The Top 10 Things To Do And See In Sihanoukville
Close to being a landlocked country, Cambodia’s coastline is short but not lacking in quality. Sihanoukville is the country’s main seaside destination and acts as a gateway to close-by idyllic undeveloped islands such as Koh Rong and Koh Rong Sanloem. Attracting a much lower number of tourists than neighboring Thailand, Sihanoukville is popular for its natural beauty and largely untouched beaches. With plenty to see and do, Sihanoukville is one of the greatest cities to explore when in Cambodia.
Buddhist temple in the village of Stung Trung, Cambodia | © Kristofer R. Atkinson/WikiCommons
Cambodia is known for its Buddhist Wats or temples. They are an absolute must-see when you visit the country. The temples are stylistically diverse, ranging from the green-tinged stone of Angkor Wat to the colorful pointed roofs of temples such as Wat Leu, which resembles a pagoda. Religiously significant and intriguing in its architecture, Wat Leu has several features to note, such as the three-headed carved white elephant, its gold decorations and a huge black statue of the Lord Buddha. This is an attraction representative of Cambodia’s rich spiritual culture.
Sihanoukville earns its reputation as Cambodia’s premier seaside resort with an array of beaches to wonder along. The beaches boast white powdery sand, stunning views of the Gulf of Thailand and a calm atmosphere. A few of the famous beaches to explore include Otres, Ochheuteal and Serendipity, each of which has its own collection of beach bars for that necessary mid-afternoon cocktail.
Otres Beach Sihanoukville | © Wikirictor/WikiCommons
Sihanoukville is an ideal location for a number of water sports activities and adventures, essential accomplishments for any beach holiday. Submerge yourself in the ocean and get a good view of the coral and sea creatures lurking in Sihanoukville’s depths on a scuba diving trip. If diving is too extreme, many places on the beach offer snorkeling trips, fun for having a flipper around. Other water sports activities include kayaking, windsurfing, and for a slightly higher price, you can practice kitesurfing. All of these activities make for a thrilling day by the sea.
Boracay kitesurfing | © Anastasia Zhebyuk/WikiCommons
Learning how to make culinary Khmer specialties is an essential activity for any lover of Southeast Asian cuisine. With experienced chefs giving clear instructions, the use of authentic ingredients and the opportunity to take recipe cards home so that you can replicate the experience, a traditional Khmer cookery class is an original and rewarding way to spend the day. Among the range of dishes, visitors can learn to cook. A few that stand out are the Banana Flower Salad, Lok Lac, and Spring rolls.
Som Tam Khao Niao Kai Yang | © Takeaway/WikiCommons
An ethical NGO supporting the local community, the Starfish Bakery offers more than just freshly baked produce and revitalizing cups of coffee. Starfish gives employment opportunities to disabled people as well as diligently working on projects to improve healthcare, housing and business in the local areas. Support by donating directly to their charity or by purchasing their excellently baked goods expertly prepared thanks to the experience passed on by the previous French occupation of Cambodia.
Kbal Chhay Waterfall is seven kilometers away from the center of Sihanoukville. The trip in a tuk-tuk to get there is reasonably priced, so it is worth venturing out of the city to admire this serene natural spot. If you visit after the monsoon period the waterfall has a spectacularly strong flow. Surrounded by tall green trees this is the perfect environment for witnessing Cambodia’s tropical jungle-like geography.
Kbal Chhay | © Vladkras/WikiCommons
With a bounty of handcrafted goods and local food to purchase, Sihanoukville provides many a ‘shopportunity’. As a beach resort, it offers lots of places selling beachwear, sarongs, and shoes. Visitors can also expect a wide variety of jewelry and souvenir shops. There are also slightly more expensive branded shops around in which to buy clothing. Starfish Bakery and Café has its own little gift shop where they sell sustainable bags made from recycled sacks. The gems, however, are to be found in the markets. Sihanoukville’s night market and Otres village’s weekend market are ones to take note of. Join the local culture of buying bags of fresh produce and enjoy a picnic of dragon fruit and lychees down on the shoreline.
Cambodian Market | © Milei.vencel/WikiCommons
Golden Lions Roundabout
Hard to miss yet not to be missed, the Golden Lion Roundabout is an iconic landmark in Sihanoukville. Comprised of a lion and lioness coated in yellowy gold paint sporting scary facial expressions and unrealistic proportions, the lions in the roundabout are prominent. A great pointer as to where you are located in Sihanoukville, the roundabout is surrounded by a number of restaurants and bars worthy of a visit.
A fantastic way to see Sihanoukville and the surrounding areas, once lounging on the beach gets a bit dreary, buggy tours offer an exciting way to explore many parts of Cambodia. Some of the tracks are muddy so the tours make for a dirty but adventurous ride. You can go through local villages, try your hand at driving the buggy and venture to the nearby countryside.
Perfect for a laid-back competition, mini golf is a great activity to partake in during a lazy day on the beach. You can find mini golf facilities at Queenco Palm Beach, Ream National Park, and Mollie Golf Mini Golf. Mollie Golf Mini Golf, located near the Ochheuteal beach, offers very good value for money. It costs between $1.50 and $3.50 to play 18 holes.
Visitors can have some drinks at the golf course, and they also offer free entry to their gardens.
Minigolf tor 1 | © Radek68/WikiCommons