Posted by: James Shannon | September 25, 2011

Sauntering Around Sihanoukville, Part I: Sun, Surf, And Sand

After a through exploration of the main temples of Angkor, 35C+ (95F+) heat, and not seeing a beach in over a month, I was ready to hit Cambodia’s up and coming beach resort, Sihanoukville!

But it seems, as a foreshadowing tickle in the back of my throat was warning me, a nasty flu decided to hit me instead … just as I was getting ready to take an overnight bus to the coast.

I didn’t sleep that night (just as well, seeing how this was my first sleeper bus ever!), and I rolled into Snooky (an affectionate nickname lent by many a veteran backpacker) groggy as hell and ready to hit the first thing resembling a mattress…

After incoherently handing my moto-driver a couple of USD’s for taking me over to the beachside district, I weighed my options. Did my virus-infested ass want to rot away in some cheap bungalow/dorm room (the latter of which would be quite rude, passing on my bug to everyone in there)? Hell no!

I chose to stay in a well-appointed hotel, the Koh Pos Guesthouse (OK, it was more like 2 or 3 star hotel, but definitely not backpacker digs!) and recuperate in relative luxury. What did this uncharacteristic splurge in accomodation spending set me back?

The princely sum of $12 USD per night. Balla.

My home for the first two days I spent in Sihanoukville … the memory foam mattress, silky comforter, AC set at 23c, and TV featuring BBC, CNN, Channel NewsAsia, and the Discovery Channel lured me back to health!

After two days and one night cocooned in my hotel room turned recovery ward, I was ready to poke my head out the door and explore Ochheuteal beach, the most popular strip of sand in town!

The Golden Lion traffic circle is a landmark for anybody staying in Sihanoukville … I took the first exit just out of the picture to the right, and proceeded towards the seacoast…

Made it to the beach!  Feeling better already, I hightailed it for one of the loungers lining the beach in front of countless beachside restaurants/bars/shake shacks.  After having one of the most delicious banana shakes I’ve ever had in my life, I got chased off by child vendors who simply would NOT leave me in peace, underlying the abject poverty that plagues this area a mere decade and a half after the end of the Cambodian civil war…

Looking the other way down the shore, towards Serendipity Beach …

Inflatable beach toys float offshore for those who wish to pay $1 to play on them … looked like fun, but I didn’t have anybody I could trust close at hand to keep my valuables safe, so I had to pass … this time!

Two local kids who wanted their picture taken … as you will see, this place was real … no shortage of locals enjoying themselves on this fine strip of white sand on this day…

Local Khmer merchants/restaurant workers rest under a beach umbrella on a perfect day in Sihanoukville

Tubes for rent, Ochheuteal Beach, Sihanoukville, Cambodia.

They rent kayaks too!

Every day is a dog’s life in Sihanoukville **runs away from the bad cliche police** 😛

A huge group of local children having a blast in the warm waves of Ochheuteal Beach

One of innumerable crab holes located up and down the shore … if you approach slowly, you can observe the little guys burrowing and going about their daily business … too fast, and they scoot down into their secret lairs!

Would you like to get shipwrecked in a place like this?

With a mesmerizing view like this, I wouldn’t blame you if you decided to drop out of the rat race and stay here indefinitely … hence the growing expat population here in the past few years.

I captured a ton of pics during my all-too-brief stay in Snooky, so I’ll cut it here for now.  Next time on PoE, Sihanoukville’s seedier, rougher side … the tragedy and the challenge.

See you then!



  1. Looks great, James

    • Thanks Mom!

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