Is Sihanoukville the Best Mainland Beach in Cambodia?
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STORY: Traveling around Cambodia would be incomplete if i don't check out the beaches, so I booked a Mekong Express bus heading for Sihanoukville. Tip is, if you're coming from anywhere in Cambodia, it's best to jump start your trip to Sihanoukville via Phnom Penh.
Sihanoukville is located in the south of Cambodia. It is 185 kilometers (114.95 miles) southwest of Phnom Penh in a small Peninsula and Bahia. Beaches are the main feature that attracts national and foreign visitors. A small archipelago is embedded by the Sihanoukville Bahia off its south and west coast. The commercial and international port is located at the north west. The limits of its territory: North and West Koh Kong province, East Kompot province and south Gulf of Thailand.
If you're from the Philippines, you would compare that Sihanoukville beaches is similar to those sandy areas in Batangas, only the sand is whiter in Batangas.
Sihanoukville is a sleepy town. It's really quiet here. Tourists at the time when i went, July 2009, was scarce. It was the low season, and most of the foreigners you see are those who happen to own the bars or those who prefer some quiet quality time like the Swiss couple we met.
We stayed in the same resort, and ate in the same restaurant. The next day we were walking along the beach and looking for a cheaper place to stay. I forgot our hotel but it's in the Occheutal beach, and we paid roughly $10/night. Not bad at all for room sharing with two twin beds, air conditioning, ref, cable TV, your own bathroom and toilet. It's on the quieter side of the area so you can sleep soundly.
Most of the days were spent walking around hoping to find a cheaper place for our friends. There were heaps of hotels and guesthouses but nothing is better than our original hotel. They got it down to $9. We didn't. I have no idea why.
Blame it on the low season, but for someone like me and my friend who always search for a cool place to have drinks and party, there was none we can find around the city center.
The next day, we went right to Victory beach and found ourselves drinking to the sounds of Macarena. I miss those times. We were four. The Swiss couple and my friend shared a bucket, i drank beer. My stomach wasn't good, as i think i digested bad water in the hostel in Siem Reap. My bad.
The transportation around Sihanoukville is mostly tuk-tuks with some occasional lancers like the owner of the guest house we stayed in. He gave us a ride towards Victory beach for a fair amount of deal. There's a couple of restaurants and bars but they are quite far from each other. Relatively it's very quiet at night with only the sound of tuk tuk engines you can hear. We once went inside a club we rather not mention and found ourselves the only customer inside. So we left and headed back home instead. We managed to spent about a few dollars that night for nothing.
There's some issue going on with safety around Sihanoukville. There was a drunk American guy drunk walking along the beach. The next day, he was found dead and stabbed to death. Walking at night along Occheutal beach is unsafe.
EXCLUSIVE: The next day we all went to the beach, and ordered in one of the shacks some good lemon tea and burger with chips. Lo and behold, i found a syringe on top of the table, used and left by everyone to see. What is the syringe for, i think you know.
To tell you honestly, safety in Sihanoukville is an issue. If ever you're going, make sure to go during the high season where backpackers are. You can check out other beaches, and do some more traveling' elsewhere like Kampot. I've heard so many amazing stories about the place.