Southeast Asia Pilot by Bill O’Leary & Andy Dowden

Incorporating the Andaman Sea, Gulf of Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia… and more

Southeast Asia Pilot by Bill O’Leary & Andy Dowden


Nestled between Thailand and Vietnam in the east of the Gulf of Siam are the islands and short coastline of Cambodia.

Certainly one of Southeast Asia’s best-kept secret cruising destinations, this pristine coastline and 32 islands are a bonus to yachts cruising through the region.

Mostly unpopulated silica sand beaches line the mainland and the offshore islands. Safe, accessible and relatively cheap, this country is ready to invest in coastal tourism in a massive way.

Plans for upgrading the Sihanoukville airport to international standard are approved. Within two years this area could rival Phuket as a must-visit destination



The town of Sihanoukville is a city making ready for the predictable onslaught of tourists that the advent of international flights will bring. The provincial capital is sprawling over the top of Victory Hill down into Kampong Saom commercial port to the north and the tourist beaches to the south. There are currently four casinos operating in Sihanoukville.

The capital Phnom Penh is only 200 km north but the journey can take up to four hours by bus or private taxi due to the sometimes poor condition of the two-lane highway.

The existing airport is only a few kilometres out of town but is connected only by flights to Siem Reap and surprisingly not yet to Phnom Phenh.

We mention only a few of our favourite spots, but it is possible to anchor anywhere in a comfortable depth off the several beaches all separated by rocky headlands.

The main tourist beaches are lined with thatch-roofed shacks offering cold drinks, umbrellas and chairs, BBQ seafood, evening parties and water sports.

US dollars are king and it’s best to convert whatever currency you have into dollars prior to arrival. The exchange rates are unpredictable − except for the US$.

Sihanoukville is about to explode onto the world tourist scene and it deserves to. As always the young backpacker crowds have forged the way but with the rising prices they will move on to find cheaper spot.

Koh Rong Group

Fifteen miles off shore are the dozen islands of the Koh Rong Group. Koh Rong is the second largest in the country behind Koh Kong at the Thai Boarder. The main island has four small villages Koh Tuich, Dam Dkeuw, Prek Svay and Soksan. There are more than fifteen guesthouses and bungalows on Koh Rong and smaller Koh Rong Samloem, many of them foreign-owned.

These islands are earmarked for high-end environmentally planned resort development. The Royal Group headed by Kith Meng has been granted a 99-year lease by the government to develop the main islands and have already begun construction of the main north-south road and electrical infrastructures.

Koh Rong is already setting the benchmark for luxury tourism with the recent opening of Song Saa Private Island on a pair of islets in the north east bay. Song Saa means ‘Darling’ in Khmer.

The east and west coasts of both islands offer plenty of year-round anchorage opportunities in the many sheltered beaches and bays. Forbes Magazine recently rated the pearl-white sand beaches of Koh Rong as some of the best in Asia. Certainly the 3-Mile powder white sand beach on the west coast of the main island rivals the best in Thailand. South China Sea water clarity cannot compete with the fast-recycling Andaman Sea, but around Koh Rong the visibility runs up to 10 metres with plenty of healthy coral and abundant tropical marine life.

Anchorages in Cambodia
Below, we list the main anchorage locations for Cambodia that are featured in the book – together with one sample anchorage. For a complete list of all 533 anchorage locations, go to Southeast Asia Pilot index
Day trip boats riding the swell at Serendipity Beach, Sihanoukville©,
Koh Dek Koule − a private island just one mile northwest of Victory Beach© /
Koh Rong Group


  • This is the main tourist centre of Sihanoukville…
  • Be careful taking your dinghy ashore on the north side at night because there is a life-sized concrete buffalo half submerged…
  • Full-service marina with an initial 20 berths due to open early October 2013…
  • A casino and 5-star resort are planned for the beach, but for now…


See sample Cambodia anchorage
Koh Rong Group

Koh Rong Samloem

Three miles south of Koh Rong is little sister island Koh Rong Samloem, third largest in the country. As with many names in Cambodia this island has many spellings – it’s also known by Koh Rung Samloem, Koh Rong Samloem, Koh Rong Samlon and Kaoh Rung Samlem.

The Marine Conservation Cambodia Organisation have discovered seven species of seahorse around the island and are educating the locals on how to best protect this unique and rare marine resource.

Koh Rong Samloem is completely owned by the Cambodian Navy who maintain a significant base here in north Saracen Bay. At the time of survey the Cambodian Government had not yet sold a 99-year lease on this amazing island. Perhaps they’re saving the best for last…

Racer Marina, Hua Hin, Thailand Phuket Tide Tables Sailing Yacht Asia IMAGE asia

While every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained in this book is accurate, the charts of anchorages are based on personal experience and satellite imagery and are intended as a guide only. They should not be used for navigation. Please refer to Official Hydrographic Charts of the respective countries.

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