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Cambodia forum

Sihanoukville for solo woman?

Posted by curstilace on 30/6/2009 at 13:25

Would you recommend Sihanoukville for a 26-yo woman traveling alone? I was thinking of stopping there for about 5 days to hang out and learn to dive. Have heard some good things and not so good things about it though.

I would go to one of the Thai islands but they're out of the way from my main destinations which are Laos and Cambodia.

I'd appreciate any suggestions. Thanks!! xx

#1 curstilace has been a member since 26/6/2007. Posts: 8

Posted by curstilace on 30/6/2009 at 14:41

By the way, I'm in the region for 27 days, flying in and out of Bangkok. I've already been to some of islands of Southern Thailand as well as the Perhentians, just never got a chance to dive.

I will be grateful of any suggestions of how I could visit Laos (esp. 4000 islands, Vientiane), Angkor, and dive all in one trip! Ko Chang seems expensive...

Thanks again!

#2 curstilace has been a member since 26/6/2007. Posts: 8

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Posted by BruceMoon on 30/6/2009 at 19:26


To my mind, being a woman doesn't come into the equation. You have your own inbuilt 'protection' radar, and Sihanoukville will be no different to anywhere else (despite what your mum might say).

If you have any interest in the Angkorian structures, Siem Reap is a day from PP (which is a day from Sihanoukville). Try (if you can) to spend 3 days looking at temples, and at least a day (preferably within the 3) adventuring on Tonle Sap (the lifeblood of the Angkorian empire).

Go to:

and scroll down to look especially at "Kompong Khleang".

- - -

4000 islands means a trip north from PP. And at least a day of bus travel. It's another couple of (long) days travel to Vientiane through Pakse.

Alternately, you can go from Siem Reap to Trat and across to Ko Chang . Yes, Ko Chang will be expensive after Cambodia, but it does depend on what you want to do. If it's more diving, yes, the pennies will flow fast, but if it's island life, it's not that expensive.

In some respects, and given that heading north from PP to Vietiane is both time consuming & expensive (due to travel costs), and there are no beaches in this neck of the woods, my feeling is that a deviation to Siem Reap, and then back down to the coast (there are other places besides Ko Chang) may be more your style.


#3 BruceMoon has been a member since 27/12/2008. Location: Australia. Posts: 1,941

Posted by idreamofdurian on 30/6/2009 at 22:12 TF writer

It's OK... I spent about a week there on my own (I'm female, was about 22 at the time) and was fine. You should, of course, follow the usual precautions like avoiding quiet roads after dark and keeping a close eye on your valuables. There are lots of other travelers in Sihanoukville so you should have no problem making friends and finding a group to stick with when you go out at night.

My main concern is that it's a lousy place to learn to dive!! I haven't heard anything explicitly bad about the diving there, but nor have I ever heard anything good about it... is it cheap at least? Have you looked into the smaller islands near Ko Chang like Ko Wai? I looooved it there, but that was about 4 years ago...

#4 idreamofdurian has been a member since 5/9/2008. Location: Singapore. Posts: 576
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Posted by curstilace on 2/7/2009 at 10:02

Thanks for the replies!!

I really hadn't given much thought to visiting Tonle Sap, but Kompong Khleang looks really interesting. I did plan on spending about 4 days in Siem Reap , so maybe I'll have time to visit it.

I've been searching about diving in Cambodia, but 1st-hand reviews have been hard to come by. It seems that the islands off Sihanoukville have some amazing sealife, just not as diverse or abundant as Thailand. And not as well-known, apparently!

The Dive Shop charges $330 and includes accomodation on one of the islands. EcoSea charges $315 and includes accomodation on the island, meals, and a free fun dive. Do you think those prices are reasonable?

And I'll be going in August... will the rainy season doom my trip before it starts?

Oh, and here is a very rough plan...

Bangkok - Siem Reap - PP - Sihanoukville - PP - Kratie - Don Dhet -Pakse - Vientiane - Bangkok

Too ambitious? I'm sure I need to purge places off this list, I just need to work myself up to doing so.

#5 curstilace has been a member since 26/6/2007. Posts: 8

Posted by BruceMoon on 2/7/2009 at 10:13


I'm not a dive person, so won't reply...

But, wet weather can really increase turbidity.

Assuming others offer negative advice re: diving, you may need to rethink.


#6 BruceMoon has been a member since 27/12/2008. Location: Australia. Posts: 1,941

Posted by swag on 2/7/2009 at 13:24

Hi Cursti, in regards to your diving question bad news. Although I,ve not used them the diving I have done with people in Thailand has come up with Scuba Nation as the most professional and accredited,i.e Padi certified etc in Snooky.They close between end June and Mid Sept due to rough seas and very poor visibility.Might want to rethink the whole diving thing at that time of year.The worst you could do is learn with a dodgy operator in unsafe conditions.Google their website for more info.

#7 swag has been a member since 28/3/2007. Location: Australia. Posts: 331
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Posted by curstilace on 3/7/2009 at 13:39

Thanks for the input. I've decided to just skip the diving all together. In spite of that I'm still looking forward to being able to see more of Cambodia and Laos and at a more relaxed pace!

#8 curstilace has been a member since 26/6/2007. Posts: 8

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