Aug 31 2012

Sihanoukville’s Serendipity Beach

Published by at 12:20 pm under Sihanoukville

Ochheuteal is a beach. Despite persistent rumours to the contrary, Serendipity is not. Yes, innumerable visitors to Sihanoukville talk about having visited Serendipity Beach, but there really isn’t a beach at Serendipity Beach. So why do they call it a beach? Let’s go searching for Serendipity Beach. Maybe we’ll find the answer.

serendipity road from the golden lions

Serendipity Road — or is it?

Officially, the road in the photo above is called Mithona Road, but even the maps and guidebooks are now calling it Serendipity Road — at least until you get to the bottom of the hill and it turns into Mithona Road again. It’s probably just as well, because this stretch of road has a distinctly “Serendipity Beach” feel to it. Whatever a traveller is looking for, whether it’s a place to stay, a dive shop, a meal, a mini-mart, a book shop or a night spot, this is where they’ll find it.

serendipity road to the pier

The other Serendipity Road.

This, too, is Serendipity Road. Like its sister street, it caters to tourists, but now that it’s been paved, it caters more to tourists with money to spend than backpackers looking for cheap meals and dollar-a-night accommodation than it used to.

Follow the cement road down to bottom of the hill and you reach Serendipity Beach. The problem is, there’s no beach at Serendipity Beach. Look to your left and after about 50 metres of rocky shoreline, Ochheuteal Beach begins.

looking southwest from serendipity beach to ochheuteal beach

There’s no real beach at Serendipity, so why do they call it a beach?

Look to your right and at first glance, there’s not much of anything except a couple of bars. Thousands of former visitors can be excused for not venturing further out towards the headland that leads to Sokha Beach because the crumbling sea wall made negotiating the first 10 metres or so difficult. Those who, by some “happy accident” (yes, that’s what serendipity means) decided to explore, were rewarded by a magical part of Sihanoukville in a verdant tropical world all its own.

True, there’s no beach here, but for many of us, this is the real Serendipity Beach. Now that the sea wall has been repaired and access is easy, serendipity won’t play such a big part in discovering this tranquil slice of Sihanoukville any longer, but it may play a part in staying in a bungalow on the hill behind the “beach” unless you book well in advance.

the magical part of serendipity beach.

There’s not much beach here, either, but it doesn’t matter.

If you go searching for Serendipity Beach and let serendipity be your guide, you’ll find it to be the best place to find everything you need to enjoy all of Sihanoukville. You can book your boat trips to the islands here; make arrangements for travel; take your pick of international restaurants; find one- to four-star accommodation; or just hang out. The only thing you won’t find is a beach. Don’t let that bother you too much, though. There are plenty of real beaches in Sihanoukville to choose from.

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8 responses so far

8 Responses to “Sihanoukville’s Serendipity Beach”

  1. billon 01 Sep 2012 at 8:14 am

    Not really Rob. Serendipity Road is a continuous road running from Golden Lions monument to the pier. Mithona is perpendicular to Serendipity Road starting at the top of the road at Utopia corner. Serendipity beach may be rocky but it is still a beach by definition.

    Here are some references for you:

    Coolabah Hotel, Sihanoukville. Hotel address: 14 Mithona Street.
    Rogue Ipod shop is on Serendipity Beach Road (50 m from the top of the track).
    Monkey Republic is on Serendipity Beach Road.

  2. Rob Schneideron 01 Sep 2012 at 9:25 am

    Thanks for the clarification, Lawrence. Literally speaking, you’re right, but practically and metaphorically speaking, I’m going to stick with what I wrote. Just to be sure I wasn’t the only one who thought of the section of Mithona Street down to the crossroads at the bottom of the hill Serendipity Road, I asked a long time employee at Ana Travel what she called it. She said “Serendipity Road.” When I explained why I was asking, she said, “I know, but everyone calls it Serendipity Road.” That said, I can see how I may have made things confusing for someone looking for the Coolabah or another place on Mithona Road.

    As for the beach, it may be a beach by definition, but as the photo shows, it’s not a beach as anyone who would want to go to the beach would define a beach. At any rate, the photo shows it as it is, so readers can make up their own minds. The first time I came to Sihanoukville, I was surprised to see there was no beach (by my definition of a beach) at Serendipity Beach. That was part of the inspiration for the post. The rest of the reason was to help people get a feel for what the Serendipity area is like and what it encompasses.

    Thanks again for your comments and clarifications.

  3. Where is Serendipity Beach?on 02 Sep 2012 at 1:57 pm

    […] far, I’ve only posted two blogs on Travelfish. I think the best of the two is the latest one, Sihanoukville’s Serendipity Beach. I’m proud of it because I think I managed to convey the fact that Serendipity is worth […]

  4. billon 04 Sep 2012 at 1:48 am

    I think this article is doing a disservice to local neighbour businesses who continue to have customers happily swimming and sunning, eating and drinking at Serendipity Beach. What do you consider the dividing line between Ochheuteal and Serendipity? Please show that on your Sihanoukville Map.

  5. Rob Schneideron 04 Sep 2012 at 3:44 am

    An Ochheuteal blog is coming soon and will hopefully clear up the issue to everyone’s satisfaction. Obviously, the dividing line between Serendipity and Ochheuteal is a contentious one. All I can say is that when we go to Serendipity, we park at the pier. When we go to Ochheuteal to swim or relax and enjoy a meal at a beach with soft, dry sand, we park at the end of the little dirt road opposite GST or further down in the main parking area. I’ve rarely seen anybody swimming on the stretch of “beach” near the pier, much less sunbaking in the “sand” there. On Google maps, the walking track is called “Ouchetel (sic) Walking Way” from one end to the other, so by that definition, even the little stretch of coastline in the photograph is part of “Ouchetel” beach.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but as far as I know, “Serendipity Beach” is a term coined by early backpackers and the area was originally loosely and subjectively defined by them.

    At any rate, the comments here are much appreciated. The last thing I want to do is a disservice to local businesses. I think that will become clear over the course of time.

  6. Steve Clineon 04 Sep 2012 at 5:07 am

    Checked this morning, looks like a beach. ;-)

  7. Rob Schneideron 04 Sep 2012 at 5:56 am

    Love your photos, Steve. I opened a can of worms on this one! I’ve asked a few locals and some say Serendipity ends at the little dropoff down to the new Ochheuteal path. Others say Serendipity is only the northwest side of the pier. Still others think Serendipity ends when you get to the dirt access road off Mithona Road near GST.

    I didn’t even consider Ochheuteal a beach until they moved everything back in 2010-2011. In Australia, I lived at a beach that had about 30 or 40 metres of dry sand before you reached the shore, so I guess I take a hard line on what constitutes a beach.

  8. Mariaon 06 Jun 2014 at 9:59 am


    This beach I used to visit with my family but at night time,to get dinner, i cannot see it clearly but i can see how it is beautiful at refresh air!!!.

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