Preah Sihanouk province is Cambodia's most famous beach town. Better known as Kampong Som to locals, it is about 230 km southwest of Phnom Penh and boasts pristine white-sand beaches, unspoiled tropical islands, and a dynamic nightlife.
Sihanoukville town sits in the center of a small peninsula that juts into the warm waters of the Gulf of Thailand. Several beaches of fine pearl-white sand line the shore around the peninsula, all easily accessible from the town, each separated from the other as much by character as the rocky headlands between. The main beaches are lined with thatch roofed seafood shacks offering cold drinks, umbrellas and chairs, BBQ, evening parties and water sports.
Ochheuteal and Serendipity Beaches are the most popular and the busiest with plenty of nearby hotels, guesthouses, bars and restaurants. On the other side of town, Victory Beach at the base of the Victory Hill is also popular, offering a somewhat more tranquil atmosphere. Otres Beach is similar to Ochheuteal but far less touristic and has a much more relaxed feel.
There are dozens of untouched islands off the coast of Preah Sihanouk: Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samlon both feature blissfully uncrowded beaches with palm-shaded shorelines. Being a beach town, there are also many sea-based activities for adventurous visitors, including boating, island-hopping, fishing, diving and snorkeling in crystal clear waters.
In the evenings, the nightlife heats up, and those in search of pulsing bars and nightclubs won't be disappointed. Many entertainment venues, especially those on Weather Station Hill, stay open well into the wee hours.
Islands for Scuba Diving
The waters off of Sihanoukville and the nearby islands offer some good scuba diving opportunities. Coral encrusted rocky reefs surround many of the local islands, supporting abundant hard and soft corals, sponges, anemones and an assortment of fish life including sting rays, moray eels and so on. Good dives sites can be found around the islands such as Koh Rung Samloem and Koh Rung within a two hour trip of town.
Koh Rung- The largest island near Sihanoukville is located west about 2-3 hour boat trip from town. Koh Rung covers almost 70km square, but the island is sparsely populated with only four large villages. It also has at least 23 beaches and 2 waterfalls.
Koh Rung Samloem- Koh Rung Samloem offers some of the better diving within daytrip distance, taking about 2-hour one way by local boat. The island is home to a small fishing village, three major beaches and several minor beaches. Rocky reefs around both islands host a variety of marine life in both shallow waters and at depths up to 18 meters. Species sightings include cobia, puffer fish, moray eels, octopus, rays, crabs, cuttlefish, scorpion fish, lion fish, barracuda, yellow goatfish, parrotfish and so forth.