Cambodia is a country of geographical and cultural contrasts. The northern region is characterised by remote mountains and tropical rainforest, while the south is where you’ll find Cambodia’s beautiful white-sand beaches, and picture-perfect islands lying offshore. The country is home to amazing wildlife, including cloud leopards, sun bears, and the unusual armour-plated pangolin.
The ancient Khmer Empire built stunning temples all over Cambodia. Some are atmospheric ruins and others are vast, well-preserved complexes. Angkor Wat, one of the largest temples in the world, is easily the most famous. But Cambodia also boasts contemporary cosmopolitan cities. The capital of Phnom Penh has a fantastic global dining scene, while the modern resort of Sihanoukville is renowned for its lively nightlife.
Popular Ports in Cambodia
If you go on a Cambodia cruise, you’ll dock in Sihanoukville, the country’s newest city. It’s a popular holiday destination for two reasons – its beaches and its nightlife. The city is surrounded by long stretches of beach, fringed by shacks selling barbecued fish and other Cambodian delicacies. Ochheuteal Beach is renowned for its beachfront restaurants and bars, while Otres Beach is a quieter spot where you can relax and unwind.
But Sihanoukville isn’t all just beaches and parties. There are also several stunning temples in the area. The most spectacular is Wat Leu, a Buddhist temple located on a hill outside the city, offering dreamy views of the city and surrounding countryside.
What are the best cruise ships for a Cambodia cruise?
You’ll love exploring Cambodia, but having a luxurious ship to return to at the end of the day will make your holiday even better. Here are two top picks.
There’s never a dull moment on the extravagant Marella Discovery, a ship packed with fantastic amenities. Stay active by using the climbing wall and outdoor jogging track, or just relax with a cocktail by one of the two outdoor pools. The onboard kids’ club offers fun activities such as pyjama parties, football tournaments and arts and crafts. With the children occupied, you can enjoy a romantic sunset drink at Sky Bar, which has dramatic ocean views. There are seven restaurants to choose from; the Lido Restaurant regularly offers themed buffet nights, so you can try food from across the globe.
Holland America Line’s MS Maasdam really knows how to lay on the luxury. One of its star attractions is Greenhouse Salon & Spa, where you can enjoy hydrotherapy pools, aromatic massages and thermal suites. There’s activities for the entire family. Young children will enjoy storytelling and treasure hunts, while teenagers will be entertained by mocktail mixology sessions and hip-hop dance classes. Adults have an enrichment programme, On Location, with destination-specific activities. When it comes to dining, there are restaurants to suit every mood, from high-end luxury at Rotterdam Dining Room to more laidback bites at the al fresco Terrace Grill.
Shore Excursion Ideas
Take the hassle out of exploring Sihanoukville with these fantastic shore excursions. They’ll really take you off the beaten track.
Highlights of Sihanoukville by tuk-tuk
Travel round the city like a local, in the back of a four-seater tuk-tuk. You’ll see the city’s best attractions, including the Wat Krom Buddhist temple, which will wow you with its colourful wall paintings and rows of golden statues. You’ll pass Phsar Leu Market, where traditional stalls sell seafood and souvenirs.
Next up is the gilded Wat Leu temple, where you can enjoy the panoramic views and serene atmosphere. The final stop is Ochheuteal Beach, a strip of fine white sand that’s popular with locals and tourists alike.
Journey to Kampot Village
Venture away from the city to explore Cambodia’s coastline. You’ll start off at Kampot Village, renowned for its elegant colonial architecture. You’ll visit the local market to see hawkers selling street food, spices and other goods. Lunch is at a picturesque mansion surrounded by an aromatic pepper plantation. Tuck into red-pepper prawns and even sample pepper ice cream.
Afterwards you’ll head to a traditional fishing village where you can watch the fishermen unload their catch, and soak up the lively atmosphere of the local seafood market.
Sihanoukville Grand Tour
This is an opportunity to get an in-depth look into local life. You’ll head off to the traditional village of Puthuong, where you’ll visit a local school and have a chance to interact with the children. Then you’ll visit a farm to learn about traditional life in this rural environment.
The next stop is bustling Phsar Leu Market, where you can try haggling with the vendors for handicrafts and souvenirs. There’s a change of pace at the serene Wat Leu temple. And when you get to the final stop, the Sokha Beach Resort, you’ll really be able to relax and unwind. You’ll enjoy a buffet lunch at this beachfront hotel, then be able to sunbathe beside the pool or swim in the ocean.
Top ports of call in this destination