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Sihanoukville is set on a wide peninsular area jutting south and east into the Gulf of Thailand. The peninsula is shielded by islands -- Koh Rong, Koh Rong Sam Leuem, Koh T Kiev, and Ko Ses are among the many. Starting on the north end of the peninsula, you'll find the busy and dusty port area, just south of which, tracing the coast, you'll find Victory Beach, Independence Beach, Sokha Beach, and Ochheuteal Beach to the far south. Ekareach Street turns inland at the terminus of Rte. 4, just past the busy port, and cuts a path across the peninsula to the downtown market area before ending at the Golden Lion Monument near Ochheuteal Beach. Signs point the way from Ekareach to the beaches along its length.

The most popular beach area comprises Ochheuteal to the south of town and a short 5- to 10-minute ride away. It comprises 4km (2 1/2 miles) of white sand and gently lapping waves. The northern end of the beach is called Serendipity and is largely the haunt of the budget-minded, though there is a pleasant range of resorts and guesthouses for all. Behind Ochheuteal are three parallel roads where you will find hotels, restaurants, and the odd rather ropey Internet cafe. To the south of Ochheuteal is Otres Beach, in many ways the nicest beach of all since you get the white sand and the azure sea without the crowds or, in the evening, the ever-blasting sound systems. Directly north of Serendipity is Sokha Beach, entirely appropriated by the Sokha Resort and Spa. This is a good option if you want peace, quiet, and unmatched safety and are prepared to pay for it. North of Sokha past a large promontory is Independence Beach and north of that again is Victory Beach. There are a number of beachside resorts along both as well as some large Khmer restaurants. The south end of Victory Beach is largely a Russian enclave (Victory Beach as a whole is owned by a Ukrainian speculator), while the north end takes you on to the port.

Getting There

By Plane -- Commercial flights to Sihanoukville were terminated in 2007 after a plane crash. The small airport is situated 17km (11 miles) to the east of the town. It is not certain if and when commercial flights will resume.

By Bus -- The bus station is located in the northeast of the downtown area next to Psar Leu. It is essentially a large, dusty parking lot. You will be greeted by platoons of motos and tuk-tuks. A ride to Ochheuteal Beach costs between $1 and $2 by motorbike and $3 to $5 by tuk-tuk.

Traveling from Phnom Penh, National Rte. 4 has long been one of Cambodia's best roads. It was constructed in the '60s and for a long time was virtually Cambodia's only decent road. Sorya and GST run services from the bus station at Psar Thmei (Central Market) in Phnom Penh. The journey takes about 4 hours and costs $4.50. You can book through a guesthouse or just buy your ticket at the station itself. The first bus leaves at 7:15am, the last one at 2:30pm. Mekong Express also runs two buses a day for $6, and if you are tall it might be worth considering since the seats on Sorya and GST buses since Mekong Express buses are a little roomier. Mekong Express buses depart from their office in Phnom Penh at No. 87 Sisowath Quay, on the corner of Street 102 near the riverfront.

Rith Mony and Virak Buntham run buses from Sihanoukville to Koh Kong and the Thai border ($6-$8) with an 8:30am departure time. There are also minibus services running this route (4 hr.). There are no regular bus services from Sihanoukville to Kampot but there are minibus services leaving at 8:30am. The journey takes 2 hours, and are best booked through your guesthouse. Alternatively, you can get a seat in a shared taxi. This costs $5, but you are better off paying $10 for the whole front seat. All services from Sihanoukville arrive and depart from the central bus station downtown next to Psar Leu.

By Taxi -- Taxi is the fastest and most comfortable way to get to Sihanoukville from Phnom Penh. To charter the whole vehicle costs about $40. You can pick them up on the south side of Psar Thmei.

By Boat -- There used to be a hydrofoil service from Koh Kong to Sihanoukville, a dangerous trip that is now suspended. If it does reappear, be aware that the vessels are not designed for the open sea and storms blow up quickly on those waters.

By Train -- There is no longer train service to Sihanoukville although the tracks remain in place.

Getting Around

Sihanoukville is very spread out. There are plenty of motos and tuk-tuks. A moto from the beach to town or vice versa costs $1 in the daytime and $2 at night. A ride from Ochheuteal Beach to Victory Beach costs $3. A tuk-tuk costs double that, though they struggle up the hills. You can hire a small motorcycle from most guesthouses for $5 a day. Wear a helmet. Even better, buy your own (you can buy a good one downtown for $17). The helmets provided by guesthouses are thin plastic with loose straps, and will not protect you in the event of an accident. Taxis cost $5 around town and your guesthouse can call one for you.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.