I feel the breeze on my skin. I am lying on a lounge chair, on my stomach, and my arms are folded under my forehead. The sun is at its zenith, it is hot, but I’m in the shade so I am comfortable. I hear the waves crashing on the white powdery sand beach. I feel firm hands massaging my back’s deep tissue. I try to concentrate on the relaxation I feel from that oily and firm touch, but I can’t keep my mind focused. Another therapist is indulging me with a mind-blowing massage on my calves and feet. I feel overwhelmed with relaxation. This is my first experience of a 4-hand massage. And it costs me $8.

Click here to download this fun Sihanoukville itinerary!

Eventually, my little girl gets intrigued by her mommy who looks asleep. Why are these two women touching her mommy? It looks like fun! She wants a massage too! Not only will she get a massage on her back, but she asks for more massages every day since. My 2-year old is addicted to massages! Just like her mommy!

That’s what’s going on in Sihanoukville, South Cambodia!

Formerly known as Kompong Som, Sihanoukville is Cambodia’s best beach destination. What does it mean? White sand beaches, turquoise water and tall palm trees. And you thought Cambodia was all about the Mekong River and Angkor Wat?! Think again!

We rented a motorbike for one day to explore the surrounding beaches. Serendipity Beach and Otres Beach are the 2 most popular beaches. Serendipity is more of a party beach, while Otres Beach lets you relax and unwind, and its water is cleaner. We stayed at The Elephant Garden Resort on Otres Beach. It’s a pretty little resort where we had our own little palm bungalow. We could hear everything at night (the calming waves… and the dogs barking too), and it even got quite chilly one night.

There’s also Occheuteal Beach, the most central beach. It is lined with restaurants and is an easy-going hangout for travellers and locals.

Sihanoukville’s prettiest beach is Sokha Beach, north of Serendipity Beach. It’s a 1,5km-long beach with squeaking sand, and most of the beach is property of Sokha Beach Resort. The tiny eastern end of Sokha Beach is open to the public and is rarely crowded.

North from Sokha Beach are Independence Beach and Victory Beach, also nice beaches to spend the day. We saw a lot of Russian and Swedish people at Independence Beach, where it’s easy to get shade under huge trees, by the crystal clear water.

What is there to do in Sihanoukville besides perfecting your tan? Diving is not much of an option, since it’s not terrific. We can always get a massage (oh yes!) for $8. That’s what I call a nice way to finish the day! We can also rent a kayak, a paddle board and a catamaran.

There is also Ream National Park, 15km East of Sihanoukville, where we can take a boat trip through coastal mangroves and long stretches of unspoilt beaches.

There’s a lot of restaurant’s option in Sihanoukville. There’s Khmer food (which is very good!), Thai food, Western food (they serve fries everywhere, to the delight of my toddler!), and we even saw Mediterranean restaurants. We like to BBQ on the beach, at sunset, and eat delicious grilled fish!

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Everyone in Sihanoukville says hello to anyone. There’s a reassuring sense of community here. Children are playing everywhere, and even when the waves were quite big because of the full moon, we felt safe all the time. The sea water is hotter than the ambient air, and the sand is like white flour.

We bought Emma-Kate a toy kit to build sand castles, and that was her new favorite hobby (besides getting massages!). She even built castles during our sunset dinners, which kept everyone very happy!

There’s a lot to do in Sihanoukville for kids. Playing in the water and in the sand is obviously a big hit. Eating ice cream is another one 😉 And there’s always other kids around to make new friends!

The bus from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville was terrible. We paid $5 for a supposedly 5h ride, that actually took 7h. The bus was filthy, air conditioning didn’t work properly. One advice to you: pay a little bit more to be way more comfortable. I think Giant Ibis Transport is a much better option. The road condition is excellent, though.

It’s funny because we had a little disagreement with the bus driver, he didn’t want Emma-Kate to have her own seat. And there was this tourist who just kept giving us advice on how to travel. I am not saying we know everything about travel, but it seems to us there’s always this tourist who thinks they know everything and feel the urged to tell people what’s the right way to do things in XYZ country or region. Thanks Mr Know it All!

We left this paradise for another one: Koh Rong Island. Let’s see if it’s as beautiful!

Click here to download this fun Sihanoukville itinerary!

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