Let Cambodia’s leading beach spot, Sihanoukville, draw you in with promises of relaxed white sand beaches, and exotic island adventures. Alive with a summery holiday atmosphere, the city is also a major hopping off point for those exploring the area’s deep heritage and complicated history. Formerly known as Kampong Som, Sihanoukville bathes in the balmy waters of the Gulf of Thailand and is perfect for ventures out among the area's mangrove forests, ornate temples and wild beaches.
Local sands like Otres and Independence beaches offer easy access relaxation, or you can head out across the bobbing waves to islands of palm trees and wooden fishing boats like Koh Rong and Koh Rong Sanloem. With gleaming sand and turquoise water - these unspoiled isles invite you to really kick back and relax. Or explore from Sihanoukville and hop on a tuk-tuk to visit the Kbal Chhay Waterfall, which cascades close by. Surrounded by greenery and trees, the waters thunder dramatically after being awoken by fresh rainfall. The Wat Leu Buddhist temple rises over the city with an intricately painted roof and triple-headed elephant statue. It’s a beautiful, peaceful site, with sweeping views down from the hill, but it’s the lounging monkeys who often steal the show. Elsewhere, the city’s war memorial hints at the dark events of Cambodia’s past.
Walk among the dense, web-like roots of mangrove forests in Ream National Park, as you push a kayak through waterways, and discover white sand beaches and stilted wooden huts. With 37,000 acres of park to explore, and more than 150 different birds flocking to the area, there’s a lot to see. All of that activity is sure to build an appetite – enjoy a local flavour of Khmer cuisine and try fish served up in coconut milk, with a ginger kick, in the local dish, amok.