Cambodia in Brief – A Quick Guide to Sihanoukville
A Quick Guide to Sihanoukville
Established in 1955 Sihanoukville is Cambodia’s youngest city and one of its fastest growing. It is a busy seaside resort with many hotels, beaches and great night life. Sihanoukville can be reached by bus from Phnom Penh (about 5 hours drive). It also has an airport with direct flights from Siem Reap for those who want to skip the capital.
What to do and see in Sihanoukville
Spend a day island hopping
Instead of spending your day at busy Sihanoukville beaches, take a boat to one (or several) of the islands located off the mainland coast. You have a lot to choose from: Koh Rong, Koh Thmei, Koh Totang to name a few. Though all of the island are way less developed than Sihanoukville, they have shops and small local restaurants that serve fresh seafood. Koh Rong can also provide simple bungalows for those who decide to spend couple of nights in this tropical paradise. Clear turquoise waters, white sand and a peaceful atmosphere are exactly what you need to relax.
Ream National Park tour
Ream National Park is 210 square kilometres of mangrove forests, quiet lagoons, white sand beaches, coral reefs and forests. There are several trekking routes around the park. Most of them also include a boat trip through mangrove forest. The park is a home to more than a third of Cambodia’s bird species, many types of insects and butterflies and some monkeys (mostly macaques). Finish the trek with a visit to Kbal Chhay waterfalls, where you can refresh and swim.
Take a Fishing trip
Sihanoukville is heaven for fishing enthusiasts. Hire a boat with a crew (they will provide all the fishing gear) and head to the open waters. Some boats also have snorkelling gear. So when you are tired, or the fish aren’t biting, you can swim in the warm water and enjoy the tranquillity of the sea. If you are lucky, you might be able to find a squid fishing boat that would agree to take you on board. These boats leave port late in the evening. They hang a bright light on the boat’s front. Attracted by the light squid travel from the bottom of the sea. Even if you don’t catch anything it’s one of the most authentic local experiences one can have in Sihanoukville
International Cuisines Tasting
With many tourists visiting Sihanoukville every year, and with lots of expats living there, the dining scene has improved significantly over the past three years. There are plenty of good Italian, Greek, and Russian restaurants in town. Recently Central Asian and Middle Eastern cuisines have been added to the table too. Whatever food you fancy, there’s a big chance you’ll find it in Sihanoukville. Check out the restaurants, try new things, and if it doesn’t work you can always go back to that small grill place you liked on your first day in town.
How’s the food?
Most of the restaurants in town, even the ones that specialise in the international cuisines, always have traditional Khmer dishes on their menus. The Local speciality is, of course, seafood. Restaurants offer a great variety of prawns, fish and squid. For those who like street food there are lots of stalls selling roti, grilled meat sate and lots of different types of noodles.
Sihanoukville is famous for its seafood barbeques. Fresh fish, meat and vegetables are grilled in front of you, while you are sitting in a comfortable chair on the beach enjoying a cold drink. We suggest trying the barracuda. Its dark meat is soft, and it doesn’t have “fishy” smell that many people don’t like so much.
Is Sihanoukville for you?
Depending on what you expect from your holiday, you need to choose the right beach to stay in Sihanoukville. Ochheuteal beach is ideal for Party Animals, Backpackers and Independent Travellers who just want to have fun time. It’s bordering on raucous. Families with kids, couples and honeymooners will find Otres and Sokha beaches more to their taste. They are quieter, with less bars and not so active night life.
The best time to go to Sihanoukville
Dry season (November to April) is the high season in Sihanoukville. If you travel during the Monsoon season (late May to October) you will find less people on the beaches. Unfortunately, daily rains during this period, however short they are, might prevent you from doing such activities as trekking and diving.
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