Are the crowds on Ochheuteal beach getting you down? Do you want to go to the beach and not have to pick a lounge chair in front of a restaurant for the privilege? If so, it’s not a long walk from Ochheuteal to Sokha beach or a tuk tuk or motodop can get you there in minutes. While not exactly a secret beach, surprisingly few visitors to Sihanoukville take advantage of Sokha Beach. That’s part of its attraction.
Sokha beach begins at the tail of the dragon at the edge of the rocky headland that divides it from Ochheuteal. The first thing you’ll do when you see that concrete tail is wonder what it’s doing there sticking out of the sand. Its secret lies inside the grounds of the Sokha Resort, where the much larger and better maintained head of the dragon emerges. The tail of the dragon at the free end of Sokha beach literally marks the tail end of the resort’s turf. The beach you’re going to is compliments of the resort.
Refreshingly devoid of buildings, your basic necessities are all there thanks to the vendors who hang out around the steps down to the beach. Also refreshing is the fact that they don’t aggressively peddle their goods. On the negative side, although from a distance the wide beach on the free end of Sokha looks enticing, it does get littered occasionally, especially during the high season. If you can turn a blind eye to the rubbish, though, it has a lot to offer, especially if you like clambering around in tide pools, swimming or sunbaking.
For respite from the litter, you’ll have to enter the upmarket section of the beach — Sokha Resort. There are three ways you can do this. The cheapest way is to sneak in, but you will get caught. The most expensive way is to take a room in the resort and enjoy all their facilities. A more reasonably priced way to enjoy the resort’s manicured beach and wonderful swimming pool is to go to the pool and pay the day rate of $20 per adult, which includes access to the sauna as well as the beach and pool. Children under 12 get in for half price and kids under five are free. In addition to the pool and beach, the Sokha playground is yours for the taking, too, so for a family, a day at Sokha Resort is pretty good value.
If you’re even a little bit adventurous, it’s worth continuing on until you reach the fishing village tucked away in the corner of the peninsula that divides Sokha beach from Independence beach. The little village restaurant will be happy to serve you an iced coffee that will cost a fraction of the cost of one you’ll buy at the resort and taste just as good. Okay, it won’t come with a swizzle stick and the glass won’t look quite as clean, but it’s a nice way to enjoy a touch of rural Cambodia just metres away from one of the country’s most exclusive resorts.
From here, you can continue on, out to one of Sihanoukville’s few remaining pieces of undeveloped prime real estate, but we’ll save that for later. Now it’s time to go for one last swim before sunset.
By Robert Schneider
Last updated on 31st May, 2015.