Cambodia is such a diverse country that there is something for everyone to they enjoy their holiday. Unlike Thailand, its neighbour to the west, Cambodia is known more for its heritage temples (such as the spectacular Angkor Wat) than for its beaches.
However, with around 443km of coastline along the Gulf of Thailand and over 50 islands in its territorial waters, Cambodian beaches are some of the best you will find anywhere in the world. Here are the top five best beaches in Cambodia!
1. Rabbit Island (Koh Thonsay)
This small, tropical island is located off the coast from Kep in the Gulf of Thailand is the postcard image of an idyllic South-East Asian beach. The main beach at Rabbit Island is bordered by palm trees with authentic thatch bungalows set a bit further back on the end of the rain forest.
With restaurants serving delicious seafood dishes and ice cold beers and several masseuses operating up and down the beach to complement the white sands and turquoise waters, Rabbit Island is the perfect place to unwind from the hustle and bustle of the Cambodian mainland and is a worthy entrant to the best beaches in Cambodia list.
How to get to Rabbit Island:
Sitting just 4.6km, Rabbit Island is a $8 return speed boat away from the mainland from Kep, normally taking 20-30 minutes. Return travel can be booked at most hostels or hotels in Kep and all travel agents.
The price normally includes transport to the pier as well which is a few kms out of town but it is always best to check this beforehand to avoid any nasty surprises.
2. Otres Beach, Sihanoukville
Otres beach is an extensive stretch of stunning white sand lines with Casuarina trees located around 8km to the South of Serendipity beach and Sihanoukville town. This distance is the reason why the water here is still crystal clear, clean and perfect for swimming.
Whilst Otres beach is much busier than it was a few years ago, it is still quiet in comparison to any of the beaches closer to town. The beach is home to a number of quirky, unique bars (mainly run by expats) and is a great place to spend a few days or even just a few hours recharging your batteries.
How to get to Otres Beach:
The drive from Sihanoukville to Otres beach takes around 20 minutes via tuk tuk and costs around $5 each way (depending on your bargaining skills).
3. Serendipity Beach
If you are looking for a quiet, relaxing day in typical, idyllic South-East Asian surroundings, then Serendipity beach is not for you. If you are a youngster or young at heart and looking for some excitement, then Serendipity beach is definitely a place you need to visit during your holiday in Cambodia.
Lined with bars serving cheap beers and cocktails and delicious seafood it is a great place to spend some time soaking up the rays in the afternoon. After dark, it becomes one of the most colorful party spots in Cambodia and makes it one of the best beaches in Cambodia.
What during the day seem to be restaurants, become nightclubs competing with each other to be heard, as well as to have the cheapest drink prices on the beach.
On Serendipity, parties are well-known for lasting until well after the sun comes up so make sure your hotel room is packed with water and don’t book early tours the following day, as you enjoy some of the best nightlife that Cambodia has to offer.
How to get to Serendipity Beach:
Serendipity beach is a short walk away from most of the hotels in and around Sihanoukville. If, however, you are staying a bit further out of town then a tuk tuk will be a fast, cheap option. All the drivers in the area will know the beach.
You can book direct bus tickets from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville on CamboTicket.
4. Lazy Beach, Koh Rong Samoloem
On Koh Rong Samoloem, you could almost close your eyes, throw a stone, and be pretty much guaranteed for it to land on a beach that will leave you awe-struck.
Since we had to choose just one, we went with Lazy Beach although there are other spectacular beaches in the area as well and most of them deserve to be among the top 5 beaches in Cambodia.
Interspersed with pine trees, providing a much needed break from the sun, with a beach cleaned daily, it is the perfect place to spend a day forgetting about the outside world. Hang about afterwards for the stunning pink sunsets which on clear days are the equal of anything in the world for their beauty.
How to get to Lazy Beach, Koh Rong:
This is best part of the untouched beauty of Koh Rong Samoloem and is a mere 45 minutes away from Sihanoukville on the speed ferry. Tickets from Sihanoukville to Koh Rong can be booked on CamboTicket.
5. Long Beach (7 km beach), Koh Rong
Boasting 43 kms of white sandy beaches, it was difficult picking just one beach from this island off the coast of Sihanoukville to include on this list. Long Beach or 7 km beach stands out however, for its sheer length and beauty.
As you can probably guess by the name the sparkling, white sands of this beach stretch for 7 kms. With only one set of bungalows to date at one end of the beach, and no roads leading to it, this beach feels remote and travelers can often feel like they have got it all to themselves.
Trees ring the beach providing shade from the heat of the sun which is much needed as once you have made it to the beach it’s unlikely you will want to leave anytime soon.
How to get to the Long Beach, Koh Rong:
Due to the complete absence of roads on Koh Rong, Long beach is not easy to get to. Travelers wishing to experiences its untouched beauty have two options, a 1-2 hour hike through the jungle (journey times are correlated to your fitness levels) or a 20 minute boat from Koh Touch Village, the main settlement on the island.
The boat ride normally costs around $5 per person return, depending on the number of people in your party.
Whether you’re after exotic parties on gleaming white sand, or a simple afternoon spent lazing around with a good book, there is enough diversity in Cambodian beaches to allow you to plan the perfect holiday in Cambodia.