If you’re heading to the beach in Cambodia, chances are you’ll pass through Sihanoukville, arguably Cambodia’s busiest beach town. Here’s our Vegan Guide to Sihanoukville to help you get the best out of this popular Cambodian destination.
What’s it like?
Serendipity Beach (the beach next to the pier where ferries and speedboats leave from) which stretches into Ochheuteal Beach are both full of tourists (Khmer and visitors from elsewhere). There’s a general “we’re on holiday” atmosphere which leads to a lot of beach frolicking, beer drinking and lazing about in bamboo bucket chairs or plastic deckchairs. Plus loud music, probably played over the loud music from the neighbouring bar and restaurant.
Women offering massages wander in between the seats ($5 gets you a fairly decent 45mins of pummelling in your seat and a generous dollop of Tiger Balm spread all over you). These women are joined by other women carrying lobsters or crabs in baskets on their heads, or women ready to cook up squid on sticks over the hot coal grills they are carrying about on poles over their shoulders. Vegans can avoid all this by politely saying:
“Knyom mun nyam ut da sackh” which means “I eat no meat”
There’s also a number of people begging, selling bracelets and trying to convince you to go to their bar; it all adds up to a general low level of pestering. The beach is very seafood orientated, with some effort you could probably order a plain fried rice if needed but you’re better heading to Serendipity Beach Road and the area around the Golden Lions roundabout where all the bars and restaurants are where there is some serious vegan action. And when we say serious, we mean serious; Sihanoukville actually seems to have a number of vegan options to get excited about.
Where to eat
No Vegan Guide to Sihanoukville would be complete without a rundown of our favourite places to eat in town, go check them out and tell us about any we have missed out…
Dao of Life
Hands down the best vegan option in town (and one of the few fully vegan restaurants in Cambodia) is the lovely all vegan cafe and community space, Dao of Life. Head here for juices, coffee, burgers, pancakes and more; enjoying the cool vibes, good food and friendly people. They’re closed on Mondays so don’t go then because you’ll be sadly disappointed. Note: the homemade vegan cheese on the burger is amazing and the pancakes are deliciously lovely in every single way.
The aptly named ‘Falafel‘ restaurant does great vegan falafel wraps with some potent homemade chilli sauce. The staff were friendly at this little vegetarian falafel joint and we’d definitely recommend heading there for a falafel fix.
A good place to get a vegan pizza or a bowl of pasta, Marco Polo is nothing too fancy but the best option in town if you fancy home cooked Italian food. Good, thin crust pizzas with decent a decent range of vegan toppings and some tasty (egg free) pastas dishes to try.
Ernie’s is a American diner style restaurant where, wait for it, there is a vegan hotdog and burger on the menu plus a choice of nearly a million toppings. The soy hot dog itself is a little strange, falling somewhere in the middle of a cross between playdoh and tasty vegan pate but the whole experience of being able to add all the toppings made it entirely worth it.
This interestingly named Indian restaurant is up near the Golden Lions roundabout and although not the best Indian food we’ve enjoyed (the dosa was average) it’s OK if you need a quick Indian fix.
We barely saw any tourists at the main market in town, located away from all the tourist action that’s near the beach and roundabout. There is an abundance of fruit plus a decent amount of vegan Cambodian street food to be found so keep your eyes peeled for some favourite traditional snacks and eat away whilst soaking up the atmosphere.
Places that other vegan travelers have told us about:
Vagabond Temple is a yoga and meditation retreat centre (so you can’t just drop in for a meal) that we’ve heard good things about, plus they serve vegan food to their guests which makes us like them even more. If you’re looking for a place to do a yoga retreat or a detox then we’re told that this is the place to go to.
Other useful resources for vegan travel in Cambodia
We’ve written a few articles about Cambodia to help you on your travels:
So there you have it, our Vegan Guide to Sihanoukville with everything that you might need for your vegan travels in this part of Cambodia. If you’re planning to visit Siem Reap too then come and stay in our 100% vegan Airbnb and tell us all about your own vegan travels.
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