town sits in the center of a small
peninsula that juts into the warm
waters of the Gulf of Thailand. Several beaches of
sand line the shore around the peninsula, most easily accessible from
town, each separated as much by character as the rocky headlands
between. The main beaches are lined with thatch roofed seafood shacks
and bars offering cold drinks, umbrellas and chairs, BBQ and more.
Ochheuteal and Serendipity Beaches are the most popular and the busiest
with plenty of nearby hotels, guesthouses, bars and restaurants. On the
other side of town, Independence Beach has bbq shacks, smaller crowds
and a more tranquil atmosphere. A bit farther from town, Otres Beach is
quickly growing in popularity, but still is still less touristed than
Ochheuteal, maintaining much more a laid-back, chill-out vibe.
of Ochheuteal Beach)
Ochheuteal Beach is by far the most popular
and touristed beach in town. Ochheuteal is long, sandy and comparatively
narrow, with ‘Serendipity Beach’ at the arcing northern end, most of the
southern half closed to the public, and a small cluster of beach
restaurants at the pleasantly quiet far end. Most of the hotels,
guesthouses and restaurants are on and around the northern half of the
The area has a good selection of accommodations ranging from mid-range
to budget with most on the roads paralleling the beach and Serendipity
Beach Road. A few bungalows are also tucked up amongst the headlands at
either end of the beach.
Restaurants & Bars... On the beach, shack-style seafood
restaurants and bars line more than a kilometer of the sand's edge from
Serendipity to mid-beach. The seafood shacks typically offer umbrellas
and beach chairs, have full bars, cold drinks and most have food,
off the beach, in the early evenings the BBQ restaurants on the beach
roads, especially along Lumhei Phumin Street (formerly 23 Tola,) fire up
their grills and offer classic fresh BBQ dinners at very reasonable
Nightlife... Many of the beach bars are open into the late night and
a few throw regular beach parties. Some of the more popular late night
places are located at the near end of the beach and along Serendipity
Beach Road. Just off the beach, the bars on Serendipity Beach Road, at
the Sihanoukville Square and at Pub Street are usually open late.
Otres Beach is the next beach south of Ochheuteal and
similar in many ways - like Ochheuteal, Otres is a three
kilometer crescent of white sand facing to the southwest. But
Otres is less developed and more thinly touristed, offering a
somewhat more relaxed atmosphere. Beach shacks and
guesthouses/bungalows line the near and far ends of the Otres
Beach with a development project taking up most of the central
The Near End...
At the northern ‘near end’ (Otres 1) of the beach dozens of
beachshack bars and restaurants squeeze together along a
kilometer of sand. Plenty of different sorts of places to choose
from, some staying open quite late, offering events, music and
such. There are also a dozen-plus guesthouses and bungalows
lining the beachfront road 20 meters from the water.
The Far End...
The ‘far end’ of Otres Beach (Otres 2) on the south side of the
development area has a more secluded atmosphere than the near
end but still offering several beach bars and restaurants as
well as accommodations along the sand including a couple of very
nice upper mid-range places.
Otres River Village...
About a half-kilometer behind Otres Beach is Otres River
Village - an Aquarian corner on the river, an eclectic mix
of people, accommodations and drinking places in an eco-friendly
horizontally laid back environment. Set amongst mangrove forest
along a small lake and estuary, Otres River village is home to
the bizarre bazaar Otres
Market To get between the village and Otres Beach, you can rent
a bicycle to ride in or even kayak along the river between the
estuary and beaches.
The Otres Market is a Saturday market gathering of crafts and
food vendors, both local and foreign, in the spirit of the
Saturday beach markets of Goa India - live music, shopping, cold
drinks, hot food and good vibes. At time of printing the market
wasn’t open yet as it only runs in the high season, but should
be up and running again by December if not sooner. Located in
Otres River Village. In the past the opening hours have been
every Saturday from 4:00PM until late.
Independence Beach draws its name from the historic Independence
Hotel that sits atop the headland at the north end, often called ‘otel
pram-pul chann (‘hotel 7-storeys’) by the locals.
Independence is better than a kilometer long, but more than half is
closed for a development project. A long slice at the north end
remains open to the public - a lightly touristed 500 meter strip of
sandy beach, sporting a dozen beach front BBQ huts, restaurants and
bars. The quieter, more relaxed in-town beach. A good place to
escape the crowds of Ochheuteal Beach.
The fresh water lake at the north end of the beach serves as the
source and reservoir of Sihanoukville's water supply. On the curving
road past the northern end of the beach, behind the Independence
Hotel, monkeys (macaques) often congregate along the road and beg
for food, especially in the late afternoon.
(map of Victory Beach
and Hill area)
Victory Beach sits at the base of the popular Victory Hill.
Victory Beach offers one of the best sunset views in town but
unfortunately the beach is partially closed and there are no
longer any bbq shacks or other vendors. Farther north along
Victory the beach narrows and a few upscale seafood restaurants
hug the water’s edge and a couple of casinos can be found on the
Above Victory Beach, Victory Hill offers a variety of
guesthouses, restaurants and bars. Several places, both budget
and mid-range dot the side of the Hill overlooking the ocean,
some offering excellent sunset views.
The very top of hill is one of Sihanoukville’s nightlife
hotspots. The hilltop road is lined with
bars, music and sport bars as well as a few restaurants. After
dark the street come to life, some places staying open into the
Hawaii Beach at the far southern end of the Victory Beaches is
fairly busy these days, and is much more popular with Cambodian
beach-goers than foreign tourists. Like the other major beaches,
Hawaii is lined with umbrellas and chairs and little beach shack
bars and restaurants.
Occupying all of Sokha Beach, the Sokha
Beach Resort offers luxury accommodation and fine dining. Sokha
Beach is a beautiful beach, a crescent of sand about one kilometer long
and comparatively wide. The fine pearl white sand is perfectly
groomed these days but the beach is fairly quiet, frequented primarily
by resort guests. There aren’t any little seafood shacks, but dining
gazebos and an up-market beach bar / restaurant run by the Sokha
These ‘other’ beaches are outside of the town area and are frequented more by fishermen than tourists, though this is slowly changing. Road conditions can be challenging, especially in the wet season.
Ream Beach is long and narrow, sitting at the edge of Preah Sihanouk
(‘Ream’) National Park about 27km from town. The beach is largely
untouristed and of very average quality. The road toward Naval Base
offers a nice little oceanside drive and sections are lined with water’s
edge seafood shacks and a thin beach. Take Route 4 18km north to the
Airport road 18km north. Turn right, 9km to the ocean.
The Prek Treng Beach a few kilometers north of town is a long
crescent of white sand, offering comparatively warm shallow waters.
The beach has recently been cleaned up and groomed and is looking
particularly good. Due to the distance from town and complete lack of
services the beach is usually deserted. To get there follow Hun Sen
Beach Drive north a few kilometers past the port area.