Surprisingly, we found one of our favourite beach spots in Cambodia (rather than Thailand). Sihanoukville is a town on the southern coast of Cambodia boasting white sand beaches and a great party scene. The boardwalk along the beach is lined on one side with hostels and bars, the other with loungers where you can chill and enjoy the ocean. We were originally going to skip this town as we were planning on hitting a lot of beaches in southern Thailand and Bali, but Sihanoukville was different with its unique Cambodian flair and actually enticed us to stay a couple extra days!
How to Get There
The easiest route is from Phnom Penh. We took the Giant Ibis mini bus as it was the most cost effective at only $11 US and the trip takes about 4 hours. Our strategy for mini buses was for one of us to store the luggage when it arrived, and the other to jump in and save the best seats. It worked out pretty well as you definitely don’t want to be stuck in the mini seat between the driver and front passenger seat. We were dropped at the Giant Ibis bus stop, an easy walk to Serendipity Beach and all of the hostels around it.
We also travelled between Sihanoukville and Koh Rong. We took the TBC ferry, which doesn’t leave from the main pier but is a little cheaper at $20 for a round trip, and had good reviews. The trip takes about an hour and 45 mins, and is worth it! Koh Rong is absolutely beautiful.
Where to Stay
- Monkey Republic – We highly recommend this hostel located on the right side of Ochheuteal Rd. just south of the Golden Lion roundabout. We got a private fan room with an ensuite for $7, and they also give you a free beer coupon! Monkey Republic has a great bar with reasonable priced food and drink, and they also have a pool. All of the rooms are clean and spacious.
Things to Do
- Serendipity Beach – The “party beach“, Serendipity is a fun place to hang out and have some day drinks. Any of the loungers on the beach are available as long as you purchase something from the bar they belong to. As you sit down a server will come over and say hi, and all you need to do is order a beer and you’re set.
- Otres Beach – The “chill beach“, Otres has a more laid back vibe. Head over to Otres to get away from the noise and sun glasses selling locals. Check out some of the beach vendors for some hippie merchandise or try out the board swing and slack line!
Things to Avoid
- Avoid having to travel between the two beaches at night. The only way to get from one to the other is by tuk tuk, and at 3am when you’re drunk and you need to get back to your hostel, the drivers will increase their price by a huge margin. Try to plan your nights by going out at the beach you are staying at. It should cost around $5 U.S. to get from one beach to the other.
Places to Eat
- Monkey Republic – Though we may be a bit biased as we stayed there, the food at Monkey Republic was really good! A good mix of Cambodian and American cuisine.
- J.J.’s – The place to be on any night of the week. Located on Serendipity Beach a little ways down the boardwalk, this bar is where all the backpackers gather once 11pm rolls around. It has a DJ booth on the sand, cheap drinks, and often a fire show or two. Make sure you check out J.J.’s once you’ve made friends in your hostel bar.
- The Big Easy – Located on the main street heading down to Serendipty Beach, this bar is another well known one for backpackers. With live music, an array of fun drinks for happy hour and an easy place to make friends, it was a perfect way to spend the evening before heading to J.J.’s!
- Pub Crawl – The longest running pub crawl in Sihanoukville, this pub crawl is a great way to meet some new friends. It starts at The Big Easy, hits another bar that we forget the name of, and ends of course at J.J.’s. A decent amount of free drinks, a tank top and drinking games all for $5.