PREAH SIHANOUK CAMBODIA
Preah Sihanouk known as “Kampong Som” province is located along the sea and South Western side of Cambodia. It takes about 4 hours by bus from Phnom Penh and it is 250 kilometers. Preah Sihanouk is gradually developed, and a few new towns are under construction. This only international seaport of Sihanouk Ville makes Cambodia develop faster, now it also serves as a port for import, export cargos and tourist cruise boats.
Security at the moment is not a problem for tourists who would like go on vacation. The number of tourists is still low, but it will increase rapidly. White sand beaches are innate and unruffled. Ochheuteal, Sokha, Otress, Independence are popular beaches for sunbathing, snorkeling; swimming and relaxing. Unfortunately, some of the beaches are controlled by private companies.
Town of Preah Sihanouk was constructed in 1950 during the French time (1863-1953). It served as a beach and industrial town. It is best suited for industrial purposes because cargos are transported in and out every day making this port very busy. The beaches attract local and foreign tourists from Phnom Penh and overseas. Recently, the airport of Sihanouk Ville was reopened for tourists from Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. Angkor Beer factory produces local beer. There are many companies that like to invest to this region. In the near future new towns will be constructed near the old one.
How to get in?
You can reach Sihanouk Ville from Phnom Penh city by bus or taxi and it takes about 4 hours and costs you around US $5. Recently, Siem Reap airways have flights from Siem Reap to Sihanouk Ville directly and this will increase the number of tourists. If you visit Kampot and want to continue to Sihanouk Ville it will take just about one and a half hour. Tourists can come to Sihanouk Ville from Koh Kong province, where the international border serves as the doorway between Cambodia and Thailand. Buses and boats can reach Sihanouk Ville from Koh Kong.
Bank & ATM:
ANZ royal bank has a branch in this town. Money can be changed from USD to Riel and other currencies. There are other Cambodian public banks as well. You can freely use credit cards without any problem. There are many ATMs through which you can get money. These ATMs charge 2 US dollars per transaction.
Preah Sihanouk Hotels
You can get good accommodation at Preah Sihanouk. There are many new hotels, resorts, bungalows and guesthouses recently built in this town and along the beaches. The Independence Hotel, built in 1963 is a 4-star hotel with an excellent sea view. The tariff ranges from US $150 to US $250 per room per night. This hotel owned the Independence beach recently, but it still allows non-guests to this hotel too to swim there. Make sure to book your hotel through www.asiavipa.com.
Sokha is the only local 5 star hotel in Preah Sihanouk. Stay in Sokha Hotel to swim at Sokha Beach, which is the most beautiful beach of Preah Sihanouk. Tariff ranges from US $120 to US $260.
Mid-range hotel along Ochheuteal beach is Golden Sand, with swimming pool. The rooms are clean and food is good. Tariff ranges from US $25 to US $60 US dollars.
What to do and see?
Besides swimming and snorkeling, at the beaches, tourists can do their diving at Remote Island to see varieties of fishes and others marine creatures. Price of diving with professional guide is 70 US dollars. You can also hire water motorbikes at US $30 per hour. If you want to just drink and chill out you need to visit Otress beach, because it is a calm private beach.
Ochheuteal beach: is the most popular beach for swimming, dining, snorkeling and driving (water Moto). This beach is calm, sand is white, and tourists can stay until midnight. Local and foreign tourists swim here together. Restaurant and bars are located along the beach; BBQ of sea food is the mostly served food at lunch and dinner. Boat trip to the island can be organized by local agents and the price varies depending your negotiation skills. Internet cafes can also be found at Ocher Teal.
Sokha beach: This beach is owned by Sokha hotel, the only 5 star hotel in Sihanouk Ville. This beach is the most beautiful of all beaches of Cambodia. Locals are not allowed to swim there; it is reserved only for tourists who stay at Sokha beach hotel. Sand and water is white and clean, calm.
7 Chann beach (Independence beach): Named after the hotel which was built during the French time, 7 Chann that means 7 stories of the hotel building. This beach is private owned as well; presently the hotel has enlarged their beach line about 500 meters. This Beach is not reserved for the guests of the Independence resort & spa. It provides the best atmosphere for the honeymooners.
Otress beach: It is 10 minutes drive by motorbike from Ocher Teal beach. This beach is still natural and calm. Tourists enjoy their vacation here, because there are not so many people like Ocheu Teal beach. The restaurant & the bar that are located along the beach have friendly staff. This beach is clean & has beautiful sunsets.
Ream Beach: The Khmer movie, “Snam Sne Samut Ream”, was filmed here. This beach is quiet, very few people swim here, because it is far from town. There are many restaurants with hammock for welcoming the tourists.
Unfortunately, coconut trees were cut recently, if not it would have a beautiful view during the sunset.
Other beaches and places to see:
There are many more beautiful beaches such as Victory, Hawaï and Hunsen.
Kbal Chay water falls:
You need to set aside a half day for your trip to Kbal Chay water falls and Ream beach together. It is popular falls even among the local people and you can swim here.