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Sihanoukville

Located on the southern coast of Cambodia, Sihanoukville protrudes into the aquamarine Gulf of Thailand. Its prime position makes this small peninsula a great beach stop to add into a tailor-made itinerary across the region.

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, much-loved 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. Our favourite is the 1 kilometre Sokha beach, where ending the day admiring a heavenly pink hued sunset over the picturesque sea is unbeatable. Several sophisticated hotels and resorts can be found in Sihanoukville despite the town’s lively party scene, offering pockets of tranquillity away from young revellers; as do a few luxurious properties on more remote islands nearby, including Ampersand favourite, Song Saa.

Although Sihanoukville is primarily a laid back destination, it also has an active element thanks to the bountiful array of water sport activities on offer along its beaches, which helps to strike the perfect balance for a family-friendly stay. Couples looking for a romantic retreat can also enjoy this Cambodian coastal town as myriads of dreamy experiences can be arranged here, along the lines of private candle-lit beach dinners.

This location is known for its fresh seafood and local crafts shops, which we recommend checking out in its colourful downtown market, Psar Leu.

Celebrated as the best beach destination on mainland Cambodia, Sihanoukville’s coastline is a welcome relief after a culture-packed tailor-made itinerary touring the crumbling temples of Angkor Wat. Not to mention, this peninsula also doubles as a gateway to nearby islands, each small slices of paradise that remain relatively unspoiled – for now – despite the thriving tourist boom.

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