365 days a year
(but it's tough sometimes in the rainy season)
You know how to dive already?
In English, French, Khmer, Russian, Dutch, Spanish, German, Japanese, and a few other languages. 2 and 3 day trips are common, but most of the diving is out and back in one day. The overnight trips from Scuba Nation usually include everything; food, drink, and accommodations on one of the islands (or on the boat at these remote islands). Many of the other places have bungalows on the nearby islands for their diving guests. All have the PADI and/or SSI certification. Most places also rent diving gear.
Cambodian diving features less of the big species of fish found elsewhere, but much more diversity. Visibility is good, and gets better the further out from the mainland. Lots of lightly explored and completely unexplored destinations await.
Want to learn to scuba dive?
Also, look out for specials while you are here. Like a week on an island, a room, all meals, and unlimited dives for $350? That's a deal!
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You can usually get a boat trip to the islands, including snorkeling, and a meal (somtimes 2 meals) for $15 and up. These trips usually stop around, and at a few of the closer islands.
Map courtesy of Scuba Nation. Thanks Vicky & Girard!
Scuba Diving in SihanoukVille
SihanoukVille has long been left off the world diving map due to Cambodia only recently starting to attract far more world travelers. This in turn has created a large market for scuba divers to come and visit the amazing sites that offer a wide variety of marine flora and fauna. The dive sites include Koh Rong Samloem, Koh Koun, Koh Rong, Koh Tang, Koh Prins and Koh Pulawei with some of these sites having up to 7 different locations to choose from!
Some of the most popular dive sites around Koh Koun include:
Corner Bar - Located on the south west point of Koh Koun, Directly opposite the local fishing community of Koh Rong Samloem. Corner Bar is the most visited site around the islands it has a good diversity of hard corals and reef fish, at Corner Bar you can often see large schools of batfish and barracuda at the deeper depths. Amongst the whip corals you can often find the sawblade shrimp a favorite for underwater photographers. Large and small nudibranchs are abundant. The Depth varies between 4m close to the shoreline of Koh Koun and 18m at the far end of the reef. Currents vary from mild to strong and visibility ranges from 3m to 15m.
Vietnamese Bay - Located at the north end of Koh Rong Samloem. It draws its name from a time when illegal Vietnamese fishermen used to use the bay as their main camp. They would then collect seahorses and other endangered marine life from around the island often using destructive methods which harmed the local marine habitats. Since the creation of the Koh Rong Samloem community conservation areas and the implementation of regular community patrols, the marine life in the area has begun to recover and the illegal Vietnamese fishermen are seldom seen around the island.
The Corral - Named after the old ranchers’ term for a place where your horses stay, this is because the Corral is Koh Rong Samloems main seahorse breeding ground and the very first place to be fully protected around the islands. The local community on Koh Rong Samloem runs regular patrols to stop any fishing activities in and around this area, and they have managed to protect the seahorses and their habitat allowing a once decimated population to begin to recover. This was the dive site that motivated Marine Conservation Cambodia to begin campaigning for the protection of seahorses in Cambodia. This is a sandy site and is a favorite amongst muck divers and photographers due to the diversity of macro life found within the sandy habitat, it’s by no means just sand, whilst visiting this site you get to see marine life you will never see on a normal coral reef dive, a must for the more adventurous. Depth is between 5m and 16m. Visibility is between 5m and 20m depending on the conditions. Current at this site can be from zero to very strong it makes a great drift dive that finishes up at KC's Reef.
Koh Tang, Koh Prins and Koh Pulawei offer some of the best diving Cambodia has to offer. But due to them being located over four hours away from SihanoukVille and only accessible over a few months of the year, they are rarely dived on. This is a huge bonus for divers as you know that you will be diving in absolute paradise and most likely being the only divers out there!
Koh Tang is host to 8 different dive sites and offers an abundance of different marine life from soft corals to gardens of stag horn coral. You will also find wide variety of fish from small schooling damsels and fusiliers to the much larger cobia’s and barracuda. Other marine life you could spot here includes many different nudibranchs, marine worms, batfish, trevally and sweetlips. The visibility can range anywhere from 10m-30m with an average of about 15m. The depth can range from 5m-20m+.
Koh Prins is located about 1 hour from Koh Tang and is not as large. However, this is where you head to if you want to find the big stuff. Whale sharks, marlin and giant barracuda have all been spotted here before. This is an exclusive dive and you can most likely be guaranteed to be free from crowds of divers. As with Koh Tang, the visibility and depth are fairly similar and offer an amazing dive. You would be required to either stay on a live aboard or stay on Koh Rong Samloem and weather depending; you might be able to do a day trip there.
Koh Pulawei is the most remote dive location being very close to Vietnamese waters. The island is covered in jungle and the only inhabitants here is a small military outpost. But here the diving has the most pristine reefs and being one of the most untouched dive sites, the fish you find here will be the largest Cambodia has to offer.
Written by James Mostert
Island Dive Sites on Koh Tang, Koh Rong Samloem
Thanks to The SihanoukVille Advertiser for these Maps!