Edit Blog Post
Published: August 18th 2010
Although I've been back in Bangkok for a few weeks, I wanted to give a brief recap of my time in Sihanoukville, Cambodia (July 21-24, 2010).
Sihanoukville is a port town on the south coast of Cambodia, approximately 5 hours by bus from Phnom Penh. Although the town of Sihanoukville itself isn't on the beach, there are several beaches nearby. The most popular beach for travelers is Ochheuteal Beach ($2 for moto taxi from Sihanoukville to Ochheuteal Beach), especially a section of it known as Serendipity Beach. It's a bit rocky at the Serendipity end of the beach, but there are some great backpacker type places there. I stayed at a flashpacker/mid-range hotel a couple of streets off the beach named Beach Club Resort, but ended up spending most of my time hanging out at The Cove and Above Us Only Sky, two basic bungalow operations with small outdoor restaurants & bars just steps from the water on Serendipity Beach. The people working at those places at the time of my visit were great, and the location is perfect.
I thought Beach Club Resort was a good value @ $25, but it doesn't have much character. All the rooms
at Serendipity Beach
are contained within 3 two-story buildings that form a “U” around a good-sized pool. There is no view of the beach. My room had a safe, frig, TV, A/C, and fan. I think that's standard for the resort. The place is fairly plain and simple, but it's nice enough, and clean. Wifi is free and the electricity is stable. I mention the electricity because it was often out at the backpacker places right on Serendipity Beach. Anyway, I was happy with Beach Club Resort, but I didn't spend much time there. Being on, or within view of, the beach is the main goal for me when visiting a beach town. That's what I did. Unfortunately, the weather didn't cooperate.
It rained, a lot. Still, I had a good time. I met some interesting people (foreigners and Khmer) and had some good conversations. My first afternoon at Serendipity Beach, I met Nick, a British guy from Manchester, who is working at The Cove. I ended up hanging out with him and a few other people for the better part of the evening, and The Cove became my starting point each night during my stay. As for Nick, he has been
@ The Cove
with Nick (on the right) and the gang
working there for approximately 3-4 months. He's traveled throughout SE Asia, but this is his temporary home. The bungalow operation is owned by 5 Israelis who have had it since November of last year, and they hired him to help the Khmer staff run things for a Western clientele. After all, most of the customers in this area are foreigners. Thanks go out to Nick for making me feel welcome and helping me understand this area.
One thing that is interesting about Serendipity Beach is the amount of foreigners working there. Many of the resorts, restaurants and bars have at least one foreigner involved in the operation. One particular operation, in fact, had 11 foreigners employed there at the time of my visit.
Who are all these foreigners working at Serendipity Beach? Some are older and have settled down there. They may have bought a business, and/or they are managing one. But most of them appear to be young backpacker types who are trying to scrounge up enough money to extend their travels/adventure. From those in the second category, I was told they generally get free room & board, plus $30-$70 per month. Not a lot of money,
Ochheuteal Beach 2
The Serendipity end of the beach.
but it enables them to survive, barely, in an exotic locale. Whether alcohol is officially included as a freebie in their work arrangements, I don't know. But they most certainly were partaking in it, and doing so on the job. To me, it looked like a recipe for disaster. Lots of booze with very little accountability. I could see some people getting sucked into that lifestyle and never getting out, or getting out with extra baggage. Alcoholism isn't pretty.
As a vacation, it was a decent place to hang out. I personally enjoyed it, but I wouldn't want to stay too long. Three nights was a good amount of time. It was hard to evaluate the quality of the beach and water because of the poor weather. Although the beach is narrow, the sand looked pretty good. The water was choppy and muddy during my time, but that was likely a result of the storms and rain runoff. I was told the water is normally much clearer.
There are some islands off the coast that are supposedly pretty nice, but again, this is the rainy season, so not the best time to visit. Maybe some day I'll be
the main road to Serendipity Beach. This could use a little work, don't you think?
back, and will be able to check out the islands!
But for now, that's it. I've got papers to grade! Thanks for reading...
There goes Dave!
Tot: 0.094s; Tpl: 0.052s; cc: 9; qc: 23; dbt: 0.0124s; 1; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.2mb