Cambodia has pulled itself back from a recent dark past to revitalize its identity as an adventurous destination. Slightly less impacted by heavy tourist traffic when compared with neighbors Thailand and Vietnam, Cambodia is known for is its jaw-dropping temples, notably the world’s largest religious building, Angkor Wat, and its up-and-coming cities that blend colonial and traditional elements with a dash of modernity. The sheer detail of the country’s attractions can at times seem overwhelming; Angkor walls are intricately carved, while the cities of Phnom Penh and Siem Riep race with activity creating a cacophony for the senses. The perfect cure for this rush of sensory information is the simple beauty of a beach. Cambodia’s shores don’t get very much attention because of the draw of the country’s interior but they are as pristine as anywhere in the world. For a list of beautiful beaches in Cambodia to see before they become huge travel destinations, check out our list:
Coast of Sihanoukville
Sihanoukville is Cambodia’s coastal focal point as the city serves as the launch point for many explorations of the country’s southern islands. The city itself, while not remarkably eye-catching because of its rapid development, is situated along prime golden sand beaches lined with palm trees.
Likely the most laidback of the Sihanoukville beaches, Otres has that advantage because it is slightly out of town. On busy days all visitors need to do to find some open sand is walk south.
More crowded because of the beachside resorts and restaurants, Serendipity’s commerce is what actually makes it worth a visit. Consider a dinner at one of the restaurants that feature round bamboo chairs on the sand during sunset.
Victory Beach has recently been partially consumed by a new harbor, but remains one of the best beaches to crash on after experiencing some of Sihanoukville’s noted nightlife.
Although part of the shoreline is the property of a beach resort, it is still open to the public. The presence of the hotel keeps it in mint condition and is not often frequented by swaths of people.
Koh Ta Kiev
Only a short two and a half mile boat ride on the Gulf of Thailand from Otres Beach, Koh Ta Kiev is the largest of the Southern Cambodian islands. This piece of paradise has numerous pristine beaches and dense jungles but get there quick, many believe the little island is about to be developed after a large deal with a Chinese property firm.
Another island off the coast, Koh Rong is outlined with a number of beautiful beaches. The most well known of these is Long Set Beach, a white sand beach only a short walk away from the lively Koh Touch, the main town of the island. Besides beaches, Koh Rong has other attractions including coral reefs for diving and a high ropes park for adventuring through the tropical trees. Don’t get Koh Rong confused with its sister island Koh Rong Sanloem, which some argue is Cambodia’s most beautiful. The aptly named beach, Lazy Beach, although difficult to get to, is about as close to a deserted tropical island beach to be found anywhere.
Koh Tonsay, otherwise known as Rabbit Island, attracts tourists to its shallow waters for marine activities like boating and snorkeling. While Koh Tonsay does have a couple of guest houses, it’s not for everyone as the island’s infrastructure, or lack thereof, features thatched-roof homes, no paved roads or motorized vehicles, and nearly non-existent electricity. For those who don’t mind roughing it, you’ll likely get a kick out its rural charm.
Ream National Park
Easily accessible to the other locations on this list, Ream National Park is one of the most beautiful areas in Southeast Asia. Passionate outdoorsmen are drawn to the appeal of trekking through its inland forests, but the park borders the ocean and has a number of protected strips of beach that are breathtaking. Besides lounging on the warm sands, tourists and locals enjoy exploring the mangrove clusters that reach into the warm waters.