Things to do in Sihanoukville

Scuba Diving.

There are many islands off the Cambodian coast that have masses of coral and fish. All the dive boats in Cambodia leave from the Sihanoukville port area. There are 4 PADI Dive Centers, one of which, Scuba Nation PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Centre, the pioneers of diving in Cambodia, provide comprehensive diving and snorkeling services. This includes day trips, live-aboards, nitrox and a full range of PADI courses from beginner to PADI instructor. Flexibility is the key: you can do training sessions while sight-seeing in Phnom Penh, then finish with a live-aboard on the only custom made diving boats in Cambodia. EcoSea Dive offers SSI courses as well.

The largest and newest dive center, Island Divers offers the biggest boat newly refitted to cater just for divers. Angkor Dive is also based on Koh Rong Samloem and offers overnight trips to the island to not only dive, but also to experience the traditional way of life in a Khmer fishing village. The main scuba diving area is at Koh Rong Samloem Island located 14 miles offshore, as well as at Koh Tang Island, 35 miles from Sihanoukville.

Overnight trips are necessary in order to reach Koh Tang. There is also some shallow diving at Koh Tas, some 6 miles from Sihanoukville, but it is mostly reserved for when the weather is too rough to get all the way to Koh Rung Sanloem. The best diving Cambodia has to offer is the overnight trips to the Koh Tang Group, where large fish are seen regularly and visibility is double what you will find at the closer sites. Two day dive day trips run US$59-85, and overnight trips are US$185-325 all inclusive.


Ream National Park

Ream National Park was registered in 1995 and it has so far achieved a rare feat - thanks to vigilant, apparently uncorrupt rangers. They have managed to keep most of the mangroves, wildlife and beaches in pristine condition. The parks 200 inhabitants have not been forcibly relocated but have been allowed to stay and continue their subsistence fishing lifestyle.

No new residents are allowed in the Ream National Park thus keeping the parks ecosystem in reasonable balance. The Cambodian Navy has a base at Ream and sailors may appear unexpectedly and usually they do little more than bathing, fishing, and cooking their lunch while there.

The park has beautiful scenery with mangrove forests, a mountainside waterfall, and miles of beaches unmarked by footprints. Ream National Park houses nearly 200 bird species including herons and cranes. King cobras and pythons have been spotted here too, so you have to be vigilant while hiking to avoid getting bitten!

Relaxing With a Beach Massage

Most businesses in town charge $5 to $8 an hour for a massage. On the beaches, most massages are $5 an hour. If you would like an air-conditioned room, plan on spending $7 to $8.


The Cambodian Children Painting Project (CCPP)

This is located on Serendipity Beach Rd. CCPP is an NGO (Non-governmental organization) which works with impoverished Cambodian children. Together with volunteers, the children create art which is then sold to help support the children's families.

As part of the project, children are provided with access to education, painting materials, sport activities, two meals a day, as well as medical and dental assistance. Social workers are employed to work with the children's families. You can help by becoming a volunteer, donating painting materials, buying a painting, donating money or by holding an exhibition of the children's art.

Beaches

The main reason to visit Sihanoukville is the beaches. They are not as crowded as many of those in Thailand, but can be cramped on weekends and holidays. Like many beaches in Southeast Asia, they are covered with a lot of rubbish.

Victory Beach: Plenty of budget accommodation nearby on Weather Station Hill. This beach is close to the seaport.


Independence Beach. This beach gets its name from the deserted hulk of the 7-storey Independence Hotel at the north end. Locals call this beach 'otel pram-pi chann (hotel 7-stories). It is labeled '7-Chann Beach' on the in-town street sign.

Sokha Beach. Owned by Sokha Beach Resort, it is private but you can access it by paying a few dollars. You will not have many people begging or trying to sell you something on this beach.

Ochheuteal Beach.. This is a long and narrow strip of white sand beach. The northern section has now become known as Serendipity Beach - a popular beach with western tourists - noted for small guesthouse rooms right on the beach. There are around 30 beach huts serving good inexpensive meals and a wide selection of drinks. A number of budget traveler oriented bar/restaurant/beach hangouts have sprung up offering chairs, umbrellas, drinks and a chill-out atmosphere. Expect noise and exhaust fumes though from the numerous 2 stroke jet skis in the area. Swimming can be dangerous and several tourists have been killed by jet skis .

Serendipity Beach.Guesthouses and bar/restaurants right on the beach remain open until the early hours. This beach seems to be the most popular and typically has the greatest number of people on the beach. Serendipity Beach is connected to Ochheuteal beach. 

Otres Beach.(South-east of Serendipity and Ochheuteal Beaches). Amazing 4 km long stretch of clean, white sand. Less crowded and definitely more relaxed than other beaches in Sihanoukville. Every season more and more beach bars and guesthouses are popping up along the beach, offering tourists accommodation in rooms or bungalows. Otres Beach is great place for lazy sunbathing but other activities also available such as sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, cycling, and various boat trips

Island Trips

There are more than twenty islands off the coast of Sihanoukville in the Gulf of Thailand. A few of the closer ones are frequent daytrip destinations for holidaymakers. Each of the islands offers something different: un-spoilt beaches, jungle trails, and coral reefs. Once there, travelers can sunbathe, swim, snorkel, SCUBA dive, fish, hike, camp, or play sports in their own tropical paradise. The islands are situated in three clusters. These are labeled as three separate groups of islands: the Kampong Som Group, the Ream Group, and the Royal Group. Visitors can reach these islands by renting a boat, catamaran, sea kayak, or sailboat and going it alone, or by going as part of an extended fishing or diving excursion.

Koh Russei (Bamboo Island). This is a small island about 10 km off the coast of Sihanoukville. Koh Russei or Bamboo Island is a green, gilt-edged crescent, resting on emerald or blue water. This is the island one always longed for, the archetype from your wildest dreams. Koh Russei is really a jewel of a beach with fine pink or ochre sand and a deep and mysterious forest. For those loving the sun falling into the sea whilst surrounded by jungle sounds, Koh Russei is the place.

It is an island of gentleness. Its virgin, private and intimate characteristics make it a site for high-end development, and can compare with the world's most exclusive sites. The Island can be reached by private boat for US $5. At the Sunset Cafe on Occidental Beach, ask the owner the night before you want to go.

Koh Rong (Monkey Island), Koh Rong Island is a great place to relax or to explore because the island is still an almost deserted, undeveloped and natural treat. The trip to Koh Rong takes two or more hours from the Sihanoukville mainland. It is a secret island. 

However, the plans for a massive resort complex, complete with golf courses, airport, and casinos are taking shape; it will soon be one of the most famous tourist destinations in Cambodia. The island is certainly the most beautiful island of the Sihanoukville region. A snowdrift bay, covered by a crystal clear and turquoise water, stretches on for several kilometers. At the center, a jungle with thousands of coconut palms and waterfalls invades the island. Paradise found on Koh Rong.



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