Sihanoukville: A respite of relaxation
So, we left the crazy extremities of Phnom Pehn for the quieter beach town of Sihanoukville. We arrived after another rough ride on Cambodian bus travel & found a hostel of bungalows to stay in. A 2 minute sprightly stroll from the long sandy beach in one direction, & a 2 minute jestful jaunt the other way led us to the bars & clubs. A central location for boozing & bathing… perfect. The following morning we made the grave error of going to the main beach. There was nothing grave about the natural scenery… it was awesome! What was NOT awesome were the numerous children following us AS SOON as we stepped foot on the sand. As we had already discovered in Phnom Pehn beggary is pretty standard practice in Cambodia but this was intense beggary from a multitude of sources… all at once! We didn’t even get close to laying down our towels. Instead we paid 1 of the kids a dollar to bugger off before we followed suit & found a quieter beach round the corner. A relaxing afternoon & a good night on the Django (a terribly cheap Cambodian rum) put us back in the mellow mood we had envisaged.
We decided day two would be best spent by partaking in our by now normal pastime… hiring a motorbike to get to some of the other places of interest in the area. … standard!
Our bike trip with James & Jules took us to a random monkey enclosure on the side of the road before skipping out on the brief storm with a quick gorge on some squid-on-a-stick. We finished the day at a quaint beach resort tucked away at the end of a curving coastal road before hitting the beer in the intriguing ‘Utopia’ club.
After another lazy day we decided it was time for a change of scenery. We took an hour long boat ride to Koh Ru, a secluded tropical island with a few simple beach bungalows & a restaurant … & that’s IT!
We shared our ‘bed in a shed’ with our friends James & Jules … separate beds, same shed. I do not exaggerate when I say this,… we could fall out of our bungalow right onto the beach, with the sea 20m further on from our front door. It was beautiful. We achieved very little there in comparison to our previous travel destinations, just laying on the beach, reading, swimming … generally chillaxing! We did go snorkeling on the other side of the island which was really good. A brisk 10 minute walk through the dense jungle to the opposite side & we were met with a deserted beach with nothing but a few fishing boats in the distance. The coral was amazing, fish EVERYWHERE, & vicious looking sea urchins a mere foot from us … which was a little unsettling given the horrific wounds they can inflict, + Cambodia’s lack of healthcare.
We arrived back in Sihanoukville well rested after 3 days of isolated idleness & had another quiet one, watching a movie at the local cinema/dvd room before the early journey to Siem Reap in the morning. The cinema was actually a pretty genius business. It provided a welcome break from the otherwise nutty nightscene, offering a wide range of black market dvds & living room lounging to watch them in. The next morning we left for another day of bus travel, on to the titillating temples of Siem Reap