(Day 306 to 313 )
23.09.2010 - 30.09.2010 38 °C
A couple of hours by bus from Phnom Penh and we were by the sea again! (Yet another rubbish movie on the bus. This time Predator, with very poor dubbing into Khmer, where 1 man was the voice of all characters, including women, and done without the smallest flicker of emotion, even when Arnold Schwarzenegger’s men were brutally killed by the Predator ). It’s been nearly 2 months since we were last on the beach, since we left Koh Tao in Thailand actually, and it is bliss being able to cool off in the sea.
Sihanoukville is Cambodia’s premier beach town, warm water, miles of sandy beaches and the endless trains of bracelet-selling, massage-offering, sunglass-seller touts and of course: tourists. It’s a pleasant seaside spot but doesn’t have the class, or the shear beauty of Koh Tao, nor the laziness of Tayrona Park in Colombia. It’s just a bit messy, and chaotic, but we are still pleased to be by the Sea.
After hunting for accommodation, we got a bungalow right on, Serendipity beach for $10 with breakfast, sea view and wifi, we rarely look at our guide book anymore now, as it’s low season, tourists are few and far between and prices can be bargained for, but not as much as we’ve come to expect in the rest of South East Asia, the Cambodians are tougher to break!
Our days were spent lounging on the beach soaking up the sun and swimming, whilst shooing away the touts and waiting for happy hour (or rather, Happy Five Hours) to come around where 0.50c beers and $3 BBQ’s are the norm! In the evenings, beach tables are specially decorated with elegant 5-litre plastic bottles half-melted with small candles inside, creating a romantic atmosphere . If you’re in the mood to feel like you are 18 again and let loose, you can find people letting off fireworks and drinking free whiskey buckets, whilst painted with UV paint… ahhh, paradise
Whilst it was good to relax, Steph and I decided to head out to the remote island of Koh Russei, better known as Bamboo Island for some more tranquillity. Only a handful of very basic bungalows exist on the island, and we thought that this would be a perfect way to escape civilisation for a few days. We were the only tourists there (plus another couple) after the day trippers had left and we don’t think we’ve been in such a secluded spot before! We stayed in very basic accommodation, and whilst the Robinson Crusoe was fun for one night, we decided not to renew the experience and left the next afternoon. It was great to get away from it all, but it was grand to be back to the mainland with hot water, electricity 24/7 and our wifi.
A short, horrid journey in a mini van with 24 people, mostly locals and children, a few packets of reeking fish and very cramped legs finally got us to Kep. More like a fishing village with a small beach, it’s definitely a beachside for munching rather than tanning: Kep is well known for its fresh, cheap seafood and especially crabs. They even have a huge crab statue in town
Kep was the playground of the French and Cambodian elite. You can see the remains of some magnificent colonial villas half-hidden in the shrubs, it must have been an amazing place.
From the Coast we could see the Vietnamese island of Phu Quoc, where we would go next, just a few kilometres away by ferry.