We arrived in Sihanoukville after 5 hours by minibus, and it was such a relief to be out of the smog and noise of the city and to see the ocean again. We walked down to Serendipity Beach to watch the sunset. The beach is nice but very busy with lots of restaurants and hawkers and beggars. The next day we took a tuk-tuk to Otres Beach which is much more relaxed. Mike took a lesson in kite surfing.
Koh Rong Samloem
We travelled by slow boat out to one of the two main islands on the coast of Cambodia, Koh Rong Samloem. We’d already been warned that the island was very quiet, with not a lot going on, but we thought we’d take a day or two to just relax. Once we got of the boat we realised just how quiet the island really is. There was a strip of about 15 hostels, restaurants and houses, and that was it. There was also a lot of garbage covering the beach, the roads around the houses and in the river. Garbage handling is clearly a massive problem here, and it seems like a lot of it ends up in the ocean and washes up on the local beaches.
We joined a boat tour with the hostel we were staying at, snorkelling in a few different spots, then we fished for a bit and watched the sunset. We didn’t catch any fish, but some of the other people on the boat did.
The next day, Mike went around and made enquiries about where he could get his Padi divers licence. There’s two companies doing it on the island, and one of them offered accommodation included in the price. The course would take three days.
On day one of his course, Mike started studying and was preparing for a dive in the afternoon. But because it was so windy and the waves were so big, his first dive was cancelled. The same thing happened on day two, and the weather forecast didn’t look promising either. We debated whether to go back to Sihanoukville or on to Koh Rong because we were both really bored on the island. We decided to get on a taxi boat to Koh Rong. Luckily Mike didn’t have to pay for the course he had just started.
Koh Rong is a lot busier and a lot nicer than Samloem in my opinion. It was nice to actually have a choice of restaurants and hostels to choose from, and the beach and the island was a lot less polluted by garbage.
However Koh Rong also has it’s challenges it seems; we met a lot of people who experienced getting really bad food poisoning while on the island, and some people had a theory that it might have been a gastrointestinal bug that was continually being passed around. Poor Mike got struck down on Valentine’s Day, and for two days he was really ill and couldn’t keep anything down. However despite all the delays of bad weather and illness, he managed to complete his Padi – and we were finally free to leave the island.