Map - Islands of Sihanoukville,
The waters off Sihanoukville are warm (consistently
between 27-31C) and though visibility can be quite variable, especially
during the monsoon season. In the diving season from October to June
visibility ranges from 10-25 meters on good days, even at nearby islands
such as Koh Rung Samloem - better at more distant sites like Koh Tang.
Most of the dive sites are comparatively shallow (around 15 meters) and
gentle currents around the islands allow drift diving over the reefs and
outcroppings. Though a guide can take you to some of the best diving
spots there is a lot to be discovered as much of the area has yet to be
thoroughly explored. Many of the islands have uninhabited sandy beaches
rustic bungalows where divers can picnic, swim and relax between dives.
The follow are some of the more popular diving islands.
Koh Rung -The largest island near
Sihanoukville, due west about 2-3 hours boat trip from town. Koh Rung
covers almost 70km2, almost the same size as Hong Kong, but the island
is sparsely populated with only four large villages. the island also has
at least 23 beaches and 2 waterfalls. The interior is lushly vegetated,
untouched tropical jungle. Trekking on established footpaths. There are
many good snorkeling areas and near two dozen good dive sites around the
island. Six small islands sit very near, offering more diving
possibilities. There are around a half dozen places offering rustic
bungalows on secluded beaches, primarily on the east and southeast
Koh Rung Samloem - Koh Rung Samloem offers some of the better
diving within daytrip distance, taking about 2 hours one way by local
boat. The island is home to a small fishing village, three major beaches
and several minor beaches, including some very nice sheltered beaches on
the north side near Koh Kon. There are rustic bungalows available on a
couple of the beaches. Rocky reefs around both islands host a variety of
marine life in both shallow waters and at depths up to 18 meters. Like
all of the nearby islands, the best diving and visibility is on the west
side. Species sightings include cobia, puffer fish, moray eels, octopus,
rays, crabs, nudibranch, cuttlefish, scorpion fish, lion fish,
barracuda, yellow goatfish, parrotfish and more.
Koh Kon - Koh Kon (‘Baby Island’) is, as the name implies, a
small island sitting just off the north tip of Koh Rung Samloem. Rocky,
coral encrusted outcrops on the west and south sides of the island
provide home to a variety of corals and marine life including anemones,
box fish, parrot fish, yellow goat fish, snappers, stingrays, moray eels
and cat sharks. Visibility is moderate, averaging around 10 meters,
though better on some days.
Koh Tang, Koh Prins, Poulou Wai - Some of the best diving waters
in the area lie 4-8 hours to the southwest, around Koh Tang, Koh Prins
and Poulo Wai. The distance normally requires at least a night's stay.
The area has rocky reefs, depths of 15-40m and much better visibility
than reefs closer to shore, ranging from 10-30m, usually around 15m. Koh
Prins has two shipwrecks to the northwest at 30-40m. Koh Tang is a
favorite diver’s destination. The island played a major role in the 'Mayaguez
Incident' and still shows the scarring of the May 1975 battle between
American and Khmer Rouge forces (see page 8.) The surrounding waters
offer several reefs and outcroppings displaying a particularly colorful
variety of hard and soft corals, an abundance of other marine life, and
consistently good visibility.
Related maps and pages: