The history of Preah Sihanouk goes back only as far as 1955 when the area known as kampong Som. In August of that year, a French/Cambodia construction team cut a base camp into the unoccupied jungle where the Hawaii Sea view Restaurant now sits. They laid the groundwork for the construction of the new Port of Kampong Som. Prior to 1954, Indochina (Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam) was a single political unit under French jurisdiction. During this period, Cambodia maintained international sea trade via the Mekong River. But the dissolution of French Indochina in1954 meant the Mekong delta reverted to the control of Vietnam. Seeking unfettered access to the ocean, plans were made to construct a new ocean port. Kampong Som was selected for water depth ease of access.
Ochheuteal Beach is now the most popular in Preah Sihanouk, offering the full Spectrum of beach venues from upscale hotels and dining to laid-back budget beach bars and bungalows. Ochheuteal is long, sandy and narrow, with "Serendipity Beach" at the northern end, a Golf-course development at the southern end, and a cluster of mid-range hotels and restaurant near the MP base in the middle. Little shack style restaurants and bars, grass umbrellas, beach chairs line the beach from one end to the other.
At over kilometers, Victory Beach is quite long, but like Independence Beach, the sandy area is narrow, making low tide the best time. Victory two beaches divided by a rocky point and a small hill. Set at the base of the very popular Weather Station Hill, the section of Victory Beach in the area in the area of the Vietnam Cambodia Monument (Victory Monument’) is the most popular of Victory. The beach is a bit quieter and more relaxed then Ochheuteal and there are a few good beach bars and restaurants right on the sand such as Tahiti, Mari-yan Beach (offering the only pentanque court on the beach), and Map Water Sports with jet skis, boat trips and more. Victory is a particularly good sunset beach
Independence Beach is more than a kilometer long, but the sandy area is quite narrow, making the beach best when the tide is low. Grass umbrellas and drink vendors now line the beach from end but it is more tourists toward the southern end, near the beach’s only hotel, Sea Breeze. At the other end is a small fresh water lake (which is the source of the town’s fresh water and is rumored to contain crocodiles). The road up to the Independence Hotel is often frequented by a small troop of Rhesus monkeys but is currently closed.
Occupying all of Sokha Beach, the new Sokha Beach Resort, Preah Sihanouk’s first full resort complex, is offering upscale accommodation restaurants, water sports, and more. Sokha Beach is about 1 Kilometer long and comparatively wide so that there is plenty of sand left during high tide. It is perfectly groomed these days, fairly quiet by comparison to Ochheuteal, and is open to the general public as well as guests of the resort.
Otres is the next beach south of Ochheuteal. A single road traces the beach’s 3 km to a small river at the far end. Otres is the twin of Ochheuteal, but is largely untouristed and often almost completely deserted. There are a few grass umbrellas scattered along the beach.
REAM NATIONAL PARK
Officially called Preah Sihanouk National Park, the park has become know as Ream because it is located in the Ream commune. The park was established 1993, inaugurated in March 1995, and encompasses 21,000 hectares of coastal area including sandy beaches, mangrove forests, the Prek Tuk Sap estuary, offshore coral reefs and two islands( Koh Tmei and Koh Seh). Macaques, sun bear, dolphins, over 155 species of birds, and other animals may be seen by visitors.
The park also contains rarely glimpsed species such as mouse deer and pangolin, and there have long been rumors of the tiger, but no confirmed sightings. Park facilities are not fully developed so it is best to arrange a guided tour such as a jungle walk or a boat trip. Ream Beach located in Ream National Park, thought not untouristed , the Ream Beach see far fewer visitors than Preah Sihanouk beach. The beach to the right is long and narrow and frequented more by fishermen than tourists. Behind the beach is a mangrove swamp, which attracts a wide variety of the tropical birds. The beaches to the left nearer the Naval Base now have a few vendors selling drinks and renting tubes.
SUNSET: PREAH SIHANOUK
offers several excellent spots to watch sunset. Most people opt for the beaches. Victory is the most ideally oriented beach for sunset. The view from the other beaches is the sometimes partially obstructed depending on the time of year. Perhaps the best sunset point is at the top of Preah Sihanouk Mountain. The rocks at the top face west offers a beautiful view of the town, port, ocean and islands.
Koh Rong is located about 25 kilometers from Sihanoukville, in the Gulf of Thailand. The island has 43 km of beautiful sandy beaches along both its Eastern and Western shores; its main attraction. Most visitors stay in guesthouses and bungalows situated along the beach at Koh Tuich Village (Tui Beach). There are isolated resorts on other beaches. The atmosphere at Koh Tuich is very relaxed and beach-focused during the daytime, followed by beach restaurants and partying when the sun sets. Travelers looking for isolation or peace and quiet should consider accommodation at the far end of Tui Beach or on other beaches.