It is also Cambodia’s youngest city; it sprung to life in 1955 when a construction team arrived at what was then known as ‘Kampong Som’ to begin work on Cambodia’s first, and only, deep water port. In 1960 when the ports construction was finished the area was renamed Sihanoukville in honour of King Sihanouk.
Today it is a bustling and ever expanding town, offering a beach bum lifestyle by day and wild partying come sun down. It’s palm-fringed beaches, abundances of seafood restaurants and after dark bars see tourists flock to the area throughout the year, with the extremely popular Otres Beach stealing most of the attention; just 10 minutes from the main town this idyllic spot offers some mind blowing views and beautiful stretches of sand. Otres is where you go to let your hair down – cheap bungalow and bohemian-style guesthouses neighbour swish boutique resorts and provide a mellow atmosphere conducive of lazy days in the sun, drink in hand.
In the opposite direction from Otres you will find Sokha Beach. A Radiant stretch of white sand and clear shallow waters, it is easily the most easy on the eye and relaxing beach in all of Sihanoukville. It has an air of luxe to it, no doubt contributed by the Sokha Beach Resort that sits smack bang in the centre – you will see some people flashing some cash here.
For those looking for something a little more off the beaten track, Ream National Park is a must. Sitting predominantly on the mainland, much of the park is easily accessible from Sihanoukville town, making day trips popular. The mangroves, wildlife and beaches here are in pristine condition and away from it all. Explore the mangroves, the mountainside waterfalls and walk along the miles of untouched beaches – this truly is something to see. Wildlife lovers will be at home here too; the park has approximately 200 species of birds, including herons and cranes. King cobras and pythons have also been spotted on hikes so be cautious and keep a wary eye out.