The beaches of Thailand and Vietnam attract thousands of visitors each year, but the lesser known beaches that adorn Cambodia’s coastline have the stunning scenery and idyllic atmosphere to rival anything their Southeast Asian counterparts have to offer.
It is not only the mainland that boasts the Kingdom’s best beaches — a scattering of sandy islands situated just off the country’s coast offer a pleasing array of tropical backdrops for visitors to enjoy. Intrigued? Here are the five beaches you should include in your Cambodia itinerary.
Lose yourself in the warm haze of an afternoon at Otres Beach, located 5 kilometers south of the Serendipity Beach in Sihanoukville. The long stretch of sand is peppered with a handful of beach bungalows, seafood shacks, plus a few boutique hotels. Development is slowly but surely finding its way to Otres (more noticeable in the northern edge of the beach), but there are still tranquil spots of beachfront spots to rest under the shade of casuarina trees.
2. Koh Thmei
Located in the Gulf of Thailand as part of Ream National Park, Koh Thmei is a mostly uninhabited island gem enclosed by serene mangrove forests. The beach is positioned to the east of the dock, and is an ideal spot to watch the sun rise with your only company – the birds, of which 150 types make their home here. Coral reefs off the island also provide reason to put on snorkel masks and fins.
3. Lazy Beach
Leave the mainland and explore the wonderful island of Koh Rong Samloem, an island situated two hours’ travel on a slow boat from the coast of Sihanoukville. The clear waters off the beach are excellent grounds for a spot of snorkeling when you get tired of catching the rays. The beach is home to beach bungalows with hammocks which entice guests to live up to the beach’s name and spend lazy days gazing out into the big blue.
4. Koh Tonsay
More commonly known to visitors as ‘Rabbit Island’, Koh Tonsay is situated a short 30-minute boat ride off the coast of Kep, one of Cambodia’s more low key tourist destinations. Lined with swaying palm trees and rustic beach huts (no electricity), visitors can kick back and enjoy a few local beers with some of the freshest seafood around. Other than relaxing, the island is small enough to hike around in a few hours.
5. Long Set Beach
Situated an easy stroll from the main visitor area along the southeastern coastline of Koh Rong, Long Set is characterized by empty beaches and clear waters. While it is an ideal spot for sunbathing, the true treats lie in store for divers who explore the treasures of Long Beach’s colorful underwater offerings. Depending on the season, bio-luminescent plankton make night swims an experience to remember.