The coastal part includes the wealth of colonial heritage, chic French seaside towns and a myriad of unspoiled offshore islands. Cambodia`s beaches are divine, exactly as one would imagine;  crescents of white-powdered sand, decorated with hammocks and palm tree swings topped up with picturesque fishing villages on stilts and technicolour sunsets. The relative inaccessibility of much of the southwest (thanks to heavy forest cover), the presence of mountains and lack of roads, only add to the country`s charms and one`s curiosity.

Independence Beach, Sihanoukville

Independence Beach, Sihanoukville

SIHANOUKVILLE

The town of Sihanoukville is a gateway to most of the destinations sitting on the Cambodian coastline. This fairly new tourist destination blossoms with hospitality and fabulous white beaches. The central Serendipity Beach offers plenty of seaside restaurants and bars and its vivid ambience attracts both, locals and foreigners, who come to adore the sunsets while chattering over a glass of the local beer.

For more relaxed and calm atmosphere you can visit the next door, well-groomed Sokha Beach and Independence Beach, or the quiet Otres Beach on the other side. Further away, Victory Beach and Hawaii Beach are quite vibrant and provide many beach taverns, as well.

Sihanokville

Serendipity Beach, Sihanoukville

ESSENTIAL EXPERIENCES IN SIHANOUKVILLE

  • BEACHES – Serendipity is the main beach with restaurants and bars, well-groomed Sokha Beach and Independence Beach, quiet Otres Beach good for walking,  Victory & Hawaii Beach are rather visited by locals
  • Water activities – kayaking, canoeing, windsurfing, jetski, fishing, yachting, swimming, snorkelling and diving (tours can be booked at the harbour in Serendipity or Otres)
  • Other Attractions – Otres Beach Saturday night market, Buddy Land Waterpark, Ream National Park (marvellous mangroves),
  • Koh Russei & Koh Rong Islands –  idyllic offshore islands with no roads and pristine nature, snorkelling & diving, chill-out
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Koh Rong Island

KAMPOT & KEP

Travelling to the south of Sihanoukville, you will pass the Elephant Mountains, craggy limestone formations that project starkly from the plains, before arrival in the provincial town of Kampot.

The agricultural region of Cambodia features farms and plantations, charming French colonial architecture, and it is mainly known for durian – the most pungent fruit in the world. Have a bite, and love it or hate it!

Further down the coast, you will find another colonial seaside resort Kep. Only a few kilometres from the border with Vietnam, visitors can enjoy the unique character of this sleepy fisherman place, famous for seafood, colourful markets and lazy beaches.

Kep, fishermen village

A fishermen village in Kep

ESSENTIAL EXPERIENCES IN KAMPOT & KEP

  • Kampot – there is some nice sightseeing in the town (French colonial buildings, Buddhist temples, old prison), Markets (old market & night market), and the orphanage school is definitely worth of seeing as well
  • Greater Kampot – Secret Lake is nice for a picnic, visit the fishing village of Cham, one of the nearby pepper farms and the local salt fields are quite remarkable
  • Bokor National Park – an old and pretty colonial hill station 2 hrs from Kamot, has with a cool climate and French character, there is some good hiking, waterfalls, tea plantations (recent development has brought many hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions),
  • Kep – Kep Beach & Angkaul Beach are both perfect spots for a lazy day, Crab Market is a vibrant place where to eat, organic pepper plantation in the Phnom Voar mountains, Kompong Trach limestone caves (good swimming inside), salt fields
  • Kep National Park – beautiful jungle area with wildlife, monkeys and walking tracks
  • Rabbit Island – Koh Tonsay is the backpackers and beach hub near Kep with fisherman huts, seaside bamboo bungalows and nice beach taverns
KohThmei Island, Kampot

Koh Thmei Island, Kampot

BOTUM SAKOR NATIONAL PARK

The Northern coastline of Cambodia, situated at the Thai border, represents the ultimate “the call of the wild”. This remote area is home to the Botum Sakor National Park is a vast coastal reserve filled with mangroves,  elephants, leopards, crocodiles, gibbons and sun bears.

This place is perfect for hikers, bikers and adventurers. Independent travellers and adventure seekers will find their heaven in one of the most undeveloped parts of Cambodia, Koh Kong. The park is characteristic of a dense rainforest, tropical beaches and isolated fisherman villages. Although it is still the least men-touched territory in the country illegal logging and poaching have impacted the area whose future is uncertain.

Botum Sakor National Park

Botum Sakor National Park

WHEN TO TRAVEL

The best time to visit the islands between November and January when during the dry season, however, a shower or two will not make much difference.


HOW TO GET THERE

Fly to Phnom Penh and take either a local or a shuttle bus to Sihanoukville (4 hour trip).

For all international flights check out www.skyscanner.com or www.momondo.com

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Eva Bodova

Eva Bodova

Monday 21 May 2018

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