Published: March 21st 2012March 21st 2012
After our time in Siem Reap we took the night bus to Sihanoukville. The bus was half seat and half bed - still a night bus and not very comfortable. The bus took about 12+ hours and it was a very bumpy ride. Usually Asian night busses are always freezing cold and you need ski gear to travel on them but that one was quite hot. Our seats were near the toilet (great) and someone decided to take that smelly fruit on board and eat it (the fruit smells worse than the toilet). We eventually made it and checked into a even hotter guesthouse.
As soon as we hit the beach we got surrounded by people trying to sell us everything from sunglasses to hair removal (in the form of threading).
Sihanoukville is more like Spain and I was quite shocked by the amount of western people working there and handing out flyers for every thing from toga party to booze cruise (booze cruise - guys get a free shot if the catch a beer can and girls get one if they take their top off - classy).
The nightlife is okay but not great. The beach is
okay but not great but nearby Otrest beach is nice. The sea is cleaner there and the beach is smaller and less crowded. The atmosphere is more relaxed there. We hired a bike and drove to Ream National Park which is about 18km away but there wasn't really much to do apart from an overpriced boatride around mangroves. We found a very nice deserted beach with white sand and crystal clear water which made a lovely change to the busy beaches of Sihanoukville.
I spent two days on an island called, Ko Rong, which is a 2 hour boat ride away from Sihanoukville. The resort I stayed was at the northern tip of the island and it was like paradise. Empty white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters and only 10 or so bungalows. We only had electricty between 6-11pm in the evening after which time you either had to light a candle or use your torch. My torch broke the first night which wasn't really that handy (especially as I was just about to scan the room for spiders). The second night we had a bad thunderstorm and I woke up because of the lightening and then the roaring
thunder. I thought the roof of my hut will blow off any minute. I had my washing outside and tried to save what I could by grbbing it in the dark and in the rain (my torch broke and the wind kept blowing the candle out). I was lucky because my bungalow didn't leak - others weren't that lucky and had to spend the night in a wet bed.
One night some of us went out to swim with the fluroscent plankton which was amazing and it really glows. I can highly recommend a visit to Ko Rong, especially as it won't be a deserted paradise island for much longer. All islands off the coast of Sihanoukville have been sold off for development and there are already plans to build an airport on Ko Rong.
I also went on a snorkeling trip one day. I met lovely people but the snorkeling was about as good as in Brighton.
Sihanoukville is worth a visit if you want beach life but even more worth a visit are the surrounding islands before they get overdevelopped like the rest of SEA. We met great people there and had a lovely time
in the sunshine!