Sihanoukville

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Ideal duration: 3-5 Days

Best Time: October - January Read More

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Also Refered As:

Kompong Som

"Beaches, Seafood and Nightlife"

Sihanoukville Tourism

Sihanoukville is a coastal city in southwest Cambodia, about five hours by road from Phnom Penh. Serviced by Sihanoukville International Airport, it is the most popular seaside destination in the country. The city is known for its vast coastline, home to untouched and magnificent beaches, restaurants and cafes serving delicious seafood cuisines and arguably the country's best nightlife. Tourists also visit Sihanoukville to enjoy watersports, games, and boat trips to the surrounding islands.

Once a vital trading port for Cambodia, Sihanoukville has grown into a backpacker haven offering some of the best seaside experiences at affordable prices. Visitors can find plenty of cheap guesthouses and hostels to stay the night over and bars that stay open well into the night. However, as one goes further south of the city, the beaches become more relaxed and give away to more posh resorts and other accommodation options.

Sihanoukville is a staging point for trips to nearby islands, which are largely untouched, with some offering great accommodation. For those who wish to cast away from the shoreline and enjoy a tropical vacation in peace, this is something which cannot be recommended enough. Scuba diving is also quite popular with PADI-certified schools and tour operators offering liveaboard trips on the regular.

Must Know Before You Visit Sihanoukville

1. Regular buses ply from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville daily and the journey takes around five to six hours. This is the most common and affordable way to reach the city.

2. As most of Cambodia accepts the US Dollar, travellers can easily pay and receive payment in USD and need not exchange money to the local currency.

3. Serendipity Beach is a hotspot in Sihanoukville, with most visitors seeking accommodation in this area. It is advisable to book or enquire about your accommodation well in advance.

4. Further south, away from the central part of the city, are where the relaxed beaches can be found and accommodations are more easily available.

5. Motorbike taxis are the most popular way of getting around. Bikes and bicycles can also be rented at affordable rates.

6. Petty theft is common in Sihanoukville. Be careful of talking to strangers at the beaches and always be wary of your belongings as they can be easily swiped away when not looking.

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Nightlife in Sihanoukville

The city offers a pretty good nightlife in Ochheuteal, Serendipity and Victory Beaches with all beach sidebars as well as those in downtown that serve fresh brews and have musical and dance floors open until the early hours of the morning. However, if you want to have a simple holiday in a quieter place, Otres beach is a place which has cheap and minimalistic guest houses overlooking the sea.

3-Day Itinerary

  • Day 1: Visit Wat Leu Temple in the morning. Then head to Koh Thmei and Koh Pos beaches for watersports or relaxing. Shop at night in Otres market and enjoy seafood dinner at any of the beachside restaurants.

  • Day 2: Head to Bamboo Island or Koh Russei during the day. Come back in the evening for shopping at the local Phsar Leu Market. Enjoy seafood for dinner in the bars along with some drinks.

  • Day 3: Visit Ream National Park to explore all the attractions. In the evening head to Serendipity and Ochheuteal beaches for unwinding and enjoying the sunset.

Travel Tips

  • It is best to drink during the happy hour sessions offered by the bars and drink outlets. As drinks are cheap, one can get carried away and rack up a hefty bill.
  • Most of the casinos in the town are forbidden for tourists as well as locals, admitting only the Chinese. It is best to check before entering to avoid any conflicts.
  • Although there are plenty of shopping options along the beaches in Sihanoukville, the prices are higher compared to other cities. So avoid shopping if you plan to visit other towns in your itinerary.

History

Sihanoukville was set up as a port town in 1964 after Cambodia's independence, and the city got its name from the country's King Norodom Sihanouk. Relatively a new town, it developed into a beach destination with grand resorts, bars and rich coastline until the Khmer Rouge put an end to the golden era.

The city was almost shut down after thousands of civilians were killed and the buildings destroyed. One of the famous hotels was Independence hotel, which became abandoned. In 1993, peace returned to Sihanoukville, and from the late 1990s, the town turned into a backpacker's paradise, with plenty of cheap guesthouses, bars, cafes and restaurants lining up the clean white sand beaches.

From being Cambodia's famous beach town, it has now turned into a concrete jungle with construction sites. The city is home to more expats than the locals now, a majority of them Chinese, who have set up hundreds of huge casinos across all the beaches. This sizeable Chinese investment is sadly negatively changing the city, impacting the lives of the locals. The Chinese population has increased here dramatically with its continued settlement. 

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Sihanoukville Photos

Sihanoukville
The Secret Garden Bar and Restaurant, Sihanoukville
Traditional Thai Cuisine at Sandan Restaurant
Okonomiyaki - Most Famous Dish Served at Ryoma Restaurant

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FAQs on Sihanoukville

What is famous about Sihanoukville?

Sihanoukville is a great place if you are looking for some nightlife. There are plenty of pubs open all night serving brews and cocktails along with the music. It is a popular place for casinos, although tourists need to check the rules before entering any.

What is not so good about Sihanoukville?

In recent years, the safety of travelers has been an issue. The crime rates have been on the rise with the influx of Chinese immigrants occupying most of the popular locations with the casinos. It is recommended to safeguard your valuables and avoid venturing out in deserted places.

Who should visit Sihanoukville?

With so many entertainment options and a fantastic nightlife by the beaches, Sihanoukville is a great place for youngsters, couples and groups looking to have fun. 

What is the best time to visit Sihanoukville?

The best time to visit Sihanoukville is between October and January. The weather is ideal during these months with less humidity and is a great time to enjoy the beaches. From late February, summer sets in slowly with March to May being the hottest months. Monsoon begins in late July and lasts until September, with most regions witnessing landslides and floods. 
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What is the best way to reach Sihanoukville?

What are the things to do in Sihanoukville?

The top things to do in Sihanoukville are Otres Beach, Ochheuteal Beach, Ream National Park, Shopping is in Sihanoukville, Snorkelling in Sihanoukville, Kbal Chhay Waterfall. You can see all the places to visit in Sihanoukville here

What are the places near Sihanoukville?

The top places near to Sihanoukville are Phnom penh which is 2 km from Sihanoukville, Kep which is located 128 km from Sihanoukville, Siem reap which is located 229 km from Sihanoukville, Kirirom national park which is located 9 km from Sihanoukville, Oudong mountains which is located 32 km from Sihanoukville

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