Most Sihanoukville beaches have distinct personalities. Otres is relaxed, while Ochheuteal is hyperactive, and Victory beach is different again. More of a pastiche of identities than a single entity, there’s arguably something for everyone here, from backpackers to families in town for a resort-style holiday.
The most direct route to Victory beach is from Victory Hill via a steep, narrow road. Alternatively, hop on a moto and follow the wonderfully scenic coast road that links Ochheuteal to Victory via Sokha and Independence beaches. Those who go to Victory beach to spend the day usually head to the north side of the pier which serves as the launching point for some of the more upmarket island excursions. South of the pier is a rocky outcrop that separates Victory from Hawaii beach whose shady stretches are popular with local families. Meanwhile, just to the north of the Victory Beach lies the deepwater port that for a long time was the life-source of Sihanoukville.
The Airport Club that once animated this beach is long gone. However, with an aspect that is the most westerly of all of the beaches in Sihanoukville, this is the best spot to catch an unimpeded sunset. There are still some food stalls and beach bars along the northern stretch of the beach, and Queenco resort has live music most nights of the week too. At the very northern end, you can get fresh, seriously fresh, at Chhnea Meas, a seafood restaurant that is hugely popular with locals and fish fans in the know.
Overlooking it all, Sihanoukville’s Victory Hill, or simply “the Hill”, has something of a reputation, to say the least. The original backpacker zone, it is now known as the primary stomping ground for sleazy sexpats and Russian mafia types who are not averse to publicly settling their disputes. That said, it still has a few attractions that can make it worth a visit.
The area most commonly associated with the Hill is encompassed in a triangle formed by three roads. One of them is the pockmarked bitumen road that continues on down to the port after you pass the last set of traffic lights on Ekareach Street. Another is the even more pockmarked road that is the first left you make after the traffic lights. That 100 metres or so of road is the section that has given the Hill such a bad name since the sleazier bars took over.
When you reach the Corner Bar at the end of this rough road, you reach the sunny side of the Hill. Fancy a pizza or a TexMex speciality while watching big screen TV? If so, call in at the Corner Bar.
Back on the sleazy side, there are still some interesting spots in between the hostess bars. Raphael’s Tavern serves up gorgeous Italian food, and on Monday afternoons Spanish tapas, in a small, friendly space. Around the corner, Tiki Club is a pretty grungy hostel, but also a great venue for live music, with the manager scoring some top bands that even Otres Market hasn’t got hold of, we are told.
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