Sihanoukville, or Kompong Som, is set on a peninsula jutting out in the Gulf of Thailand, located a 4 hour drive southwest of the capital Phnom Penh. White sand, tropical waters and fresh seafood await the visitor who can choose to dive, snorkel, explore the nearby islands or simply relax on the beach. The resort first became a fashionable retreat during the 1960s, when Jacqueline Kennedy stayed at the Independence Hotel and the country’s elite came here to escape the heat of the city. The resort fell into ruins when the Khmer Rouge took control of Cambodia in 1975, but has thrived since the 1990s, and is now taking off as a beach destination to rival anywhere in neighbouring Thailand. The attractions are spread around several beaches – the backpackers flock to the hedonistic Serendipity Beach area, whilst those in search of a more relaxed ambiance head for Otres Beach, home to a new generation of sophisticated boutique hotels. Sihanoukville is also the gateway for Cambodia’s idyllic southern islands, fast becoming a new international hotspot.