Among the places to see in the Sihanoukville Province, the islands have a first place. In total there are 22 islands along the cost of the Province and very near to the port. The largest island is Koh Rong (“Koh” means “Island” in Khmer). Nowadays the islands are ready to receive visitors and guides are arranged by the tourist agencies in the city in fancy ships that go around with music and a fair attention.
The two largest islands are Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloen to the west. Other islands are Koh Thmey and Koh Ses that belong to the Ream National Park. There are beautiful beaches in many of the islands and the possibility for diving and snorkeling like in Koh Khteah, Koh Chraloh, Koh Ta Kiev, Koh Tang, Koh Prins and Poulo Wai. Many tiny islands can be found near the shores full of adventure and an amazing nature. Day-trips are offered by many tourist agencies to the islands, but you can do your own arragement with local fishermen. The Island of the King, Koh Sdach, is a rocky island where you can find a royal spring said to have gushed miraculously when the king and his army were needed of drinking water. In the island, good for fishing and snorkeling, there is also the Koy Koh Pagoda.
The Mayagüez Container Ship.
The islands have also the prints of the war. Koh Tang is at the center of one of the major battles at the end of the war in 1975. The Mayaguez incident referred to a crisis that began on May 12, 1975 when the Khmer Rouge seized a U.S. container ship known as SS Mayagüez that was in what U.S. claimed international sea and Cambodia its territory. The ship was brought to Koh Tang, near the Vietnamese border. The attempt from U.S. to rescue its ship found a heavy resistance and the islands and Sihanoukville were bomb by the U.S. air force. Two shipwrecks 40m down can be seen by divers today in the place.
Sihanoukville is a place rich in nature. Animals and plants of different species live in the region and Cambodians are the first protectors of their environment. However, it must be cared by local and visitors in a very delicate ecological system that must not be altered.