Cambodia’s Southern Coastline: Sihanoukville

After three months of hard labour during our time volunteering we needed time to let our hair down, have some fun and chill out. Cambodia’s Southern coastline seemed the perfect place to do this and would be a good springboard into Vietnam.

We therefore got the Giant Ibis tourist bus (comfy seats and WiFi, something us tourists can’t do without) from Phnom Penh to our first solo destination: Sihanoukville.

Sihanoukville is apparently Cambodia’s premier seaside resort, but it’s more Magaluf than Malibu. The road to the main beach, Serendipity, is lined with bars and backpacker hostels. We chose to stay at The Big Easy where we were welcomed by a cheery Ozzy who was eager to get our room sorted and then for us to join the beer hounds at the bar and get a drink…hell, why not…especially at 50 cent a mug.

The Big Easy

After a few looseners we went for something to eat and found the wonderful Ernie’s Burgers. Ernie, a big American, cooks your burgers to order and you get a choice of up to 10 toppings. Delicious. It was also quite amusing listening in to a table of drunken and high expats who commanded the premium outdoor seat of the place and acted like they were part of some sort of “Shameless meets Sopranos” TV special. We declined the invitation from the English man of the group (who has spent 7 years here getting drunk and high everyday) to come and smoke weed with them at a bar down the street (and when I say declined I mean in the true English sense of simply saying “maybe later” then obviously giving the place a wide berth).

Ernie’s Burgers

After a wander around we called it a night early to hit the main sites the following day. These consisted of the local market, Otres Beach and Serendipity Beach.

The local market wasn’t much but I got a few snaps of the fruit section which I like.

The Fruit Market
Giving them a good squeeze

Otres beach is a little further south from the city but a tuktuk covers the distance pretty quickly. Otres beach is the chilled out brother of Serendipity beach. Bars with large decks line the first half of the beach. And from here we strolled along the coastline back to Serendipity.

Rocky
Beachy

When we got to the southern end of Serendipity we walked through a section of the beach that was more orientated to the locals. There were raised platforms just off the beach where families and friends would sit and enjoy beach life. Each of them bringing food to share along with the latest gossip.

I particularly liked the local ice-cream man

The next section of the beach got a bit more lively as we seemed to enter the Chinese section.

It was when we spotted two large thonged asses we knew we had arrived back in the Western zone. After the long walk we deserved a drink so we sat on the beach front and enjoyed a cold beverage. Here we chilled and people watched, especially observing the BBQ ladies who offer up freshly cooked seafood which is delicious.

And relax…
A mobile BBQ
Tasty and fresh

At night the beach comes alive with entertainment and partying.

The sparks were flying this night

That was our time in Sihanoukville. Overall Sihanoukville seemed like a place for long lost westerns to chase hedonistic pleasures and a chilled out party town for backpackers. It was great to see the Cambodia’s enjoying the beach too, and I don’t blame them from staying away from the western end!

Our next stop along the coast: Kampot.

Sihanoukville Recommendations:

  • Ernie’s Burgers: Juice and tasty burgers that are built how you like from a variety of ingredients. Go for the double 👌
  • The Big Easy: The accommodation was clean and ok but it lacks a communal area for just the staying guests. The bar is cool with some good drink offers, pool, beer pong and a Friday pub crawl.
  • Otres beach: it’s worth heading across to Otres. It’s a nice walk along the coast so you should give it a go either there or on the way back

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