A sticking point
Trip Start Oct 10, 2011
41Trip End May 08, 2012
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Where I stayed
Koh Kong Guesthouse
From Phnom Penh there was only one destination that spring to mind, the much vaunted Sihanoukville. It's the sort of place older travelers in general now avoid due to its popularity and younger ones now flock to again due to its popularity. There's an array of beaches to choose from but based on what we've heard there was only one go to - Serendipity. Some land on Victory beach but find that they're sharing a hotel with the old western men South East Asia has become synonymous with, a swift exit and ride on a Moto to Serendipity resolves this pretty quickly.
Serendipity was a mix between Vang Vieng and Phi-Phi
The food on offer was clearly for tourists though it was on the whole very good, the BBQ's on the beach offered great big Barracuda steaks and curry served inside a coconut.
During my time there with Dave, Chris, Rob and Nige we managed a 3 Island tour with the usual few hours spent on a boat with a couple hourson a top quality beach (located on Bamboo Island) and some snorkeling thrown in for good measure. I ventured down to Otres beach with a Swedish couple we'd met in Siem Reap and enjoyed the time away from all the beach vendors - both adult and child who can be extremely difficult to resist after a whole day on the beach. The last couple of days Charlotte and Laura appeared from Vietnam to become reacquainted with the Sun, so we always had some kind of additional company (and great company they were too!) to get us through the tough times...
After 6 nights here I fancied something different, something that didn't involve alcohol, so ventured to Koh Kong - a town touching the border with Thailand.
It's a very quiet fishing town with a standard grotty market creating the main buzz during the day time, but it was still good to see normal Cambodian life in process and not feeling like I was being catered for every step I was taking. There's only two things to do here.
1. Go on a boat/hiking trip through the Cardamom Mountains and Mangrove Forest.
2. Go on a boat/beach trip through Southern Cardamoms Protected Forest.
So I did both, being the extravagant sort of person that I am, and got a little more than I bargained for from each one.
The first trip saw us slowly cruise our way through the mangroves to a dock made out of a steep muddy bank, tree roots and rocks where we then trekked our to a 3 level waterfall
on the way back to town our boat marooned itself in the middle of the wetlands, the dry season finally being a pain on this trip. We all got out, our feet sinking deeper and deeper into the sludge-like soil that made the river-bed, and tried to push our boat to deeper waters. Some futile 15 minutes later we ditched our vessel and trudged our way back to our Tuk-Tuk's, it wasn't a bad way to see a Mangrove Forest and my feet got a lovely mud-bath treatment thrown in for free!
The second trip was a day that could've been 3 or 4 hours rather than 8. Not feeling too well after spraining my ankle the day before and not being the best of passengers on a boat we settled for a few hours on a beach on Koh Kong Island where I laid out in the shade and slept the whole time - headphones in. Nice and peaceful but I was feeling sorry for myself so the last place I wanted to be was on a pretty average beach with a not-so blue lagoon hours away from the mainland. It's amazing how easy it is to dismiss such surroundings when you're used to them but there we go!
Once again we made our way through a Mangrove Forest, this time on a much bigger boat, and once again hit dry land in the middle of a Forest
I felt I deserved my own room, with a bath, hot water, cable TV, comfortable bed & pillow (they rarely come hand in hand out here) and air conditioning. After the sweat-box in Koh Kong and constant interruptions to my nights sleep I was determined to get a good night in Sihanoukville.
What I didn't think was that it would be the last night with Dave and Chris for almost 2 months, a great room wasted thanks to Dolphin Shack, JJ's and a shot of Sambuca....