Published: January 13th 2008January 13th 2008
Sihanoukville is Cambodia's main beach resort. There are about 5 different beaches in the area, but most people stay around Serendipity Beach as this is where the best nightlife is.
I arrived quite late in the day (around 6pm on the last bus from Phnom Penh) and struggled to find somewhere to stay, so I ended up in a place costing $9 a night. Shocking eh!! I was down to my last $100, so I knew I wouldn't be able to stay there and still eat, but I figured I could find somewhere else the next day. After travelling all the way from Kampong Cham to Phnom Penh, then Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville I was feeling a bit exhausted, so that night I just stayed in watching Sky TV and got an early night.
The next day I was feeling a lot more refreshed, so I got up early and went off for a wander. I asked around at a few guesthouses to see if they had room, but they were all still full at this time. However I noticed a sign at one place, called Utopia, saying that they had free accommodation. Free accommodation sounds a bit too
good to be true, so I wondered what the catch was, but it turns out there's no catch at all - their dorms are just free. You don't even have to eat there if you don't want to. I got chatting to a guy called Mark, who was one of the owners, I told him how skint I was and straight away he offered me a job for the next few days. Now I get bored so easily at beach resorts, so working sounded like a good idea. They couldn't pay me, but I would get free food and alcohol for the rest of my stay. So now I had free accommodation, free food and free drink - what more could I want eh!!
My job started later that day as most days the staff do some flyering on the beach for about 30 minutes to advertise whatever special offers there are going to be that night. I went flyering with a guy called Nick, who is also from England. Nick had been working at Utopia for a few months.......I guess with free food, alcohol and accommodation, its easy to stay forever!! My first day went really well!! I'd
forgotten how much I love bar work and I fitted in really well and spent most of the night chatting and making friends with the bar staff and customers. One of the Cambodian girls working there, Mom, was great fun and I now had a dancing partner behind the bar!!
The next few days passed in the same way, with flyering in the daytime (with occasionally some sunbathing if I could be bothered) and bar work in the evening and it was the best fun I've had in ages. The bar stayed open until the customers wanted to leave really, so I was up until at least 4am every night. Sometimes all the staff went to a different bar after work if we didn't want the partying to end. Because I was allowed free alcohol while I was working I just had so much fun, it was just like being back in Ibiza again, only this time I fit in instantly, where as it took me a while to find a great group of friends in Ibiza. One of the nights we had a party and I ended up dancing on the bar, pouring tequilla straight down everyone's throats
and just generally causing chaos. They owners actually offered me a job there for the next 6 months and I was so tempted, but my flight home was in a few days time and I'd been missing Nat and my friends and wanted to go home. It was a shame though - I felt really sad saying goodbye to everyone. This is the saddest I've felt leaving a destination. I definitely have to go back one day!!
There are more photos below