So i flew to phomn penh in January 2009. Spend a few days there. To be honest i didnt enjoy Phnom penh, its quite a dirty city with a rat race feel to it similar to most capitals around the world. From there i got the fast boat up to Siem Reap and spent a few days there at the Golden Banana (see my other review for that). Siem reap is a must to see the temples such as Ankor wat if you have never been before. Anyway after a few days here it was time for the relaxation part of my holiday. I took a taxi the 10 hour journey from Siem Reap down to Sihanoukville. I was staying in the area around Victory hill and Victory beach. My first impression wasn't great if im honest but i checked into the mealy chanda for a night and didnt find this a comfortable place to be (im not a backpacker type which this is ideally suited to) so i moved on to the Sunshine beach hotel which is situated right on victory beach.
Wow i was blown away. We sat drinking some cold beers on the beach, getting a massage under the palm trees, playing accoustic guitar and just chilling out. The beach although really narrow at victory beach is quite long with a few bars up along from the hotel. Its worth noting that they close fairly early but if you happen to go there - Browns cafe does some really excellent british food/full english and is run by the friendly David.
The beach is pretty much golden sand, and fairly quiet. The sea in this area is sort of buffered by snake island so the sea remains very calm nearly all the time. But the real gem of this area is watching the sun go down over the snake island from victory beach. I have never in my life seen a sunset that can match it on any level.
The feeling in this part of Sihanoukville is laid back and relaxing. On victory beach theres not a great deal to do past 9.30 when the restaurent closes, unless you walk up the beach a hundred metres or so to the russian owned nightclub there. The nightlife in this area really is on victory hill (otherwise known as weatherstation hill) where you will find a great selection of bars and restaurents. If you do go there its well worth checking out the corner bar who do some real nice food. And if im honest i spent a lot of time in Bar Retox which is a sort of relaxed hippy bar lot of backpackers go to. The owner has a large selection of instruments all setup on a little stage for people in the bar to use and openly encourages people to jam there in the evenings. I can also recommend the indian restautarent at the end of the street that do authentic indian food for a very reasonable price.
Overall i would say if you want a relaxing time and change of pace on the beach you cant go wrong with Sihanoukville. Theres plenty of guest houses for travellers from about $10 a night up to $30 a night for something a little more upmarket. Don't go expecting it to be like a Thai hoilday beach however, this isnt Thailand - but in its own right i have really fallen for Sihanoukville as a destination and will soon go back to meet the friends i have made there.
Accommadation easy to find.
Plenty of cafes and restuarants.
Loads of nightlife open to really late.
Very good beachs
Tuk tuks are expensive ($2-4 for a 5 minute journey)
Beach massage ladies and vendors can be a bit in your face.
Can be a few regular beggars everynight if you sit outside the bars.
Female travellers on their own may not feel comfortable as a lot of this area is not well lit at night.
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