Cheap Flights To Sihanoukville
After decades in the shadows, the southern coastal town of Sihanoukville has now reclaimed its crown of being the jewel of Cambodia's Riviera.
Embraced on three sides by the warm waters of the Gulf of Thailand, this town is the laid back tropical getaway that's the stuff of dreams with its white sandy beaches that seem to stretch forever.
In the 1960s, the area's natural beauty and fine hotels attracted celebrities such as Jackie Kennedy and Catherine Deneuve. It then fell into darkness during the Khmer Rouge era, and remained so until a few valiant backpackers braved their way here in the 90s.
It's since blossomed into the country's premier resort town and the dream holiday destination. Here you can enjoy scuba diving, snorkelling, trekking, nightlife, and of course just chilling on the beach and snacking on freshly caught seafood.
Sihanoukville is also developing into a prime spa destination with everything from hole-in-the-wall massage shops to swanky resorts. Culture buffs won't be disappointed, either, with a bevy of fine temples to explore.
Visiting during festival time is a special treat, especially during Khmer New Year. So pack your sun cream and snorkel and get ready for repose or recreation or both in this enchanting slice of Asia.
Things To Do
Explore one of the city's most important temples and enjoy some fine city views by visiting Wat Leu. Located atop a small hill, it's a favourite sunset spot. The temple was rebuilt after destruction by the Khmer Rouge and is home to a shrine to Yeah Mao, the guardian of the coast.
Beaches are the area's main draw and they are truly spectacular and best of all, uncrowded. Ochheuteal Beach is the main strip but keep on walking to discover deserted stretches of inviting white sand including the 4-kilometre stretch of paradise called Otres Beach.
Sihanoukville offers a slew of adrenalin pumping activities both in the water and out. Enjoy diving among coral around the many islands, or go windsurfing or catamaran sailing. Inland, you can explore national parks and set off on forest and jungle treks.
Calendar Of Events
With its rich and ancient culture, it's not surprising that the Cambodian festive calendar is packed. Highlights include Khmer, Chinese and Vietnamese New Years, and a host of Buddhist holidays.
- Cambodian New Year (Chaul Chnam Thmey)
This vibrant event takes place over three days starting on 13th April. Locals clean their homes, make merit at temples, and douse each other with water. In the evenings, the colourfully lit streets and square become venues for shows, games and much feasting.
On the 31st October, Cambodians pay homage to the late King Sihanouk who is revered as the father of the nation. As the 29th of October is Coronation Day, this makes for three days of celebration.
For 15 days on a date determined by the lunar calendar, Cambodians celebrate Soul Day by offering food to the spirits of their ancestors, known as 'hungry ghosts'. During this important time, Wat Krom in Sihanoukville is packed with celebrants making merit.