Cambodia, we need to talk about Sihanoukville

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Sihanoukville is a town found on the south coast of Cambodia and is easily accessible via privately run buses (read: clean and reliable) from Siem Reap, Phnom Penh and Kampot.

When most backpackers talk about Sihanoukville they generally mean Serendipity beach, the largest of the 4 beaches in the region. I had heard great things about the town and was keen to check it out.But when I first arrived at my hostel at Serendipity beach I started to realise this might not be my sort of place. While enjoying a cool drink I overheard a group of American college students talking about last nights conquests. Uh oh.

The beach was nothing exciting either, dirty and covered in rubbish. While trying to relax on the shore I was harassed over and over by women, children and cripples trying to sell me something or beg for money. Not exactly my idea of relaxing.

Don’t get me wrong if you are after a couple of nights of partying on a small budget you have come to the right place. On a night out I managed to spend $2 USD thanks to free drink vouchers passed out on the street and 0.25 cent beer promotions. And the food is pretty good too with beachside BBQs (choice of 2 meats, rice, salad and bread) available for $3-4 USD. Everyone ends their night at a beach party at JJ’s bar on the far side of the beach.

But if you are looking for for a relaxing beachside vacation you would be advised to search elsewhere.

The good news is that there is salvation close by. I took a Tuk Tuk to another of Sihanoakvilles beaches called Otres beach and was rewarded with an amazing hostel, great resteraunts, a clean beach and plenty of chilled out bars.

The area attracts more of a hippie crowd than a ‘gap year’ crowd. It is the sort of place you can go to for a few days and stay for weeks, months or years!

I stayed at the Wish You Were Here Guesthouse but Mushroom Point is also a good option for accommodation, food and drinks. There isn’t a lot to do ‘sightseeing’ wise but it is a great place to relax. Yoga classes are run daily by some of the locals, any of the bars are a great place to chill with your own little piece of beach at your feet and the resteraunts are varied and great. Make sure you grab a BBQ from Paradise Resort, in low season they only do it once or twice a week so be sure to enquire.

The sunset at Otres is the best I have seen so far. Long-stayers told me that the one I saw was nothing compared to a clear night.

The area is also a good launching pad to access the islands. You can take a ferry to the islands of Koh Rong or Koh Rong Samloen for $5 each way. I managed to spend 4 nights on Koh Rong doing… well nothing much at all!

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2 responses to “Cambodia, we need to talk about Sihanoukville

  1. Pingback: Seafood and relaxation in Kep | here and there·

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