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Dilemma - Sorry if its long winded!

Hornchurch
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Dilemma - Sorry if its long winded!

We are 3 forty something friends who are embarking on a 23 day indo-china tour starting in Phnom Penh and ending in Hanoi in February 2012.

We are then looking for a suitable beach resort to unwind for a week,this would ideally provide plentyful sunbathing,eating and drinking before we return to our busy lives.

We are not sex tourists but we want somewhere lively although we know the sleazy side generally comes with the territory.

We are visiting several Vietnamese beach resorts on our travels so thought maybe we would try Sihanoukville as it seems to be the only Cambodian beach area and not too far from Phnom Penh where we can pick up our Cathay Pacific connection.

However,after spending several hours reading various threads the overall impression is the place is a total s**t-hole

I was going to list the pros & cons but there are no pros (apart from the ones working the bars-sorry,could'nt resist it)

I dont think i have ever seen such a negative vibe on any forum i have visited.

So my dilemma is .......where do i go for that last week?

Any suggestions would be appreciated.....at the moment we are edging to whatever Vietnamese resort takes our fancy on the tour!

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Sihanoukville Province, Cambodia
Sydney, Australia
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1. Re: Dilemma - Sorry if its long winded!

koh samui in thailand

Hornchurch
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2. Re: Dilemma - Sorry if its long winded!

Well,i have overdosed on Thailand over the years & wont go back in the near future.

In fact i spent 2 weeks in Koh Samui with my girl-friend last year...it has changed so much & consequently lost a lot of its charm for me,even the airport has replaced its cute little thatched roofs with modern materials.

The taxis,accommodation & drinks have massively increased in price & the beaches have always been way over rated.The food is fantastic & still reasonable.

I love fishermans village but Chaweng & Lamai are over developed with wall to wall in your face girly bars.

I could go on.......ok i will.

Phuket has great beaches but is 20% dearer & suffers from sardine like overcrowding...paticularly Patong,Kata & Surin.

As for the once idyllic Phi Phi forget it unless you are mid 20's (max) & prepared to drink 2 bukets of vodka & red bull every night & party til 6 am.

Sorry,i digress,

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3. Re: Dilemma - Sorry if its long winded!

We are in Sihanoukville at present and I have yet to see sleaziness anywhere. Whether the wet season makes a difference I don't know. What does stand out however is that this place seems to solely revolve around drinking. All the bars are competeing heavily for very few tourist dollars and offer amazingly cheap prices. Apart from the driniking though there doesn't appear to much going on. Comparing to other parts of Cambodia we have visited it is a bit dirtier as well.

I think you are right to give this place a miss especially if you want to just relax on a nice beach.

In saying that though you could give thought to Otres Beach which is also in Sihanoukville but away from all the congested bars and touts. I can't speak from experience but everyone says it's nice. Could be worth a thought.

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4. Re: Dilemma - Sorry if its long winded!

yer i must be blind,been to sihanoukville a few dozen times and did not see any sleaze,i am not a great fan of the tuk tuk/motos down there as being over zealous and a real hassle at times but its ok,i am not into drugs nor sex tourism but i did not see any of that,and you wont unless you where looking for it.i didnt notice about the bars as i dont drink but i am sure there are many.bugger i sound like an old do gooder lol...give in a try is all i can say,there are many nice places to eat and relaxing on a quite beach,with a good book.

Vancouver
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5. Re: Dilemma - Sorry if its long winded!

roseh and Paul.....

Thanks for your report on Sihanoukville,much appreciated. We will be headed there is early Janruary.

You hear so many different opinions and one has to wonder.

Also wondering....

Has anyone checked out any of the small surrounding islands like Koh Rung,Koh Rong Saloem etc, all close to Sihanoukville.

As for Thailand.....

We were in Koh Samui in 2009 and I found it to be a really busy place.

Ko Phangan is close to Koh Samui and it's a great little laid back island that we enjoyed much more than Samui.

Happy travels!!!

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6. Re: Dilemma - Sorry if its long winded!

just got back from 3 days in Sihanoukville... a few things that might be helpful? we were with our 3 kids... and even though it is a bit shady in some spots, it is nothing like Bangkok. The main beach (Serendipity or Ochentiel) is not super nice... very touristy... filled with people looking to drink and have a good time! there was tons of trash everywhere and you are constantly being pursued to buy / eat something. This was actually fun... for a while.

we visited 2 other beaches: Otres beach was nice... and basically a non-touristy serendipity... seems to have a lot more locals all who were very friendly, and Sokha Beach... This beach was BEAUTIFUL and well cleaned... here is the catch it is a private beach owned by the sokha beach resort. 3 options... 1. we just went anyway and pretended we belonged and no one bothered us 2. i think you can pay to use the beach. 3. you can stay at the resort which actually looked very nice!

Both of these 2 beaches were a close $3 tuk-tuk ride from town center.

We stayed at the Reef Resort... which was Uber clean... and super friendly staff. The bar next door was a bit loud till about 10pm... but it didnt bother us.

If we were to do it all again.. we would have taken 3 nights at the Lazy Beach Resort... which has a super good reputation and is 2 hours off the coast here :)

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Hobart, Australia
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7. Re: Dilemma - Sorry if its long winded!

We went to Sihanoukville this year for 3 nights. I really thought a lot about going as it does get a bad rap. In the end I decided I would always wonder if I did not go and as we were also staying in Kep and Kampot it was close by and easy to get to. On purpose I booked us into the Sokha to protect us a bit. I think it was a very good decision. The Sokha offers a nice beach holiday - although not as nice as Palm Gardens in Hoi An Vietnam. We got a good price on Agoda. Nice beach that is cleaned, no hawkers and great pool. The Lemon Grass restaurant was good and reasonably priced for a resort – lobster for $10 – was actually more like Yabbies in Australia.

As for Sihanoukville the town has very little going for it except a few good supermarkets and cheap liquor and a typical Cambodian market. There is a range of western restaurants but not overly appealing. There was absolutely nothing there that would want to make me return.

We mostly stayed on the Sokha beach but did visit Serendipity Beach. Full of lots of stoned and drunk gap year kids with new tattoos, old men with much younger girls and a dodgy priest with very young kids collecting donations - plus lots of obvious pot smoking - this was during the day. We sat on the beach, had lunch, some drinks and kicked back but after a few hours got sick of being pestered every 2 minutes by hawkers selling their food, wares and services– that said the Cambodians are far less aggressive than other Asian beach destinations. The beach itself was ok but lots of garbage washed up. My son enjoyed renting a jet ski and in this busy environment I did not feel guilty that he may be annoying others with the noise. We liked the Cambodian end of the beach much more where families had gathered for picinics.

Would I go back to Sihanoukville – no. Would I go back to Kep and Kampot – absolutely. Kep could be another option for your stay – as although it has no real beach the Verandah has a fantastic pool and you can do day trips to Rabbit Island. The islands off Sihanoukville are also meant to be really good – as with another poster I always liked the look of Lazy Beaches. The other option is to go to Phu Quoc in Vietnam which is close to Kep and fairly easy to get to.

Regards

Suzi

Edited: 9:03 am, September 28, 2011
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8. Re: Dilemma - Sorry if its long winded!

I didn't find Sihanoukville sleazy, either (agreeing with post #4) and quite enjoyed the food and cold beer the entire 3 days I stayed there. The beach, water, sand and marine life on the other hand were far from exciting.

While I have no interest at all in over-touristed places like Koh Samui, I can say that other parts in the South of Thailand are exquisitely lovely- white sand beaches, magnificent snorkeling, unpaved roads, great seafood and cheap bungalows on the beach.

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Hornchurch
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9. Re: Dilemma - Sorry if its long winded!

Thanks everybody for your detailed replies which has given us plenty of food for thought.

"Snooky" obviously isnt a great resort and it seems a shame the authorities havent invested in the area to entice the tour companys to make use of the airport.

That said,we are still undecided or "snookered" until we can think of a suitable lively replacement.

sydney
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10. Re: Dilemma - Sorry if its long winded!

Hi lennythelion,

many of us regulars are happy that the big 'tour' companies are not enticed any further into Cambodia - they are already taking over parts of cambodia - including the concessions on the ticket system for Angkor Wat and a number of outlying sites. The longer the big tour companies stay away the better for all concerned - travellers AND the Khmer population who see very little of the money spent by overseas companies.

cheers

helen

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