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

Southeast Asia Pilot by Bill O’Leary & Andy Dowden

Cambodia Sihanoukville

Racer MarinaSailing Yacht AsiaIMAGE asia

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.

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 spots. Cruise ships already stop by at the port, albeit infrequently, during their voyages in South-east asia.

Check-in procedures

10 km south of the thai border, Koh Kong gives the province its name with town and island joined by a bridge. Cruising yachts coming from thailand can anchor at Koh Kong, where the Cambodian tourist office will assist with transport to the border post where entry is simple.

Alternatively, clearance is easier further south at Sihanoukville, the main port and harbour for Cambodia. Located on the southern headland of Kampong Saom Bay, and protected by a massive rectangular breakwater just north of Sihanoukville town, is the country’s main commercial port.

Visiting yachts are advised not to steam into the port but proceed another mile south to Victory Beach. The KAMSAB (Kampuchea Shipping and Brokerage) check-in building is up the hill just behind the concrete pier.

We recommend pre-obtained visas for crew and passengers. application for visa on arrival without permission is possible but can cost up to $150 per head for processing on the spot. Visiting yachts and crew are given a 30-day visa on arrival. Currently there are no restrictions on destinations or itinerary.

Currently the only speedboat charter rentals available in the area operate from this pier. Depth at the jetty head is around three metres, making it possible for shoal draft vessels to tie up alongside.

We only mention this location as a stopover to clear into the country. Be careful taking your dinghy ashore on the north side at night because there is a life-sized concrete buffalo half submerged in the water near the beach.

There is a relaxed beach with plenty of seafood ashore. Further north is another commercial jetty inside the restricted port area where the Song Saa Island ferries operate.

Half a mile south is the massive bridge to the island of Koh Pous. This has been built to give access to the private island where casino, hotel and villa developments are underway. Air draft and depth is not a problem for normal yachts.

A SERENDIPITY BEACH

SERENDIPITY BEACH. 10° 36.150N, 103° 31.150E

Anchor in 6-8 metres in sand off the busy concrete jetty at Serendipity Beach in the north of Ochheuteal Bay. This is the main tourist centre of Sihanoukville.

The bar on the jetty head offers cold beer and a chance to observe the backpacker antics on the party boats during the high season. The road leading up the hill is lined with bars, hotels, bungalows, guesthouses, restaurants and massage parlours.

It’s easy to get a motorbike tuk-tuk and most local destinations are US$2-4. On the top of the hill the road splits at the Golden Lion Monument roundabout to the town centre, or north and south to the many other beaches.

B VICTORY BEACH PIER 3 miles from Serendipity Beach

VICTORY BEACH PIER. 10° 38.020N, 103° 29.560E

Anchor in 6-8 metres on a sandy bottom in front of the Victory Beach Pier. This is the base of the KAMSAB in the building just over the road at the top of the small incline.

C MARINA OCEANIA 5 miles from Serendipity Beach

MARINA OCEANIA. 10° 39.956N, 103° 30.652E

Entering Kampong Saom port from the west, keep Koh Dek Koule (Mirax Private Island) to starboard and beware the clearly marked drying rocks to port just off the entrance.

From a distance the wind generator on the south wall is clearly visible. Once inside, head north away from the dock cranes to the small marina in the northwest pocket.

Marina Oceania is the first marina in Cambodia and has been operational and fully equipped since 2013. There are 20 berths for yachts and boats up to 25 metres, with 4-5 metre depth.

Situated on the outer breakwater the simple hospitality facilities ashore are linked to the mainland by a road on top of the breakwater wall. Full check-in facilities are available with the added security of the Cambodian Marine Police and Naval bases nearby. Sihanoukville town and the beaches are only 15 minutes away.

D KOH POUS NORTH BAY 4 miles from Serendipity Beach

KOH POUS NORTH BAY. 10° 37.800N, 103° 28.795E

Anchor in 4-6 metres on sand anywhere in the bay. A casino and 5-star resort are planned for the beach but for now this is still a great sheltered anchorage close to all the action but far enough away to be peaceful.

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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