Imagine place where the coastline is almost completely uninterrupted with one beautiful beach after another. This is exactly what you’ll find when you visit the Kompong Som province of Cambodia. Located right along the Gulf of Thailand, this area has always remained somewhat quiet compared to the rest of Cambodia but in recent years has seen an uptick in the number of visitors and locals who’ve decided to spend time in Kompong Som Province.
It isn’t hard to see why visitors have fallen in love with its beauty, and as a result of the new attention, construction and tourism for the province have skyrocketed. Now, there are seaside resorts, upscale accommodations, superb dining options and more, which will contribute to a relaxing and enjoyable vacation for all who choose to visit.
Upon arriving to the province, head to the Wat Leu. It is a beautifully ornate monastery that is home to some of the best spots to get gorgeous, panoramic views of the entire city. It would be a great first stop for visitors so they can quickly get the lay of the land and see how grand it looks as the sinking sun sets behind buildings and eventually, the horizon. If you can’t get there the first day, then aim to get there your last, as it can similarly be a fantastic way to wrap up a holiday and summarize a place. There’s nothing quite like looking out over a place you’ve come to know.
If you want the local’s perspective on which beach is the best for quiet and relaxing days, then head to Sokha Beach. Here you can spend the morning, afternoon and early evening lounging, resting, sunbathing, taking walks, swimming and more. It’s one of the most beautiful beaches along the coast and if you enjoy dinner in the neighbourhood, take a stroll on the sand once your meal is done for a quiet, peaceful and beautiful end to another day in Kompong Som.
The Kbal Chhay Cascades are located approximately 7 km from the city centre so it can hardly be called an inconvenience to visit. Here, you’ll find a downright dreamy cascade of waterfalls tucked in among nature. As an added bonus there are plenty of perfect spots where you and friends can set up for a full day’s activities, like picnicking or wandering around. In the off-chance you forgot to pack a lunch, there are a few select food stall that will have food for you to buy. This destination gets especially crowded on Sundays, so it may be best to avoid on that day.
The most popular and busiest beach in the province, Ocheteual Beach will be the place to go if you want to have a good time and mingle with the locals. There is no end of huts that are overflowing with food and drinks. Whether you want to enjoy happy hour on the beach or want to try riding a jet ski, Ocheteual has everything you need. Or, if the beach is too crowded, simply walk a little further down the beach and you’ll find more secluded parts of the beach that you can take comfort in.
Khmer cuisine is a tricky thing to learn if you don’t have someone trained in the techniques showing you how it’s done. To get the most authentic experience and to taste the truest flavours of Khmer food, be sure to sign up for a traditional Khmer cooking class. While in the class you’ll work with the chef and fellow students to whip up delicacies like squid, pomelo salad, and whole steamed fish with sweet-and-sour sauce.
This province lies in a tropical monsoon climate zone, what this means for your travel plans is that you may want to avoid August and September when the province gets its heaviest rainfall. There are two distinct seasons, like many areas around. You can expect the wet season and dry season. The hottest time to visit will be in April and the coolest in January. The best times to visit are usually November to Marc when the temperatures are lower, but still at a nice, tropical 31 degrees. Plus, during these months rainfall is also at its lowest point so you won’t get rained out of your activities.
Cambodia has so many interesting parts and provinces to explore, but if you have the option to choose, head to Kompong Som Province where you can relax, unwind, and get a new perspective on what it means to be Cambodian. Don’t sweat the small stuff either, when you have travel insurance as your back-up plan for your international trip.
Image courtesy of Flickr user Narith5.