into the restaurant.
Thousands of colourful fish and coral just a few meters from the sand and your bungalow: Puffers, Barracudas, Clown Fish, Jack Fish, Bat Rays, Rabbit Fish, Parrot Fish, huge Clams…
You can take out one of the paddle boards of Nomads Land. Kayak around the beautiful island, take a walk to the sunset beach, read a book or simply take time out to relax on one of the comfy long chairs on the beach.
Cruise for a whole day around the beautiful Archipelago of Koh Sdach. Enjoy the freedom of being at sea and check out some of the incredible nature that is found on the surrounding islands. Start the day off with snorkelling, sunbathing, swimming, fishing and canoeing from the boat.
Stop on a beautiful stretch of beach for a delicious BBQ lunch. After indulging in the daily siesta, you can do a bit more snorkelling before heading home to your bungalow. Accommodation of Nomads Land:
The bungalows focus on simplicity and natural feng shui ensuring that each one has the perfectly placed hammock-terrace combination, an amazing view of the sea, and is perfect for a relaxing getaway. Each bungalow has its own individual character and design, all highlighting a different aspect of Koh Totang. All the bungalows have light in their rooms and patio. As this is an eco-guest house, we work to preserve water as much as possible. With the use of common dry compost toilets and Khmer style shared showers, we are able to remain sustainable throughout the dry season. Only the Dive Inn & the Hop Bay Now Bungalows have their private bathroom.
Take the first morning tourist bus heading to Koh Kong. Times vary but buses usually leave between 7am and 8am – check with your hotel/hostel. Ask the driver to drop you off at Café Sok Srei (around three hours from Phnom Penh), which is 6km after the town of Andong Teuk. At Café Sok Srei they will be able to arrange a seat for you on one of the local minibuses ($7.5) going small island just next to Koh Sdach, home of Nomads Land beach bungalows. Without doubt offers some of the best snorkelling in the area, around its rocky coasts hold huge intact coral gardens. It has two beaches westerly and easterly facing. To Poi Yopon (around two hours). Poi Yopon is the local fishing village located in front of the Koh Sdach archipelago.
For an area so small, O’ch- heuteal has a surprising array of personality traits. Even the three-kilometre long beach from which the area takes its name changes character as you stroll or stagger along it, depending on your fancy. The area includes Serendipity beach, which is tacked like an arthritic knuckle on to the top of the long straight finger of O’chheuteal beach; Serendipity Beach Road with its rowdy array of bars and cheapo guesthouses; and the three 1.5 kilometre streets that run from Serendipity Beach Road and the gloriously tacky Golden Lions Traffic Circle in parallel with O’chheuteal beach itself.
Even the beach itself has multiple personalities. The rambunctious strip of beach bars at the top northern end segues into an almost equally noisy — thanks to those puissant fireworks of which so many seem so inordinately fond — but seedy-free section populated by gregarious Cambodian families offering endless rounds of “Chol moi!” (Khmer for “cheers”) over their dinners. Then everything quietens out for another few hundred metres of clear, tree-studded sand before breaking out into the final section which is lined with a small selection of hotels, a market and comfortable beach furniture. This part is also largely used by local families, and accordingly has a much gentler atmosphere than you’ll find at the top.
O’chheuteal’s beach bars are a law unto themselves it would seem, and the source of countless sleepless nights for anyone staying within a 200-metre radius. The parties here don’t stop until dawn, when blinking revelers toke or tap their last before reeling off to their beds, leaving behind those too poleaxed to walk / maintain consciousness. We hear more reports of female travellers being raped here than anywhere else in Cambodia.
And the opportunists come in many other forms. Theft is common along here, by means surreptitious or direct (sometimes violent). If you turn your back on your belongings, do not expect to find them when you turn around again. Scam artists operate here too, especially the “monks” selling blessings and bracelets. They are not monks, and all they are selling is hoodwinks. A simple test: if there is a female in your group, let her reach out her hand to shake his. If he touches her, he is not a monk.
Just north of the ferry pier, you’ll find the rocky stretch overlooked by a jungly hill that is Serendipity beach. Buried among the palms and banana trees are numerous wooden and bamboo bunga- lows built by a small number of mid-range guesthouses. The vibe here is far more relaxed than O’chheuteal, civilised even. The path that takes you there extends along the coast and around a small headland towards Sokha beach. This is part of a marine conservation area, and worthy of a short exploration, but make sure you’re wearing shoes that won’t slip on wet rocks, as it’s quite a clamber in places, and don’t bring any personal belongings. Like villainous little crabs, young kids lie in wait ready to pounce and pinch your gear, and they are reportedly unafraid to be confrontational about it.
Going back up the hill from the ferry pier, Serendipity Beach Road is flanked by bars, guesthouses and restaurants. This area has reportedly cleaned up over recent years, thanks to a police anti-drugs drive, and most of the hang-outs are pretty, and increasingly, respectable. Our particular favourites are Maybe Later and La Rhumerie, while Chochi Garden is a welcoming and excellent value for money guesthouse. At Cresting of the hill, back packer Ville proper looms, offering plenty of cheap, sometimes free, beds and cheaper beer. That said, some of the restaurants, like Monkey Republic and Ole, attached to Reef Resort, offer very good food at great value.
Taking the first right at the top of the hill brings you down Mithona Street, which runs directly parallel to O’chheuteal beach. For the first 300 metres, this is home to a number of bars and restaurants, street side grills, massage joints and a cinema. With regard to massages, the trick is to keep your expectations low. You will enjoy them all the more, while the cinema is a pleasant way to get past the searing midday heat. Things taper out after that, until you get to a large car park which backs on to the section of the beach where Khmer families tend to hang out. This is also where an ugly monument to Cambodia Bay’s election as one of “the Most Beautiful Bays in the World” stands.
Down here, Bar From Home is a winner, thanks to the friendly staff and unforced sense of fun. But during high season at least, Mithona Street is still likely to be beset by the hordes, so if you want to be let alone, you could head one street further back, to 23 Tola Street.
With the construction of swank new places like OC Hotel, and the above-pictured White Sand Palace Hotel, 23 Tola Street is gentrifying. But it is still home to some busy, good value street side grills, as well as Nyam, an excellent Khmer food restaurant.
And then for something completely different, just beside the White Sand Palace Hotel, we found a new water park that seriously looks like the most fun we can imagine having with some of our clothes still on. It will be closed until about August or September 2015, but after that will be $3 or $5 for children and $5 or $8 for adults, depending on the time of day, afternoon being more expensive.
The final parallel street was clearly once the object of some development but, like a February puppy, now has a sad, waiting-to-be abandoned feel to it. Only time will be tell whether it might revive again. For the moment, it may just be too far away from the beach while there are still so many places that are closer. You get the feeling that somewhere will have to be really outstanding to entice people to stay along here, and unfortunately none of the guesthouses that rather dully string along the opening section of this road tick that box.
The last little bit of O’chheuteal isn’t really on O’chheuteal, but a little bit around the corner on 2 Thnou (2nd Dec.) Street, where you’ll find the very smart and worthy Sandan, a hospitality training restaurant created by long-running NGO, Friends International, as well as Marco Polo, an excellent Italian restaurant. A fewer crowds, great food and chilled beers. What more could you ask for before diving back into the O’chheuteal melee?
When people talk dirty about Sihanouk Ville, they’re often really talking about O’chhe- uteal and its environs and all of the low-grade sleaziness that place exudes like an infected wound. But there is very much more to Sihanouk Ville than this, with O’tres a strong case in point. The beach itself is similar to O’chheuteal: three gently curved kilometres of soft, near white sand facing out to the southwest and an horizon studded with Sihanouk Ville’s famous islands. But the likenesses end there.
In everything else, O’tres is another world. Laid back, rural, and far less densely packed, O’tres has a hippy haven kind of feel to it, though the first tentative steps towards gentrification have been taken and are already attracting a more mixed crowd. The beach itself is divided into three sections. O’tres 1 is the northern end, with an abundance of cheap to mid-range guesthouses, late night bars, and some new, smarter developments springing up. O’tres 2 is all the way at the southern end of the beach, where the general atmosphere is much more sleek, though you can still land some bargain bunks if that’s what you’re looking for.
In between those two is an undeveloped stretch of sand topped by spindly trees. According to those we spoke to, there will soon be development along here but they are expecting big, flashy hotels to be built on the main road with a clear view out to the sands and sea. This is why, people say, a strict moratorium has been imposed on further building out from either O’tres 1 or 2. That view must be kept unimpeded for the expected throngs of big spenders. It is also expected that the beachside hotels from Papa Pippo to everything will eventually be cleared by authorities, though like all things in Cambodia it’s not clear when or even if that is likely to happen.
However, as part of a res- ponse to that threat, some places have started to build elsewhere, namely O’tres Riverside. This is a forested little enclave down the tracks to the south of O’tres Village, and home to a host of alter- native souls. It is also starting to see newer, smarter resorts being set up for those seeking a little more seclusion but still like their comforts.
While Sihanouk Ville is, for some, all about the beaches and access to the islands, there is plenty more going on too, especially at O’tres 1. If quietly broiling under a relentless sun with sand in your pants and your food and your cocktails isn’t your idea of ideal, there is plenty more to do to keep away the horrors. Queenco Palm Beach has a mini-golf course, perfect for adults and kids alike. If that’s a little sedate for your tastes, then O’tres Lodge has a volleyball court to get blood pressures up. Then you could dial it down again with a gentle game of petanque at Pat Pat Guesthouse, or go for maximum chill with a soothing yoga session at Done Right, which are held twice a day, at 07:00 and 16:30.
There’s also plenty of sea-based stuff to do. Mercifully, the jet flyers have been banned, but with steady winds blowing all through the high season, kite surfing looks like it’s really taking off on O’tres, and you’ll find O’tres Beach Kite surfing, which offers all the gear as well as training, opposite Papa Pippo on O’tres 1. Sailors should head to O’tres Beach Resort on O’tres 2, where they can hire kayaks and Hobie wave sailboats for a trip out on the waves. Those same breezes make windsurfing off O’tres an absolute dream, with a long stretch to skim along. In addition to windsurfers ($12 per hour), Hurricane Windsurfing at the top of O’tres Beach, also has paddle boards ($9 per hour), and body boards ($7 per hour).
Sailing can be horrifically thirsty work, hence getting the bar as close to the waves as possible is in fact a deeply humanitarian act.
Inland from O’tres Village, you’ll also find Liberty Ranch, which offers a range of hourly, half-day and day rides exploring Sihanouk Ville’s beach and surrounding countryside. This is a truly wonderful way of exploring, and getting on to trails that you would otherwise never see, and as bird and nature watching exercise is not to be missed.
If you’d rather tax your brain than your body, Papa Pippo hosts a pub quiz every Tuesday evening.
For live music, it’s hard to beat the atmosphere at O’tres Market, hosted on Saturdays in O’tres Village. With loads of stalls selling clothes, food, jewelry, essentials oils and more, there’s plenty going on here to while away a happy evening. Papa Pippo also hosts live music gigs on Thursday evenings, with plenty of the beach bars like Blame Canada and Shin O’tres Beach holding some pretty impressive dance and DJ parties.
It may look quiet, but you’d actually have to work pretty hard to get bored at O’tres.
Phnom Leu - Picnic Resort
Phnom Leu is a nature and cultural site. There is a pagoda on the mountain top, which offers visitors a panoramic view of the beaches and Sihanouk Ville international port. Most visitors are local people who visit the site during national festivals.
Natioal Raod 4, Kilometer Post 135, Kampong Seila District, Preah Sihanouk Province. Unwind and relax in our beautiful, clean, natural and privacy wooden cottages overlooking spectacular vast green mountain range and forest. We can arrange for seminar, meeting or other corporate event. Please contact us to discuss your plan.
Wat Leu, Sihanouk Ville is one of the 5 main Wats in the picturesque port city of Sihanouk Ville. These Wats, or Buddhist temples, are scat- tered around Sihanouk Ville in Cambodia. Although Sihanouk Ville is an important port city and is known for its natural treasures but the Wats made it one of the most Tourists Attractions in Sihanouk Ville. Wat Leu, Sihanouk Ville located on the Sihanouk Ville Mountain is only 6 kilometers from the provincial town.
Sihanouk Ville, also known as Kampong Som, is about a 3 hour bus ride towards south west from the capital Phnom Penh. You can also get there by boat from Koh Kong. Because of its hilltop location Wat Leu, is commonly known as "Upper Wat". Wat Leu is surrounded by a beautifully landscaped forest. The hilltop Wat Leu in Sihanouk Ville offers wonderful views of the town and islands nearby.
Wat Leu, Sihanouk Ville is not only a religious and historic site it is also significant from the architectural point of view. Sihanouk Ville Wat Leu is surrounded by a high stone wall. There is a three headed white elephant beautifully carved out of the stone wall with three statues of Buddha on the three heads of the elephant. The golden colored temple with thatched roofs and traditional design resembles the pagodas. In front of the stair case that leads to the temple's door there is a huge statue of Lord Buddha made of black colored stones.
As you climb down the Sihanouk Ville Mountain pay a visit to Wat Krom, also known as "lower Wat". The Wat is located along Independence Beach right at the foot of Sihanouk Ville Mountain. Wat Krom is located amidst the large landscaped forest. You can get a panoramic view of which from Wat Leu, Sihanouk Ville. Wat Leu is also ideal for photography. The tranquility and sacredness of the place attracts the travelers as well as those who are in search of peace.
Apart from Wat Leu, Sihanouk Ville and Wat Krom, tourists can also pay visits to Wat O’tres, located behind O’tres Beach and the 2 Wats in Ream National Park. The Outer Wat is situated on the Road number 4 to Phnom Penh and the Inner Wat is located amidst the forest in Ream National Park.
Prampi Chaon Beach
The beach is short and narrow, and the waves are bigger than at other beaches, making it popular with locals, who favor it most after Sokha Beach.
Prek Treng Beach
Also known as the “Hun Sen Beach” the Prek Treng Beach a few kilometers north of town is a long, narrow cres- cent of sand, a bit rocky in parts, offering comparatively warm shallow waters. Due to Prek Treng’s distance from town and complete lack of services (no guesthouses, restaurants, beach chairs, etc.,) the beach is usually deserted. There is a nearby development project promising a busy future for Prek Treng, but at the moment you can have the beach pretty much to yourself. Just remember to bring drinks and snacks as there are very rarely beach vendors available. To get there follow Hun Sen Beach Drive north a few kilometers past the port area. The beach is on the left just past the first bridge and before you reach the oil port.
The untouched beach of Ream is located in the Ream National Park. Take Route 4 to the Airport road 18km north of town. Turn right, go 9km to the ocean. The beach to the right is long and narrow and frequented more by fishermen than tourists. Behind the beach is a mangrove swamp, which attracts a wide variety of tropical birds. The beaches to the left nearer the Naval Base now have a few vendors selling drinks and renting tubes. There is a small $5 per night guesthouse run by the National Park. Check at the park HQ opposite the entrance to the airport.
The Ream Beach in Siha- nouk Ville is the perfect place that takes you away from the crowded life of the town. Located on the outskirts it is almost a haven for nature lovers. It brings to you the best of creation and will surely captivate you to come back to it again and again.
Located at the farthest end of the town, you have to travel almost 20 Km before you reach the Ream Beach of Sihanouk Ville. Nevertheless this distance will seem nothing when you spend those priceless moments in a place which is nothing short of a paradise. The Ream Beach in Sihanouk Ville is not even difficult to reach because the road is pretty straight without much turns or twists. From the airport if you travel along the route 4 towards the northern part of Sihanouk Ville, you will come quite near this exotic water body. You will also get several public transports to ferry you to your destination.
The Ream Beach in Sihanouk Ville is a place that will bring you right in the middle of the untouched exquisiteness of nature. Being one of the brightest spots within the premises of the Ream National Park in Sihanouk Ville, it is usually haunted by the nature lovers. Though the area of the Ream Beach at Sihanouk Ville is not very large, it is truly one of the most charming among all the beaches in Sihanouk Ville.
The Ream Beach in Sihanouk Ville in Cambodia is also one of the few beaches that are landscaped by mountains and water falls, thus making the entire scene a treat for the eye. Another major attraction of this beach is the swampy region of mangroves that grow right at the back of it. You can also see some lovely tropical birds while looking around the marsh area of the Ream Beach in Sihanouk Ville.
Apart from the exploration of so many fascinating things the Ream Beach in Sihanouk Ville is also ideal for simple relaxation. You can even see the fishermen at work while doing so. Since it is quite an uninhabited region you will only
find few small stalls at this Sihanouk Ville sightseeing spot and it is advisable to bring your own refreshments.
Sokha or Serendipity Beach
Sokha Beach adjoins O'Cheu- teal Beach. It is also long though the water is deeper than here. The beach was once more crowded than O'Cheuteal Beach, because Cambodians prefer it to the other beaches. However, Oknha Sok Kung's Sokha Hotel Company recently took over operations at the beach. The company is building up the area in hope of attracting more tourists to Sihanouk Ville.
Sihanouk Ville's Sokha Beach wins our vote for the nicest beach in Sihanouk Ville, with its radiant stretch of fine white sand and shallow waters ideal for floating and lazy days.
The beach is backed by the huge, sprawling Sokha Beach Resort, the first though no doubt, not the last truly flash hotel to plunk down in Sihanouk Ville. Although it's a shame to see one resort dominate the beach, at least they look after it well the beach is near always clean and the water sparkling. There is a very shallow drop off here, so you can wander a long way out into the water before it gets particularly deep, making it great for those with young children. While we personally had no problems accessing the beach without being a guest, there have been persistent reports regarding hotel security guards chasing non-guests off the beach. One option we guess is to approach the beach through the resort “one assumes the guards don't have identikits of all the guests” but one would have hoped this would not have been cessary in the first place.
If you do get chased off, there is a very small patch of sand in front of Malibu and as they're a pretty cool lot running this joint we can't imagine they'd chase you off as well.
Sokha Beach Resort is set amidst 23.5 hectares of beautifully landscaped beachfront and garden with its own 1.5 kilometers pristine white sandy beach. This property is located just 5 minutes’ drive from the town of Sihanouk Ville. All of the spacious rooms and suites are tastefully decorated for comfort in traditional ancient and modern Khmer design. You can also enjoy the magnificent views of tropical garden or the beautiful sea from your private balcony.
Enjoy a luxurious private seafront view with perfect gourmet seafood, Chinese and Khmer cuisine and experience the romantic ambience indoor or in an aluminum fresco setting. Indulge your senses in an exotic evening experience with singing and dancing with an extensive selection of worldwide fine wines available at the onsite Sokha Wine Bar. You can also find a number of more Restaurants and Bars available onsite for your dining pleasure.
Rejuvenate your mind body and soul at the Resort's spa where you can discover the simple joys of life with endless pampering treatments from head to toe. The state-of-the- art gymnasium and the swim- ming pool at Sokha Beach Resort & Spa Sihanouk Ville is the place to unwind after a long day of work or pleasure.
Victory Beach or Lumhe Kay
The beach is located in front of Koh Pous (Snake Island). It offers a number of services, including comfortable rest- rooms, fresh water and good transportation service to Koh Pous. Thus, many local and international visitors go to this beach. There are many well organized kiosks along the beach, the waves are not big, and environment is clean.
Located at a distance of 3 kilometers from the provincial town, Wat Krom, Sihanouk Ville is one of the popular Tourist Attractions in Sihanouk Ville. The city of Sihanouk Ville is a port city on the Gulf of Thailand in southern Cambodia and Wat Krom, Sihanouk Ville is just 5 minutes from the Sihanouk Ville city. Explore the historical sites of Wat Krom in Sihanouk Ville which has a unique and beautiful architecture. Aka Wat Krom means “lower Wat” and lying on a small hill on Santepheap St. overlooking the ocean, Wat Krom in Sihanouk Ville is dedicated to Yeay Mao, a local deity.
At the crest of the Pich Nil Pass on Route 4 dozens of spirit houses line the road. Many of the houses are maintained for Yeay Mao, the deity who oversees the southern coastal region of Cambodia. When is traveling right 4 people often display bananas on their dashboard and offer the bananas, incense and a little money to Yeay Mao at Pich Nil. The offerings are usually made with the prayer for safe travels. There seem to be no two identical telling of the legend. In one telling, Yeay Mao was the wife of a village chief in the area of Ream.
Her husband was forced by work to spend months away from her in Koh Kong. One rainy season she grew lonely for him and took a Koh Kong bound boat to meet him. On the way the boat was swept away in a storm, drowning everybody, including Yeay Mao. But her spirit was powerful and through dreams and spirit possessions she made it known that she was overseeing the southern coast and protecting the fishermen and villagers. She required only their good behavior and occasional offerings of phallic symbols.
The main spirit house at Pich Nil is adorned with phallic symbols but why Yeay Mao makes this demand is a matter of debate. Some people say that she was seeking this in her ill-fated trip and so still desires it. Others say that she is angry at men because she died trying to get to her husband and wants a symbol of a severed phallus. Sidestepping the debate some more conservative members of the community think that Ya-Mao is now too old for phallic symbols and requires only bananas.
Phallic symbol offerings can still be seen on the beaches near fishing villages, usually in the form of a stick and incense stuck in the sand under a tree. Wat Khrom in Sihanouk Ville maintains a small but significant temple for Yeay Mao.