We previously ended in Battambang with its many rice-features. That evening we continued our trip and traveled by what seemed like a good idea, but maybe wasn’t, “hotel bus”. On the advertised picture there were two small single beds, the text said free wifi, free water, free blankets and sheets, free TV, free headset. In reality there was one small (and short) bed which was to be shared by 2 people, no free water, free blankets but we did not want to use those, the TV wasn’t working and there were no headsets. Oh well! We couldn’t really stop laughing at the awkward situation, especially as Sabine had to share her mini bed with a 60 year old Scottish man and didn’t dare to turn on her side because then they would either be touching bums or spooning. The air conditioning was blowing in our faces at like 20 degrees, so we were cold too. But it did bring us to Phnom Penh, where we had to take another bus to Sihanoukville. We arrived just after 5am, and the bus was due to leave at 7:15am. So we waited. At 7:15 we were informed that they changed the time to 9:15, because except for us there were no other passengers. As everything is open for discussion, I said “but we already waited for 2 hours” after which the guy said “ok, 8:45”. Not really believing this we went for breakfast, came back, and at 8:45 we were allowed to step into the van! We were so happy! But then it didn’t leave until 9:15. Smart pants.
Then we arrived in Sihanoukville and took a tuk tuk to Otres Beach 2 (because there’s 1 and 2) and found a 3 bed room at Footprints Hostel. 3 nights we said. The manager said that people tend to get stuck there but we didn’t really believe it. We went to the beach, which was kinda dirty, it had been raining and it was cloudy so the sea wasn’t blue, the sun beds were a mess and we said to each other that we didn’t really understand how people would get stuck here. It seemed like a bit of a sad place. Nevertheless we were excited to have a few lazy days at the beach. The next day the sun was out and it already looked a whole lot more like paradise, so we swam in the warm Gulf of Thailand, read on the sun beds at the place next door to our hostel because they were better. Then it started raining. And not just a little, it was a proper tropical storm. And it was amazing! We decided to go swimming in the rain, which was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. I couldn’t take a picture so I’ll try to describe it with words. Misty, drops on the wavy water, light sea green colour of the water and greyness of the sky, you couldn’t be sure where the sea ended and the sky started, the vague images of other people also going for a swim… Absolutely magical!
Later at the bar we watched a group of guys who had apparently gotten stuck there somehow and we melodramatically called them “The Lost Souls of Otres Beach 2”. However, the following night we were there too. And stayed one more day, and after that one more day, and after that ONE more day. We now understood how one gets stuck there. How? Well, there was no need to wear foot wear, all you did was relax and as there was nothing else to do you also didn’t need to feel bad about it. We did do a snorkelling boat trip though, and did some yoga, and got full body massages! We actually somehow got along with the Lost Souls, and as there were hardly any other guests we joined this little group of people just hanging around, chatting, doing the Macarena sometimes and singing along to pretty cheesy 80s and 90s music. Sooo we ended up staying for a week, and probably could’ve stayed longer, but felt like we needed to move on.
So we went to Koh Rong, an island off the coast of Sihanoukville, about an hour speed boat ride away. It basically has one strip of guest houses and bars/restaurants and the rest of the island is pretty much uninhabited. We decided to walk across the island, through jungle and over a small mountain and go to the famous Long Beach. It was indeed a long beach with very white sand and probably some of the clearest water I’ve ever seen, yet on one side of the beach they were constructing a pier, along the whole beach there were houses being constructed but none of them were finished and they didn’t look like they were currently working on them. Then there were a bunch of ladies gathering trash and burning it. We could see how beautiful the beach could be, but was being destroyed by development. Besides, the weather wasn’t that great, so all the colours kinds of blended together in a mush of blueish grey and white.
Nevertheless, we had a couple of nice days there and then headed onto our next destination: Kampot. No more beach, but gorgeous tree houses in the jungle along the banks of a river. We stayed at the serene Samon’s Village where we relaxed in hammocks and as Sophia and I both had gotten sick, we spent a few sick days there, whilst waiting for our Vietnam visas. Meanwhile another friend of Sabine had arrived for some holidays, so they could go off and explore together. On the last day there I did go on a “Sunset and Fireflies River Cruise”, but the sunset wasn’t very spectacular as it was cloudy, and the fireflies part was literally just one single tree that was full of them. I was imagining more of a scene like in the Little Mermaid being surrounded by them while we romantically cruise through narrow water ways, but no. There was an amazing full moon though that looked bright red as it came up!
From the menu at Samon’s Village:
Please take off your shoes and your worries and make yourself at home.
Next we headed to Kep. This is a small beach resort which is more of a holiday destination for Cambodians. That was made very clear as the one beach they have (I read they get the white sand from Otres) was full of fully clothed Cambodian church groups and families. They curiously looked at us as we laid in our bikinis. Sometimes they came closer to have a chat and practice their few words in English. At some point they asked us why we (westerners) sleep on the beach. They laughed at the answer (“because we want to be brown”) and showed how they cover up completely because they want to be white. A typical case of the grass always being greener on the other side! We went to the crab market to eat some fresh crab, which is what Kep is famous for. It was difficult to eat without one of those shell cracker things, but I managed to get some sweet and juicy meat out.
After that our Cambodian adventure was over, and the next day we moved on, to Vietnam!