The Cambodia Coastal Visitors Guide 52nd
Index of Advertisers
Hotels & Restaurants
Kep 63 Brise De Kep 62 Ocean Breeze
41 Bamboo Bungalow 49 Boutique Kampot Hotel 57 The Columns Kampot 55 Five.s Hotel 51 Happy Kampot Pizza 43 Happy Special Pizza 44 Hotel Old Cinema 54 Kepler's Kampot Books 43 Kepler's Kampot Pepper 56 The Magic Sponge 55 Makk Hotel 45 Mea Culpa GH 48 Natural Bungalows 56 Neon Tigress Inn 58 Ronin Tattoo 58 Rusty Keyhole Boat House 51 Uni Cat Café
22 Dara Independence Beach Resort & Spa 3 Holiday Palace 7 Lakshmi Bungalows 32 The Royal Retreat 13 Sunset Lounge Shopping 5 Orange Mart 9 Samudera
61 Palm House Boutique 60 Raingsey Bungalow 63 Vanna Hill Resort
Koh Kong 68 Apex Koh Kong 72 Sareth Resort Siem Reap 75 Cambodian Landmine Museum 76 Garden Village 75 Georges Rhumerie 74 Memoire Palace Resort & Spa 76 Samadhi Yoga 14 Siem Reap Food
4 CamboTicket 8 CamboTicket 22 CamboTicket 27 Giant Ibis
35 Speed Ferry Cambodia 80 Speed Ferry Cambodia
M’lop Tapang Childsafe
79 Hard Rock 7 SEAPs 79 Villa Grange
59 Kurata Pepper
Sihanoukville - the largest city on the coast - is a beach and port town, offer- ing beach umbrellas and thatched roofed eateries, 24-hour bars and every- thing from a laid back chair on the sand to an endless party vibe. Kampot is a quaint, lightly touristed old provincial capital on the Kampong Bay River, with classic colonial-era architecture, surrounded by picturesque moun- tains, countryside and eco-destinations. (Page 64) Kep , only 30 minutes from Kampot, is a budding resort area in a natural setting - jungled mountains, a National Park, and local crab shacks at the ocean’s edge. (Page 77) Koh Kong aside the Cardamom Mountains is a border town, a growing eco-tourism desti- nation and near the busy Cham Yeam border crossing with Thailand. (Page 87) The nearby tropical islands of Koh Rong and Koh Rong Sanloem (and others) continue to grow in popularity, offering a range of island experiences, from party beaches to luxury get- aways to rustic bungalows on lost tropical sands. (Page 41) 48 Dining 23 25 Hotels KAMPOT GUIDE W ELCOME to coastal Cambodia, to sandy beaches, tropical islands, provincial towns and budding resorts on the warm waters of the Gulf. 4
KOH KONG GUIDE
See & Do
S I HANOUKV I L LE www.canbypublications.com
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Heading into the deep summer, rains are more frequent and tem- peratures begin to cool.
Ochheuteal The town’s most popular beach - beachshack restaurants, BBQ din- ners, and all night parties. (Page 16) Otres The away-from-the-crowd beach and nearby Otres River Village haven’t lost its relaxed Otres vibe. (Page 14) Independence The more relaxed near- town beach. Nice family beach and a good place to escape the crowds. (Page 18) The Islands Everybody is headed to the islands these days offering from party beaches to lost tropical islands. (Page 41) Island hopping day-cruises are fun and affordable. For $15-$25 you can cruise to 3 islands, snorkel, fish and party. (Page 19) Diving Waters off the nearby islands offer some fine scuba opportunities and there are several PADI outfits in town. (Page 19) The Party Ochheuteal and Otres are lined with bars, some 24/7. Victory Hill and two bar plazas are packed with hostess bars. (Page 30) Sihanoukville highlights...
Consistent light rains, with the occasional monsoon, bring about beautiful skies directly after a downpour. While the rains are somewhat steady, life goes on. Buses run, planes fly, vendors sell, and visitors take advantage of seasonal specials welcoming them to the Kingdom’s coastal areas. Overall cooler temperatures make the rains bearable, and bring a fresh feeling to the air. Clear hours of the day make for festive atmosphere.
THE TRAINS to southern Cambodia have begun to run again, currently offer- ing thrice weekly runs between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville via Takeo and Kampot . The tracks and carriages are all new, the prices nomi- nal and the ride is
leisurely and unique. These are the only trains running in Cambodia and are worth a try for the locomotive experience alone. Changes are still in progress on Ochheuteal Beaches . New regulations are pushing some of the beach businesses
a few tens of meters back from the beach, freeing up more sand. The casual visitor might not even notice, but if you find your favorite place seems to be missing, it's probably just moved 20 meters back from the ocean.
S ihanoukville is putting on something of a real shopping scene these days. There are now plenty of convenience stores around town and a couple of supermarkets downtown including Samudera and Orange Mart . Shops and stalls selling souvenirs, cool clothes, crafts and gifts line the entrance road to Ochheuteal Beach and the sidestreet off the top of Serendipity Beach Road. The Otres Saturday Market is a special experience in the spirit of the Goa Saturday Markets. Open in the high season, every Saturday, Otres Village, 4PM. shopping
Traditional Markets (Phsar) Phsar Leu (Upper Market) is the largest and oldest traditional-style market in town. When people refer to ‘the market’, they mean this one - a dimly lit, roofed expanse of booths
Exchange rate: US$1=~4058R (September 2019) Money Though Cambodian riel (R) is the official currency, US dollars are used as commonly as riel. Most tourist ori- ented businesses set their prices in US dollars. Though the exchange rate varies over time, it has hovered near 4000R to the dollar for several years and many small businesses treat 4000R as the de facto rate regardless of today’s exact exchange rate. When accepting US dol- lars, inspect the bills carefully. Marred riel is acceptable tender, but the tiniest tear in a large US note renders it worthless in Cambodia. ATMs Sihanoukville has several ATMs located all across town. Some ATMs are limited to Visa card but most accept Cirrus, Plus, Maestro and Visa systems. Credit Cards Visa and MasterCard ( MC ) are the most widely accepted. Some businesses charge a 2%-4% fee on credit card payment. Travelers Checks Travelers checks are still accepted at some banks and hotels, but there are fewer places all the time. Ana Travel offers currency/travelers cheque exchange.
and stalls vending everything from fresh meat and veg- etables to clothing, auto parts, jewelry, etc. Opens and closes with the sun. Located downtown on 7 Makara St. Convenience Stores/Supermarkets Ochheuteal area: Lucky Ocean Supermarket Convenient to the Ochheuteal area. Supermarket offering a selection of food and drink, meats, produce and sundries. A/c coffee shop upstairs. 7:30AM-10PM Downtown area: Orange Market Bright orange store in the center of town. Foods, soft drinks, ice cream, cheeses, beer, large selection of wines, spirits, sundries, produce, beach needs. Restaurant, bar and hotel supplier. Free delivery. Visas. 7AM-11PM. Ship supply services. Visa/MC Downtown on Ekareach Street Tel: 034-933878 www.cambodiashipsupply.com Samudera Supermarket Sihanoukville’s longest established supermarket. Large selection. In addition to the usual selection of foreign foods, drinks, cigarettes, Samudera has a supermarket choice of meats, vegetables, fruits and dairy products. Good business connections. Visas.
Cambodia Country Calling Code : 855 Sihanoukville Area Code : 034
Real estate. Exchange. 7AM - 10PM. Visa Downtown on 7 Makara St. Tel: 034-933441 Souvenirs, Jewelry, Duty Free M’lop Tapang Gift Shop
The tourist towns in Cambodia offers what is probably some of the most widely available free WiFi in Southeast Asia - at restaurants, bars, coffee shops and most hotels and guesthouses. Some hotels offer com- puters with internet for guests, and there are still a few places around town offering public internet, including many of in travel/tour operator offices, especially in the Ochheuteal/Serendipity Beach Road area, running about 2000R-4000R/hour.
Non-profit, NGO-based gift shop on the road to Serendipity Beach. Offering handmade products designed and made by young women “committed to learning skills to empower themselves.” Serendipity Beach Road Tel: 010-297931
Medical Khmer American Dental Clinic emergency
Bonna Realty Group Real estate, buy, sell, rent, commercial, residential. Ekareach St. Tel: 034-934809 K-H Real Deal Co. Ltd. Real estate, buy, sell, rent, commercial, residential. Ochheuteal Beach Rd. Tel: 034-6444447
General dentistry, implants specialist, orthodontics, endodontics, restoration, oral surgery, prosthetics, 20% discount on implants. #76 Ekareach Street, near the Caltex station . Tel: 092-999898 Pharmacie Chamroeun Chanlida Complete pharmacy, located near Ochheuteal Beach. Beauty products, sunscreen, other sundries. 9AM- 11PM. Two locations: 1) Golden Lion Traffic Circle at Serendipity Beach Rd; Sihanoukville International Clinic International clinic located in the center of downtown. 24-hour emergency service available. Medical insur- ance accepted. Downtown, Ekareach Street Tel: 092-911911 Sihanoukville Referral Hospital The Sihanoukville Referral Hospital is on Ekareach Street between the town and Golden Lions Traffic Circle. Limited medical facilities. Tel: 081-886666, 034-936666, 088-5886666 Police The police headquarters are located 1.5 km west of the town center on Ekareach St. at the top of the first hill west of town center. There are also police posts at the entrance to Ochheuteal Beach and at the corner of Serendipity Beach Road and Ochheuteal Street. Tel: 011-683307, 034-6579888, 097-7255543 2) Ekareach Street, downtown Tel: 017-500056, 034-934748
SEAPs South East Asia Property Services Co., (Seaps Cambodia) aims to help people feel educat- ed and secure in their property portfolio in South East Asian region. With offices in both Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville, and specialist agents in each of these destinations, Seaps can show investment
options and rentals across the nation. Golden Lions Roundabout, Sihanoukville Tel: 081-570831 www.seapscambodia.com
T he Downtown Area sits cen- tral on the peninsula, about five minutes from the beaches in both directions. A fairly compact area, the downtown is only about two kilometers wide with most of the businesses
strung along Ekareach Street and a couple of blocks either side. Several lower mid-range hotels and guesthouses, and bars and restaurants dot the area, as well as convenience stores, the main market, banks and pharmacies.
Restaurants and Bars (see pages 24 & 30) Apsara Restaurant A Sihanoukville original, running for more than two decades. Cambodian and international. Cafe Sushi Popular, long-running Japanese restaurant with a complete menu of Japanese dishes, and fresh sushi and sashimi... Missing Monkey Small bar and restaurant nestled on a quiet downtown street not far from the Golden Lions. Pos Café Air-conditioned coffee shop. Espresso drinks, bubble tea, smoothies, cakes... Hotels (see page 25 for more) Golden Star Inn Clean new a/c rooms with cable TV and free WiFi.
S ihanoukville sits on the southwestern coast of Cambodia, spread thinly across a hilly peninsula jutting into the Gulf of Thailand, and rimmed with sandy beaches. The downtown is near the cen- ter of the peninsula a couple of kilometers from the beaches. The bus station is in the center of downtown. The airport sits 18km north of town. Moto-remorques and motodups (see pg 48) are the usual form of transportation.
high point rope park
S ihanoukville sits on a small peninsula jutting into the warm waters of the Gulf. Beaches of fine pearl-white sand line the shore, each sepa- rated as much by character as the rocky head- lands between. The main beaches are lined with seafood shacks and bars offering drinks, umbrel- las and chairs, BBQ and more. Ochheuteal and Serendipity Beaches are the most popular and the busiest with plenty of near- by hotels, guesthouses, bars and restaurants. A bit farther from town, Otres Beach is still main-
taining that laid-back Otres vibe. On the other side of town, Independence Beach , though small, offers a pleasantly tranquil atmosphere and beachside bbq shacks.
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O tres Beach is the next beach south of Ochheuteal. Like Ochheuteal, Otres is a
three kilometer crescent of white sand facing southwest, but Otres is further from town and more thinly touristed, offering a more relaxed
atmosphere, especially at the far end. Beach shacks and guesthouses line the near (Otres 1) and far (Otres 2) ends with the central section a long, tranquil beach, pleasantly free of restaurants, umbrellas and vendors. Behind Otres, the Aquarian back beach enclave of Otres River Village is quickly growing.
Otres 1 Hotels (see page 25) Lim Hour Bungalows Strip-style bungalow rooms. Fan rooms with en suite bathroom. Restaurant/bar. Mien Mien Affordable rooms just 20m from the ocean’s edge. Popular beach bar/restaurant. Yoga. Travel services. Pat-Pat Guesthouse Private bungalows and guesthouse rooms. Restaurant, Khmer and French food. Otres 1 Dining & Bars (see page 23) Otres Corner Bar Full bar on the beach, events of some sort every night, including Poker Mondays. Mien Mien Long popular beach bar on the sand. Big menu. Khmer/western dishes. Free pool. Boat trips. Otres 1: The Near End.. . At the northern ‘near end’ of the beach (Otres Beach 1) dozens of beachshack bars and restaurants are squeezed together along a kilometer of sand, some staying open quite late and offering events and music. There are also a dozen-plus guesthouses and bungalow places lining the beachfront road just opposite the sand and ocean.
Otres 2: The Far End... The ‘far end’ of Otres Beach has a more secluded atmosphere than the near but still offers beach bars and restaurants as well as accommodations along the beach road including a few of upper mid-range places and fine dining on the beach.
Otres 2 Hotels (see page 25)
Village Hotels and Guesthouses (page 25) Bungalow Ta Kloy Tip Individual stone bungalows set around a swimming pool...A/C, CTV, fridge. Cubby House Eco Resort Bungalows and camping tents with quality mattresses, fans and deck chairs. New Papa Pippo Italian Restaurant & Bungalows New bungalows and restaurant from the Papa Pippo on Otres. Legacy Resort Spacious, modern, comfortable rooms with a/c, CTV, WiFi. Big pool and restaurant. Otres River Village A backbeach enclave with an eco- friendly ambiance behind central Otres Beach with an eclectic mix of people, accommodations and drinking places in an laid back environment. Set amongst mangroves along a small lake and estuary. The Secret Garden Smart, modern beachside bungalows. Swimming pool. A/C... Otres 2 Dining & Bars (see page 23) The Secret Garden Chic dining on the sand and also a poolside bar. Professional western chef. Cocktails.
Safety & Security Tips * Do not leave your things unattended on the beach while you go swimming or into your bungalow, even briefly. * Beware of illegal drugs . Enforcement and penalties, even for simple possession, have been stepped up considerably. * Be alert for snatch & grab thieves , usually on motorcycles. Stow your bag securely in tuk-tuks and carry your bag/camera away from the street side. * Traffic laws , including helmet and driver license laws are being more strictly enforced. Mind the law. * Boat safety practices are not up to international standards. It is up to YOU to make sure your boat has sufficient safety equipment and is not overloaded.
ochheuteal & more beaches
Two long beaches divided by a rocky point, so named for the nearby ‘Victory Monument’ that sits in the center of the beach road. The southern section is Hawaii Beach and is much more popular with locals than for- eigners. The north- ern section near the
O chheuteal Beach is by far the most pop- ular and touristed beach in town with ‘ Serendipity
Monument is Victory Beach, now partially closed and fairly quiet. Mid Victory beach the sand nar- rows and a couple of upmarket seafood restaurants hug the water’s edge. QueenCo and Golden Sea casinos stand nearby. Above Victory Beach, Victory Hill offers a variety of guesthouses, dining and bars, especially of the hostess variety. The road at the top of hill is one of Sihanoukville’s nightlife hotspots. Sokha Beach eqñrsuxa
Beach ’ at the arcing northern end and busy Serendipity Beach Road stretching from the beach to the Golden Lion Roundabout. Restaurants that line Ochheuteal typically offering full bars and food, especially seafood BBQ at sunset. Ochheuteal is also the partyingest beach in town with many of the bars open very late night, with cheap drinks, fire dancing and parties into the wee hours.
Sokha Beach Resort occupies all of Sokha Beach - kilometer long crescent of perfectly groomed fine pearl white sand. But the beach is fairly quiet, frequented primarily by resort guests. There aren’t any seafood shacks, but dining gazebos and an up- A distant beach off the beaten track, 27 kilo- meters north of town, Ream Beach is long and narrow, sitting at the edge of ‘Ream National Park.’ The beach is largely untouristed and of very average quality. The road toward Naval Base offers a nice Ream Beach eqñrram
Independence Beach (7-Chann Beach) eqñrsNæaKarR)aMBIrCan; Independence Beach is the quieter, more relaxed near-town beach. The beach draws its name from the historic Independ- ence Hotel that sits atop the headland at the north end, called ‘otel pram-pul chann
market restaurant run by the resort .
(‘hotel 7-storeys’) by the locals. Independence is better than a kilometer long, but more than half had been closed for several years for a devel- opment project. A few months ago most of the beach was reopened to the public, but unlike Ochheuteal and Otres Beaches, Independence is not lined with restau- rants and vendors. Currently, about a dozen beach front BBQ huts, restaurants and bars are clustered together on a lightly touristed 500 meter strip of sandy beach at the north end. It’s a nice family beach and a good near- town beach to escape the crowds of Ochheuteal. The fresh water lake at the north end of the beach serves as the source and reservoir of Sihanoukville's water supply. On the curving road past the northern end of the beach, behind the Independence Hotel , monkeys (macaques) often congregate along the road and beg for food, especially in the late afternoon.
oceanside drive and parts are lined with ocean’s edge seafood shacks offering seaside hammocks, fresh seafood dishes and a very local ambiance. There are a couple of guesthouses in the area including the Ream Beach Guesthouse (see Hotel listings.) Take Route #4 18km north from town to the Airport road at Ream. Turn right, straight on 9km to the ocean.
Prek Treng Beach eqñrERBkERtg Another distant beach, Prek Treng is a long, wide cres- cent of brilliant white sand a few kilome- ters north of town, offering compara- tively warm shallow waters. The beach is in good shape, groomed and land-
Sihanoukville Mountain This 132m peak offers a spectacular view of the city, the islands and the beaches from Otres to the port. Take Route 4 about 2.5km north of town. Make a right turn at the brewery and follow the road up the hill, about 200m past the Wat Leu pagoda. Park at the end of the road and walk out onto the rocks. Excellent sunset spot. St. Michael’s Church , named after the patron saint of sailors, was constructed in 1962. Designed by French missionary Father Ahadobery and renowned Cambodian architect Vann Molyvann. Note the 'ship's sail' brickwork at the front and the boats on the sides. The church served local Catholics until 1975 when the Khmer Rouge came to power. From 1975-79 the church was used as a prison, and after 1979 as stor- age until it reopened in 1993. It is currently active and serving several dozen mostly Vietnamese families. St Michael's is one of the two churches in Cambodia that survived the Khmer Rouge. The other 71 churches including the Cathedral in Phnom Penh were destroyed. The Independence Hotel The Independence Hotel located on the point between Victory and Independence beaches, was Sihanouk Ville’s pre- miere accommodation in the 1960’s. It was built in 1963 or 1964 during the heyday of Sihanouk Ville’s early development, and was finally abandoned when the Khmer Rouge seized power in 1975. The hotel opened briefly again during UNTAC’s stay in the early 1990’s. In 2004 renovation work began on the hotel. Completed two year later the Independence Hotel has been fully and carefully restored to its for- mer opulence and reopened as modern upscale resort hotel. Victory Monument The Victory Monument on the road just off Victory Beach at the base of Weather Station Hill (aka Victory Hill) presumably lends its name to the beach. The monument was built in 1985 to symbolize Cambodia’s friendship with Vietnam and the 1979 Vietnamese-assisted victory over the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. One of these monu- ments can be found in almost every major town in Cambodia. Wat Chotynieng Wat Chotynieng (aka Wat Leu, ‘upper wat’) overlooks town from the top of Sihanouk Ville Mountain. Paintings in the vihear depict the life of Buddha. At the rear are portraits of the founder, Prince Junot, and Lok Om (left), the leader of the Buddhist community in this area until his death in 1999. In front of the chapel is a statue of Lok Om, erected in 1996. Wat Utynieng Wat Utynieng (aka Wat Krom mean- ing ‘lower wat’) sits on a small hill on Santipheap St.. Picturesque grounds with statues depicting Buddhist lore and a large reclining Buddha behind the vihear overlooking the town and ocean Also quite unique, this wat contains a building containing a large shrine dedicated solely to Ya-Mao, a local deity.
scaped, but is usually all but deserted. Sometimes a couple of food shacks stand open at the near end. To get there follow Hun Sen Beach Drive north a few kilometers past the port area. Best to bring along some of your own drinks and snacks. landmarks & points of interest Cambrew Brewery Cambrew Brewery brews Angkor and Bayon beers and Pepsi products. It was construct- ed in 1966 and operated by the government from 1967- 75 brewing beers by the same name. The brewery was refurbished and production was reinstituted in 1991. Located on Route #4 at the road junction on Sihanouk Ville Mountain. Fishing Port The Fishing Port ( Tom Nup Roluk Port ) sits about 2 km north of the main port on Hun Sen Beach Dr. Its wooden quay and surrounding village are a whirl of color and activity. A photogenic place. Fishing boats stream out of this port every night just before sunset - an amazing sight, especially from Victory beach. Vimean Tao Meas, ‘Golden Lions Monument’ The Golden Lion Monument is a prominent landmark located in the middle of the traffic circle between Sokha and Ochheuteal beaches. The monument was constructed in 1996. The traffic circle is surrounded by Cambodian restaurants and karaoke places and the gardens around the monument have become a popular evening hangout for the locals, particularly local teens. Independence Square The Independence Square consists of an open meeting hall, the Independence Monument ( Vimean Ekareach ), a small shrine and park area. It was constructed in 1985 and honors the inde- pendence and war dead of Cambodia. Ceremonies are held at the hall on January 7th. Port of Sihanoukville Constructed 1955-60. The port waters are 11-13m deep except for an 8-9m point in the channel near Koh Pos. The original quay can be seen from Victory Beach jutting 290m into the ocean. The northern section consists of a 350m quay and 3117m of breakwater. Ships approach from the west or southwest between Koh Pos and the mainland.
reefs closer to shore, ranging from 10-30m, usually around 15m. Koh Prins has two ship- wrecks to the northwest at 30- 40m. Koh Tang is a favorite diver’s destination. The island played a major role in the 'Mayaguez Incident' and still shows the scarring of the May 1975 battle between American and Khmer Rouge forces. The surrounding waters offer sever- al reefs and outcroppings dis- playing a particularly colorful variety of hard and soft corals, an abundance of other marine life, and consistently good visibility. For more see Guide to the Islands on page 32. Scuba Operators There are several dive centers in Sihanoukville and on the islands of Koh Rong and Koh Rong Sanloem. Most can organize, outfit and lead almost any sort of diving excursion from introductory dives to fully out- fitted multi-day scuba expeditions for experienced divers. Koh Rong Dive Center Dive center, offering a full range of PADI diver train- ing classes, from PADI Open Water Scuba Diving certification through PADI Dive Master. In addi- tion. Kids programs available. Twice a day scuba diving and snorkeling trips to areas around Koh Rong. Located near the Golden Lions and on Koh Rong Island. Tel: 034-934744 http://kohrong-divecenter.com Scuba Nation, PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Center The pioneers of diving in Cambodia, providing comprehensive diving and snorkeling services, day trips, live-aboards, nitrox and the full range of PADI courses from beginner to Instructor. You can also do training sessions in Phnom Penh or Sihanoukville, then finish with a live-aboard on a custom-made dive boat in Sihanoukville. Offices on Serendipity Beach Road, and in Phnom Penh at #18Eo Sothearos Blvd (FCC area). Contact Gerard and Vicky at 012-604680 or 012-715785 www.divecambodia.com Island hopping, fishing, booze cruises... 19
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, dolphins and even whales. Experienced divers report that the variety and concentration of marine life along the reefs is impres- sive. Good dive sites can be found within a two hour boat trip of town, making for an easy day trip, but the very best sites are 4-6 hours out. The local waters are warm (consistently between 27- 31C) and though visibility can be quite variable, espe- cially during the monsoon season. In the diving season from October to June visibility ranges from 10-25 meters on good days, even at nearby islands such as Koh Rong Sanloem - better at more distant sites such as Koh Tang . Most of the dive sites are comparatively shallow (around 15 meters) and gentle currents around the islands allow drift diving over the reefs and out- croppings. Some of the more popular diving islands include : Koh Rong Many good snorkeling areas and near two dozen good dive sites around the island. Depths of 5- 15 meters. (Map page 34.) Koh Rong Sanloem Rocky reefs host a variety of marine life in shallow waters and at depths up to 18 meters. Like all of the nearby islands the best diving and visibility is on the west side. Species sightings include cobia, puffer fish, moray eels, octopus, rays, crabs, nudibranch, cuttlefish, scorpion fish, lion fish, barracuda, yellow goatfish, parrot- fish and more. (Map page 38.) Koh Kon Koh Kon is, as the name implies, a small island sitting just off the north tip of Koh Rong Sanloem. Rocky, coral encrusted outcrops on the west and south sides of the island provide home to a variety of corals and marine life including anemones, box fish, parrot fish, yellow goat fish, snappers, stingrays, moray eels and cat sharks. Visibility is moderate, averaging around 10 meters, though better on some days. Koh Tang, Koh Prins, Poulou Wai Some of the best diving in the area lay 4-8 hours southwest, around Koh Tang, Koh Prins and Poulo Wai . The area has rocky reefs, depths of 15-40m and much better visibility than
scuba & boats
boats & water sports Island hopping day cruises and evening booze cruises are the most popular off-beach activities in Sihanoukville. Several kinds of package boat trips are available, the most popular being the full-day island cruise - leaving in the morning and taking in three islands for snorkeling, swimming, fishing, kayaking, seafood lunch and drink, starting around $15-$25. There are also regular booze cruises , sunset cruises and night time party cruises, similar- ly priced. Check with any tour operator in town for tickets. If you are interested in exploring one of the bigger islands of Koh Rong or Koh Rong Sanloem, there are several daily express ferries as well as standard slow boats from Sihanoukville. It’s easy to check out Koh Toch Beach on Koh Rong, or Saracen Bay and M’pay Bay on Koh Rong Sanloem in a day - ferry there in the morning then back in the afternoon, or stay if you like. The return tickets are open ended. For regularly scheduled ferry transport to the islands see page 52. Be travel smart, make sure your boat has sufficient safety equipment and is not overloaded. For the fishermen ... There are plenty of angling opportunities in the waters around the local islands. The best fishing is in the dry season (Nov-May) when the weather is fair. A variety of game species inhabit the local waters including the prized barracuda. Booze cruises, island hopping, fishing, national park, multi day trips, private tour and charter. Daily booze cruise. Tel: 016-349333, 016-645809 The Party Boat Day trips, overnights, long-stay trips to Saracen Bay, Koh Rong Sanloem Island. 3-deck yacht with bars, lounge, sundeck, dance floor and DJ, including lunch buffet, snorkeling and tubing for $25. Night party cruis- es with DJ, fire show, beach bar, BBQ and more. Book/depart from Ochheuteal Pier. Tel: 034-6666106 www.thepartyboat.asia Sail Cambodia Unique 45’ racing yacht - the Cygnet - offering daytrips, overnight and weeklong charters to the outer Yachting Cambodia Operating professional sailing charters, offering fully crewed and catered daytrips, Sunset Cruises and even multi-day live aboard charters. Charters can accommo- date up to 6 adult passengers, 3 sleeping cabins, galley. Explore the islands in style on a private sailing yacht with Captain Pierre-Yves. Tel: 015-815515 www.yachtingcambodia.com islands. Tel: 016-450964 www.sailcambodia.info Boats ... Dolphin Beach Club
Water Sports A gradually increasing number of places offer water sports equipment rental - jet skis, kite surfing, hobie- cats, kayaks and more. Several of the beach restau- rants on Otres Beach rent kayaks and other boating equipment. Otres Sailing Club Watercraft rentals from Paddle boards & kayaks to larger catamarans. Charged by the hour starting from $6.00. Staff provide training beforehand. If you prefer you can pay an extra $5.00 for a mem- ber of staff to accompany you. For those a little more adventurous boats can be rented for a day or longer should you wish you sail out to the near- by islands and spend the night. Tel: 087-891778 Set in a natural garden environment. Offering an extensive range exercise equipment and the assis- tance of a professional staff. Boxing training facility. Borey Kamakor Street Tel: 097-9477431 Golden Lion Gym New fully outfitted gym and healthy juice bar. Some of the best equipment in town. State of the art cardio machines, weight machines, free weights, boxing equipment and bag, the works. Juice bar with fresh vegetable and fruit smoothies, off the menu or made to order. Maddux Street, Downtown area Tel: 010-355783 Horseback Riding Liberty Ranch Countryside rides, trail rides and more by the hour or all day. Beginner to advanced riders welcome. Families and children welcome. Located 1km behind Otres Beach, on the road to Otres Pagoda. Tel: 097-2570187 Rope Adventure Park High Point Rope Adventure Park Jungle rope adventure park on Koh Rong island. Full course - handhold, zipline, barrel, bridges and more. Hire includes all safety equipment, the first time round the course under supervision of guide/instruc- tor, and then an unlimited number of independent goes. Tickets available at travel agents. Tel: 016-839993 Fitness Fitness Resort Sihanoukville things to do
email@example.com www.high-point.asia Spas & Massage
It’s not difficult to find massage in Sihanoukville. Massage ladies wander most of the beaches touting $5 beach massages, a few of the upscale hotels have lux- ury spas and there are several smaller, affordable, sur- prisingly good little spas around town, many to be
things to do
found in tourist areas like Serendipity Beach Rd and Ochheuteal St - a/c, tranquil, $6-$8 foot massage. Bliss Massage Very pleasant little spa just off the beach on Ochheuteal Street. Fully air-condition, tranquil atmos- phere, and nice little extras like complementary tea and fresh fruit. Massage, scrubs, wraps, steam room, waxing, pedicure, manicure. Ochheuteal Street, near the entrance to Ochheuteal Beach. Tel: 016-793721
Ana Travel Agency Long-running travel/tour operator offering profession- al service. Air ticketing specialists. Bus, boat, taxi and tours to Kampot, Kep, Bokor, Ream, waterfalls and islands. Visas. Western management. A/c office. Next to the Beach Road Hotel. Visa/MC Serendipity Beach Road Tel: 034-933729 www.anainternet.com 012-915301 Aney Travel Tours, travel and transportation. Bus, boat and island ferry tickets. Bicycle and motorcycle rental. Taxi ser- vice. Visas. Money exchange. Convenient to Otres Beach and Otres River Village. Otres Beach area Tel: 069-906006 firstname.lastname@example.org Koh Rong Dive Center/Island Travel Ferry to/from Koh Rong. Scuba diving. Rooms on Koh Rong. Car/bike rental. Bus tickets. Flights. Visas. Serendipity Beach Rd Tel: 034-934744 www.kohrong-islandtravel.com Morn Phy Ya Travel Offering a wide range of travel services, including bus, boat and flight tickets, taxi bookings, visa renewal and extensions, Vietnam visas, tours to Bokor Mountain and around Sihanoukville and the islands and motor- On the Rock Tours Complete tour and travel services. Boat tours/trips to Koh Rong Sanloem. Other island boat tours, Ream National Park tours, Bokor National Park. Air, bus, boat tickets. Visas. Motorcycle, car, van, boat rental. Serendipity Beach Rd, at Pier Tel:012-658266 www.ontherockstours.com Sarin Tour Service Boat trips, islands, tour services. Daily boat trips: islands, party, fishing. Air tickets. Bus tickets to Thailand, Vietnam. Visas. Ochheuteal Beach Rd Tel: 034-6662888 Tourist Information Center Full tour/travel agent. Fast boat to Koh Rong/Koh Rong Sanloem Fishing, diving, snorkeling. island tours, accommodations, national parks. Flights, bus tickets. Two locations: 1) Serendipity Beach Rd near Utopia 2) Serendipity Beach Tel: 034-6666406 bike and bicycle rentals. email@example.com Tel: 010-300092
Kbal Chhay Waterfalls The Kbal Chhay Water- falls are a series of water- falls (3-5 meters) and chutes on the Prek Tuk Sap River. During the dry season (November-June), the falls can be little more
than a trickle, but the wet season falls can be quite pow- erful. The area is slowly being developed and there are now drink stands, food stalls and covered picnic areas available. Lots of local picnickers on the weekends. It’s about a 30-minute ride from downtown Sihanoukville to the falls. Take Route 4 north to the ‘Kbal Chhay’ sign near mile marker 217, about 1km north of the anchor and globe monument. Ream National Park
Officially called Preah Sihanouk National Park , the park has become known as “Ream.” The park was established in 1993 and encompasses 21,000 hectares of
coastal area including sandy beaches, mangrove forests, the Prek Tuk Sap estuary, off-shore coral reefs and two islands ( Koh Thmei and Koh Seh ). Though rarely seen the Park provides refuge for such species as macaques, sun bear, mouse deer, pangolin and over a hundred species of birds. The Park and tour operators out of Sihanoukville offer a number of different tours of the park including jungle trekking and river boat trips along the Prek Tuk River through the jungle and man- groves to the ocean. The river trip is the most popular tour and is also more likely to provide wildlife sightings. Tours may be arranged through a tour operator or directly through the Park at the Park Office (located 23 km north of Sihanoukville, opposite the entrance to the airport). Open everyday 7AM to 5PM and there are often guides. tour & travel agents In addition to the listed operators, many of the hotels and restaurants can also arrange boat trips, excursions to the waterfalls and national parks, motorcycle rental, etc. Several tour operators line the ‘Serendipity Beach Road’ and Ochheuteal Beach Road. Bear in mind that different operators offer different levels of expertise, quality of equipment and service.
I n Sihanoukville you'll find some of Cambodia's best local food, with the focus firmly on fresh from the ocean seafood. Seafood shacks line Ochheuteal, Otres and Independence Beaches, where you'll also find excellent value for money at
the popular evening seafood BBQs as well as the BBQ restaurants along 23 Tola Street. The foreign fare is also very good as many of the foreign restaurants are aimed at expats as much as tourists and hoping for return customers. Some truly provide a touch of home.
These days there are literally hundreds of restaurants in Sihanoukville and we can’t list but a fraction here. So in addition to our advertisers we try to list other popular places as well as restaurants where we at Canby Publications like to eat.
The Secret Garden “Chic beach dining” Otres Beach 2 Tel: 097-6495131 / Open: 7:00AM - 11:00PM ***Happy Hour: 4:30PM-6:30PM Beach bar and dining on the sand and also a poolside bar. Asian and Western cuisine by a professional west- ern chef. Cocktails and draft beer are available both beachside and poolside with happy hour specials every night. Free WiFi. Visa/MC $$$ Sunset Lounge “Dine in style right on the beach” Group 17, Village 4/Quarter 4 Tel: 097-7340486 Perfect beach front location in between otres 1 and Ochceteal. You will find a friendly and peaceful ambiance on a romantic beach with stunning sunsets. Guests can enjoy a range of regional and international delicacies, prepared from fresh local and imported ingredients. Free wifi on the beach. $$ 1. Rainy Season: Open: 7:30AM - 9:00PM 2. High Season: Open: 7:30AM - 10:30PM
Mien Mien Otres “Food, bar and boats” Otres Beach 1 Tel: 016-305031 / Open: 6:00AM - 10:00PM **Happy Hour 5PM - 7PM
Popular beach bar/restaurant on the sand of Otres. The restaurant offers a multitude of reasonably-priced of Khmer and Western dishes, but their specialty is fresh seafood and BBQs. Boat trips to the islands. $ The Small Beach Bar “Rave reviews and Swedish specialties” Independence Beach Tel: 016-245153 / Open: 8:00AM - 8:00PM This Swedish-owned beachside bar and restau- rant is run by the same folks from the Small Hotel . Great selection of Khmer and Western dishes, plus some Swedish specialties as well including some excellent Swedish Meatballs. Enjoy a drink from the fully-stocked bar in comfy chairs or sun loungers. A peaceful escape from the Ochheuteal crowds. Recommended. $$
might expect, on the corner. Restaurant and full bar with a big screen TV showing live sports, music and movies. Extensive menu of western, French and Asian as well as some veg choices at reasonable prices. Free WiFi. $$
Sandan “M'Lop Tapan g's vocational training program” 2 Thnou Street, the road to Sokha Beach Tel: 034-4524000 / Open: 11:00AM - 10:30PM (Mon-Sat) **Happy Hour 5PM-7PM Sandan offers an extensive menu of tasty, creative Cambodian cuisine served in a lovely garden setting. Family-friendly, the restaurant has a fun children's play area and baby-changing facilities. Dance performances on Fridays, 7-9pm. Free WiFi. Kitchen closes at 9PM. Recommended. $$ Starfish Bakery “Excellent sandwiches, lovely tranquil garden” Downtown, Street 208, behind Samudera Market Tel: 012-952011 Starfish offers a quiet garden setting to enjoy their homemade brownies, sandwiches made on fresh- baked bread plus coffee, tea and fresh fruit juices. Starfish offers employment to disabled Cambodians and proceeds go to their community-based humanitari- an organization. Recommended. $$ bakery/deli
Lagenda Restaurant “Family dining on Serendipity Beach Road” Serendipity Beach Road, Holiday Villa Hotel Tel: 034-935061 / Open: 7:00AM - 11:00PM Pleasant hotel restaurant offering a proper, mid-range hotel dining experience. Well prepared international favorites and Asian foods. Visa/MC $$
The Pizza Company “Real international style pizza” Downtown, Ekareach Street Tel: 023-880880 / Open: 9:00AM - 10:00PM
The same popular The Pizza Company from Phnom Penh. Serving a large variety of authentic international style pizzas - thin and crispy, thick and soft crust, your choice. A/c dining making it a great place to escape the heat. Fast, free home delivery. You can’t miss their col-
orful delivery motos. Visa/MC/JCB/ANZ $$
The Corner Restaurant & Bar “French & international, on The Hill, on the corner” Victory Hill, on the corner Tel: 092-700384 / Open: 12:00 Noon - 2:00AM ***Happy Hour 5PM-7PM From the proprietor of L’Ambassade Guesthouse , some of the better dining on Victory Hill, as one
Olive & Olive “Delicious pizzas, very good value” Serendipity Beach Road/Golden Lions Traffic Circle Tel: 086-283151 / Open: Noon-Midnight Popular Mediterranean. Very good pizzas, and a selection of other authentic Italian and Mediterranean dishes. The Ali Mazi is a specialty of the house and is excellent. The imported beef steak is also particularly good. Great place for a family dinner. Recommended. $$
M ost accommodations are concentrated into four areas: downtown, the Ochheuteal Beach area, Otres Beach the Victory Hill. Ochheuteal is the most popular beach and has a range of places.
Otres is further from town and a bit more secluded with rustic bunga- lows, several guesthouses and a few upmarket places. Guesthouses in Sihanoukville rack at around $3-$20, mid-range places run $35- $85, and the few upscale resorts are generally $120+.
Golden River Bungalows Range: $20 - $45 Clean, comfortable bungalow rooms in a garden setting, set at the quiet far end of Otres Beach, on the river. Standard amenities: flat screen TV with cable, veran da, free WiFi. Good size swimming pool and boat rental for the river or the ocean. Visa/MC Otres Beach 2 Tel: 016-379666 www.goldenriverbungalows.asia 097-8982898 Holiday Palace Casino & Resort Range: $30 and up Long-established hotel/casino complex on Independence Beach. Long- est running casino in Sihanoukville. Reasonably priced, fully outfitted, carpeted, a/c rooms. Restaurants, bars, coffee shop. Nearby beach. Visa/MC Independence Beach Tel: 034-933807 www.holidaypalace.com 034-933808 Lakshmi Bungalows Range: $15 - $25 Only a quick 4-minute walk from the beach, Lakshmi Bungalows provides free WiFi and air-conditioned rooms. With a garden and a terrace to kick back and relax makes this a great place for couples that need some quiet, but still want access to the party if they are so inclined. Otres Beach, Sihanoukville Tel: 098-666484 New Papa Pippo Italian Restaurant & Bungalows Range: $20 - $65 Brand new bungalows and restaurant from the good people from Papa Pippo on Otres. Still under contruction at time of printing. Also promising another Papa Pippo restaurant at the resort serving the same great pizzas, gelato and more. Visa/MC Otres Beach, between the beach and village Tel: 098-434178 firstname.lastname@example.org New Papa Pippo Resort Range: $25 - $65 All newly refurbished. Fan-cooled wooden bungalows, mosquito netting netting and shower. Aircon rooms are brightly painted concrete with porches and hammocks for lounging. Papa Pippo’s Italian restaurant and bar. Visa/MC Otres River Village Tel: 098-434178 Dara Independence Beach Resort & Spa Range: $120 - $750 This is the historic Independence Hotel, Sihanoukville’s first luxury hotel built in the early ‘60s , restored to its former glory. Spectacular view. restaurants, swimming pools, gardens, private beach. Superior bungalows also available. Visa/MC Independence Beach Tel: 034-934300-1 www.independencehotel.net 012-728090 Bungalow Ta Kloy Tip Range: $18 - $40 Individual stone bungalows set around a medium sized swimming pool in the pleasant Otres River Village area within walking distance to the beach. All with A/C CTV, fridge, hot water, and private balcony. Otres River Village Tel: 011-363232 email@example.com
The Secret Garden Range: $65 - $109 Superior bungalows in a lovely garden setting. A/c, jungle shower, mini- bar and private balcony. Swimming pool. Family room. Excellent beach bar and restaurant with Western chef. PROMOTION: Stay 2 nights, get third night free. Visa/MC Otres Beach 2 Tel: 097-6495131 www.secretgardenotres.com
P hnom Penh is the primary gateway to the towns of southern Cambodia with regular buses to and between all major coastal cities. See the Bus Schedule on page 29. Daily air service is available between Sihanoukville and Siem Reap, (see page 30.) NEWS: The trains are running again , offering service between Phnom Penh, Takeo, Kampot and Sihanoukville. See pages 28 and 30 for more. Coastal Cambodia is also easily accessed overland from the neighboring countries. The Cham Yeam crossing with Thailand (near Koh Kong City) and the Prek Chak (‘Ha Tien’) crossing with Vietnam are the primary international gate- ways to southern Cambodia. Transport to the islands near Sihanoukville is also easy these days. Regularly scheduled express ferries run between Sihanoukville and Koh Rong/Koh Rong Sanloem (see page 39.) Boats from Kep to Koh Tunsay (Rabbit Island) are always available (see page 67.) 27
The town and beaches are quite spread out over the Sihanoukville peninsula. From the downtown area to Ochheuteal Beach is almost 2.5km, to Victory Beach about 3.5km and to Otres more than 7km. Tuk-tuks and motodups are readily available at the beaches and across town and usually hired for short jaunts as needed. To avoid misun- derstandings make sure that the exact price and destination are understood before tak- ing the ride. Generally speaking you can get a better price from tuk-tuks and motodups away from the tourist areas, sometime less than half the price. GETTING AROUND TOWN
security. The police seem to be taking a particular inter- est in tourists driving these days so obey traffic law, especially the helmet law. Always lock your motorcycle or leave it in guarded parking. Motorcycle theft is not uncommon. PHNOM PENH to/from SIHANOUKVILLE Air At time of printing there were no flights between Sihanoukville and Phnom Penh. Bus Several daily a/c buses. 4 hours. Buy tickets at the bus station or from one of the many local tour and travel agents. Due to road safety concerns we do not recommend night buses to Phnom Penh, Siem Reap or any destination within Cambodia. Deluxe buses such as those offered by Giant Ibis and Mekong Express are a bit more expensive but offer a significantly superior ride. Taxi Private taxis run about $45-$55. Share with friends and split the cost. In Sihanoukville taxies can be found at the bus station. Train After years in retirement, the train service between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville has recent- ly restarted. The price is $6 one-way for the 8 hour trip via Kampot, currently running 3 times per week. Buy tickets at the train stations in Sihanoukville or Phnom Penh. to/from sihanoukville Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville; $6/pax, 8hours. Departure: Friday at 3:00PM; Saturday at 7:00AM; Sunday at 7:00AM Sihanoukville to Phnom Penh; $6/pax, 8hours. Departure: Saturday at 7:00AM; Sunday at 7:00AM and 4:00PM Bus Station Sihanoukville’s bus station has moved back to the center of downtown. Tuk-tuks, motodups and taxis are always available. Transportation from the bus station tends to be more expen- sive than the usual prices. From the bus sta- tion, a tuk-tuk to Ochheuteal Beach runs $2-$3; to Victory Hill for $2-$3 and Otres Beach for about $4-$5. Within the downtown it shouldn’t cost more than $1-$1.50. Airport The airport sits 18km north of town. The airport shuttle bus runs $6 into town. A private taxi costs $20. Train Station On Pher Street near the Port at the north end of town. A tuk-tuk should cost $1-$2 to Victory, $2- $3 to downtown, $3-$4 to Ochheuteal and $5- $6 to Otres.
Moto-remorques (Tuk-tuks) The traditional Cambodian ‘tuk-tuk’ - ‘ moto-remorque ’ in Khmer - is a multi-passenger covered trailer pulled by a motorcycle, common across the city. Sihanoukville also has a second sort known as the ‘Tico tuk-tuk,’ which are actually converted subcompact cars, a bit faster and better on the hilly terrain. On average tuk- tuks charge about 2-3 times as much as a motodup. ‘First price’ is usually around $2-$5 for nearby and cross town. Bargain! Motorcycle Taxis ( motodup ) the beaches. Prices go up at night. To protect against bag snatching, keep your bag between you and the dri- ver or in front of the driver, not on your back. Motorcycle Rental Rentals are available everywhere: guesthous- es, tour operators, restau- rants and bars. The usual 100-120cc bikes are the most popular and useful for town/beach travel and run $5-$6/day. Most rental places require a passport as Motodups are the cheap- est way to travel. Drivers expect foreigners to pay about 3000-5000R for short hops in town, and 3000-8000R from town to
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