Day 47 / Day 6 of ATID – travelling from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville
So we travelled by private bus to Sihanoukville on this day (this is becoming a recurring theme, isn’t it? Such are group tours!), which is a beach town in Cambodia. I will add a disclaimer right now – since being there, I have researched the town further (yes, yes, should have done it before, know that now) and there are QUITE a few beaches there. I regret to say I am not 100% sure which one our hotel was based near, or which exact ones we visited throughout our stay. I CAN say that I think most of Sihanoukville, though starting to get geared up towards tourists, is pretty undiscovered and as such can be a pretty nice destination for a beach holiday.
Most of our group, after checkout, headed to another, quieter beach (again, guilty, unsure of the name – we got pointed in the direction by our CEO and that was about it) to the one our hotel was on via tuk tuk to relax and get some lunch. There was a restaurant on the beach front where Dave and I ordered some excellent pizza from.
In the evening, the beach our hotel was near had filled up with loads and loads of tables and chairs for outdoor dining-on-the-beach. This is where we headed for dinner. The specialities of the evening were BBQ dishes that various restaurants’ staff would cook for you on demand. I, being me, ended up ordering a curry again (hey, Cambodian curry is different to Indian curry so feel I can be forgiven), but Dave opted for a BBQ fish dish and enjoyed it very much.
(Note – our CEO had earlier told us we would be going for a BBQ evening dinner, and we’d assumed this meant that we’d be doing our own barbecuing on the beach…not so, as you can see)
Later, we walked the length of the beach, checking out the various bars and so on (one of which proclaimed ‘no have free WiFi’ on a sign – the first place we’d been in Cambodia without WiFi!!), ending up at one facing some fire-wielding performers.
We’d picked up fliers for the bar on the way on some tips from fellow travellers which earnt us some free drinks whilst we were entertained by said performers. Oh and later on in the evening, these performers set up something called ‘fire limbo’. Dave, who I learnt that evening was not unfamiliar (unlike me) with the concept, had a go. I did not.
Then a dance floor appeared on the beach, in front of the bar, seemingly from nowhere, so we had a dance before heading back to the hotel! So this evening was my first experience of a beach party, and was pretty good, apart from the terrifying moment where I thought Dave’s head might catch fire.
Day 48 / Day 7 of ATID – Sihanoukville
Today we had a relative sort of lie in, in that we met at half eight in the morning instead of around the crack of dawn. However, given that much of our group didn’t return *until* the crack of dawn (not us, we’re quite sad and had headed back when it was still dark :P), we didn’t leave the lobby until gone 9am!
So, the plan for the day was a boat trip out to a couple of islands in a private boat for our group. Breakfast before heading off, gear for snorkelling just off the first little island, a barbecue lunch, a chilled bottle of water and coke each, and the actual boat part were ALL included – at only $15 per person! Absolutely amazing value, and we had a really fun day.
Although thunder, rain and lightning were all making their friendly presence known when we woke up, by the time we got on the boat the skies had brightened. We didn’t board the boat, which was sort of open to the elements with a basic cover (I am not sure of the official name of this type of boat but I took a photo!), via a dock or pier, but waded out into the sea a little way to do so as it was anchored next to the sand. I’d not done this before in order to get onto a boat and found it very thrilling, more so I think than others in the group! (EDIT: I’ve done it quite a few times on this trip since…the novelty has worn of somewhat at the time of this edit)
The boat ride itself was a very….tippy one! It tilted to the left and right as we went along quite frequently, and if too many people ended up on one side of it, it tilted FAR. It was a little scary but mostly fun.
The first little island we came to, it is not possible to actually step onto the island itself, so what we did was snorkel straight off the boat. I can swim and used to be a reasonably strong swimmer as a child but am totally out of practice and was tiring quickly so, like several others in the group, opted to use a life jacket whilst snorkelling.
Last time I went snorkelling was the first time I went snorkelling, in Malta in 2010, and I unfortunately had a mask that refused to form a seal for more than a few minutes no matter what I did, and because I have to wear contact lenses during water activities this was doubly annoying and meant I had to stop. Here, though, the snorkelling gear was much better and I was able to snorkel properly so that was an awesome experience! Sihanoukville waters aren’t particularly known for amazing underwater scenery, but the coral, fish and many (scary!) sea urchins satisfied me 🙂
I wished so much that I had an underwater camera but unfortunately I don’t!
After, we headed to the bigger island which has a sandy, secluded beach. There were a few other people on the island but not many and for the most part it felt extremely private. This was wonderful – I’ve always wanted to have a beach day where it’s just a few of us and nobody else and I got it today, in Cambodia, for a ridiculously good price 🙂 with a barbecue lunch included!! Sihanoukville and especially it’s surrounding islands are an undiscovered gem.
It was hot, so cue applying lots of sunscreen throughout the day. The water was also warm, like a bath, something again alien to me! The water at the snorkelling site was cooler, though.
In the evening we had a bit of free time before a meal at local restaurant Nyam (haha Nyancat) and I tried the Cambodian ‘fish amok’ for the first time. It was absolutely delicious.
The next post will be about our first few days in Vietnam, our next destination after Cambodia!
I’ve not said it for a few posts, but as always, thanks for stopping by. Massively appreciate the fact you’re reading this!