Sihanoukville’s beaches sit just far enough away from downtown – around 2.5km – to make walking a pain. Fortunately, the wide roads are generally traffic free and motos are everywhere, with the standard price from Downtown to Ochheuteal or Victory beach being US$1, higher at night.
Further afield destinations depend on your bargaining skills – be warned though, Sihanoukville’s moto cartel have an alleged history of attempted rip-offs, although we have always found them to be friendly and fair. Tuk-tuks are plentiful although up to three times more expensive than motos. Taxis are available and usually charge a flat rate of US$5 for most city journeys.
Electric bicycles are a great way to explore the beaches and are available at Monkey Republic and Orchidee Guesthouse.
Motorbike hire is technically illegal for foreigners, although this does not seem to stop many. It does, however, give the local police and excuse to pull you over and demand a fine. Not wearing a helmet will add a few dollars to the amount. The areas around the Golden Lions and the Caltex stations are the favoured police checkpoints. The road behind Weather Station Hill leads to a hidden Chinese temple and cemetery with magnificent views of the coast.
Flights from Sihanoukville
The Sihanoukville Airport is situated 17kms east of the city centre, near Ream National Park. Commercial services have theoretically resumed in the past few months, but the situation changes weekly. The airport has been undergoing renovations and an extension for some years now, and tourism will boom if the route to Siem Reap is running.
Buses from Sihanoukville
The run down carpark known as Sihanoukville’s bus station is in the northern part of the downtown area. It is notorious for aggressive touts, so spend as little time here as possible.
Buses travelling to and from Phnom Penh, US$5-$10, leave every hour from 07:00-17:45. The journey takes three – five hours depending on the bus and how many commissioned food stops are made along the way. GST Express, Mekong Express and Phnom Penh Sorya Transport all have departures from near the Central Market in Phnom Penh, and all arrive at Sihanoukville’s Downtown bus station.
Virak Buntham Express runs air-conditioned minibus services to and from Krong Koh Kong, Had Lek and the Thai border, US$6-$8. The trip takes around five hours depending on what type of bus actually turns up, all leave at around 08:30. Local buses are more fun than tourist buses and slightly cheaper, plus you get to mingle, really closely, to Khmers who love a chat, a bite to eat and the latest mobile downloads on their travels.
Package trips are the best option if heading further into Thailand. All services leave the main bus station – get there early to buy your local bus ticket. Minivan reservations can be made through your hotel.
G’Day Mate Outback Tours runs a decent minibus service between Sihanoukville and Kampot. With three trips a day, and a promise of no constant horn beeping or ear-bleeding karaoke, this door-to-door service is popular with Westerners.
Taxis in Sihanoukville
Taxis, which can make the run down the now excellent road between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville in less than three hours, leave from the capital’s Central Market and Sihanoukville’s bus station when full. The price is anywhere from US$25-$40, although be sure to check your vehicle and passenger numbers before getting in – eight people in one beat-up Camry is not uncommon.
Taxis to Krong Koh Kong, Had Lek and the Thai border all depart when full from the bus station, though check with your local agent or hotel to see what they can arrange. Most are simply private drivers who work as needed, and hotel recommendations are usually better than finding a car yourself on the street.
Boats from Sihanoukville
The ferry to Kohn Kong/ Had Lek was suspended in 2008, though some operators still run in the dry season when the waters are calm. Check with your hotel or local travel agent to see if any are available, though bus travel is far safer and quicker. Tickets, if running, cost US$20.