Sights & Landmarks in Sihanoukville
The town itself doesn't offer much to see. The main areas of Sihanoukville of interest to tourists are Serendipity Beach, Otres Beach, Victory Beach, and the various islands off the coast.
The main reason to visit Sihanoukville is the beaches. They are not as crowded as many of those in Thailand, but can be cramped on weekends and holidays. Like many beaches in Southeast Asia, they are often covered in a lot of rubbish.
- Independence Beach (Also known as 7-chan beach after the seven-storey Independence Hotel).
- Ochheuteal Beach (ឆ្នេរអូឈើទៀល - Chnay Occheuteal). A long narrow strip of white sand beach in Sangkat No 3. The northern section has now become known as Serendipity Beach, a beach popular with Western tourists, noted for small guesthouses right on the beach. There are around 30 beach huts serving good value meals and a wide selection of drinks, a golf course development at the south end, and a cluster of mid-range hotels and restaurants in the middle. Grass umbrellas, rentable beach chairs, and little drink huts line the beach from one end to the other. Further south along the beach in front of the golf course development, a number of budget traveller/backpacker oriented bar/restaurant/beach hangouts have sprung up offering chairs, umbrellas, drinks, and a chill-out atmosphere. Expect noise and exhaust fumes though from the numerous 2-stroke jet skis in the area. Swimming can be dangerous and several tourists have been killed by jet skis.
- Otres Beach (SE of Serendipity and Ochheuteal Beaches). Amazing 4 km long stretch of clean, white sands. Far less crowded and more relaxed than other beaches in Sihanoukville. Every season more and more beach bars and guesthouses pop up along the beach. Tourists will find accommodation in rooms or bungalows (prices ranging from USD5-30), e.g., Cinderella Beach Bungalows, Castaways Beach Bar and Bungalows. Like most of Sihanoukville's budget accommodation, no air-con is available in Otres Beach lodgings, except for the Secret Garden Resort, at the far end of "Old Otres" (Otres 2). Otres Beach is great place for lazy sunbathing, but other activities also available (catamarans, windsurfing, kayaks, various boat trips, bicycles.) Unlike Serendipity Beach, marijuana and marijuana-based baked goods are openly and safely smoked and sold at the beach side bars/guesthouses and on the beach itself, which is now attracting a young Western crowd to the area. A second part of Otres Beach about a 5-10 minute tuk-tuk ride away, referred to as "Otres 2", has several guesthouses open and is beginning to attract tourists looking for an even less crowded beach than the relaxed main strip of Otres Beach. Otres 2 is far less developed and less crowded, but offers only minimal activities and locations. There are no stores of any kind in Otres 2, though in the main strip of Otres 1 there's a bank machine. Adjoining that on the road in from Occhuteal is a Khmer village with various stores and a few Khmer restaurants; with a modern US-type small convenience store on the side road out of the village that leads to and from Occhuteal. Otres has a different climate than Snooky; it may be sunny all day when downtown Sihanoukville and the other beaches are raining and flooding. It's also known in the area as having the best sunset, and people staying in closer beaches often drive out to watch it from there (with few vendors or other harassment unlike closer to the city). Otres is fairly large away from the beach; side roads lead to other areas inland, including along the small river that flows through the broad prairie that lies inland from the beach strip. Along it, another village lies, and a few small resorts, and during high season, a small public market with entertainment. There's a couple of resorts and bars there, including a funky westerner-run backpackery bar and stage, and another more modern one with dining room and also a stage. The river is kayakable, and fish from it is part of the menu among local Khmer. The beach at Otres is very shallow for a couple of hundred meters out, or more, depending on the tide. The bottom is soft sand and clean and when there are no waves very safe for children and novice swimmers.
- Serendipity Beach (Connected to Ochheuteal Beach). Guesthouses and bar/restaurants right on the beach, open until the early hours. This beach is the most popular and typically has the greatest number of people on the beach.
- Sokha Beach. Owned by Sokha Beach Resort. It is private, but you can access it by paying a couple dollars. You won't have many people begging or trying to sell you something here.
- Victory Beach (S of the commercial port). Plenty of budget accommodation nearby on Weather Station Hill. This beach is close to the seaport.
- Kampong Pier Nup Lok (2 km N of the commercial port). The old fishing port. Offers some nice views.
- Koh Rong (Monkey Island). Advertised all around Serendipity Beach, Koh Rong is a small island 2-3 hours away from Sihanoukville by ferry that offers a relaxed location away from the crowds, a long beach, a small jungle to trek, as well as a handful of bars, restaurants, and guesthouses on the beach covering an area of only about 2 km. Ferries from Sihanoukville to Koh Rong leave 3-4 times daily from various docks and several different ferry companies in Sihanoukville. Ferries can be booked from any guesthouse or travel agent. Round trip tickets are sold for between USD5-15. A tourist may be quoted more for the ferry, but can be negotiated down, and should not pay more than USD15. Both dorm beds (USD7) and private rooms (USD15-30) are readily available on the island. Fishing, diving, and snorkelling are available as well at prices similar to the rest of Sihanoukville. Most places on Koh Rong run electricity on a generator and usually have electricity from sunset until midnight, though a few bars will run throughout the day and go until 04:00. Koh Rong does not have an ATM. USD5-15.
- Ream National Park. A wonderful mangrove nature reserve about a 30 min drive from Sihanoukville. Take a moto to park headquarters for USD2. From there, park rangers offer walking tours for USD5 or boat tours for USD20 (4 people). Call in advance. The organised trips from Sihanoukville can be disappointing, as they sometimes fail to supply a proper guide and the food can be a bit dodgy.
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