Beach life in Sihanoukville Cambodia
Sihanoukville is located about 185km South West of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. It’s a beach town, one of the whitest sandy peninsulas I’ve ever been to that spreads into the warm Gulf of Thailand. This cute little town is also known as Kampong Saom and is relatively new as it was built in 1955 different from any other place in Cambodia, there is no old colonial building in town. And it’s probably the least crowded traffic in South East Asia I’ve been to. We started our trip from Phnom Phenh by taking bus for about 3 hours and spend our first three nights in Otres Beach then took a boat from Sihanoukville to Koh Rong.
It was bit disappointing at first when we arrived to this beach as we were expecting nice and quiet accommodation we’ve booked and paid at the Secret Garden. The staff that managed the booking kinda stuffed it up so we didn’t get any room despite our confirmed booking. However, Ken was very apologetic and kind enough to find us another place to stay and treat us very well with welcome drinks and lunch. He rang his mate at Mushroom Points by the beach and booked us cute little Smurfy mushroom-like bungalow by the beach. It was not a kind of accommodation we were expected to be but we were determined to enjoy whatever happen to our holiday as always and didn’t make it difficult.
Mushroom point happened to be one of our favorite accommodations simply because the bar/restaurant set up and lazy beds by the beautiful white sandy beach that was maintained very well and they have friendly staff. The basic room became insignificant when we enjoyed such friendliness and sandy set up like it is its own luxury as we didn’t even have a time to spend time in the room, mostly just sitting by the shady beach and talking to friendly staff at the bar with our own music selections.
This beach is the first time I learned that there are many young Europeans working while holidaying as a basic staff in third world country like Cambodia. I didn’t even want to know about local government policy on their working visa and I can understand such thing in Australia because they get paid very well but in Cambodia, they are working for accommodation and lifestyle.
The Otres beach itself is such a beautiful long white sandy beach that has such a little number of accommodations and restaurants considering how beautiful the beach is although there are some rather aggressive and persistent vendors, masseuses and tour agents offering their services while we just wanting to relax enjoying the beach. And I rate the beach cleanliness as 6 out of ten when I took a walk to the empty beach side, where there are no hotels and restaurant but couldn’t take my eyes on the rubbish that were so obvious.
We got our ticket from Otres Beach to Koh Rong from the agent offering us a return ticket for US$ 20 for two, and they picked us up in time as they promised. The boat ride was 2 hours and it was a bit windy and rainy. Min, the ticket seller, suggested that we don’t have to worry about booking accommodation as it is a low season so we will get any place to sleep easily. There are heaps of guest houses just right around the harbour along the beach. Its not the cleanest little backpacker village I’ve seen but pretty cute setup. There are some locals and expats offering rooms and guest houses from US $5/night as we hop off the boat and enter the village.
Unfortunately, it was not the best beach weather when we got there to enjoy the whitest beach sand in the region but still very pleasant to spent the holiday in. Night swimming with fluoro glowing plankton is pretty popular on this island.
We stayed at the Tree House Bungalows located at the end of the beach, which is quite secluded and peaceful. There are unique bungalows that look like treehouse by the beach and the guest has to actually climb two storeys to go to the room. We just picked the ordinary bungalow for US $ 30/night. It has its on a secluded and private beach with some lazy beds at the front of the lodge/restaurant and a beautifully maintained garden with some lights that shine beautifully at night.
Electricity and water are not constantly on. The electricity will be started at 5.30pm until 10.30pm and in the morning until 10.30am. The staff recommend to leave your precious belonging to the save box at the lodge.