Tourists are guaranteed an unforgettable cultural experience on a trip to Sihanoukville. Located south of Cambodia, the country’s only deep-water port is brought to life with surrounding bustling streets, markets, luxurious tourists spots and historical sites. The main drawcard to Sihanoukville is its pristine beaches, resorts and the local temples. While the marks of the civil war still linger in Cambodia, Sihanoukville has truly grown to become a favourite destination for holiday-goers worldwide. There are two distinctive sides to this town; one that showcases its culturally rich side in local areas, and the other representing luxury through resorts and popular backpacker spots. Try to plan your stay in Sihanoukville in such a way where you can experience a taste of both.
Cruise ships dock at Sihanoukville Autonomous Port, which is approximately 3 kilometres away from Sihanoukville town.
As the port is industrial, there are not many passenger facilities available. At the port gates there are a few local businesses that serve dock workers, but there aren’t any businesses specifically targeted towards tourists. It’s best to drive either inland or towards Sihanoukville’s beautiful beaches.
How to Get Around
As Cambodia boasts hot temperatures, it is recommended to take a mode of transport around Sihanoukville, especially when leaving the port, as there aren’t too many landmarks within walking distance. Taxis and tuk-tuks wait in the dozens outside the port gates. Before hopping in, make sure you agree on a fare to avoid any nasty surprises later on.
Shuttle buses are another option, and these generally take passengers from the port to Sihanoukville town.
Travel times from Sihanoukville Autonomous Port:
It is a 13 minute journey to Sokha Beach Resort
It is a 24 minute journey to Ochheuteal Beach
It is a 1 hour and 5 minute drive to Ream National Park
It is a 10 to 12 minute journey to Wat Krom and Wat Leu Temples.
Currency – The official currency in Sihanoukville is the Cambodian riel (R); however, the United States Dollar (USD) is also commonly used. Riel banknotes come in R 50, 100, 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 50,000 and 100,000 denominations. Cambodia does not use coins.
Time Zone – Sihanoukville’s time zone is Indochina Time (ICT), which is 7 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). Daylight Savings Time is not currently observed.
Weather – Cambodia observes a humid tropical climate. It does have a monsoon season, but the country is generally safe from large storms and natural disasters. Its average temperature is around 27 degrees Celsius, and during the cooler season between December and January, the average temperature is around 16 degrees Celsius.
Wat Krom and Wat Leu Temples – One of Sihanoukville’s popular attractions is Wat Krom, a Buddhist temple located at the base of Sihanouk Mountain. With incredible views of the sea, this temple is home to intricate architecture and a tiny chapel, which is dedicated to a local deity, Ya-Mao. Higher up on the mountain is Wat Leu. This temple is surrounded by landscaped forests and, at the top of the hill, visitors can enjoy views of Sihanoukville and the surrounding islands.
Ream National Park – Ream National Park is a fantastic place to visit if you love nature. This park is home to both local wildlife and 155 bird species, including the endangered Brahminy kite and the white-bellied sea-eagle. Located 17 kilometres away from the port gates, this park also boasts beautiful waterfalls and beaches. Many find this a great place to trek through to escape the hustle of the town. Visitors can experience guided tours with a ranger at a small fee, as well as take a boat ride along the Prek Teuk Sap inlet.
Sihanoukville’s Beaches – A visit to Sihanoukville isn’t complete without enjoying one of its many stunning beaches. Sokha Beach Resort is home to a private beach that perfectly symbolises paradise. With an entry fee, visitors can take in the sun as they lounge on beach chairs, order drinks at the bar and enjoy meals at its open-air restaurant. Another popular beach perfect for those wanting to watch their money is Ochheuteal Beach. This is only 5 minutes away from Sihanoukville and boasts a great variety of seafood restaurants and bars.
Kbal Chhay Waterfalls – 7 kilometres from Sihanoukville town is a favourite tourist attraction, the Kbal Chhay Waterfalls. 14 metres high, these waterfalls were discovered in 1960. Until the civil war, it was used as a reservoir to clean the town’s water. These waterfalls are now a tranquil and beautiful place to stop by and visit.