When Chris lived in Cambodia, it seems he was quite the island-hopping, beach-top sprawling, occasional-snorkelling traveller. Now back in the UK (and unaffected by a tourist influx), he’s happy to share his favourite beaches in Cambodia with the rest of us.
Beaches in Cambodia
For many, Thailand’s famous stretches of sand and picturesque islands spring to mind as the picture postcard images of Southeast Asia’s beautiful coastline. But Cambodia has some truly hidden gems where, unlike Thailand, crowds won’t cramp your style.
If spending time on an untouched beach sounds like the ideal conclusion to your trip, I can safely say that Cambodia has some of the best. Imagine Robinson Crusoe, but with a spectacular range of places to stay – that’s what you get in the ‘Kingdom of Wonder’!
So here are my favourite beaches in Cambodia, starting at #5 (drum roll, please).
#5. Koh Trong
Undoubtedly one of the prettiest places in Cambodia. It’s not technically on the coast, but Koh Trong is a beautiful, quiet and very, very rural sandbar in Northern Cambodia. For 8 months of the year it is surrounded by white sandy beaches – before the green season sets in.
See the best of this small island by horse and cart, or on a bike. Meander through picture-perfect villages, see endangered fresh water Irrawaddy Dolphins, or kick back and enjoy the pristine beach.
#4. Otres 2
When people think of Sihanoukville, they often think of a busy, backpacker-saturated party beach. While this may be true of the Serendipity and Ochheuteal Beaches in the heart of town, it couldn’t be further from the truth at Otres 2.
Sihanoukville has seven beaches in total, and most of them are great places to relax for a few days. But there are none as idyllic at Otres 2 – the furthest, quietest and most peaceful beach here. Situated on the Gulf of Thailand, the seas are calm and clear with pristine white beaches. There are a few boutique places to stay and a range of little shacks and local restaurants to eat at; a very relaxing place to end to your trip.
#3. Koh Rong
Koh Rong’s beaches are similar to the ones in Thailand… if you were transported back 20+ years. Boasting some of the most amazing and untouched beaches in Southeast Asia, this is a place you will never want to leave.
It’s about a 40-minute boat ride from the mainland, and as you approach the island all you can see is greenery. As you get closer, there is sparse development around the port, but it’s mostly guesthouses on pristine white sandy beaches.
Long Beach (also known as Sok San Beach) is the most spectacular of them all. The 7km beach has calm and clear waters, and fine white sand; if you’re staying at the Sok San Beach Resort, this beautiful view greets your private boat.
Nearby, there are beautiful coral reefs perfect for snorkelling or diving, and the whole area is surrounded by dense rainforest. Why head to Thailand’s beaches after your Indochina trip when this paradise awaits on your doorstep?
#2. Song Saa Private Island
The most luxurious, unique and incredible place to experience in Cambodia. Song Saa (meaning ‘sweethearts’ in Khmer) consists of two small private islands off the coast of Sihanoukville that are linked with a footbridge – hence ‘sweetheart’ islands.
One of the islands has been left as a nature reserve. The other has a private resort featuring 26 individual pool villas (including Maldivian style over-water villas). While the beach here is very small (as are the islands), the whole area is truly idyllic. The waters around the islands have been designated as a protected marine area – coral reefs provide an abundance of sea life to dive or snorkel around.
#1. Koh Rong Samloem
Coming in at number one is undoubtedly one of the most untouched paradises that you will ever experience. Even more than Koh Rong, its big brother next door.
Picture swaying coconut trees, hammocks, fine white sand beaches, clear turquoise waters… you are halfway there. It’s a small island with only two sides to it. Lazy Beach on one side is a little livelier and more ‘backpackery’, Saracen Bay on the other side is anything but. Being a large bay, the water is absolutely still, just like a mirror. With only a handful of small guesthouses and boutique properties it is, in our opinion, the most idyllic and peaceful place in all of Southeast Asia.
If you need a bit or R&R after your cultural journey, the beaches in Cambodia tick every box. And more.
Flip flops and snorkel at the ready? Contact our team to plan your holiday to Cambodia. Did we mention that you can finish your trip with a few days at the beach?
Read more: Luxury Cambodia: A beach break on Koh Rong