Located on the southern coast of Cambodia, Sihanoukville protrudes into the aquamarine Gulf of Thailand. Its prime position makes this small peninsula a great jumping off point for some of the serene offshore Cambodian islands.
With a tropical coastline and buzzy atmosphere, the town has evolved from the nation's deep-water port – originally founded by King Sihanouk in 1964 – into a livelier destination. Visitors flock from far and wide to bask under the sun on its wonderful seashores where pure white sand meets gin-clear turquoise waters and swaying coconut palm trees provide dappled shade. These days, its nightlife and casinos are the biggest draws, and construction is rapid, with new high-rise hotels and casino buildings popping up each year.
For this reason, if you are looking for a more tranquil beach stay we would recommend taking a boat out to one of the off-shore Cambodian islands, where you will find several beautiful small resorts, perfect for ending a busy itinerary around Cambodia. We highly recommend Alila Villas, located on the small island of Koh Russey, on a peninsula with its own long, sandy beach and a good deal of seclusion. Nearby is the tiny private island of Koh Krabey where Six Senses have a small resort, perfect for a relaxing spa holiday. Or there's Song Saa, a resort also on a private island, with over-water villas reminiscent to those found in the Maldives. Song Saa also runs wonderful community out-reach programmes via the Song Saa Foundation: well worth your support.
Couples looking for a romantic retreat will simply love this coastline, as myriads of dreamy experiences can be arranged, along the lines of private candle-lit beach dinners. The location is also known for its fresh seafood and local crafts, and if you spend any time in the town before hitting the islands, we recommend checking out in its colourful downtown market, Psar Leu.
Acting as a gateway to the tranquil islands, Sihanoukville is celebrated as the best beach destination in Cambodia. Spending some time off the mainland is a welcome relief after a culture-packed tailor-made itinerary touring the crumbling temples of Angkor and the bustling streets of Phnom Penh.
- Anonymous, India
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- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India
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- Matthew Annable, Rajasthan, India