I’ve never heard about beaches in Cambodia for being particularly nice, so my expectations for Sihanoukville were not high. Our journey started with the 6hr bus from Phnom Penh (USD 5.50 with Capitol Tours), which every now and then would make a “comfort stop.” We arrived to Sihanoukville at night and got some rest for the next day, when we headed for the main activity in Sihanoukville – the beach!
We stayed at Serendipity Beach, a significant improvement from our last beach experience in Nha Trang. This time the beach barely had any waves, and the water was clear and seemed pretty clean. There were also a lot of bars and seats by the beach, so it was a much more relaxing experience in general.
I was pretty excited to just sit down on our chairs under our umbrella, drink some beer and chill. But as soon as we sat down, it started. A swarm of vendors came to us, trying to sell basically anything, from bracelets and sunglasses, to massages and pedicures. We had to say no multiple times until they would get the message and move on. I have to compliment them for their persistence – they would try to sell us sunglasses even though we were wearing sunglasses! It was rather disruptive to have people come to you every few minutes. It also really tests your patience. I don’t want to be rude, but at the same time I wanted to put a big DO NOT DISTURB sign next to us.
Vendors bothered us on land, while jet skis were doing that in the water. They would come pretty close to shore at really high speeds, presenting a real danger for swimmers. There are cases in the past few years of jet skis killing swimmers on the beach. I love jet skis and I think they are a lot of fun, but far away from the shore, far away from swimmers.
Every beach should offer awesome beach BBQ, and Sihanoukville certainly did! There were tons of restaurants along the beach, around the beach, everywhere in town. A lot of them have fresh meats, seafood, vegetables, that they grilled for you on the spot. We couldn’t resist a nice juicy steak or some delicious king prawns.
Our favorite meal was BBQ Night at Mick and Craig’s on Thursdays and Fridays. Steak, ribs, and chicken kebab grilled on the spot, along with garlic bread, baked potato, and coleslaw. Plus a nice cold draft beer. All for $6! It was a feast by Asian standards. We literally had 20 minutes of silence while we enjoyed the food.
I can now say that the beaches in Sihanoukville exceeded my expectations. It had a fun beach town atmosphere, and the actual beaches were nicer than I initially thought it would be. The experience could have been better if it wasn’t for the vendors and jet-skis, but we had a relaxing time. However, looking back, Sihanoukville will always be overshadowed by the idyllic island of Koh Rong.
For more pictures from Sihanoukville, please visit the gallery!