On Thursday 27th October I left Phnom Pehn on the 9am bus to head down to the coast, to a wee place called Siahnouckville. It took me days to be able to pronouncethe name of this town haha!! The bus cost 6 us dollars and took 5.5 hours (we were told it would take 3 ha!). All the buses stop every few hours for a toilet break and to let you get some food, theres always lots of stalls selling fresh fruit etc, so I usually buy some chopped pineapple, mago, papaya etc. The fruit in south east asia has tasted really good so far, really fresh! I had the luxury of spedning the 5.5 hours sat beside a lovely (but smelly) little cambodian man who got on the bus in his bare feet. I dont think he was a very confident traveller as he kept getting out a little charm thing from his pocket and closing his eyes & kissing it - i dont know what he thought was going to happen??!! Perhaps it was sitting beside me?!
The bus station in Sihanouckville has a bit of a monopoly on its tuk tuks - so basically there are only certain tuk tuks allowed into the actual station and so they over charge you. I spent a good 5/10 minutes trying to agree a price and after a lot of kerfuffle me and the 2 danish girls Lise and Pernille along with 2 swiss girls all piled into 1 tuk tuk, bags stuffed in too, and got a tuk tuk into the town. The tuk tuk left us off on the edge of the beach; the place we had booked was on Ótres beach'which is quite isolated and so we had to walk around 3/4 mile to a mile along the beach to get to our accomodation. You know you are in a good spot in you have to walk along the beach with your rucksacks etc to get there! Our accomodation there was just beuatiful - 'Dont tell Mama'was its name & it was beautiful wee beach huts made from straw wicar type material. Double room all to myself, with great big impressive mosquito net over the bed, all for around 5 pounds a night. Absolutely perfect!! It was just the quiet secluded wee place I fancied after some busy hectic city days and before heading to the madness of Ho Chi Min in Vietnam.
Sat by the beach during the day was great; watching a wee boat arrive to deleiver coconuts to our local bar / cafe. There are lots and lots of women who parade up and down the beach with massive bowls of fresh fruit or lobster etc on their heads. They will come and chop it all fresh for you on the beach. There are also lots of children sadly that should be in school but are out trying to earn money, selling bracelets and sunglasses etc. Women will also come and give you a manicure and pedicure or a back massage, for very little money, while you lie on your sun lounger. They also do the threading (hair removal using thread that we see at home), so they scour for people who havent maybe recently shaved their legs etc haha, point out 'hairs' to you, hoping you will agree for them to 'thread' your legs or whatever, haha, bizarre!!
I stayed there for 3 nights & had some lazy days by the beach really, mostly spent by our local cafe 'sunshine cafe'. They did great food and cheap drinks and had happy hour on cocktails, plus free wifi so we based oursleves there most of the time!!
On the Sat 29th we booked a boat trip for 9 pounds - it included a nice brekfast at the cafe first and then we were out on the boat from 9am - 5pm. The little wooden boat was lush; a lovely quaint turqiouse colour, the cambodian man driver took me and the 2 danish girls out all day, just the 4 of us, so was just lovely. We did quite a bit of snorkelling; saw quite a lot of tropical coloured fish, some crazy looking sea urchin type things & some massive jellyfish etc. It was amazing how much you can learn and pick up from a cambodian man who doesnt speak english - under water - by just pointing and doing hand signals etc!! Afterwards we visited 2 islands; bamboo island and an island I have no chance of remembering the name! Bascially the second island was built up by this american hippy type guy, he visited cambodia, feel in love with it & moved there & started building tree houses etc to set up home! It was a lovely wee place, he is a chef and so he has a wee kitchen and outside clay oven thing & has basic but amazingly beautiful tree house accomodation that people can rent and stay in; he calls it 'Ten 103. Í enjpyed a traditional Khmer fish dish cooked by an american! We rounded off the day with some fishing out in the sea; by fishing I mean some fishing line wrapped around a plastic bottle sort of thing, they are so resourceful here.
I learnt an interesting fact; in cambodia all the islands have a military presence; they have a few military / army personnel who base themselves there. So on this wee island there were 2 guys dressed in arny uniform, lying in hammocks in the sun, 'guarding' the island haha!! The american guy told me that the most they do in a day is move from one hammock to another - what a job eh?!
Finally found some affordable wine!! Cheaper than home so just had to get a glass of house white on our last night in Sihanouckville from the 'sea garden'restaurant, but..... it was disappointing!! I was so so gutted haha, had been without my beloved white wine for well over a week haha!! Dont think the cambodians do dry wine, it was very very sweet, so think I will have to stick to the beer for now!!
Heading off to Vietnam tomorrow, to Ho Chi Min city. Very sad to be leaving cambodia; it has had the most friendly and helpful people I have ever met & I have thoroughly felt safe and well looked after here.