To celebrate my birthday this year, Chris and I decided to escape the hustle and bustle of Phnom Penh and head to the coast for a few days. Which in Cambodia tends to mean a bus ticket to Sihanoukville, Cambodia’s number one beach resort. Although Sihanoukville receives mixed reviews due to some of the dubious antics it attracts, we’ve been a few times and always managed to find the right type of places to enjoy ourselves. During our first visit we visited some remote islands off the coast. This time round I was keen to explore some other beaches in Sihanoukville, such as Otres beach and Sokha beach.

serendipidy beach

Even though it is the rainy season in Cambodia at the moment, it usually only rains for half an hour or so each afternoon, so we thought we would manage to catch a decent amount of sun by the beach. But we should have known what was to come when our bus journey took an hour longer than anticipated due to flooded streets. The combination of massive potholes and flooding is not exactly the ideal condition for traveling by bus. It was a very long and bumpy ride, but we made it in the end.

When we arrived in Sihanoukville in the afternoon it immediately started to rain, and proper rain too. I thought that this would be the usual half-hour afternoon downpour, but when it was still raining two hours later I got a bit concerned. We checked out some weather websites and to our horror we found out that a mini cyclone was making its way to Cambodia and it wouldn’t stop for two days. So much for checking out some beaches.

rain 2


Trying to protect the Sihanoukville beach promenade with sandbags

weather damage

Some of the cyclone damage

So what do you do, when it is raining all the time? That’s right, drown your sorrow in some of the beach bars on Serendipidy beach. It was my birthday after all. We weren’t the only ones with that idea, so we had a really good night actually. Chris had such a good time that he actually fell asleep in one of the beach bar’s lounge chairs and didn’t wake up until 6am the next morning. When will he learn that he is not 21 anymore (or even 31, for that matter)?


The next morning it stopped raining for a few hours so I took my chance to wander around to take some photos of  Ocheteaul beach, which is the beach where local Cambodians tend to hang out. It was filled with street food vendors selling the freshest and most delicious sea food. This beach is quite the contrast to the backpacker hangout of Serendipidy. It is more of a family affair with local children enjoying hours of fun on blown up car tires or banana boats. At lunch time it started getting very cloudy again, so I decided to go back to our hotel to check out on my husband and nurse his hangover (or failing that, laugh at his pathetic-ness). As expected it didn’t stop raining for the rest of the day, so to cheer us up we went to a nearby German restaurant for some much needed schnitzel, goulasch and potato salad, followed by a few cheap drinks down Sihanoukville’s very own Khao San road – Serendipity road.

food vendor sihanoukville beachessea food sihanoukville beaches fresh sea food sihanoukville beaches fruit vendor sihanoukville beachesfood vendors sihanoukville beaches

The weather finally improved on the third day and so we were able to go to the most divine beach in Sihanoukville (in my opinion) – Otres beach. Otres is a few kilometers away from the more crowded beaches near the main town. There were only a handful of backpackers around and so we had the amazing deserted beach and the cute little restaurants all to ourselves. It was pure relaxation and bliss after the wash-out of the first couple of days.

hammock beach bar sihanoukville beaches deserted sihanoukville beaches girl on swing

On our final day the weather was also holding up, so we decided to treat ourselves to some delicious lunch at the exclusive Sokha Beach resort and make use of their amazing pool and private beach. This is by far the cleanest beach in Sihanoukville with soft sand and no beach vendors to disturb you every 10 minutes. It was the perfect place to end our quest to discover Sihanoukville’s beaches.

Sokha beach

Have you ever been traveling during the rainy season, or even worse, been to a beach in the UK during a ‘summer’ bank holiday?



About Tammyonthemove

Tammy & Chris are a couple hailing from Germany and England, meaning between them they are efficient and polite, but unable to talk about football. Find out why they stopped pushing pens around the British civil service to travel the world on their blog.

24 Thoughts on “Stormy celebrations in Sihanoukville

  1. Happy belated birthday! I’m glad you got at least one good beach day in. The weather was pretty stormy when we were in Indonesia, but same as you guys, we found a couple good beach bars to hang out in, and just watched the rain.

  2. Since leaving on our trip, we have had TERRIBLE luck when it comes to planning beach time. Whenever we go somewhere with the sole goal of logging some serious hours on the beach, without fail, it has rained. It happened in parts of the Philippines, it happened in southern Thailand (on the coast that was supposed to be experiencing a dry season no less), and it definitely happened when we went to Sihanoukville. And of course, Tony & I both had our birthdays rained out, so we feel your pain!
    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted…The Nighttime is the Right Time in TaipeiMy Profile

  3. I’ve been trying to comment here for the last two days but the internet here is really bad! So here it goes again:
    And I had a whole story about how we loved Otres when we were there in December and that it looks so different now! But anyway: Congrats 🙂
    Angela recently posted…Travelogue // 02: BudgetMy Profile

  4. Rainy season can indeed dampen one’s spirit for traveling. What else can you do aside from going to bars and restaurants? At least, as you said, it only rains a few hours each day. It was just your tough luck to experience the typhoon 🙂
    Freya recently posted…Inca Trail Preparation and Packing ListMy Profile

    • Tammyonthemove on July 3, 2013 at 6:01 am said:

      Yes, the rain was so heavy (and strangely cold for Cambodia), that we didn’t have many other options apart from having a few drinks. That’s my excuse anyway. 😉

  5. I was there about two weeks ago and found the same thing. I expected half hour heavy showers in the afternoon and got constant rain instead. No beach time but can’t do much about the weather. Happy birthday by the way 🙂
    Dean recently posted…Exploring the tombs of the Emperors of the Nguyen Dynasty in Hue, VietnamMy Profile

  6. Yes, that’s the disadvantage of traveling through the rainy season I guess. I still prefer it to the high season though, as it is much cooler and less touristy.
    Tammy recently posted…Stormy celebrations in SihanoukvilleMy Profile

  7. Happy belated birthday, Tammy!
    Tasteful reportage photos! Glad you were able to enjoy the visit. The Beach looks awesome! Love “Not Drunk Not Going Home” sign 🙂
    memographer recently posted…Photo Trilogy: Rapa Nui – The Island. The People. The MuseumMy Profile

  8. Happy belated birthday!! I’ve had a few of these unfortunate timings with weather. Glad to hear that you got some reprieve on the 3rd day.
    jill recently posted…Ontario, Where the Wild Things AreMy Profile

    • Tammyonthemove on July 3, 2013 at 6:03 am said:

      Thanks Jill! That’s the drawback of traveling in the rainy season I guess. And actually it is not as if I’d ever get a suntan anyway. 🙂

  9. Sometimes I love rainy days when I’m traveling. It makes everything darker and more mysterious and exotic in a way!! 😀

  10. Happy birthday! This looks like a wonderful way to celebrate! And the rain can be a good thing…makes for less crowded beaches, at least!;-)
    Jess @UsedYorkCity recently posted…5 Free Things To Do In London, EnglandMy Profile

    • Tammyonthemove on July 4, 2013 at 5:23 am said:

      Thank you Jess! Exactly. I prefer places to be a bit more empty too, so I didn’t mind too much!

  11. A private beach? WIN! Glad you got a non-rainy day in there – that can really cast a pall over your travel.
    eemusings recently posted…The unglamorous side of travelMy Profile

    • Tammyonthemove on July 5, 2013 at 5:00 am said:

      The beach was gorgeous! But I think it is a little more busy during the dry season. Still not as bad as the other beaches in Sihanoukville though.

  12. Luckily our visit to Sihanoukville was not in the rainy season. What we got instead was 2nd degree sunburn! We took a boat out for the day and got severely burnt after we fell asleep in our deck chairs on a little island! The next day we headed to the beach and kept under our umbrellas out of direct sunlight. What we forgot about was the reflection off the water for 8 hours! Suffice to say a visit to the doctor was required days later when our entire bodies decided to blister and peel! Ahhh….such memories of Cambodia!! Love your pics – definitely made me want to visit again. With sunscreen this time!
    Tracey – Life Changing Year recently posted…It’s Finally Time For Us To Help You Prepare For Travel!My Profile

    • Tammyonthemove on July 30, 2013 at 2:56 am said:

      Ouch, I really feel for you Tracey! I am one of the palest people in the world (if not THE palest) and I burn really easily. I have given up on getting sun tans now, so always cover myself up now. Cold yoghurt works wonders on blistered skin by the way. 😉

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