Sihanoukville Cambodia is about a 3 hour bus ride southwest of Phnom Penh. It can also be accessed by boat from Koh Kong where overland visitors from Thailand first arrive. Sihanoukville has many islands off shore, various kinds of beaches and points for snorkeling, swimming, scuba diving and just lounging around. Occheuteal and Serendipity Beaches have restaurants, vendors, chairs and shade. Most beaches are just a short ride from the center of town and all can be seen in a day. One day you might want tranquillity and another to visit and mingle with other visitors. Sihanoukville is Cambodia's Premier Beach Resort with Casinos, new bars and restaurants and hotels springing up everyday, but one thing remains constant...the beaches are beautiful with their crystal clear aquamarine waters. Tropical sun is intense so be sure to pack your sun screen. On those days you might be recovering from a sunburn check out Angkor Brewery, K'bal Chai waterfall, Ream Park, or The sleepy port village of Stoung Hao to the north where workers spend hours shelling crab. Ream Park is on the outskirts of town and one can take a riverboat from the highway, through mangroves to the mouth of the river. When in Cambodia make it a point to get to Sihanoukville for a few days to relax after all that hiking around Angkor Wat!
Scenes from around Sihanoukville set on one of the magnificent sunsets from Occheuteal Beach. Vendors walk up and down the beach selling every thing from souvenirs to crab, eggs, various foods and fruits. The Lions Circle between Downtown Sihanoukville and Occheuteal and Sokha Beaches. The newly renovated Independence Beach Hotel that once thrived during UNTAC. Later it became a damaged and destroyed shell of a building that was a tourist attraction to catch a view of Independence Beach among the company of ghost! A view overlooking the Port of Sihanoukville. Sokha Beach. Chiva Shack, one of the many thatched roof bar and restaurants on Occheuteal Beach. A grave monument at Wat Leu.
Kampot Cambodia once was a 3 hour drive from Phnom Penh but road improvements have shaved over an hour off of the travel time. Bus service from Phnom Penh is slowly getting established but the main method of getting to Kampot is by shared taxi. Shared taxi to Kampot from Sihanoukville is a gorgeous ride along the coast and the Damrei (elephant) Mountains. Kampot is a sleepy town on a river surrounded by mountains. Many old French buildings remain intact. Kampot is an ideal base for many day trips to the surrounding countryside. Activities are limited in Kampot, but many from Phnom Penh go there for its tranquility. A few western bars and restaurants are springing up on the riverfront in an effort to offer the visitor something different from the rows of Tukralok (fruit shake) vendors that line the road from the river to the main traffic circle. While in Kampot visit the Rusty Keyhole Bar and Restaurant located on the Riverfront. Kristian the owner has been in the region over 10 years and has plenty of regional knowledge.
To the west of Kampot there is Bokor Mountain National Park. An hours drive to the top of the mountain will take you through jungle past waterfalls and many places to catch a breath taking view of the coast. Once on top of the mountain there is another waterfall. The main attraction on top of the mountain is the abandoned casino and buildings from an era gone by. At the base of the mountain is the beach resort of Prek Ampil. Not much of a resort, as the water isn't ideal for swimming, but the coast is as picturesque as any. Local Khmers have set up seaweed cultivation and the resort is always busy with women tying colored ribbon to their seaweed. Up river from Kampot is the zoo, home to many tigers.
To the east of Kampot stone mountains jut out of the rice paddies. Seven kilometers out of town is Phnom Chhngok. Prasat S'lok over 1000 years old makes its home in a cave in the mountain (see photo on the Surf Cambodia page). More caves with many different rock formations can be seen in mountain in the town of Kampong Trach. East of Kampong Trach in Phnom Kjchauhng is another 5-6th century prasat located in a cave. Farther north on NR 31 in the town of Tani is another prasat located in the grounds of Wat Tani.
Kampot, Bokor Mountain and Casino and Prek Ampil
Images around Kampot set on the back drop of Prek Ampil Resort and Damrei Mountains. Clockwise: Seaweed farmers at Prek Ampil. A waterfall at the top of Bokor Mountain. A view up river in Kampot. The Port of Kampot. A few riverside businesses along Kampots riverfront. The Rusty Keyhole Bar on Kampots riverfront. Stone mountain in the rice fields east of Kampot. A church on Bokor Mountain. A view from a cave in Kampong Trach. The abandoned Bokor Casino which comes alive during an annual New Years Eve party!
Kep is as sleepy as it gets! In its day it was Cambodia's riviera of sorts with villas dotting the coastline around Kep. The Khmer Rouge destroyed and gutted the villas but recently many are being restored and turned into homes and guesthouses. The main attraction in Kep is the fresh crab. It doesn't get any fresher than this. From the sea right into the frying pan! The vendors on the west coast of the Kep Peninsula will cook it up and you can eat it there or take it to the restaurants on Kep Beach. The restaurants usually will have the days latest fish catch and side dishes of rice and vegetables.
Due to geography and Phu Quoc Island off the coast, the waters on the coast in Kampot Province are a little more stagnant than those of Sihanoukville. Koh Tonsai (rabbit island) is a short boat ride from Kep Beach is much better for swimming. Construction at the border town of Ha Tien Vietnam indicates that eventually this will be an international crossing. Currently the trip from Kep to the Cambodia-Vietnam border is just a nice drive along through villages and mangroves.