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Asia » Cambodia » South » Sihanoukville
September 9th 2013
Published: March 26th 2014
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We were planning on buying the bus tickets to Sihanoukville through our guesthouse but after seeing so many travel agents in Siem Reap we thought it would probably make sense to at least check out some of the offers. So we walked in to one of the agents and asked for the bus schedules to Sihanoukville… or so we thought at least… When the agent started looking through his folders and in the end came up with a $40 and over 24h trip, I had a feeling that maybe we were thinking about different destinations? Why was his digging through his folders? Didn’t I just see a Cambodian schedule somewhere around here? Not to mention that $40 seemed way too pricey... and seeing that it took us 7 hours to get here from Phnom Penh why was the journey so long? I did voice my worries out loud and the guy seemed to be even more puzzled than I was then... Where was it that we exactly wanted to go to? Aaaah... Sihanoukville! Not Sukhothai then! Oops... Two different directions and countries for that matter as well! Not sure where Sukhothai came from... Did I really confuse the names? Looked like
our cute little buddie :)our cute little buddie :)our cute little buddie :)

the bar owner's daughter... she was definitely the one running the place! and certainly creating the most attention! simply adorable!
all this relaxing and fine dining in Siem Reap distracted me a bit... Haha! My bad I guess! Good that we made that clear – as much as we would love to go back to Thailand, now wasn’t the time to do so for sure! Once we were on the same page when it came to destination we were presented with a fancy bus option for ‘only’ $25 each – total price after a special discount, only for us of course… Hmmm! I really don’t like these kinds of discounts – where there is a discount like that, it usually means that the original price was simply too high! The bus seemed a bit too good to be true to be honest – luxury bus with big beds, TVs and all that... Well... I haven’t seen any like that around… When we got ready to leave, suddenly the price started dropping and the cheaper buses started appearing as well... A little too late, sorry... So in the end we stuck to original plan and booked the tickets through our guesthouse - $12 each, quite a difference I’d say! And what a surprise it was when we got on the bus and realised we were going to be travelling in the fancy bus the travel agent was talking about! Half the price! TVs weren’t working, but the privacy and the space were more than enough! Even Grant could fully stretch out! This was certainly the first time for him travelling through Asia – but then better late than never, right?

So after a very comfortable journey we reached Sihanoukville. The moment we left the bus, as usual we were surrounded by tuk-tuk drivers. They seemed to be disappearing with other passengers relatively quickly and soon there was only one tuk-tuk driver left, so even though we felt like he was asking for way too much money for the drive to our guesthouse at Otres beach, we had little choice but to go with him and try to beat the price down a bit... Or rather the other way around… Not very successfully unfortunately as once the name of our bungalows and Otres 2! came on the table, our driver made such a face that you would almost think we were asking him to take us back to Siem Reap with his tuk-tuk... Were the Otres and Otres 2 beaches really so far away from each other? I seriously doubted that… After the comfortable bus journey the last thing we wanted was to have our moods destroyed by this stubborn and quite cheeky guy, so we came to an agreement, jumped onto our overpriced tuk-tuk and headed to the Otres 2 beach... It was a bit of a drive, still I definitely wouldn’t describe it as being far, far away… On the outskirts of Sihanoukville sounded about right… We drove through empty streets in the countryside, passing by neglected fields surrounded by run-down stone fences... Looking at the size of the fences and the pieces of lands they were surrounding you could only imagine that once some impressive properties might have been standing there...

When we reached our destination I have to say I started having very mixed feelings... There was nobody around, two bungalow resorts next to each other... and that would be about it actually... Would we be even able to find a place to eat here somewhere? I think I might have been half asleep still and my vision and thoughts must have been blurred a bit as after we freshened up a bit and got outside from our cosy bungalow, the place seemed to have looked much more attractive than at the first glance... After all we were away from all the hassle, there were very few people around, beautiful beach almost right at our doorstep, nice and quiet beach bar right next to us, and above all it was a gorgeous sunny day... Yep! We were going to like it here for sure!

I couldn’t believe how warm the water in the sea was! It must have been over 30 or I dare say even 40 degrees as it really felt lukewarm... It was just unbelievable! I could sit in that water for hours! Well... almost... as some creature decided to freak me out by brushing against my back a couple of times until I finally got a warning and felt a little sting... yep! it was time to get out of water then! Later on we went for a stroll along the beach to Otres beach. Once again it proved that our tuk-tuk driver had certain problems with exaggerating! It was certainly busier than our little private strip – bars all around, very young crowd of people chilling on the shore, couple of wedding session going on by the seaside, girls offering massages and quite a few hawkers around... one place was even offering happy herb pizza! Haha! You could only imagine what this place was turning into during evening hours – one big party zone for sure! Seeing all this we were actually even happier that we were staying at our peaceful and still very remote piece of beach. We had a lovely meal at one of the restaurants, I even treated myself to an ice coffee (that’s right!) and since it was getting closer to sunset it was time to get back to our place. That day I have experienced the most beautiful sunset in my life! A whole range of colours on the sky... and some absolutely incredible visual effects created by rain as well! It was definitely worth it to come to Sihanoukville if only to see this breathtaking sunset... We spent a lovely evening at ‘our’ beach bar, sipping Cambodian beer, munching on tasty Khmer curry and chatting to the barman – a Brit living and working there for the past 5 years or so! I started thinking whether I would be able to live like that – running a small bar somewhere on a remote beach? There were definitely pros and cons to that kind of living… I wasn’t sure whether I would be able to spend so much time in one place though – he said that on what he was earning he certainly could live comfortably in Cambodia, with an odd trip back to Britain once in a long while, but that would be about it… Well… I do like to travel, so not sure if I would be able to go without visiting some new destinations once in a while… but it certainly made dream and wonder of what it would be like… We found out that the bar’s owner was running boat trips whenever he gathered a few people and luckily for us there was a trip planned for the next day! Just perfect!

I have to say that the past couple of months I didn’t seem to be dreaming at all, or at least remembering any of my dreams in the mornings. That morning though I woke up slightly worried as the feeling of being pulled by something strong underwater was still very vivid in my head… Probably not the best time to be having these kinds of dreams… After all we were about to spend the whole day on a boat! Ah well… Couple of deep breaths should do for now… and having my hero next to me would surely help as well! 😉 There was a nice bunch of people on board, everybody in good moods, sipping beer and exchanging travelling stories… We circled around the smaller islands when suddenly one of the guys noticed a big rock on the shore and said that it looked like a perfect diving spot… We exchanged a few laughs but then to my surprise we actually anchored there, the captain and a few passengers jumped in the water and started swimming for the shore in the direction of the rock! As exciting as it seemed I am definitely a better observer than a cliff diver, so just stayed with a few others on the boat. Once our captain was back at the boat he said that it was actually pretty scary as there were quite a few rocks in the water so you really had to aim well while jumping… Whaaat? Safety first, right? I thought that he was joking but seeing the other 3 guys standing on the rock, looking worried and pointing at something in the water, made me think that maybe he wasn’t joking at all… Thankfully after the brave jumps all the passengers made back to the boat alive and we were ready to continue on with our trip. We stopped for lunch at one of the islands. It looked like it was a popular spot among the boat tours as beach was pretty crowded with people. As we were having lunch some massive clouds started heading in our direction… It took no time at all before they reached us unfortunately and soon after it was bucketing down… not to mention the thunders and lightings… some of them hitting really close to us… one after another… I have to say I was freaking out a bit but some of the local boys even more so, hiding behind each other and screaming with each thunder. We went back on the boat as it seemed like a much better place to wait out the storm rather than sitting in the water or hiding under the trees – yep! not many hiding places around… ­As soon as it quietened down around us, we heard the motor roaring again and slowly started the trip back to our beach. Despite the change of weather there certainly was no change of moods on the boat, everybody in good spirits, beer still flowing all around and what naturally comes with that… the urge of releasing the fluids came over every single one of us soon after… Oops! The sea was calm, so we just stopped in the middle of the sea for ‘a swim’. I still had the dream from last night at the back of my mind, so jumping in the deep water seemed like the worst idea ever, nevertheless had to be done… I stayed very close to the boat just in case though… The currents here were pretty strong, so getting away from the boat didn’t seem like a smart idea anyway… It sure was fun – music up in the air, all of us swimming in this incredibly warm water, nobody even noticed that it was drizzling still… Swimming against the current tired everybody out pretty fast though, so soon after we were ready to continue on with our trip. It looked like the boat decided to stay in that spot for a little bit longer though… The motor just wouldn’t start! At the beginning it created a bit of laughter around, but the longer it took to get the motor started back again, the fewer smiles appeared on the boat. The booze was wearing off, we were all soaked and the shore was still far, far away… Thankfully we had a MacGyver of a captain on board and a few moments after were sailing back to our beach. The sea was very rough by the shoreline, so we had to approach the land through a river instead. Interesting detour I would say! Soon after we were back at the beach bar where we joined our captain for a beer or maybe the other way around? As since he was off duty now he was finally able to join us! It sure was a fun evening! It was time to call it a night though… Our bungalows were literally 100 metres away from the bar, still walking there during the dark was pretty scary… You could see quite a few stray dogs around during the day, but during the night they seemed to have multiplied! Some really viscous, attacking each other most likely protecting their territory… We saw one poor dog being attacked by a few others and he would surely be torn apart by them if it wasn’t for the locals who came running with sticks shooing away the attackers. Still the harm has been done already, poor dog couldn’t even move anymore – trembling out of shock or maybe his injuries, he was just sitting there and scowling… Once the people would go back to sleep there would be no one there to save him… Really sad but what can you do really… I was more than scared to go anywhere near these dogs for sure…

In the end we decided to say another day at the Otres 2 beach, hoping to catch some sun and maybe another gorgeous sunset? Unfortunately it was very overcast that day, with bits of rain here and there so there was no sunbathing and no sunset after all. Instead we watched a couple of movies and just chilled at the bar… sipping fresh coconuts this time! 😉 Still we really enjoyed our stay here. It was nice just to rest and take it easy for a while. Still three days of chilling on the beach was more than enough for me, so it was time to move on. This time not too far at all… Next stop: Kampot!­

Additional photos below
Photos: 51, Displayed: 31


26th March 2014

Warm water
We remember that warm water in Sihanoukville well...it freaks you out a bit because the sea really shouldn't be that warm! It was like getting in a salty bath and the only other place in SE Asia we have experienced sea this warm was Batu Ferrenghi in Penang. Lovely sunset pictures.
27th March 2014

The temperature of water was simply unreal! I just couldn't believe it and have never experienced it like this before. It really did feel like a salty bath! And the sunset was truly spectacular, so glad the pictures gave it a bit of credit.
27th March 2014
aaaah... that's what I call a sunset!

so relaxing!
Great shot! Cambodia is magical. Nice job!
27th March 2014
aaaah... that's what I call a sunset!

Magical Cambodia
Thank you. Cambodia really is magical...

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