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Sihanoukville Travel Blog

 › entry 46 of 100 › view all entries

Two months in Thailand, and I’ve not been back since. Two months, and in all that time I never managed to get to the beach. I didn’t even see the sea. Sihanoukville is a Cambodian beach resort; nothing of interest there but sand and surf. I had no qualms resting up there for a while.


In Trat, I caught a six o’clock minibus to the border and a boat to town. I hadn’t got an alarm clock and it took all my ingenuity to get up in time for this bus: I forced a coke and half a bottle of water down me before bed, and woke up at four fifteen desperate for a piss. Brilliant, eh? I got the idea from Bart Simpson.


Arrived at the border just after it opened, to scenes of general chaos. People lugged produce everywhere as I got stamped out of Thailand and into no man’s land. A moto driver befriended me as I walked towards Cambodian immigration; out of the goodness of his heart he filled in my visa application for me, copying the details out of my passport. My visa was a rip-off: had I got it in Bangkok it would have cost me twenty dollars but here it cost me closer to thirty-five. Everyone was paying over the odds and there wasn’t much I could do.


A moto is just a motorcycle taxi, and my moto driver ushered me onto his bike. I’d never ridden a motorbike before. We stopped at a money changer who sold me seventy thousand Cambodian rials for a thousand Baht: barely half what I was owed. My own silly fault for not checking the exchange rate. Spent twenty more dollars on a ticket for the boat to Sihanoukville, and we left pretty much on time.


Even though I’d somehow bagged an extra legroom seat, this boat ride was pretty crap. A long covered boat designed for sailing on calm lakes, full of aeroplane-style seats with only a couple of exits; a lot of people are going to die sooner or later when one of those goes down. There was nothing to see from the window but low, scrubby jungle a few hundred yards away, and the Gulf of Thailand on the other side.


After four hours we arrived in the Sihanoukville, and I showed my passport one more time before striking off into town. Except there was no town. Everything in Sihanoukville is miles from everything else. A moto driver took me Occheutal beach, dropping me at a place where he was very keen for me to take a room. No ta. The place next door cost twenty dollars a night so I walked on, pestered by touts every step of the way.


After quite a while, I found a bar/restaurant place with a little hut, right on the beach. They’d give me free accommodation if I ate my meals there, and that was fine by me. Had lunch and a bottle or two of yet another good Asian beer: Angkor this time, brewed right here in town.


I had an engagement that night: meeting Travbuddy mainstay Deats, who I already knew off a certain messageboard where he likes to spend his time shooting his mouth off and abusing Irish Man Utd fans. I turned up at the open-air bar where we’d arranged to meet but I couldn’t see anyone who looked like his picture and I was too cowardly to go round asking. Oh well. Stayed there all night anyway.

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