Under the Casuarina Trees

Sihanoukville Travel Blog

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Our boat
About 9 or 10 of us made a decision the night before hire a boat to an island for the day. There are organized tours but we liked the idea of getting to one island and staying there. I don't remember how much it cost, but it was less than $10 and included lunch. After breakfast, we piled into a truck which was going to take us to our boat. A minute later we arrived at our boat. They drove us to the beach that was literally steps away from our hotel.

When I saw our boat several feet away from the shore, I stared at it, thinking they would move it onto the shore. No such luck, looked like we were going to have to wade to the boat. The boat crew consisted of two guys who looked no older than 16. They carried coolers onto the boat before we got on.
Lovely day at the beach
A few people got on without much trouble and without getting too wet. Then all of a sudden the wind picked up and the waves were huge. Maybe I imagined it, but the boat was all of a sudden much further away. I wasn't worried about getting myself wet, but I really wanted to get my bag on board before I ruined my camera with salt water. One of the tall people got my bag safely on the boat and then I tried to get on. I was knocked down twice by waves that were much taller than me before I was able to get on board.

I sat down, soaked and grumpy until I started to think it was funny that I was in Cambodia battling six foot waves to get on a dinky boat navigated by teenagers to go to some random island. I didn't dry off because as we made our way to the island on choppy seas we were constantly splashed with water.
I laughed nervously and prayed that we would make it there and back safely.

After couple of hours we arrived at Bamboo Island. I could see that the shady boat trip was worth it. It was not completely litter free, but it was much much cleaner than Ochheuteal and surrounded by clear blue water. We rented some beach chairs for about $1 and set up on the beach. There were just a few people on the beach when we got there. It got more crowded as boats showed up and people emerged from their huts (you can stay on the island), but it was never overcrowded. And it was always quiet, I think largely due to the fact that there were no vendors.

We stayed on the beach for a little bit and then the boat crew called us over for lunch. They had set up a picnic area underneath the casuarina trees and made a simple of meal of seasoned grilled fish, salad, a baguette, and a bottles of Coke.
Hammocks swaying in the breeze
We went back to the beach and I went swimming for a bit, something that is rare for me. I love the beach but I hardly ever swim. I couldn't resist the warm clear water.

We stayed until about 3 or 4pm before heading back to the mainland. We had an entertaining addition on our boat, an older hippie type guy who looked as though he'd been roaming through South East Asia for decades and never touched a bottle of sunscreen. We moved really really slowly and made it back to Ochheuteal Beach safely and dryly. We didn't wait around for a ride, we just walked back to the hotel.

After showering, the PIC and I headed down to the beach. We caught a nice sunset and saw the same cute/bratty kid from the day before. I gave him my empty water bottle. We went back to the hotel to see what people were doing for dinner.
I was annoyed that everyone was opting to eat at the hotel yet again. I enjoyed the lunch and the huge prawns I had for dinner there the night before, but I wanted to go somewhere else and see what Sihanoukville had to offer.

Thankfully, the PIC was also interested in going somewhere and we tuk tuked to a restaurant called Holy Cow. It was listed in my guidebook and we had passed by it the day before and it looked interesting. Holy Cow turned out to be a cool place. After we finished dinner, a huge crazy thunderstorm came in and we decided to wait it out before we left. When the rain stopped, we went outside and there were huge puddles everywhere. We found a tuk tuk and went back to the hotel.

Even if Sihanoukville itself didn't live up to people's expectations, our day on the island was incredibly peaceful and scenic. Beach time wasn't my main goal for the trip, but I thought it was a worth it to take a bit of a detour down there while we were traveling on the Indochina circle. If you get to an island or a secluded beach, you can have a wonderful time there.
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Our boat
Our boat
Lovely day at the beach
Lovely day at the beach
Hammocks swaying in the breeze
Hammocks swaying in the breeze
Lunch prepared by boat crew
Lunch prepared by boat crew
Cute/bratty kids at Ochheuteal bea…
Cute/bratty kids at Ochheuteal be…
Cambodian sunset
Cambodian sunset
Serendipity/Ochheuteal beach
Serendipity/Ochheuteal beach