Ream National Park
Sihanouk National Park is more commonly called Ream National Park, for the district in which it is located. It was established in 1993. It encompasses a large portion of the coastal area, including sandy beaches, mangrove forests, the Prek Tuk Sap Estuary, offshore coral reefs, and two islands (Koh Thmei and Koh Seh). It is also the habitat of elusive creatures such as macaques, sun bears, dolphins, mouse deer, pangolin, and over a hundred species of birds; and some say that it is also home to a tiger although there are no proven sightings. Guesthouses and tour operators in Sihanoukville offer a number of different tours of the park including jungle trekking and riverboat trips along the Prek Tuk River through the jungle and mangroves and on to the sea. The river trip is the most popular tour and is also the most likely to yield sightings of wildlife. Most tours are less than a half-day. The nearby Kbal Chhay waterfalls are spectacular and refreshing in wet season, although in dry season they virtually cease to exist. It is a good place for a picnic. Tours may be arranged through a tour operator directly through the Park at the Park Office (located 23km/20 miles north of Sihanoukville, 500m/1,640 ft. off Rte. 4 on Airport Rd., opposite the entrance to the airport; tel. 012/875-096 or 215-759). The park office is open daily from 7am to 5pm.
If you want to learn how to create Khmer cuisine yourself, Traditional Khmer Cookery (335 Ekareach St.; tel. 092/738-615) offers courses for $25 per person starting at 10am. They teach you how to create a range of dishes including amok, banana flower salad, beef lok lak, fish soup, and pumpkin custard. Book a day in advance.
The delightfully odd Top-Cat Cinema (road to Serendipity; tel. 011/617-799) is a great way to polish off a day spent baking on the beach. This large air-conditioned cinema is furnished with comfy furniture and loungers. Movies cost $3 per person or a group of five or more can rent the whole cinema for 2 hours for $15. You can also play video games on the giant screen -- a fact best kept from children if you ever want them to see daylight again.