Before deciding which Sihanoukville hostel is right for you, it is important to understand the layout of town. There are three tourist hotspots: Victory Hill, Serendipity Beach, and Otres Beach. All areas have their own unique characteristics and are spaced along the coast around 7km apart from one another. In this guide to Sihanoukville’s best hostels, we’ll cover backpacker hostels in all three areas.
Serendipity Beach is where all the action is. It is located at the center of the Sihanoukville coast line and delivers pretty much everything you could want from a coastal town: beach bars, loud music, and drinks served in buckets.
Victory Hill is the quietest of the three, and is more of an expat community than a tourist destination. It has some good restaurants for bargain prices, and it may be a place to keep in mind if you want to get away from the party scene in Sihanoukville.
And finally, there is Otres, a chilled out stretch of nothing but beaches and bungalows. I won’t be covering Otres in this article since it deserves its whole own guide to accommodation, which you can read here.
Once you have decided on your preferred locale, the rest of your decision will be based on price, quality, and how much you are looking to party. I have arranged this list from quietest to craziest hostel, but it so happens that it also almost runs perfectly in order from highest quality to lowest.
Backpackers Heaven Hostel
If this place didn’t have backpacker in the name, you would probably walk right by it thinking it was just another upscale guesthouse, and that is exactly what they want you to think.
Backpackers Heaven provides its guests with the amenities of a three-star hotel for a backpacker’s price ($2.5 to $5 for a dorm bed depending on the season). All of their dorm beds are furnished with actual mattresses, and each dorm room has its own ensuite bathroom complete with hot water.
They also provide guests with a steam room, beautiful pool, Playstation lounge, pool table and more. In general, your only complaint with this place could be the location, and since this is the only hostel on the list that is in Victory Hill, I’ll tell you why that may be a problem.
Victory Hill, as the name implies, is located on a hill. While this does provide some pretty nice views of the ocean, it also means that you have to walk up and down a hill to get to the beach, and Victory Beach is not Sihanoukville’s nicest beach. The other problem is that Victory Hill’s nightlife is geared towards the retiree who is looking to enjoy Sihanoukville’s sleazier side. So unless you want to take a tuk tuk over to Serendipity, you had better be content to enjoy the comforts of Backpacker Heaven!
One Stop Hostel
One Stop is located on the very fringe of the Serendipity Beach tourist hub, which is just where they want to be — able to access the party but “not a party hostel” (advertised on the front page of their website).
They are part of a chain of hostels around South East Asia run by Onederz. They bill themselves as an upscale place to relax and chill that provides an atmosphere conducive to sitting around and making new friends.
This was the only place on the list that I wasn’t able to get into a dorm room to take a look, so I can’t say exactly how upscale they are, but from the spotless condition of the pool and hangout areas, I would say their description is suitable.
They also have the highest priced dorm rooms on this list at around $9/night.
→ Make a booking at One Stop Hostel on Booking.com now.
Now we start getting into the more happening hostels, and to be honest, the ones that I am more acquainted with. Monkey Republic and the Big Easy (the next hostel on this list) go head to head with each other, each claiming on their websites to possibly be the best hostel in Sihanoukville, and in my opinion, rightfully so.
Both of these “best hostels in Sihanoukville,” have pool tables, great communal areas, bar crawls, and some of the best Western food I’ve eaten in the East. They also have comparable dorm rooms that include air conditioning and attached bathrooms with hot water.
Monkey Republic is the quieter of the two and also boasts a pool which is packed place during the high season. They’re known for a friendly atmosphere, cheap drinks, and Western bar staff that help keep the party going.
From the rooms I looked at in each place I would say that Monkey Republic’s dorms were marginally nicer, but it is a close call. Their dorm price fluctuates from $3 to $6 between low and high season.
→ Make a booking at Monkey Republic on Hostelworld now.
The Big Easy
The Big Easy is my personal favorite hostel in Sihanoukville. Whether it is high season or low season, by 8 p.m. the place always has a great atmosphere going on, and you can never spend the evening without meeting someone new.
They have the biggest communal space of the hostels mentioned so far, where they regularly host live music performances. Even so most of the tables fill up pretty fast when the sun goes down.
It is still not a bonkers crazy, dance party hostel — for that you are best off to stroll down to Serendipity Beach later in the night, or head across the road to the next hostel on the list.
The Big Easy have nice clean dormitories with hot water bathrooms and air conditioning. They have also added privacy curtains for each bed, which I thought was a nice touch and strangely haven’t seen before. Their dorm rooms are $4 or $5 depending on the season.
I hesitated before adding Utopia to a list entitled “best hostels in Sihanoukville,” but then I remembered the time in my life when I saw a hostel advertised as the cheapest place with the biggest party and happily ignored everything else about the place.
Apparently this place used to be the establishment on Serendipity Beach Road, and you can see why as soon as you walk through the entrance. Utopia is the embodiment of potential for a supreme hostel, but nowadays it has a bit of a run-down feel to it.
They used to offer free dorm rooms, and although their website says they still do, they don’t. That being said, $2 for a fan room or $3 for an A/C room is pretty much the cheapest price you will find in Sihanoukville.
Before you jump at the ultra-cheap price, you should know what you are getting yourself into. I am pretty sure that most people don’t get past ‘cheap, party,’ and this accounts for their very low ratings amongst hostel websites.
Utopia’s complete focus is getting a party going, not your comfort. The dorm rooms looked relatively clean when I checked them out (unlike the pool), but you will be sleeping in a row on thin plastic covered pads and you’ll hear loud music until very late.
Of all the great hostels in Sihanoukville this is the one I would least recommend. Then again ten-years-ago me probably wouldn’t have made it past the offer of a cheap bed and party.