Surrounded by white-sand beaches and undeveloped tropical islands, the port city and beach resort of Sihanoukville (Krong Preah Sihanouk), also known as Kompong Som, is the closest thing you get to the Costa del Cambodia. Visitor numbers have risen steadily in recent years – and are likely to skyrocket if flights to Siem Reap are resumed – but for the time being, despite the boomtown rents, the city and its sandy bits remain pretty laid-back.
Just 18km east of Sihanoukville, Ream National Park – also known as Preah Sihanouk National Park – comprises 150 sq km of primary forests (mostly lowland evergreen forest and mangrove swamps) and 60 sq km of marine habitats. It’s home to breeding populations of a number of regionally and globally endangered birds of prey, including the Brahminy kite,
There are more than a dozen islands off the coast of Sihanoukville for tourists to hop around. Most of them are yet to be developed for an overnight stay with the exception of Bamboo Island or Koh Russei in Khmer. Many guesthouses, restaurants and cafes on Ochheuteal and Serendipity beaches offer trips and packages to these islands.
Named after the spice that still grows on its slopes, the Cardamom Mountains region in southwest Cambodia is the last true wilderness remaining in mainland Southeast Asia. The region is the focus of conservation efforts by the GMS Biodiversity Conservation Corridors Initiative. The western edge of the Cardamom region abuts the Thai border, while the easternmost part ends about sixty miles northwest of the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh.
The main reason to visit Sihanoukville is the beaches. They are not as crowded as many of those in Thailand, but can be cramped on weekends and holidays.
Serendipity Beach – Guesthouses and bar/restaurants right on the beach, open until the early hours. This beach seems to be the most popular and typically has the greatest number of people on the beach. Serendipity Beach is connected to Ochheuteal beach.