Cambodia is a nation slowly digging itself out of poverty, and the country is finding one of its biggest assets to be the beautiful beaches lining the shores. The western coast and the islands a few miles off of the shore provide some of the most relaxing and picturesque views in all of Southeast Asia.
Long (Set) Beach, Koh Rong
The island of Koh Rong has a little something for everyone, from the bustling beachside bars on the east side of the island to the romantic, cerulean waters and snow-white sands on the west. The prize of Koh Rong is easily Long Beach, a nearly resort-free stretch of sand that provides relief from the endless line of karaoke bars on the opposite end. Bungalows wait for you on neighboring Sok San Beach, where you can retreat to for a little rest and relaxation at night.
Otres Beach, Sihanoukville
It’s true that Sihanoukville has become something of a backpacker’s party scene in recent years, but there are still a few areas of refuge left in this once charming beach town. Otres Beach is far enough away from the crowds that it’s safe for family outings and the sands here are usually free of dirt and debris, providing you with miles of clear waters and white sands right on the mainland.
Lazy Beach, Koh Rong Sanleom
Koh Sanleom is the quieter, less rowdy neighbor of Koh Rong but with beaches that are just as gorgeous. You’re more likely to find smaller fishing villages dotting the shorelines here than you are drunken backpackers on their eighth can of Angkor beer. Lazy Beach is a bastion of solitude popular among families and couples. The area is popular among snorkelers and fisherman thanks to the lack of intrusion from feisty swimmers.
Koh Thmei Beach, Koh Thmei
Nestled in the heart of Ream National Park, Koh Thmei Beach is surrounded by mangrove forests and dozens of species of birds, some incredibly rare. It’s the perfect place to experience unique wildlife in a protected environment that’s not littered with empty bottles or trash. Watch out for seashells, though, the beaches here are covered with them.
Koh Totang Island
It’s difficult choosing just one beach on the private paradise that is Koh Totang Island, so you might as well hop around and enjoy them all. Totang is one of a group of 12 in an island-archipelago in what’s known as Koh Kong provinces in southwestern Cambodia. The islands here are less popular than the ones closer to Sihanoukville, meaning you get all of the perfect beaches without any of the screaming tourists or Katy Perry blaring from speakers around the island.
Koh Thonsáy, Kep
Kep is growing in popularity among travelers, so it’s a good idea to head there now before it becomes overrun. Koh Tonsay, known as Rabbit Island to the locals, is an island getaway swarming with beautiful beaches, lush gardens and Khmer locals happy to cook up a delicious meal during your stay. The beaches here are pristine and lasting remnants of French Colonial architecture make for a unique experience in this once-famous beachside resort island.