A couple of hours by minivan found us in Sinahoukville, Cambodia's party capital and gateway to our true destination, Koh Rong. It's a drinking town in as much as every other building is a bar but it was chilled and laid back, none of the drinking places had blaring music, or reps hassling us to go in for "3 free shots". It was just a town with a lot of bars, restaurants and hotels. The beach was crowded with sun loungers and parasols but few were occupied and it felt like we'd arrived either too early or too late for something. The white sand was squeaky soft and the sea temperature was not much lower than the air temperature, it wasn't just warm, it was hot. If they would just take a third of the loungers away, it would be so much nicer.
There were a few hawkers selling delicious looking mangos and pineapples and others selling trinkets or sunglasses but it was hassle free and a friendly "no thanks" was all that was required to move them on. But it has to be said the sunglasses look like very good value.
We had a quick walk around town but we were on a bit of a shopping trip, we had to get some supplies for our few days on Koh Rong and I was in dire need of some T-shirts. There was really nothing of any real interest for us here, we managed to get what we needed without too much trouble (finding T-shirts in my size in Asia is a little tough, they often only go up to size XXXXL and it seems I'm a XXXXXL).
We had a nice meal at one of the few genuine Khmer restaurants in town, set away from the bars and beach, though we were constantly hassled by beggars that wandered through the restaurant. It was difficult saying "sorry, no" with a plate of food in front of us but at the outset of our trip, we made an informed decision not give money to street beggars but it's very tough at times.
We had a few days in Koh Rong. And when we returned to main land we headed just slightly south to Otres beach. Otres is a laid back beach community, where people come to do nothing. It is serviced by single red dirt road and has a smattering of restaurant/guesthouses. We'd been recommended one by some guys we'd met on the island. Our room was basic, shared bathroom and shower, no aircon, just a small oscillating fan than 'foofed' the hot air about. But it was directly on the beach and we did have some shelves. We've had worse.
The beach is soft white sand, clean and quiet. Huge feathery trees gave us plenty of welcome shade and shelter for a host of birds. The sea had a little swell which made it a bit murky but it was warm yet still refreshing. We spent the rest of the day lounging and bathing and generally not doing much of anything.
That evening we had a nice beachfront meal, in fact possibly the best meal we've had in Cambodia, Jan had a vegetarian curry and I had a sour seafood soup.
For the next three days I was sick, I had chronic diarrhoea and a high temperature, I couldn't eat a thing for 36 hours and we didn't leave our room (a different one with private facilities thankfully). Those T-shirts fit so much better now.
Onward to Siem Reap.