We didn’t really have solid plans on how and where it’d happen but we all wanted a few days of just doing absolutely nothing on a beach somewhere. It just so happened that Tiina’s boyfriend was traveling Asia too and we all decided to meet in Sihanoukville. Well obviously the two lovebirds wanted their privacy for the short time they had and they ended up staying on a small island next to Sihanoukville called Koh Rong. Henna and I felt it would’ve been a little bit of a stretch to our budget and stayed at Otres 1 in a 10USD bungalow. Nothing too fancy (like seriously rat shit on beds and that) but it was at the beach, had a roof and a lock on the door.
There’s not much to say about Otres. Beach was nice, laid back atmosphere. Happy everything is everywhere. If chilling on the beach getting happy is your thing, this is definitely the place to do it. We didn’t really do much apart from just that. On Saturdays they have a thing called “western market” or “Otres market”. Live music, a lot of people and few stalls selling the stuff. It’s more like a big party than a market so don’t go there expecting to shop like crazy but to have a few drinks with people and listen to music.
After trying to build up energy for 5 days it was time to head to Phnom Penh. We were all excited about going there and the killing fields and s21 were high up on our list of things to see in Asia. The experience was obviously sad but I think it was good to see it with our own eyes. I don’t think a lot of people really know too much about the horrible things that happened here just 30-40 years ago. I recommend reading a little bit about the history of Cambodia before coming here to have enough respect for what these people have been trough. A tuk tuk to take you to s21 and Killing Fields would cost you around 18USD/tuk tuk. There’s no point in making any deals with the tuk tuk drivers on your own, all hostels we’ve been to ‘arrange’ tuk tuk drivers to take you to the local sights and you don’t have to worry about getting ripped off and sometimes the driver might even speak a word or two of English. If you decide to do it on your own, try to ask people what they paid and ask for the same price. No point in overpaying although the drivers usually don’t try to charge anything too ridiculous.
As I’m writing this I’m still in Siem Reap. I’ve been super lazy here and in 4 days have just managed to go to the Angkor temples. It’s easy to spend three days there, but I think two is enough. For a tuk tuk to drive you around Angkor for a day would be around 13-15USD but again, renting a moto or bicycle is the cheapest way. There’s no way to avoid being in a huge mass of tourists but the most popular time to visit is sunrise and as it get warmer (after midday) there’s less people, but walking around can be a pain if the temperature goes up to 30-35C. Remember to cover your knees and shoulders in order to enter some of the temples.
After sunset the place to be is the Pub Street. Right next to it is the night market, old market, river, bars, restaurants and such. I guess the most well known place among backpackers around Pub Street is a bar called Angkor What?
You can get a massage for 2-6USD and you nails done for 2-4USD. Quality is obviously not as great as it would be in fancier, more expensive places but it’s good fun and it’s nice to have someone digging out the dirt you collected under your fingernails while travelling.
Tomorrow I’m off to Bangkok to meet a friend who’s flying in on Tuesday. Not too excited about sitting on the bus for eight hours but it’s good to leave. I think I’ve been here long enough. I’m going to miss Cambodia. People are very helpful, kind and they seem happy. I’ll definitely return one day.
Some of the photos below are actually from Bokor Hill, Kampot. I was too lazy to empty my camera in Sihanoukville.