New year's in Sihanoukville

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January 5th 2018
Published: January 7th 2018
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We took a bus from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville, which took about 6 hours. We were quite lucky to find a bus as most of them were full: a lot of locals go to the beach to celebrate the new year! On our first night there, Shaun made the most of the $0,50 beers!
Our hostel in Sihanoukville was quite expensive for what it was but we met nice people there. On the 31st, we took a Tuk-tuk to go to Otres beach, a beautiful beach 7 kilometers away from the centre of Sihanoukville. There were a lot of people there but it was rather litter free and the sea was so clear! We swam amongst the fish and relaxed for a while before heading back to the hostel. There was a barbecue organized by the hostel but we hadn't signed up as we thought it was a bit expensive and preferred to have a larger choice for dinner. we started talking to a couple Shaun had met the day before while drinking beers - Cameron from Australia and Lucy from Taiwan. After having dinner in a nice pub/restaurant called Monkey Republic, we went back to the hostel and spent the whole evening with Cameron and Lucy. We drank some beer and some jungle juice made by the North-American hostel owner before heading to the beach in the centre of Sihanoukville. It was very busy and dirty, local people were begging everywhere while the rest was drinking, partying and watching the fireworks. It was quite an upsetting scene. Midnight came, we went back to the hostel, spent some time on the rooftop and went to bed quite early, at around 1am.
On the 1st of January, we had a slow day and didn't do much. Walking down the streets in Sihanoukville is not an enjoyable experience, and it was worse after all the partying: the streets were disgusting, with litter everywhere and some places really stunk. Shaun had a walk on the "party beach" and was appalled by the amount of litter there. We had been told that most of the bars on the beach were closing down on the 31st of December at midnight as a Chinese company bought the beach - and it took effect on the first day of 2018.
On the 2nd of January, we went back to Otres beach and had a nice time swimming and relaxing... Until one of the women walking on the beach offering manicure and other services came up to me, took my leg and said it was hairy and that she would deal with it. I was taken aback and told her "no" as I thought it was quite rude but she didn't let go of my leg. So I got annoyed and told her to leave me alone. The waiter at the place we were laughed but didn't help. When Shaun came back, we left. I was angry!
In the evening, we had dinner with Asia, from Poland, who was also taking a night bus to Siem Reap. The bus wasn't as bad as expected although it wasn't very comfortable as the roads are very bumpy: we were on a "bed" and our bodies would shake quite a bit! After 10 hours, we arrived in Siem Reap.


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