Sihanoukville province is a small southern province of Cambodia.
The capital sits on a peninsula with beaches and tropical
islands around. Sihanoukville (also known as Kampong Som or
Kampong Saom) was founded in 1964 to be the only deep-water port
in whole Cambodia. It is gradually being redeveloped as a
tourist attraction, but despite the promise of massive Malaysian
investment - a casino is planned for Naga Island - tourist
numbers are still fairly low. Also its nice with sand beaches
and several paradise islands have made it popular as a tourist
In honour to the king, who fought for the independency of
Cambodia the provincial capital was called Sihanoukville.
Located in the southwest corner of Cambodia, 232km from Phnom
Penh, Sihanoukville can be reached via National Highway N° 4.
White-sand beaches that include O’chheuteal, Sokha, Pram Pi
Chan, and Deum Chrey beautify this coastal city. These beaches
are known for their quiet, cosy atmosphere and the large
stretches of white sand and clear waters and these make them
popular spots for families on vacation. These seaside paradises
with the refreshing coolness of the fresh water streams can be
enjoyed all year round.
Business opportunities in Sihanoukville are varied from
financial activities to tourist and travel-related industries in
conjunction with the government's objective of making
Sihanoukville a major tourist destination besides its status as
an International Offshore Financial Centre. The government
welcomes both foreign as well as local investors to participate
on a joint-venture basis.
This famous see side resort is formed by wide and huge streets
and quite new big concrete buildings, which lost any impression
of the former architectonical colonial style. As the town is not
a small place due to it’s wide spread urban areas, the best way
to get around is to hire a motorbike. Beside the nice beaches
and some very nice vantage points there isn’t that much to see
in the town itself. To catch a nice view on the city you best
climb the small hill to Wat Leu. Wat Krom is another place of
interest as this is a recently build pagoda, because the older
one was destroyed by the Khmer Rouge and it houses a sanctuary
called Yeah Mao, the guardian of the cost. Nearby to the town
there are nice places for a detour such as the Ream National
Park and the beautiful Kbal Chhay Waterfall.
Sihanoukville province is a very small province with 868 square
kilometres surface. It’s located in the very South of the
country and is bordering to the North with Koh Kong, to the East
with Kampot and to the West and South with the beautiful Gulf of
Most parts of the province belong to the peninsula showing a
hilly face with some scattered forested areas. Most parts of the
province consist of the typical plain wet area for Cambodia,
covering rice fields and other agricultural plantations. The
northeast of the province end on the hill foods of the Bokor
National Park, a relatively big mountain range, which in the end
symbolize the southern end of the mighty Cardamom Mountains.
The average altitude of the province is supposedly not higher
than 40m above see level.
How to get there
As Sihanoukville improves a lot in parts of trade, tourist
business and other sectors, the road to Phnom Penh had to be
rebuild properly. Now you can run the perfectly paved National
Highway No 4 linking the capital with this seaside resort
The province could also be entered directly through Koh Kong
Province from nearby Thailand, as more and more tourists do.
It’s doable either by the bumpy Major Road 48 passing the edge
of the Cardamom Mountains or by speedboat from Koh Kong town,
next to the Thai border.
To & From Phnom Penh:
Bus relatively comfortable; a/c buses depart Phnom Penh several
times per day (starting from 7am to 1pm). The price is around
12,000R -16,000R for the 4 hours ride. The buses start mostly at
the southwest corner of the Central Market (Phsar Thmey). In
Sihanoukville, all buses arrive and depart from the central bus
station on Street 108.
Minivans and guesthouse buses like from the re-known Capitol
Guesthouse in Phnom Penh is running daily minivans to
Sihanoukville. Departs Phnom Penh at 7:1am. 14,000 riel one-way.
Buying a round trip ticket will grant you a little discount. In
Sihanoukville contact Capitol Tours on Ekareach in the middle of
downtown. SHV to PP departs at 12:30pm.
Most share taxis depart Phnom Penh before 10:00am, though you
can still find one into the mid afternoon. The price varies
between $3-5/person. Shared taxis offer a cramped and harrowing
2 1⁄2-3 1⁄2 - hour ride with 8 or more people stuffed in a
compact car. Private taxis run about $20-$25. In Phnom Penh
taxis wait at the southwest corner of the Central Market (Phsar
Thmey). In Sihanoukville, Phnom Penh bound taxies wait on Street
There are daily boats departing from Sihanoukville (500Baht, 4
hours) around noon for Krong Koh Kong. Most foreigners are
unfortunately asked to pay 600Baht or $15. It’s worth the tour
as you pass by some virgin beaches and nice costal formations.
It is a 230 km, 4-5 hour trip on NH No 4. 200cc minimum. Rent
motorcycles at Lucky Lucky Motorcycle on Monivong, near Street
184 in Phnom Penh or at Angkor Motorcycles on street 51 near the
famous Walkabout Bar. Fast, easy, but still relatively dangerous
road. Speeding taxis and reckless Lorries are the norm. Slow
down through the villages, watch for slow animals and oblivious
children. By all means wear a helmet and bear in mind that
medical help and rescue is virtually non-existent in the
There has been a slight rumour in recent years, that the 13km
airport near Ream has been renovated, but there are still no
scheduled flights to Siem Reap for the temples-beach combo tour.
Where to eat
There is no shortage of restaurants in Sihanoukville; almost
anything you want, you may get it. There are plenty of
moderately priced Cambodian and international restaurants.
Almost every restaurant offers Cambodian food. For the budget
minded, check out the inexpensive Chinese places and the local
food stalls and noodle cookshops next to the centre.
It would be a shame to leave town without savouring the delights
of a meal of seafood, which unsurprisingly, is Sihanoukville's
speciality, priced by the kilogram and cheaper than anywhere
else in the country. If you prefer informality, you can buy your
own fish and seafood in the market, and any other accompaniments
you fancy, and get them cooked up at one of the beach stalls.
There are thousands of shacks offering tasty and reasonable
barbecue in the evening right next to the beach.
That’s one of the interesting places to eat. It’s a restaurant
and Bar with Russian and International cuisine. An absolutely
unique venue: a restaurant/herpetarium carved into the middle of
a lush garden maze with dozens of terrariums containing rare and
poisonous snakes, exotic lizards, and artificial tide pools.
Reasonably priced international and Russian fare. Located
between north and south Victory Beaches.
Villa Garden Restaurant & Bar:
This nice international restaurant and bar is located on the
Ochheuteal Beach Rd. between Ochheuteal and ‘Serendipity’
beaches. Brand new upstyle al fresco restaurant/bar at the
DevaRaja boutique guesthouse, offering a unique and eclectic
selection of western and Asian favourites and unique chefs
choices and creations, many with an emphasis on seafood - shrimp
scampi, crab quesadillas, Thai basil crab cakes and of course
the daily fish special. Full bar with draft beer, cocktails and
a new slate pool table.
Located at the Weather Station Hill this restaurant offers
delicious Vegetarian, Mexican and Organic food. All vegetarian
dishes employing organic ingredients as much as possible. Lots
of special Mexican dishes, wraps, veg chilli, veg quesadillas,
breakfast burritos and more. Organic veggies, organic brown
rice, coffees, teas, and sugar, sourced locally. Memorable
homemade desserts. Quality ingredients and hygienic preparation
guaranteed. Sometimes Live acoustic music.
Where to stay
There is only one deluxe hotel in Sihanoukville - Sokha Beach
Resort (5 stars), the town has plenty of places to stay in other
lower categories. Accommodation here can get incredibly busy
during public holidays and festivals, when it's as well to book
if you want to stay at a particular hotel, though you are
unlikely to be completely stuck for a place to sleep otherwise.
Note that during peak season (Nov-March) and major holidays
(particularly Khmer New Year), the hotels hike their prices
25%-30% above the normal price. It's worth trying to negotiate a
more favourable rate if you plan to stay for a week or more, or
if you arrive during the week (even during the peak seaon).
Ramada Hotel & Resort: (tel: 034/393916)
Unique hill top hotel overlooking the ocean near the Port. Newly
refurbished a/c rooms with all modern amenities. International
restaurant. Swimming pool. Tennis courts. Range: $75 - $120
Reef Resort: (tel: 012/315338)
Superior mid-range accommodation, clean, air conditioned rooms
with modern furniture, in-room safe, cable TV, wireless internet
access in all rooms, swimming pool with Jacuzzi. Quality
restaurant bar serving premium western and Asian dishes as well
as a full range of fine wines, beers and spirits. Professional
slate topped pool table and darts, friendly service. Range: $30
Snake House: (tel: 012/673805)
Unique, ornate bungalow/rooms set in a quiet, lush garden
setting. Tastefully decorated, single and double rooms with all
amenities and balcony. Swimming pool. Exercise equipment/gym.
Next to the amazing Snake House Restaurant. Near Victory Beach.
Range: $20 - $25
Bungalow Village: (tel: 012/490293)
Charming hillside bungalows surrounded by 5000 square metres of
fruit trees, flowers and large boulders. All with veranda,
bathroom, fan and mosquito net, some with sea view and hotwater.
Very nice restaurant offering excellent Asian specialties.
Unique open-air cinema. Base of Weather Station Hill (Victory
Hill). Range: $6 - $15
Sihanoukville does not offer souvenir shopping comparable to
Phnom Penh or Siem Reap, but Sihanoukville’s shopping
opportunities are growing.
Several convenience stores/small supermarkets are now scattered
across the town, offering a good selections of all of the usual
traveller’s needs. And now there are even a few cool souvenirs
to be had in Sihanoukville. There are some good T-shirts
available at bars and guesthouses and some cool clothing and
accessories for sale at places like Boom Boom Room. Of
particular interest, the very popular NGO-based Cambodian arts
and crafts association, Rajana, has just opened its first outlet
in Sihanoukville, located above the Starfish Café.
The Rajana shop has a good selection of Cambodian arts and
crafts, jewellery, textiles, coffees, spices and more.
(012-789350, www.rajanacrafts.org.) Another local NGO, M’Lop
Tapang, offers products made and marketed by disadvantaged women
under the ‘Mother Under the Tree,’ Snardai project. Available at
Holy Cow, Starfish Café, and Geckozy.
A souvenir unique to Sihanoukville: scale model wooden Cambodian
fishing boats handcrafted by a local French shipwright. The
models are detailed wooden miniatures of fishing boats used
along Cambodia’s coast, and are accurate copies inside and out.
Each is individually numbered. Available at Map Water Sports.
What to see
Deum Chhrey Beach
Deum Chhrey Beach is located in fornt of the City Hall.
Few tourists swim here because there is a big restaurant
nearby. It is popular with tourists who like walk along
the beach, however, because there is a picturesque park
filled with statues, making site popular with
Independence Beach gets its name from the deserted hulk
of the 7 -storey Independence Hotel at the north end.
Locals call this beach 'otel bram-pil chann (hotel
7-stories). It is labeled '7-Chann Beach' on the in-town
street sign. Independence is more than a kilometer long,
but the sandy area is much narrower making the beach
best when the tide is low. The beach is wider and more
tourists toward the northwest end near a small fresh
water lake (which is the source of the town's fresh
water and is rumored to contain crocodiles). At the
other end is the beach's only hotel, Sea Breeze. Grass
umbrellas and drink vendors only hotel, Sea Breeze.
Grass umbrellas and drink vendors now line the beach
from end to end but it is still much less frequented
than other beaches. The road up to the old Independence
Hotel is often frequented by a small troop of Rhesus
monkeys but is currently closed while the hotel is
Kbal Chhay Waterfall
Kbal Chhay waterfall is located in Khan Prey Nup, about
16 kilometers north of the downtown Sihanoukville. To
reach the site from Sihanoukville, take National Road 4
toward Phnom Penh. About 7 kilometers out side of town,
there is a sign announcing the site. Turn left and go 9
kilometers along a trail. The water at Kbal Chhay comes
from many sources along the mountain range, although
only three of these sources are visible. The waterfall,
which is 14 meters high, is at the point where those
three sources joint.
Kbal Chhay was discovered in 1960. Three years later, it
was developed into a reservoir to supply clean water to
the city of Sihanoukville. The reservoir construction,
however, was interrupted due to civil war, and the site
became a hide-out for the Khmer Rouge. In 1997, Kbal
Chhay was marked for development, and a year later Kok
An Company was awarded a contract to construct a road
and develop the site for tourism.
Koh Pors is an island about 1 kilometer from Lomhe Kay
beach, off the coast of Sihanoukville. The beach is flat
and very quiet. It is attrachs few visitors, because it
is undeveloped. Those tourists who do visit the island
travel in groups and bring their own food.
Ochheuteal Beach, known as UNTAC Beach in the early
1990s and it is now the most popular in Sihanoukville,
offering the full spectrum of beach venues from upscale
hotels and dining to laid-back budget beach bars and
Ochheuteal is long, sandy and narrow, with 'Serendipity
Beach' at the northern end, a golf-course development at
the southern end, and a cluster of mid-range hotels and
restaurants near the MP base in the middle. Grass
umbrellas, rentable beach chairs and little drink huts
line the beach from one end to the other.
It offers several nice hotels including the Seaside and
Crystal, the mid-range Holiday, as well as some of
Sihanoukville's better seafood restaurants, (Sea Dragon,
Susaday, Sunshine and Les Feuilles), within walking
distance of the hotels. Further south along the beach in
front of the golf course develop-ment, a number of
budget traveler/backpacker oriented bar/restaurant/beach
hangouts have sprung up offering chairs, umbrellas,
drinks and a chill-out atmosphere. At Ochheuteal's
extreme northern end, Serendipity Beach' is the only
beach in Sihanouk-ville to offer bungalows and
guesthouse rooms right on the sand. Over the past two
years Serendipity's popularity has grown exponentially,
as have the number of bungalows, hotels, and
restaurants. The beach now offers several mid-range and
budget places including Coasters' well-known bungalows,
Uncle Bob's 24-hour restaurant and budget rooms, and The
Beach’s mid-range rooms. There are also places popping
up on the hill just above the Serendipity such as
Diamond Guesthouse and closer to the traffic circle,
Sanctuary Bar and Guesthouse. To get to Serendipity
Beach follow Ekareach Street straight through the Golden
Lion Traffic Circle and UP and over the hill.
Phnom Leu is a nature and cultural site. There is a
pagoda on the mountaintop, which offer visitors a
panoramic view of the beaches and Sihanoukville
international port. Most visitors are local people who
visit the site during national festivals.
Though not untouristed, the Ream Beaches see far fewer
visitors than Sihanouk ville beaches. Located in the
Ream National Park. Take Route 4 to the Airport road
18km north of town. Turn right, go 9km to the ocean. The
beach to the right is long and narrow and frequented
more by fishermen than tourists. Behind the beach is a
mangrove swamp, which attracts a wide variety of
tropical birds. The beaches to the left nearer the Naval
Base now have a few vendors selling drinks and renting
tubes. There is a small $5 per night guesthouse run by
the National Park. Check at the park HQ opposite the
entrance to the airport.
Ream National Park
Ream National Park, It is always called Preah Sihanouk
National Park, the park has become known as “Ream”
because it stays in the Ream commune. It was built in
1993, inaugurated in March 1995, and encompasses 21,000
' hectares with sandy beaches, mangrove forests, the
Prek Tuk Sap estuary, off-shore coral reefs and two
islands (Koh Thmei and Koh Ses). Visitors may see
macaques, sun bear, dolphins, over 155 species of birds,
and other animals. Park facilities are not fully
developed so it is best to arrange a guided tour such as
a jungle walk or a boat trip at the Park Office (located
18 km north of Sihanoukville, 500m off Route 4 on
Airport Road, opposite the entrance to the airport). The
office is open 7 days per week 7 AM to 5PM and there are
usually several guides of varying linguistic skill
levels on hand. Park Office phone: 012-875096. Several
guesthouses in Sihanoukville can arrange transportation
and tours of the park.
Sokha or Serendipity Beach
Sokha Beach adjoins O'Cheuteal Beach. It is also long
though the water is deeper than here. The beach was once
more crowded than O'Cheuteal Beach, because Cambodians
prefer it to the other beaches. However, Oknha Sok
Kung's Sokha Hotel Company recently took over operations
at the beach. The company is building up the area in
hope of attracting more tourists to Sihanoukville.
Vistory Beach or Lomhe Kay
The beach is located in front of Koh Pors (Snake
Island). It offers a number of services, including
comfortable restrooms, fresh water and good
transportation service to Koh Pors. Thus, many local and
international visitors go to this beach. There are many
well organized kiosks along the beach, the waves are not
big, and invironment is clean.
Wat Krom is located in Road Sanntipheap, Sangkat 3, Khan
Miatpheap, about 3 kilometers (5mn) from Provincial
Wat Leu is located in Road No.24, Sangkat 1, Khan
Miatpheap, about 6 kilometes (10mn) from Provincial