There isn't much in Sihanoukville (Sihanouk ville).
Just the top Cambodia beaches, soft white sand and warm azure waters.
And so many hammocks tied between thick Palm trees for you to nap in.
Oh, and the rows of beach-side pubs are a real hassle to walk around.
You are almost forced to sit and have a chilled 85 cent Heineken before you bathe in the sun and cool yourself in the clear ocean waters.
For a current Sihanoukville weather report and to learn more about the best time to visit the Cambodian Beaches here check out our Real-Time Sihanoukville Weather Report.
There were no flights arriving at the airport when I last visited Sihanoukville in July 2008. It is because of the fatal plane crash that took place there the month before.
The Sihanoukville airport has been closed ever since the accident and remains closed to this date (November 2009).
You won't be flying in to lay on the Cambodia Beach of your dreams and I won't be flying short distances ever again.
So How Else to Get There?
Arriving by Bus
I went back to Sihanoukville again this past July 2009. What a lot of changes! There is a central bus station now where every bus destined for this town unloads its passengers.
I arrived in Sihanouk Ville on the bus from Phnom Penh. Tickets from Phnom Penh cost between $4USD and $6USD. That's with the Mekong Express bus service.
The bus station is at 87AEo, Sisowath Quay, Phnom Penh. The Mekong Express service doesn't have their own website so you'll have to phone them @(855) 23 427 519 once you are in town.
As soon as I got off the bus, I was immediately attacked by flyer wielding assailants. They were screaming the names of the Guesthouses they each represented; racing towards me.
I dodged and weaved but they cornered me between a fence and a brick wall.
But I was wiry and jumped over the wire fence in a back-flip, my toes pointed like a ballet star.
But seriously, it's a war or was as of last July 2008. It hasn't gotten any better now that we are in late 2009.
The first time I was in Sihanouk Ville was in 2002. Harassment consisted only of prowling moto drivers vying to charge you too much for a short ride.
No big deal. But now there are even Westerners (Brits and Ozzies etc.) that practically attack you, waving flyers in your face for their prospective employers.
I can understand them. They just want to live in Sihanoukville. It's the center of some of the most beautiful Cambodia Beaches in the country. I just wish they could RELAX.
The best way to avoid all the harassment is to hold a receipt for your already booked Guesthouse and they'll leave you alone. Most Guesthouses and hotels you can book online or via telephone.
Which is what I did. Prices are actually cheaper online and you only have to pay a 10% deposit upfront. So if the room is $10USD then you pay just $1USD to guarantee that room.
I never book more than 1 night online unless I know the hotel well. This is just so I have the option of changing accommodation the next morning if I find a better deal.
But it always pays to have an address in your hand. People think you know what you're doing if you have a set destination.
Find the best deals, compare prices, and read what other travelers have to say about available budget Sihanoukville hotels at TripAdvisor for the cheapest prices on Budget Accommodation and hotelscombined.com for 3 to 5 star accommodation.
I booked a room at Mick and Craig's Guest House. It's a short walk to get to Ochheuteal Beach and it cost only $6USD for a single private room.
I expected a roach infested box with no windows for that price. What I got was a basic room that was clean and really quite nice. My only complaint is that the drinks in the bar and food in the restaurant were very pricey.
A couple Cambodian guys took notice of me when I raised my hotel booking receipt for Mick and Craig's Guest House. They made their way towards me through the still thick crowds.
"Are you the guy who booked online?" One of them asked as he cleared a path for me. He didn't really look at me but around at the other backpackers being mauled by the flyer toting mob.
They escorted me out of the crowd. They bodies parted easily. It must be taboo to mess with other Guesthouses' customers.
I opened the door of the Guesthouse van and the air-conditioning hit me. I felt I had done well and smiled the whole journey to my Guesthouse.
Here's a cool map that you can use to have a good look around the city. Just zoom in or out with the controls on the top left corner of the map.
It's a satellite image of Sihanoukville and it might be a little bit of overkill but hopefully it help.
Feel free to write about it or anything else you may want to share with other visitors to this Web site. Which was the best Cambodian Beach you ever saw?
I had to include this video below. It's short and yet provides a great overhead view of Sihanoukville. The guy in the video films his ride over Sihanoukville in a lawn-mower-powered light airplane.
Wicked Flyover of Sihanoukville, Cambodia
In the video you saw most areas in Sihanoukville. You saw the beach and the inland houses of the locals, living away from the rich foreigners, who are lying on the beach sipping banana shakes.
It's beautiful countryside with the palm trees and the majestic blue color of the sea always glimmering in the background.
On the map you can find the "Seven Wonders of Sihanoukville". That's just something I made up but there really are only seven things to see. Most of the "Wonders" are beaches as most people are there to relax on the beach.
I'll list the "Seven Wonders of Sihanoukville" quickly here and you can click on the heading if you want to know more. The most popular beaches are Occheuteal, Sokha, Independence and Victory Beaches.
Ream National Park is 18 km from Sihanoukville in the South-East of Cambodia. It's a patch of land 210km² in size; 150 km² of which is land and the other 60 km² is underwater or a 'Marine Habitat'.
That's boring talk for "It's friggin' beautiful!".
The park is well kept so that the beaches, mangrove forests, tropical jungles and over 150 different kinds of birds are well looked after. They even have the dive-bomb bird. It can't fly but it keeps climbing the trees and then jumping with its wings stretched wide.
It appears to be hoping to fly but the bird just can't and doesn't seem to realize it. It just hits the ground in a thud and a wheeze then climbs back up the tree and does it again. What a bird!
The park is also renowned for its monkey population. Some people don't like monkeys but these ones stayed away from me and everyone else. They just made farting sounds with their fat lips and screamed as loud as they could.
Find out more about Ream National Park.
Also known as Bamboo Island, Ko Russei is an hours boat ride from Sihanoukville. I couldn't figure out why they chose this Island as the 'One to Go to' over the many others but, after seeing the beaches, I know why.
The nicest beach is located on the Southern end of Ko Russei (Bamboo Island). They really are wonderful beaches. Pristine is the water and the sand is like god's tears between your toes.
The best part is the lack of harassing massage/pedicure/craft sales people that are a constant bother on the mainland beaches.
Find out more about Ko Russei (Bamboo Island).
I can't think of any reason to go to the city center unless you need a doctor or you love hanging off of cheap bar-stools in foreign run pubs with girls on your arms telling you how handsome you are.
I'm ugly so I prefer the pubs in the beach hotels where the wind blows in off the water, the beer is cool and the repetitive sounds of the waves can be timed to match that of my drinking rate and how long it takes for the girls to have drunk enough not to notice how ugly I am.
The City Center is where all major transport routes begin and end. So you'll end up there when arriving or leaving Sihanoukville whether you like it or not.
That would be like going to an Italian food fair and not having Pizza or Pasta.
Victory beach is most ideally orientated for watching the sun set. It faces West so you get a good view overlooking many of the outer islands.
Once darkness has taken its moment you can watch the fishing boats way out at sea, blaring their lights into the water beneath their bows to entice their catch into their nets at the surface.
Weather station hill is at your back if you are facing the water. It's about a 10 minute hike back up there where there are many Guesthouses.
I had a walk through some of them and wouldn't recommend any of them except for the few that are further down the hill, away from Victory Monument.
Find out more about Victory Beach.
Independence Beach runs along the left-hand side of the map. It is closest to Victory Beach but faces North.
The beach was named after the old Independence Hotel.
When I found out the beach had been named after the hotel, I laughed.
Get more information on Independence Beach.
This is a small beach best known because of the restaurant that graces its shores. That sounds funny but every expat I talked to raved about Treasure Island Seafood Restaurant and the seafood served there.
Get more information on Ko Pos Beach.
This place is a Sihanoukville secret.
I don't really want it to become a tourist hot spot more than it's already becoming. Until late 2008 Otres Beach was especially deserted on weekdays.
So hurry and get there because as word gets out Otres Beach is going to get too busy. This is nearly December 2009 and by reports, the beach is still a fairly unknown place for people who crave a secluded beach-laden paradise.
Learn more about Otres Beach
This is nothing more than a fishing village. I wouldn't swim here but there are a few good seafood stalls around and it is a hub for boats going out to the islands, including Ko Pos.
You can get a boat at Hawaii beach to take you around to the islands. A full day shouldn't be more than $20USD for a full day out.
Take your swim trunks and sun-lotion and make sure they have coolers for the beer. Don't expect them to have all the amenities on board is what I learned.
Sokha Beach is by far the best of any of the beaches in Sihanoukville. Sokha Beach is owned and dominated by the Sokha Beach Hotel. It was the first high-end hotel ever built in Sihanoukville.
And everyone knows that. But the beach is fairly quiet compared to Ochheuteal and Serendipity beaches. I like that.
It's not that I'm against other people being on the beach but the vendors and sellers on the beaches at Ochheuteal and Serendipity won't leave you alone at times.
Plus I'm ugly and when I take my shirt off, women actually run.
Get more information on this top Sokha Beach.
'Serendipity Beach' is a term you'll hear occasionally. It just refers to the top section of Ochheuteal Beach.
This is where you'll find some of Shihanoukville's best hotels, a few mid-range places, and lots of bungalows. Because of all of this, you get the most touristy part of Sihanoukville.
Learn more about Occheuteal Beach.
Best of Sihanoukville, Cambodia?
A short note on your favorite restaurant or that lovely beach hut that you might recommend to others?
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