Cambodia has made huge progress within tourism in the last couple of decades meaning that it’s not really accurate to dismiss it as an “exotic” country anymore. Now tourists from all over the world love Cambodia not just for its city sights but also for its beach vacations, tropical nature and underwater world. Diving in Cambodia has built a solidly positive reputation. Diving conditions are identical to Thailand: all-year water temperatures around 30 degrees Celsius with visibility ranging from 20 to 35 meters, as well as various flora and fauna.

But, on the other hand there, aren’t as many tourists as you’ll find in Thailand. In Cambodia, tourists more often dive off the islands. If you are looking for better places to dive, we’ll tell you exactly what should be drawing your attention.

Popular Destinations

Koh Rong

This is the second largest island in Cambodia and was an original was a divers’ favorite. We can say that the popularity it’s accrued since then began with these divers. Later, tourists and travelers started coming to this island to sample the local life. A lot of ships began to make their stops here and many hotels and bungalows were built, meaning that it’s now quite a comfortable island with well-developed infrastructure. But despite its swift development, Koh Rong has preserved that old spirit of an uninhabited island and remains quiet and peaceful.

You can go diving in several interesting places, one of which is known as Long beach. The name speaks for itself; the beach is 7km long and boasts two beautiful reefs. The first is named Khmer Garden and is considered the best place for diving in all Cambodia. Its convenient location and variety of marine life made this place a favorite among divers. Buddha reef is the second most popular locale; a huge stone sticks out from the water and has become a home to hard and soft corals. Divers have an opportunity to dive to different depths from 6 to 15 meters.  Besides the usual marine residents you will probably meet barracudas and several types of medusas. Diving centers often make a BBQ on the beach, so you can enjoy a good meal and all the natural beauty around you.

Koh Rong Samloem

If you are looking for a paradise of a holiday, you’re in the right place! Close by to Koh Rong Island and situated a couple of hours from Sihanoukville, Koh Rong Samloem is quiet, calm and even more unfrequented than its neighbour. Coral reefs surround the island and the biodiversity present here make it an attractive place for divers and snorkelers. There are lots of spotted stingrays, angel-fish, wrasses and amazing creatures that will charm macro lovers. Rocky Bay is one of these thin spots. While on a long dive, you can get a close look at and take photos of nudibranchs, pipe-fish and shellfish. For a night dive, it’s better to choose a dive site by the name of “Two Tone Garden.” Here you can experience two different dives in one place. First of all is a coral reef at a depth of 12 meters where you can find a variety of colored fish. Then reef passes the shallows and transforms into a pink anemone field with tortuous corals. The most exciting night diving happens here. Drift divers prefer Cobia Point dive site. A pretty strong current runs through this place, but here you have a chance to meet Cobia. This harmless 2 meter fish will accompany you during your dive. The variety of dive sites will not allow any divers the possibility of getting bored. And for those who might want to spend an interesting night in the “touristic” part of island, you can visit one of the restaurants, enjoy fresh seafood and the breathtaking fire show.

Koh Sdach

Located about 15 minutes’ drive away from Sihanoukville, there are some interesting things to be shown to guests. The surrounding waters are rich with fish and make Koh Sdach not only a one of the primary fishing villages of Cambodia but also a favorite place for divers.

Condor reef might rightly be considered the main dive site. It tells a difficult military story, which ran its course in Cambodia many years ago. It’s known that in the depths here can be found not just wrecks but also military ordnance. An unusual geological formation makes for an amazing bottom relief. Here you can find yourself feeling as though you’re flying above an undiscovered planet. Perfect visibility makes for a comfortable dive and, of course, a chance meeting with a shark would undoubtedly add yet more excitement. If you are tired of hustle and dream about a more intimate vacation, one of the local boats will easily take you to the deserted beaches on one of the surrounding Koh Sdach islands.

Koh Kong

This Cambodian city is located on the shore of Siam Bay. Among all the Cambodian provinces, Koh Kong has a small population and this has resulted in greater safety for its natural heritage. Several dozen beaches with warm clear waters attract divers as well as those who just want to relax under the sun away from noise. An island of the same namesake as the city is located not too far from the coastline and also offers good possibilities for diving. Get ready to see several types of seahorses, octopuses, stone-fish and much more. This island is so often completely overlooked while tourists travel on to the larger islands nearby. This may be a little one, but the diving opportunities here are great.

Conclusion

Now you can certainly say that you know more about Cambodia than just the Angkor Wat and Lara Croft! Travelling across her islands doesn’t just mean enjoying amazing landscapes and first-class diving, but it’s also a chance to take a look at this country from another angle. Perhaps Cambodia will open up to you that which isn’t always readily appreciated by those who tread the beaten path?