Cambodia’s compact size means accessing one of the country’s many beaches is doable within a few hours. And their relative peace makes the minimal effort well worth it. Here are five beaches all visitors should hit up on their travels.
Once a well-kept secret, Otres has planted itself firmly on the map of travellers wanting to escape the chaos of bustling Sihanoukville. Sitting about 15 minutes away from the town centre by tuk tuk, the lengthy strip of sand is lined with beach bars, restaurants and guesthouses. Here, the water is much cleaner than you’ll find in Sihanoukville, the vibe more chill and the number of pesky tourists fewer. The recent installation of ATMs also means visitors can kickback on the beach without ever having to leave. Water activities are available from Otres, including sea kayaking, snorkelling and boat trips.
Sihanoukville is about five hours away from Phnom Penh by bus or three-and-a-half by taxi.
A visit to the coastal town of Kep isn’t complete without a stop-off at the beach. The small stretch of sand – imported to keep it nice and white – is popular with locals on weekends and during public holidays, with the calm waters offering the perfect spot to swim. Vendors line the beach, selling everything from drinks to snacks as well as hiring sun loungers and inflatable rings. Go local and pick up some fresh seafood from the nearby Crab Market and hit the beach.
Kep is about four hours from Phnom Penh by bus and three in a taxi.
Lazy Beach is a stunning stretch of postcard-perfect, powder white sands on the pristine island of Koh Rong Samloem. Home to Lazy Beach resort, the turquoise waters flanked by tropical greenery make spending the day as a beach bum overly appealing. There is also a bar and restaurant serving up sumptuous flavours and plenty of hammocks, seats swinging from the trees and sunbeds to enjoy tropical island paradise from. Oh, and did we mention the idyllic sunset views?
From Sihanoukville, guests can hop on the private boat to access Lazy Beach.
Cambodia’s largest island, Koh Rong, boasts 28 beaches, but, with no roads, reaching many of them is tricky. The main stretch of Koh Toch is where the boats will drop you and is the liveliest part of the island, mainly geared toward backpackers. If you’re after a party, this is the place to head. Here, guesthouses, bars and eateries line the beach, with music pumping until the early hours, so if it’s peace and quiet you’re after ,then hop in a boat and head to the other side of the island where calm can be found.
Koh Toch can be reached by speedboat from Sihanoukville within 45 minutes.
About 15 kilometre away from Sihanoukville sits Ream National Park. While large areas resemble a scene out of Mad Max, thanks to some insensitive development, pockets of preserved nature remain. Monkey Maya at Riem Beach boasts a smattering of beautifully crafted treehouses and beach bungalows, looking across turquoise waters and white sands. Guests can while away the day swimming in the ocean, sunbathing on the sand or exploring the tropical jungle that is home to a variety of rare wildlife, monkeys and birds.
Ream National Park is about a 45-minute tuk tuk drive from Sihanoukville town.