The reputation of Sihanoukville is much like Venice Beach in Southern California: shady drug scene with a killer beach. I am here to confirm these rumors. While travelers will be able to witness a tweaker or two, Sihanoukville delivers on a night out. There are rows and rows of bars, hilarious street vendors who will thread your legs on demand, and tons of booze. So much booze. Feel free to party until the sunrises on the beach while lounging in bean-bags and other forms of comfy beach furniture.
Just beware! DO NOT fall asleep in the sand otherwise you will wake up with TONS of sand-fly bites up and down your body. I had a friend in the past who did that and she looked as if she has a row with the smallpox; and lost.
Here’s a helpful map of the highlights of Sihanoukville.
We split our time between Serendipity & Ochheuteal and the downtown area when it came to food and beach-side chillaxing. After braving several 6-8 hour bus rides, we were in desperate need of a vacation from our vacation so we spent our days relaxing by the beach or getting massages for $5-$10 USD.
Cambodia is actually a bit more expensive than one would expect a country in southeast Asia to be because it’s still developing into a proper tourist destination. Be prepared to spend $30-$40 USD a day, at least.
Many of us decided to go island hopping off the coast of Sihanoukville for fun and we were not disappointed! Along with 30 other strangers, we all gathered on one boat to enjoy a BBQ, snorkeling, and a hidden tree-house bar specializing in Absinthe. I couldn’t make this up if I tried. The boat ride SHOULD HAVE BEEN $15 USD but for some reason, I paid $30 (along with my friends) because Gecko Adventures ripped us off the entire trip. If you’d like to hear more about their criminal operation, feel free to refer to one of my latest posts: Choosing An Organized Tour: the good, the bad, and the criminal.
Now that I live in London, I was dedicated to spending as much time as possible in the sun and ocean. After lunch, we got the brilliant idea to start hurling ourselves off the top deck of the boat for “funsies” and no one died. It was a real success if you ask me.
Helpful Tips About Sihanoukville:
Beware Of Sea Urchins: quick warning about scuba diving off the coast of Sihanoukville, there are tons of sea urchins scattered around so many of us opted to skip that adventure all together. God only knows where the nearest hospital was.
Begging Rings: While I was wandering about on my own, I noticed that all of the beggars had gathered together to run the day’s financial spreadsheets together. The parties involved included everyone from the children to the disabled. I respect their resourceful nature, but I just wanted to give people the heads up. I even managed to snap a picture of their meeting!
Crime: When we arrived, we were warned that two weeks prior, a girl was mugged for her camera and purse. However, when I was walking around alone during the day, I felt completely safe. Also, most Cambodian men are also half my size so I have that working for me anyways. At night, the most shady individuals were the foreigners and obvious drug pushers. Buddy up just to be safe, but it’s no more dangerous than London or New York at night.
Should Solo-Female Travelers Go To Sihanoukville?
Hell-to-the-yeah. It’s an amazing beach culture and you’ll make friends easily at nearby hostels and gatherings. There’s always a party going on in Sihanoukville along the beach so take advantage!
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About Vanessa Elizabeth
Vanessa Elizabeth is a cultural chameleon currently based in London. She enjoys sports (such as CrossFit and dating), cooking, and demolishing her savings account. When she's not busy blogging about her feelings, she works full-time and practices Chinese with her English/German friends.
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