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Adventurous vacation in Sianoukville, Sihanoukville, Cambodia

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MadSuh's pictureby MadSuh review
added on 17th of September, 2007

Me and Ivan were up at around 6:30 and quickly had breakfast so we could get down to Sianoukville as early as possible. We took a Tuc Tuc right outside the guesthouse and quickly found the bus station and the right bus. We had a nice little trip down to Sianoukville. There is some nice scenery there as you pass the dark green fields of rice, mountains, and lakes.

Once in Sianoukville, we were prepared again for the initial rip off that just always occurs. A French junkie was offering us to go to his guest house and then immediately there were motorcycle taxis and regular taxis waiting. The Taxi asked for 6 bucks and the motorcycles wanted 1 each. We decided to take the bikes. Once on the bike, they told us to check several guesthouses and we stopped at the first a little down the beach. This was a nice guesthouse but we still wanted to compare them, so we told the guys that we wanted to see the place which the junkie had recommended. We hopped on again and headed towards the other beach.

After about 500, the bikes stopped and Ivan told me that now the guys wanted $2 each because the other beach was far away. This was our initial destination and the guesthouse we had gone to was on the way to there. I was a bit annoyed because I saw it coming. I told Ivan that I do not want to get off and just pay, because I didn’t want to wait for another bike. Anyhow, so we agreed and then the guy said “ok, so $3 from each of you”. What a bunch of bs I was thinking to myself and I told him “no, $2 each”. We agreed to $5 and drove off to the next beach. We actually had to walk a little as well because of the steep road. At the other guesthouse we decided to drive back because we didn’t like that one. Now the guy wanted another dollar each “my friend, $7 total and I drive you back to other guesthouse”.

There is nothing on this beach besides a few bungalows and so we once again agreed. I was really mad and tired and I was getting rude with my guy. My bike took a bit longer to get back and when I had arrived, Ivan had already paid. It turned out that it was $8 after all. What a mess; I mean, why not simply tell people a price right away instead of this crap. Along the 25min ride and haggling the price had quadrupled. It’s similar to the Tuc Tuc drivers who tell you it costs $2 and later on they ask where you wanted to go; ridiculous. Anyhow, we found a really nice guesthouse and were finally able to go to the beach. Sianoukville has a decent beach, a little bit underdeveloped, fantastic sand and alright water. You can’t compare it to Thailand, but it’s ok. There are similar bars and restaurants like you will find in Thailand, but the place is dirty and they are more like shacks than anything. Anyhow, we walked towards the water as a bunch of kids immediately approached us to beg or to sell. This was just what I waited for! We made our way to the beach nevertheless and spent about 1hr riding the waves. Sure enough when we got out of the water, Ivan’s shoes had been stolen. I started laughing, not because I was happy about it, but I simply could not believe how we would end up going to this worthless place.

Unreal, wherever you look was simply annoying stuff, dirt and stink. I met quite a few tourists though who love the 50c happy hour beers (it’s happy hour 24hrs a day). Some people also like the fact that you can buy any possible drug out there for almost nothing. People smoking weed on the beach and get drunk, that’s what you do there. Ok well, not a place for me as you can tell.

We spent the night out with some English guys who were teaching English in Maihongsong (Northern Thailand) people and actually spent the next day sleeping a lot and then going to town checking out the market and just basic life which was again quite disappointing. I did go to a barber shop, which was rather interesting and relaxing. Mayn men are actually getting cucumber facials there and get their ears cleaned which looked like brain surgery to me because of all the weird tools the ladies were using. I got a hair cut and then had a clean shave which was kind of scary, but you gotta do it. On the way back, we stopped to buy our bus ticket to Koh Samet, which is near the Thai border.

I asked for a large air con bus at least 3 times and then it sure enough turned out to be a mini bus which had some really bad air con. At night we went down to the beach, played some pool, enjoyed more happy hour and then finally went to bed around 3:30am. At 6:30 we then got up to catch a motorcycle to the bus station. I was hoping that we could sleep in the bus, but it was really uncomfortable and every hour or so we had to stop because of some ferry you had to take. The interesting thing is that you have bridges now on a few cross-over points, but they want to take them. I think the ferry operators bribe the bus companies so that they will take the ferry instead which always takes a long time and you end up buying fruits and drinks from the locals. Take a look at the pictures, there were some crazy sections in the road where the wheels sank about half way into the mud.

I also met this 71 year old Swiss guy who has worked in South East Asia a lot and had seen Phnom Penh in the 60ies and told me how beautiful the city once was. He told me that Cambodia is the worst of all places that he knows, he doesn’t trust anyone and says that to him it seem like they could all stab you in the back when you are not paying attention. He did tell me that he got robbed twice there. “Always keep 50-100 dollars with you, they come at night and it’s usually two guys with guns”, he recommended. Anyhow, I can’t tell you how relieved I felt when I finally entered Thailand and when I finally set foot on Koh Samet, an island I had been to a few times before. We met an Irish gal called Chloe who shared the taxi with us and stayed at the same guest house.

Later on we all went to grab dinner. We got some awesome dishes, 1kg of those jumbo tiger prawns, half a kilo of crab, and some other delicacies. We had very good time went to the clubs and then went for a swim. Sure enough we had our wallets empties while in the water which kind of sucked. I had never seen this in Thailand and I talked to some people on the way back to Bangkok which were also surprised. I guess you get some bad people these days on the islands. It’s typically long time backpackers that have no money and stay in Thailand without anything. Anyhow, it kind of sucked and I was really disappointed.

Now I am sitting in the bus to Bangkok and just thinking about flying back home and meet everybody again. It has been a fantastic vacation, although a bit messy with this experience in Cambodia. It was a good experience though and it was really interesting to come back to Thailand and just see the relieve in everybody’s faces. I will fly out to Germany tomorrow. I am planning on taking some hotel in Bangkok, watch a DVD and go to bed early.


Things about Sihanoukville you may be interested in

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Amazing Thailand - overview

1. Aug 18, 2007 Arriving back to Bangkok (Bangkok)  (* 13)
2. Aug 19, 2007 A little more of Bangkok (Bangkok)  (* 31)
3. Aug 20, 2007 Still in Bangkok (Bangkok)  (* 31)
4. Aug 21, 2007 Adventures in Ao Nang (Muang Krabi)  (* 7)
5. Aug 22, 2007 Railay Beach - Nice Place (Ban Khlong Yang)  (* 63)
6. Aug 23, 2007 The best beaches and islands of Thailand (Krabi)  (* 87)
7. Aug 24, 2007 A quick stop and great food in Surat (Surat)  (* 11)
8. Aug 25, 2007 Koh Tao - My favorite Thai island (Ko Phangan)  (* 72)
9. Sep 4, 2007 From Koh Tao via Chumpon to Bangkok (Bangkok)  (* 52)
10. Sep 5, 2007 Back again in Bangkok (Bangkok)  (* 185)
11. Sep 9, 2007 Traveling to Siem Reap, Cambodia (Siem Reap)
12. Sep 10, 2007 Siem Reap, like in the tales (Siem Reap)  (* 71)
13. Sep 12, 2007 Experiencing Angkor Wat (Puok)  (* 204)
14. Sep 13, 2007 Great days in Phnom Penh (Phnom Penh)  (* 81)
15. Sep 14, 2007 Adventurous vacation in Sianoukville (Sihanoukville)  (* 39)

Start from beginning1 - 15          Journal overview


Recommended Phnom Penh Guide

Phnom Penh History

Phnom Penh hasn’t been the capital of Cambodia for long, at least not in historical terms. King Ponhea Yat founded Phnom Penh in 1422, after abandoning Angkor Wat. He settled for strategic place, both from a political and an agrarian point of view. In the 15th century, the country’s economy was based on agriculture, and the city’s position at the confluence of three rivers, Mekong, Bassac and Tonle Sap. The region was also favourable for trade, and the new city quickly became a centre for trade and manufacture. The kings that succeeded Ponhea moved the capital several times, but Phnom Penh remained one of the country’s... Read more »


Recent reviews for Sihanoukville

Traveling to Siem Reap, Cambodia - Sep 10, 2007, by MadSuh
I woke up a bit dizzy from last night’s adventure and really had a hard time getting up. It’s always a pain when you are traveling with a headache and a strange feeling in your stomach. Anyhow, I managed to get a cab to the bus... Read more »

Experiencing Angkor Wat - Sep 13, 2007, by MadSuh
I am really not sure what to write about, one of the wonders of the world or the mess this country is in. I have no doubt that greed is what rules in Cambodia and I have also no doubt that greed makes great riches and destroys them as well.... Read more »

Great days in Phnom Penh - Sep 17, 2007, by MadSuh
After Ankor Wat I probably did what few tourists have ever done. I went back to see the sun set and because I had very little time, I actually took a few pictures of Angkor Wat and then found my Tuc Tuc driver to take me to this small... Read more »

Siem Reap, like in the tales - Sep 10, 2007, by MadSuh
Arriving late in Siem Reap did not give us too many choices. I was a bit hungry so I decided to stop over at the little market across the street and have some dinner. Bad mistake, it seems like the food in Cambodia may not be as clean as it... Read more »


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