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Holidaying in Cambodia is no longer just a trip to Angkor Wat

Song SaaCambodia has long been a destination known for its rich cultural heritage and extraordinary history. However, most visitors to the country are unaware of the beautiful coastal region of Sihanoukville & Ream that lies just 220 km from Phnom Penh. One of the most unspoiled coastlines anywhere in South East Asia, Sihanoukville & Ream is an up and coming destination for those who are looking for the next big thing. The coastline of Sihanoukville & Ream boasts a wide range of impressive beaches, each distinct and unrivalled in comparison to the beaches of popular tourist destinations like Thailand and Bali. Located on the beautiful coastline of Sihanoukville, Sokha Beach and Independence Beach are blissfully peaceful, with stretches of soft white sand just waiting for visitors to mark their footprints. Further East, discover Occheuteal Beach, backed by a row of casuarina trees. Stretching for 4 km, visitors can make the most of the water sports available here such as banana boating and jet skiing. Ream lies 18 km East of Sihanoukville, a charming fishing village with beautiful, long beaches that border Ream National Park, a stunning 150 sq km of primary forest and 60 sq km of marine habitat. The area is also famous for its crystal clear waters and abundant marine life. An extraordinary diving destination, Song Saa Island is paving the way for eco-friendly tourism in the country and encouraging marine wildlife protection in the region through a dedicated marine biology team who founded the first private marine protected area in the country. Opening there in 2011 will be Song Saa Island Resort, an ultra-luxurious and intimate collection of villas aimed to cater to the area’s growing beach tourism.

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Daily Telegraph.

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  1. We’ve been to Cambodia several times but so far only to Siem Reap and Phnom Penh.

    I predict that places like Cambodia will become more popular. Thailand used to be very popular but, with all their political problems, you can’t blame people for being wary of visiting now.

    What Cambodia lacks in infrastructure, it easily makes up for by the charm of the people. I’d recommend Cambodia to anyone and would certainly be keen to go back.

    By the way, Angkor Wat is huge! You have to go to really appreciate how large the place is.

  2. As a luxury tour operator we are eagerly awaiting the opening of Song Saa Island Resort as currently the beach hotel choices are extremely limited for the luxury market – The Sokha Beach Resort bills itself as 5 star (but in all honesty it is no more than an average 3 star when comparing to Thai standards.

    There are a whole host of new (ish) non beach properties that are now catering for the more discerning traveller (small boutique rather than out and out luxury – the type of place most luxury travellers like to discover) around Cambodge (as the French call it – a kind of appropriate name) such as Four Rivers Eco Lodge near Koh Kong, La Villa in Battamabng, Sala Koh Trong near Kratie, Terres Rouge in Rattanakiri – and Knai Bang Chatt in Kep to name but a few.

    When a truly great beach resort opens there will be really no need to finish the beach section of holidays over the border in Thailand – thus further developing this friendly and beautiful country.

  3. I just hear the name of the Angkor Wat from my friend.He visit Angkor Wat last year and refer me to go there.I have a desire to travel Cambodia for visiting it but don’t have knowledge of other places there .The post gives the awesome knowledge about the other tourist places. This makes me to travel to Cambodia and the other tourist places there such as Sihanoukville & Ream. Thanks for this informative stuff.

  4. I think Cambodia is potentially going to be the next big thing in luxury travel, it seems to be getting featured now on a regular basis and it is certainly up there on my dream list.

  5. That’s really interesting to hear about the beaches I wasn’t aware of that, I know quite a few movies have been filmed there and it always looks beautiful and that made me want to go. I know somebody who went, they said similar things about the infrastructure, they had to fly to get to different parts, don’t think it dampened the adventure though!

  6. Hello,

    I read your message and wanted to say that I liked reading your blog. I have been in Siem Reap a lot of times as well and wanted to share my story. I stayed in the The Tara Angkor hotel and is a beautiful hotel that is ideally and conveniently located, situated only 6 km from the Angkor Wat Temples, 15 min drive from the Siem Reap International Airport, a few minutes stroll to the Angkor National Museum, a short ride to the city town center with an array of Cambodian souvenirs, shopping and culture. They always have a few promotions that you can make use of and I would strongly recommend to do that. Now they have for example: Last minute bookings, summer sales, early bird promotion or Angkor temptations. It is not that far to the Angkor temples that I would advise you to see for sure. I would say, grab yourself a 3 day pass and find yourself a decent tuk tuk driver to take you to the farther ruins and for a drive in some of the outlying villages. If you’re up for it consider renting a bike and checking out Angkor Wat on your own. There’s a lot to see and do so a lot depends on your time and budget. A few temples I would strongly suggest you check out besides Angkor Wat itself are Bayon Temple, Angkor Thom and of course Ta Prohm just to see the amazing tree. The Banteay Srei temple is farther out of Siem Reap but has a very different feel than a lot of the others. If you want to do something else as well, you can visit the day and night market. I can really recommend these attractions. I did it all, and took enough time to see it all. If someone needs to know more, let me know.

  7. Hi
    Just come back from exploring Thailand for seven years and went to live in Cambodia – i feel Cambodia is the new up and coming Thailand – what i found even more useful was that the Cambodians speak great English and more of a laid back verging on horizontal feel – apart form PP which is wild / creative / scenic / busy plus a lot more – i loved Koh Kong as a sleepy province and can see this being a major beach resort in years too come – but for now its what i came too Cambodia for – True Cambodia with great eco tours – Cambodian villages and a lot more around – Many Thai expats are taking base in Cambodia and i can see why- Tropical paradise untouched in many provinces.

  8. To be honest, Sihanoukville used to be one of the most beautiful beaches. It was the place to be for a great getaway trip for both locals and foreigners. Great food, welcoming residents, resorts with various service and offers. Sadly, after these past one or two years that has been stripped away due to the Chinese tourists and investors. Most things become expensive for the locals to match up. Their crude behavior has enraged a lot of local. Even local khmer-Chinese were mistreated mistaken as the Chinese. Pricing market skyrocketed and residents have be ousted out of their own home multiples times because the landlord couldn’t resist the high offer from the Chinese. Nevertheless, I know the true core beauty of Sihanoukville still remain hopefully one day we can truly embrace this city one more. Thanks for your article, I really enjoyed it and hope this will increase awareness for everyone.

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