Cambodia‘s pristine coast and many islands are home to some of the best untouched beaches in Southeast Asia. Here’s a look at some of its best.
Cambodia has some of the most incredible temples and fascinating history in the whole world. You can happily spend days marveling at jungle-clad temple Ta-Prohm, or the intricate pink bas-reliefs of Banteay Srei. But if you’d like to swap shrines for the seaside, just for a little bit, Cambodia is also home to a collection of islands that may just be the source of all those beach clichés. Cambodia and beaches… sandy resorts lined with boozy backpackers? It’s not far from the truth in some areas, but luckily, there is more than enough paradise to go around in the Gulf of Thailand. Expect lush forests, white sand free of footprints, freshly caught food and glorious wildlife, if you know where to look...
Sihanoukville has a reputation as a haven for party-lovers, but take time to look beyond Serendipity Beach to Otres. Otres is away from the main stretch and as such, the sand and sea there is generally cleaner and the beach quieter. It stretches for about 2km, so if there are a few too many sun loungers for your liking, continue further south. If you get bored of snoozing, or having a paddle, head into one of the shacks that line the sand for a spot of dinner and a cool beverage. There are a handful of boutique resorts here to trail home to after a quiet drink, rather than a bar-hopping bonanza.
There are some islands that have, somewhat unfairly, gained a bad reputation. Koh Rong Island is one such example. While in Koh Touch you’ll find the odd full moon party and buckets of sugary cocktails, 7km Long Beach has calmer, quieter waters, small fishing villages and untamed forests. At night time, you can shun the bright lights of the beach party for the underwater luminous glow of plankton. Koh Rong is a great base for adventure too. Go diving to spot busy marine life and a rich variety of flora and fauna, jump in a kayak to glide through some of the more remote areas, or hire a mountain bike to break up those long lazy days on the beach.
Koh Rong tends to get all the attention. However, peace and quiet is becoming harder to come by, so travelers are turning to the tranquil shores of neighboring Koh Rong Samloem. Home to a few shore-front bungalows, the beaches are postcard-perfect, with white-powder sand flanked by palm trees, and shimmering water to swim and snorkel in. The perfect place to escape the rat race, the remote island goes back to basics with most facilities – think electricity running for a few hours at night and limited internet access.