Days 6 & 7 - From Wet Kep and Kampot, to Sunny Sihanoukville

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January 24th 2018
Published: January 24th 2018
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Our plans again frustrated by the weather we planned a beach day in Kep for Tuesday and decided a leisurely Tuk Tuk the best means. This form of transport works well, not nearly as close and personal as walking but slow-ish and fairly relaxing and you get to experience the sights and smells of rural Cambodia and we have to say, compared with Vietnam or even Thailand, lovely as the people are, their lack of Civic pride would put the Cypriots in the Green Party. Every village or small holding simply dump their rubbish in the nearest stream or roadside! A bit sad really. Anyway, we arrive in Kep and stroll the roughly 6kms to the ferry terminal and apart from some fantastic but derelict French Colonial homes there is little to see. We turn around and start our return journey hoping to get a few hours beach time. The skies say different, very black and daunting, luckily a Tuk Tuk passes , it turns out to be our driver from the previous day. He agrees to take us straight back to Kampot if we give him 10 minutes to eat lunch. Given the impending storm we readily agree and set out onto a silent road into a vast black of full Monsoon rain! This was an experience that was as fascinating as it was uncomfortable, but totally exhilarating just the same, returning safely to our hotel within the hour. The roads became running rivers of sticky red mud, and when a large oncoming vehicle passed us, we were showered in warm murky water. Hot showers and a run between storms allowed us to eat and drink whilst watching the torrent. Then early bed for our bus trip to Sihanoukville, 9am Wednesday

Paula had a sticky moment waiting outside the hotel for our bus while Leo had a bathroom visit. Two Buddhist monks, aged no more than 8 or 9yrs old came to the front of the hotel. They looked straight ahead, no eye contact with Paula, who had no idea how to react. Approach and offer alms? Ignore and look away? What does a Westerner Woman do in this situation? Fortunately, one of our restaurant staff, Pat, came out of the hotel, paid homage, gave alms and the novices moved on, not before offering a prayer and chant in gratitude. Our journey from Kampot to Sihanoukville is booked with Giant Ibis, a more expensive option than Champa Mekong Crap Tours, but when we boarded the minibus after a good farewell breakfast at our hotel, we knew the extra $3pp fee was well worth the expense. Comfy seats, croissants and a bottle of water included, we settled down in our seats and hoped that we would be leaving the monsoon rain firmly behind us. Journey time about 2hours 30 minutes, roads are better than we expected but heavily over-used by lorries carrying aggregate for the road improvement system, which is lagging behind the vast investment the Chinese are making into the light industry of the region.

Closer to Sihanoukville we see this in a really stark form with huge skyscrapers being constructed outside the port and along the once tranquil and low level beach fronts. Luckily we are staying in Otres two, which is just beyond the really scarred areas but even here, with a 7 km white beach and many beautiful islands on the horizon, the Chinese are building a huge light industry complex. Cambodia has no planning strategy.

A short Tuk Tuk to our rural location which is 10 minutes walk from the beach bring us to a Pai-like (Hippy Capital of Thailand ) location all low level lots of lakes and rivers and filled with young Happy people and old Hippies. Guess what the sun is out! We unpacked as quickly as we could, loving our spacious new room, chucked on the swimwear and headed for the beach. Woo Hoo, sun is out, 10 minute stroll and we are on the beeeeeaaaaaaccchhhh. First proper swim this trip, warm clear waters of the Gulf, perfect, shallow, clear. We really wanted to spend the next three days swimming, fishing and chilling out. We are happy. Wandering back to Om Home, we really feel I'm Home, good choice of name. Our accommodation includes outdoor patio with lush garden, bamboo furniture, birdsong is the only sound in the late afternoon, very relaxing. Writing our blog and reading books. Tonight already planned, a minute's trip next door for a Pizza (recommended by our accom. Manageress, Doma, a nice Lithuanian lady, then, perhaps sitting fighting mozzies, drinking wine and listening to Youtube on our rural veranda.

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