Until recently Cambodia was the preserve of the slightly more adventurous gap-year traveller. Those swapping the full moon parties and general decadence of Thailand for a few weeks of sweaty penance in Cambodia’s jungles and moving historical tourist attractions.
Although the country has begun to appear more often on traveller’s itineraries, surfing in Cambodia hasn’t really taken off. This could be due to it being home to some remarkably placid waters, but I prefer to think that it’s because we haven’t tried hard enough.
The Vietnamese managed to get their paws on the whole exposed eastern facing coastline of this shared peninsula, meaning that waves in Cambodia are quite few and far between. Don’t let this small issue take the wind out of your swell-chaser’s sails though – there are a few notable, wave battered exceptions.
Sitting proudly just off the coast of mainland Cambodia, in the soupy waters of the South China Sea, is Bamboo Island. Getting there would be considered an adventure. Firstly start by going to Cambodia, then travel 5 hours south from the capital Phnom Penh to the slightly wave infested coast of Sihanoukville. After that it’s just an hour on a ferry to the island and a half hour trek through the jungle – before you know it you’re on the beach.
Once you’re there, and you’ve introduced yourself to the Island’s other inhabitant, it’s time to sit back and wait for the mushy swell to wrap itself around the dogleg of southern Vietnam. For this some measure of patience is required, but it could pay off – there’s been reports of clean 3 – 6 ft swells rearing their majestic heads from time to time.
Failing all this, Indonesia is a hop, skip and a jump to the south. Here you’ll be treated to some of the best waves in the world, though unfortunately there’s not much wave real estate left as half the world’s surfers are already there.