Sun, sea and sand in Sihanoukville!

Okay, so not the most original of titles for a blog post about the seaside, but it really does wrap up the town of Sihanoukville, Cambodia quite nicely. We arrived there by bus (via our new favourite company, Paramount Angkor Express) after spending a few days in rainy Phnom Penh and were looking forward to couple of days on the beach.

The bus ride went through some great rural towns, with houses on stilts surrounded by palm trees and jungle. It was great to get a bit of an insight into rural Cambodian life!

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Unfortunately, our luck being what it is, we found that it was STILL raining down on the South Coast so we decided to scrap our plans of heading to one of the off-shore islands in the Gulf of Thailand and instead stick where we were and make the best of the beach, whatever the weather!

Our hotel was situated on the dirt track that ran down to Serendipity beach so we had chosen a great location.

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There are actually loads of beaches in Sihanoukville, given various names such as Victory beach, Independence Beach and Otres beach, as well as ‘our’ one, which merged into Ochheuteal beach. We went down to have a peek at Serendipity as soon as we got there, hoping that the weather would at least allow us one dip in the sea before we left!

We had most of that afternoon to get our bearings as we arrived at around 3.30, and quickly determined that Sihanoukville was set up as somewhat of a ‘party town’. There were lots of Western bars and cafes there, complete with workers handing out flyers for ‘happy hour’ and BOGOF cocktails, as well as an insane amount of tuk tuk drivers hanging around the streets offering you the usual ‘party herbs” that are associated with a resort like this.

We weren’t too sure what to do with ourselves that first night – we’d had quite a long day and didn’t fancy going on a bar crawl, but found our saviour in the form of Top Cat Cinema. ‘This is run by a (slightly nutty) guy from the US who used to own nightclubs and steakhouses in America and moved to Cambodia four years ago. He decided to open up his own cinema, complete with private ‘lounges ‘ where people can choose pretty much any film they want to watch, he selects it from his huge list that he downloaded from the internet and then charges $3 to watch it  in the comfort of your own private room. You can bring your own food and drink (or buy snacks etc from him) and even get pizzas delivered there.

What better way to pass the time on a rainy night in Cambodia? We decided that as it was also my ‘birthday weekend’, we’d grab ourselves a bottle of wine, some chocolates and order a Pepperoni and Feta pizza while snuggling up to watch the Expendables! The film was awesome – loved the cameo from Arnie! We had a great night, felt right at home and ended up watching two films!

The next morning we were SO pleased to see that the rain had stopped and the sun was shining! We grabbed our sun cream and swimming stuff and went down to the beach sharpish – determined to make the most of it before the heavens opened again! The weather turned out to be gorgeous the whole day so we walked the entire length of Serendipity/Ochheuteal beach and back, stopping for a couple of dips in the sea. The sand was really white and soft, with hardly any rocks or gravel. Halfway down the beach, the bars and restaurants all stop and you are just walking past bits of jungle and grass, giving the beach a lovely ‘secluded’ feeling. We stopped there for our first dip’!’ The waters were not calm in the slightest but it was so much fun – the waves just kept coming and coming and we spent ages trying to dive over them (or into them in Richard’s case).

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Later that evening we sought out a local Khmer restaurant which was recommended to us by the Top Cat man – Grand Kampuchea. We weren’t sure what to think at first as there was nobody else in there and their dog was just wandering around between the tables, but our concerns were soon put to rest when our food was delivered! We ordered Amok – a local dish that usually comes with fish or chicken and is cooked with coconut milk and served with rice. Our Amok came in an actual coconut and was absolutely gorgeous!

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We were pretty knackered after all that swimming and walking so opted for a quiet, yet productive night, writing our last blog post and booking our accommodation in Siem Reap for the next day.

Our visit to Sihanoukville was well and truly rescued by the sun and we were so tempted to stay another day… or two, but decided to crack on with our schedule. We’ve still got a lot of ground to cover in order to meet the next Oz Bus in Thailand next month so no more time for laying around on the beach!…

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