Beaches, boats, and booze: The Sihanoukville Edition

Cambodia’s calendar has been woefully lacking in public holidays for the past couple of months. Thankfully that changed this week when we were granted a day off on Monday because of the Buddhist festival Meak Bochea. It had been over a year since I had been to Sihanoukville, the biggest coastal town in Cambodia so a group of friends and I decided to plan a trip there.

1935954_10107241090273920_5014088963916201632_n

Party bus! (Photo credit to Rachel and my iPhone torch)

We hired a van and left on Friday night, driving through the dark roads at much faster speeds than the congested day time traffic would allow. There were lots of us going down: me, Rachel, Gloria, Robin, Shelby, Phaline, Varsha, Liz, Hayley, and Tom. We reached the beach by 11:30pm and gratefully breathed in lungfuls of warm salty air. As someone who grew up near the coast, I miss it greatly.

I was sharing a bungalow with Rachel (bestie for the restie) and once we had checked in, we returned to the beach and grabbed a few beers to celebrate our arrival. The beach we had chosen to stay at is called Otres and is a little further down the coast than the main drag, Ocheteaul or Serendipity. The area is generally quieter, cleaner and the atmosphere more relaxed which is exactly what we were looking for.

P1110526

Besties for the resties

Saturday morning saw us sunbathing on the beach, swimming in the warm, clear waters and drinking coconut shakes. It was topped off by a wonderful back massage, the oil of which led to me getting rather badly sunburnt but shhhh, don’t tell my mum!

In the afternoon, I took a tuk tuk over to Ocheteaul beach which, by perfect coincidence, was where Sovann Komar were enjoying their annual holiday. I met up with all the parents and children and played with them in the water for a couple of hours. I also took a frisbee over and had great fun in the surf with some of the children. As always, I managed to capture a few candid shots of their happiness.

P1110500

Lily, Lucy and Veasa laughing in the surf

P1110381

High five Kanya!

Saturday evening saw Rachel and I passing out on our bed. Let’s blame the sun for our pathetic attempt to go out and party. We made it as far as the corner store to buy Oreos and Haribo and then returned to our balcony and drank vodka and pomegranate juice we had bought from home. Frankly, we needed to recuperate after several long weeks at work and the early night was exactly what the doctor ordered.

P1110522

Besties for the resties

Sunday was … interesting. Jordan and Sophorn had travelled down to join us on Saturday afternoon and we had all decided to book a boat trip. I, however, had momentarily forgotten I hate boats. I do that sometimes. This was an unfortunate time to forget however as the crossing to the first island was by far the worst boat journey I have ever been on. We were close to capsizing several times and the boat took on so much water our driver was bailing it out for about twenty minutes once we arrived at our destination. The swell and the waves crashed around us, soaking everything on the boat. Luckily Shelby had a dry bag so our phones and my camera was safe. My heart rate however, was not.

P1110549

Our cool and collected boat driver before the waves got completely mental!

As soon as we reached the calm water by a cliff jump, I dived off the boat. It might sound irrational to be afraid of boats as someone who is such a strong swimmer but I guess irrationality is the hallmark of a phobia. Anyway, as soon as I was in the clear, deep water, I felt a million times better. I didn’t do the cliff jumping because I’m also afraid of heights. At this point I was wondering why I’d agreed to go on the boat trip at all.

P1110546

The boat from hell … pre-hell

Our next stop was just around the corner on the same island and was far more to my liking. It was a beautiful beach, and we spent the afternoon there. Sunbathing, swimming, frisbee-ing, eating dinner prepared on the boat, playing drinking games and being interrupted by a grotesquely fat cow, and generally having an awesome time.

12744028_10107243393288660_3021309178575993675_n

A frisbee, Phaline, Shelby, Rachel, Varsha, and me (Photo credit to Rachel)

P1110558

What? The cow wanted some Jim Beam and Coke too!

Even the dreaded journey back to Otres couldn’t take away from the wonderful afternoon. And, in fact, the trip back was much calmer, the wind having died down and the sea flattering out immeasurably. Sunday evening saw us eating at a beach barbecue place I had first visited in 2009. Ah memories. Oh and I also broke my toe tripping over a rock sticking out of the sand. And before you ask, I’d drunk one beer.

P1110532

L.O.V.E.

Monday morning involved yet more sunbathing. Rachel and I walked down to the far end of Otres which is even quieter. We found a beach side restaurant that served Pimms and settled on our sun loungers with bags of freshly cut mango, pineapple, and watermelon. Leaving to go back to the hustle and bustle of Phnom Penh was certainly done with some reluctance. I love this city and I love my job but the relaxing, laid-back, and carefree lifestyle at the beach is something I already miss. Ah well, I guess I’ll just have to go back again soon!

P1110560

The island beach

IMG_4981

Fresh mango

IMG_4976

A small island off the coast of Otres

P1110544

When your boat’s battery doesn’t work …

12744660_1141679699177034_7018905304090339895_n

3, 2, 1, Jump!

P1110541

Sunset!

P1110513

Waves are scary

P1110410

Frisbee

P1110442

Jim playing in the surf

P1110471

Jumping

P1110347

Ava knows how to stay safe

P1110339

Anne, Gabriel and Angie

P1110358

More frisbee fun

P1110388

Rachana is keeping cool …

P1110386

Angie being cute

Advertisements
Categories: Adventure, Beach, Beaches, beer, Cambodia, children, Day Trips, Desert Island, drinking, Expat, Exploring, Friends, Friendships, Fun, orphanage, Party, partying, school, seaside, Sihanoukville, South East Asia, Tourism, Travel, weekend | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Post navigation

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: