Crazy times in Sihanoukville

7 Jan

After a crazy few days it was time to relax so off to Sihanoukville we went. The town is located on the beach and was recently named one of the best beaches in the world. I’d be inclined to disagree as the beach was pretty much your stereotypical beach town but still a lot of fun. It kind of felt like how people talk about Bali 30 years ago. Very under developed and a massive party vibe. So after a 5 hour bus ride from PP we headed down to the beach to have lunch and a look around. You are constantly harassed by kids selling everything under the sun but mostly selling woven bracelets. They are real smart salespeople and sweet talkers but it is sad to see them exploited like this. They also all took a liking to how white my skin is which I found entertaining.

We headed back to our hotel and had drinks in the pool and a number of “challenges” of who could hold their breath longest before venturing out for dinner. There are barbeque places EVERYWHERE and they are amazing. On the first night I had some incredible coca cola pork ribs and on the second juicy fresh tiger prawns. All of this would set you back maybe $5 for dinIMG_5517ner and Happy Hour was every hour with us not paying more than $2.50 for a cocktail while we were there and one night buying beers for FIFTY CENTS. That’s cheaper than the water! We tried to have a quiet night the first night so I called it quits and came back and watched the Chelsea match on ESPN.

The second day we headed out to Ream National Park not knowing what to expect. We jumped in a long boat through mangroves for an hour and a half singing My Heart Will Go On and other classic songs and having an early morning beer on the insistence of our guide before arriving at a small fishing village. We were told it was an easy 30 minute walk to the beach and we could do it in flip flops. It wasn’t. The timing was right but it was 30 minutes of hard slog through thick jungle with all of us wishing we had hiking boots. The reward however was a nice clean beach to ourselves at the other side where we swam in the warm water and chilled out on the sand for a few hours. Absolute bliss. IMG_5533 We then began our trek back. We had asked the guide if there was any dangerous animals in the water and he said no only on the land near the path. We then asked about snakes and he said heaps of snakes Too Poisonous Die. We later found a flyer and found out the place was crawling with several types of Cobras and Russel’s Vipers and we were wearing flip flops! I had a close encounter of my own when we were walking along talking about snakes and I luckily looked as I put my foot down to see a metre long thin green snake of some variety. Both me and the person behind me screamed and I took off up the track at a rate of knots towards a clearing to tell the guide who was amazed I had seen one. This definitely got the adrenalin pumping. We also saw monkeys and a couple of gnarly looking spiders.

After a delicious lunch and us feeding a number of the mangy dogs our leftovers trying to teach them to sit we headed back up river on the longboats. A few of us went to the beach to watch the sunset at a bar where the waiter was keen to have joke around with us with amazing service (there were no seats next to the beach so they moved a table right onto the shoreline for us- we almost had wet feet) and then did a bit of last minute shopping before meeting the group for drinks and dinner (my delicious tiger prawns) and heading out.IMG_5518 We went to a few different bars and ended up at a cool club with lots of RNB and Hip Hop (although no dubstep as promised on the flyer) where we danced for hours before heading back at 2:30am where the Austrians on our tour decided we should have a sneaky but incredibly refreshing late night swim in our pool. All in all a fun night but not a particularly smart move with an early morning bumpy bus ride which is not very good for sleeping.

Two things I found interesting in Sihanoukville were- All the bars and hotels had westerners working there. Apparently it’s common for backpackers to hang around and work for a few months which sounds alright and secondly, more a Cambodia as a whole thing is they use US dollars. It’s strange to have American currency on you and they do also have local currency which you can use but due to political unrest it’s easier to use a currency not prone to fluctuation.

That’s it for now. I’m on the bus to the Vietnamese border as we speak so will soon be eating Pho and exploring the Mekong!

Courts xx


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