Does Cambodia have good beaches?
For many travelers, lured by the prospect of little explored and unspoiled regions, Cambodia has become a top destination on Southeast Asia’s otherwise well-trodden tourist trail.
The south coast of Cambodia offers pristine and unspoiled beaches and many small islands scattered in the Gulf of Siam.
The most famous coastal towns of Kep and Kompong Som (Sihanoukville) are the perfect places for travelers who wish to finish their visit to Cambodia by a relaxing stay.
White sand, blue water, tropical climate, and fresh seafood will welcome the visitor who can either choose to relax on the beach, take a boat trip to the nearby islands, or experience snorkeling and scuba-diving.
Koh Ta Kiev is ideal for those looking to get completely off the grid. If lounging by your own private infinity pool is more your style, you should book a villa at Song Saa’s island resort.
Some 25km southeast of Kampot, Kep is a gem, with its agreeable tropical atmosphere, palm-shaded walks and delicious, inexpensive seafood freshly plucked from the clean waters.
The beach, unfortunately, is tiny and grubby, but serves its purpose as a place to soak up some rays, and forms part of an indisputably pretty bay.
Kep is also a province in its own right, the second smallest after Pailin, although it’s really no more than a fishing village during weekdays.
At weekends, however, hordes descend on the seaside resort from the capital, and the pace picks up a notch.
The large Vietnamese island of Phu Quoc rises offshore in the Gulf of Thailand. The sovereignty of the island has long been in dispute, however, and the white statue of a woman at Kep beach looks out towards the island, yearning for the day when it will be returned to Cambodia.
At the other end of the bay from the white statue, the old Royal Palace occupies a fine sunset vantage point atop the cliff.
One of the highlights of a trip to Kep is a boat tour to one of the nearby islands, such as quaint Koh Tonsay (Rabbit Island), with its three good beaches and five welcoming families.
Nicer still is the beautiful Koh Poh (Coral Island), with blue water and white beaches, and of course great coral for snorkelling.
Boat trips can be arranged at Le Bout Du Monde Guesthouse in Kep, or back in Kampot at Marco Polo Restaurant.
Koh Ta Kiev
Koh Ta Kiev is likely one of the last unspoiled spots on the Southeast Asia backpacking route. There are a few, but no crazy moonlight parties or beach vendors here. You can stay in a simple treehouse or go even simpler and sleep in a hammock beneath the stars.
Koh Ta Kiev is a beautiful, untouched island with limited power and no internet access. That could imply that you have no fun while you’re here. Or you can embrace it, which means you’ll be able to enjoy the beauty of nature and rustic ambience that you won’t find anywhere else! You could easily spend three or four relaxing nights here and still have plenty to do.
Song Saa is a resort in Cambodia’s remote Koh Rong Archipelago. The resort is spread across two pristine private islands linked by a footbridge built over a marine reserve brimming with colorful sea life. When booking, guests can select rooms with sunrise or sunset views, private verandas with water views, and private pools. The eco-friendly resort recently implemented five- and seven-day wellness retreats that include long massages, guided meditation, health-conscious cuisine, and plenty of free time to spend exploring the island, snorkeling, kayaking, and having beach picnics.
There is no main building at Song Saa’s acclaimed spa, and guests meet with the “Head of Wellness” when they arrive at the hotel to plan their personal program. This could range from a rainforest hike to a facial in the great outdoors to watching the sunset with a glass of champagne. Song Saa essentially seeks to bring guests to a state of equilibrium so that they leave feeling healthy, happy, and balanced.
Song Saa also prioritizes developing a long-term relationship with the land and indigenous peoples. In 2015, the resort launched “Journeys of Change,” five-day trips with a flexible itinerary that combine relaxation at Song Saa with cultural and environmental excursions into neighboring communities and countryside to help visitors understand and connect with life on the Koh Rong peninsula.
The closest that Cambodia gets to a full-blown beach resort, Sihanoukville is overrun with locals on weekends and holidays, enjoying the sandy beaches, well-stocked seafood restaurants and slow-paced ambience.
It’s a friendly, prosperous town, thanks to the soothing influence of the sea and the healthy local economy, based on port trade, fishing and tourism.
It may not be able to compete with the best of the beaches in neighboring countries – the vistas are pleasant rather than stunning, and facilities, though improving, are not exactly up to international standards – but the town does have a certain charm and is proving a popular stop with travelers, not just those en route to or from Thailand, but also Phnom Penh visitors looking for an easy excursion.
The resort is certainly a good place to relax and unwind, especially if you’ve been travelling hard on the provincial Cambodian roads.
Moreover, lazy days on the beach can be complemented by an evening of partying at one of the town’s vibrant nightspots.
Sihanoukville sprawls over a large peninsula. The town centre is roughly equidistant from the port and its four beaches. Located here are the markets, most of the nightspots and many of the mid-range hotels.
A satellite town of sorts, a couple of kilometers to the west, near to the port and Victory Beach, has become a budget travelers’ favorite.
Ream National Park
Visitors can explore this national park on foot and by boat, traveling along waterways through thick mangrove forests and over shiplap bridges in dense stretches of jungle. The park’s freshwater wetlands and forest lands provide a safe haven for 100s of species of animals, but there are also beautiful beaches.