The trip to Sihanoukville was going to be with the friends from WYI that I had met in Siem Reap who at this stage I had only met the night before. They had told me which night bus they were catching and so I organised to catch the same one, or so I thought. I got picked up and taken to the bus but they weren’t there. The bus ended up being completely full so I assumed that they must have taken another one, or they ditched me… After an uncomfortable 10hr trip to Sihanoukville I arrived there at about 4am in the morning. I looked around for a pick-up which I thought was going to be there but couldn’t see one so I just got a motto taxi. When I arrived at the guest house the guy wasn’t too happy, he showed me two signs, one with my name and the other my friends, apparently he had been there waiting with 2 Tuk-tuks for us all. It was then I realised something must have held the others up.
When I woke up I had an email from one of the girls boyfriend in Australia telling me they had been delayed. I later found out the bus company had forgot to pick them up, although had told them that the bus was broken down, then later that they had in fact missed it. They put them on the midnight bus to Phnom Phen, they then had to wait 4hrs for a connecting bus. They arrived at 2pm!
We stayed at Sascha’s Guesthouse, the staff there were great and it was located at the quiet Independence Beach which is just out of town. There was a new hotel being built just across the road so it may not be quiet for that much longer. The beach was really nice, white sand, clear water and a nice temperature, there was no swell being in the gulf of Thailand. There is a little family business set up on the beach that have lilo’s and a do all kinds of food – BBQ Chicken, fish, noodles, rice and fruit.
It was New Years Eve so we headed into Serendipity, the main beach. We ate on the main drag and then headed for the beach. On the way we stopped at Dr Fish and got a fish massage and a free beer. The fish massage involves putting your feet into a large tank filled with hundreds of small fish that peck at your skin, it’s a weird tickling sensation that takes a bit to get used to. From here it was then onto the beach front where the party was at. The beach is lined with restaurants, bars and makeshift dance floors which seemed to extend in both directions as far as the eye could see. There was a constant stream of fireworks going off from the beach and over the water the whole night which looked amazing along the arched beach front. We had a few beers, buckets and free shots, counted the New Year in on the beach and danced into the New Year with your favourite Lady Gaga and Justin Beiber tracks.
The rest of the time in Sihanoukville we just spent swimming and chilling out at the beach. Independence Beach was the perfect place to do this. On our last day we spent a few hours at Serendipity where the atmosphere was completely different and would likely remind you of Kuta Beach in Bali – Massages, braclets, sunnies, waxing – the locals were unrelenting and if you showed any interest whatsoever they all flocked to you.
Getting back to Siem Reap we decided to give the same bus company a second chance as my experience was OK – That was a mistake. Our first bus broke down in the middle of nowhere an hour out, the second bus was freezing and then we changed again to a third bus in Phnom Phen that wasn’t great either. I wouldn’t recommend Paramount Bus Company in Cambodia. Despite the bus rides (it is Cambodia after all and you can’t expect things to run as if it was home) it was a great few days at the beach and the last chance I would get to swim in the ocean for the better part of a year if the trip goes to plan. From Siem Reap it was then onto Kampong Cham.