Cambodia has stunning beaches in the area around Sihanoukville and with more flights to the city, taxis to take you around town and speed boats to shuttle you to the islands, they are easier to reach then ever. But the old habits of the local taxi mafi die hard, so check out my tips for Getting Around Sihanoukville to reduce your costs and hassle!
Getting to Sihanoukville: With growing tourism numbers, the number of flights to Sihanoukville has increased. JC International Airways, Cambodia Angkor Air and Cambodia Bayon Airways operate domestic fligths from Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. Angkor Air also operates flights to Ho Chi Minh City and Air Asia has launched non-stop flights from Kuala Lumpur. You can find the lowest fares directly with the airlines – I saved 60% by booking directly with JC International and service was very good!
You can also get to Sihanoukville by bus from Phnom Penh (5h30min or more). I’d recommend Giant Ibis or Mekong Express as the safest and most reliable operators – you can book your tickets online!
For a little more comfort, you can hire a car & driver as well. A taxi from Sihanoukville to Kampot, Kep or Phnom Penh will range from $30-60 depending on the kind of car.
Getting from the airport to Sihanoukville: There are no buses or trains from the airport into town at this time, so your only choice is one of three taxi operators, all charging the same price of $20 for the ride into town. You’ll ride in a Lexus SUV in air conditioned comfort for the price. If you are traveling solo, you can team up with other travelers to save some money – the drivers are ok to make an extra stop! Vans or buses charging $5 per person seem to come and go, so check at the airport if they made a re-appearance.
Getting around Sihanoukville: Just like the airport taxis, rides around town are also in the hand of the local mafia and are much more than in Phnom Penh or in Siem Reap. You’ll find tuk tuks or motorcycles all over town, offering rides. A tuk tuk ride from Sihanoukville to Otres Beach will be around $5, less if you negotiate hard, speak Khmer or are with a local; more if you are coming of the ferry and take one waiting at the pier! Motorcyles are a little cheaper still.
Getting to the Islands: A number of ferries and speedboats operate between Sihanoukville and the surrounding islands, mostly various beaches on Koh Rong and Koh Rong Sanloem. I’d avoid the slow-boat as it seems to sink occasionally. Speed Ferry Cambodia and Island Speed Ferry operate larger, high-speed ferries to both islands, stopping at the main piers. Other operators, like Buva Sea and GTVC, run smaller speedboats that also drop off at other beaches, like Long Set Beach, making it much more convenient to stay on the less crowded beaches! The prices are pretty standard at $22 one-way and take anywhere between 45 minutes and 90 minutes, depending on how many stops the boats make and seemingly inevitable delays. You can book your tickets online. If you are want to be dropped off at one of the smaller beaches, I suggest to buy your ticket in town, directly at the office of the operator (all near Serendipity Pier), so you can ensure they actually stop on that day at the pier you need to go to.
When you are at the pier, make sure to watch your luggage being loaded on the same boat as you are on – and that it is not offloaded before you get off. While the operators have a system of sorts, mistakes can happen!