I was so sad to leave Cambodia, I had such an amazing time. I was able to tick an item off my bucket list by seeing the beautiful Angkor Wat in Siem Reap and even got to see its beauty revealed at sunset. I learned of the difficult past suffered by the Cambodian people in Phnom Penh and sunbathed on the beautiful beaches of Sihanoukville and Koh Rong. I shared these memorable moments and also partied with some great people.
I was confused with the currency to begin with but it is quite simple once you know. I took US Dollars which was accepted everywhere. Most things are labelled in dollars. You are given change in dollars but also in Riel, so your purse will contain both currencies and both can be used everywhere. 4000 Riel = 1USD. When it was obvious I was confused the Cambodian people were very helpful and very honest!
I found myself eating quite a lot of western food as it is on offer pretty much everywhere. The Cambodian dishes were very similar to Thailand and so I did taste a few stir-fry dishes. The street stalls sell the best pancakes and other desserts.
Phnom Penh was very dusty and polluted due to the amount of bikes on the road together with a lot of buliding works and some very kind tuk tuk drivers buy masks for their passengers.
I grew very fond of the Cambodians and found them so friendly and helpful. The children are adorable and I truly hope Cambodia continues to develop so that they have a good future.
Leaving the chaos of Phonm Penh it was time for beach time. Just a 5 hour bus ride at $7 to Sihanoukville and the madness of Phonm Penh was replaced with a beach resort. It reminded me of any other seaside town; a beach, bars and shops. Once off the coach we were met with tuk tuk drivers and men on motorbikes. For $1 me & my backpack jumped on the back of a motorbike and headed for a hostel. The hostels here were mainly bungalows, which could be quite pricey as a single traveller but lucky for me I was with Jenni, a Spanish girl I had travelled there with and so we shared a bungalow at Big Easy Hostel for $4 each. After being in Thailand, prices in Cambodia seem rather expensive!
We started our first day on Serendipity beach but this is where all the nightlife is and so the sea wasn’t very clean. We paid a man & his motorbike $2 to take us to Ortis beach; this was more like it! Clean white sand and clean blue sea.
The next day a group of us headed for “the island” named Koh Rong.
A 2 hour boat trip at a pricey $10 each way, I was met with pristine white beaches, turquoise water and limited development. Backpackers staying in Sihanoukville will undoubtedly head over to “the island” for a few days, but with only 18 clusters of bungalows, no roads and no electricity, only current generator generating electricity at certain hours of the day, it still has that desert island feel. I doubt developers will allow it to stay like this for long though!
As there was 6 of us we were able to get a lovely beach bungalow at Happy Bungalows for $12 each, very pricey for a backpackers budget, but it was a treat to ourselves.
Unfortunately I only stayed for 1 night and 2 days and by day we relaxed on the beach and swam in the warmest sea I have ever been in. By night the sky was so clear you could see hundreds of stars. We drank through the night and by 3am we were swimming in the sea (still as warm as a bath) amongst the lights of the plankton. What an amazing experience!
I left the island at 4pm the following day and sailed back to Sihanoukville. I found a hostel for $1.50 named Utopia, which was the worse dorm of my trip so far, but for such a cheap price I was happy. Not wanting to spend too much time in the small smelly dorm I headed out to the bars and stayed there until I could drink and dance no more, meaning I only had to sleep for 3 hours before I was getting my bus back to Phnom Penh…