Sihanoukville 2009


So I left Phnom Phem on yet another bus ride down to the coastal town of Sihanoukville. Sihanoukville is a port city situated on the southern side of Cambodia and in the Gulf of Thailand and around 110miles from the capital. The beaches and the diving around the area make it another main attraction for tourists. I was also hoping to go to Kampot and maybe one of the island around Sihanoukville if I had time as these areas were supposed to be what Thailand was like around 10 years ago.The bus journey down was good, nice a/c bus but this time we were not subjected to the usual Karaoke that usually accompanies these bus rides but had a very funny Chinese (Hong Kong) martial arts movie instead. Luckily it had English translations at the bottom and in some places the translations were quite literal and I never knew the Chinese swore or were so rude to each other. As customary with all bus journeys we stopped at a roadside restaurant where I dinned on a pork and bone curry with rice, this was one of the most nondescript meals that I have had on my journey so far, and their was no taste t the food what so ever apart from a slight taste of green curry! !

3 hours later and we arrived in Sihanoukville and I made my way to a guest house I had been recommended called Monkey Republic. This was a quite well know guesthouse in the Cambodia and for $6 a night I have a very spacious room with decent bathroom!!! The bar was well known for being busy most nights with good food, in fact the bar was owned by 3 blokes from Cambridge who had set up the business around 10 years ago. The fist night I was shattered so after a few beers and some food I was off to bed.The next day I was greeted by lashing rain so diving didn’t look to rosey. I went to the dive shop next door to enquire about diving around the area and went back for some breakfast to mull over the possibilities of muck and reef diving around the area, as when I asked about the vis underwater I was told it would be around 6 – 10 meters. Not the 20 – 30 I had been accustomed too!! Also luckily I had bumped into someone in the bar who had just got back the day before from a dive. Over breakfast he explained that the vis was lucky to be 2 meters and the instructor that had taken them out managed to loose them due to the vis. On the plus side they managed to see at least one fish, but couldn’t tell me what it was as they could see it properly!! I decided to give a go all the same but was created by very bad vis and no fish!

Another option was to visit one of the islands but on inquiry and mainly due to the weather, they could probably get me to one of the islands  but getting back was uncertain. There were a few islands that I wanted to visit, namely Bamboo Island and Koh Rong but I didn’t want to run the risk of not getting back as I had a booked flight from Bangkok to the UK on the 12th that I wasn’t going to miss. So the islands were out. Next on the list was Kampot a small town 30 or 40 miles away to the east where its famous for green pepper, however I received an email from Dale and Carina (fellow DM’s from Koh Tao) and I knew that I wasn’t going anywhere as there was a full moon party in town and they were arriving! So the last 2 days I spent enjoying time with Dale, Carina and Ayumi (a fellow traveling Japanese girl) chilling by the pool, down by the beach, eating local pizza and watching the Charity Shield. I was happy to be with great friends again who I had spent a long time in Koh Tao with. Dale and Carina had been my neighbors in Kalapaghna Bungalows after Gary and Trish had left so we had enjoyed the odd night or two out and in!

We all jumped on the some mopeds one day to visit the only local attraction which was the waterfalls. The waterfalls were interesting collection of small falls and lots of Cambodians wading fully clothed in the water and eating in the small huts around the water! As we went on a Sunday the place was very busy and we seemed to be the only westerners there!! After a quick dip and float in the water we watched the locals enjoy themselves splashing around before getting some food. We ordered fried rice, fried noodles and roast chicken. When presented with the chicken it still had its head on just so that we knew it was a chicken I guess! The food was great and cheap too. Then after then meal it was back on the bike and back to the guesthouse before it poured down again, not before going down the most dusty (red dust) roads in the world, the dust was so bad that no washing could get the dust out and it had to be thrown out.

Bar that there really isn’t much else to do in Sihanoukville as the town center is non descript and the beaches are ok although you get harrassed every minute by masseurs, food seller’s, sunglasses sellers, tuk tuk drivers and beggars.The last day was used to hand my pod in to the local store to download all of the Blue Planet, 1st series of Flight of the Concordes, Dave Schappelle show, Eddie Izard and a view movies all for the princely sum of £8! This was all for my impending journey back to the UK which would take me in all 41 hours which included a 13 hour bus ride from Cambodia to Bangkok, 13 hour flight to the UK, a car journey back home to hull and plenty of waiting around in airports. I was sad to leave Cambodia, it was an interesting place to visit due to the struggles of the Pol Pot past, the beauty of Angkor Wat and its impending journey into the future, but the people are so warm and friendly that you have to love the place albeit only once you get past the beggars and squaller. I would defiantly go back and if I had more time and venture further up the coast or into the hills in the North away from the main tourist spots and British Gap year students before the whole country turns too commercial and turns into a mini Thailand as it seems that’s what it has it’s heart set on.

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