CAMBODIA’S seaside was struggling to come alive when I left in 1995. Khmer Rogue activity had claimed the lives of many, including foreigners, for decades. The little towns and beaches and offshore islands have gradually benefitted from a return to normality, and areas once decidely off any track at all are now apparently off the beaten track at least.
Kampot and Kep were cliched sleepy seaside towns in 2000 when I visited. Even the water was still. The nearby Bokor mountains offered forests and colocial ruins, if you didn’t mind a dirt road.
Kampong Som, or Sihanoukville, always bigger and flasher, was first and foremost a beach destination, despite a smattering of bars. Sadly, it has become some kind of Chinese Wild West, Vegas meets Pattaya meets Hong Kong.