A Cambodian island paradise

On the 25th of January 2018 we got a very hot mini bus to Sihanoukville from Phnom Penh. It was US$8 and took around six hours instead of the four hours advertised. A lesson we learned early on during our travels of South East Asia was to never take a travel time as gospel – adding an hour or two on was always a good idea. It didn’t help that our bus had a Cambodian/American family that got the driver to take a detour through Otres town which is just next to Sihanoukville in a quest for them to find somewhere to stay for the night. We arrived in Sihanoukville and checked in to The Big Easy hostel that was located very near to the pier that would take us to Koh Rong Sanloem the next morning. The hostel was good and we’d happily stay there again. Our rooms were air-conned (a welcome after Phnom Penh and the bar that was attached did a good happy hour and good food as well as being very lively. It had a lot of people in so was obviously just a popular place in the area.

Aside from being in our hostel, we didn’t really see any of Sihanoukville until the next morning when we were on the pier to board our boat to Koh Rong Sanloem. The beach was nice there and the previous time I had been in Sihanoukville years before I had also had a good time there.

Koh Rong Sanloem was a smaller island of the two main Cambodia islands that are located off the coast of Sihanoukville. The other, more established island is Koh Rong and that has a very established backpacker scene whereas Koh Rong Sanloem caters for more of a relaxing vibe whilst still having some bars to have beers and cocktails in each evening. It’s not lacking atmosphere but is incredibly chilled and the beach at Saracen Bay where we were staying was beautiful.

We splurged a little and stayed at the Beach Island Resort in a private bungalow for two nights. We arrived around 12ish and had been able to check in straight away meaning we could maximise our time sunbathing for the rest of the day. Our bungalow consisted of a bed on a raised platform that had a fan and mosquito net in the room but honestly, we didn’t need anything else and the bed was actually very comfy. We also ended up adopting a cat that would sleep outside our door which was very cute and had a jewelled collar so must have belonged to someone living along the beach. We also had really good pizza here made in a proper stone, fire pizza oven that was on the edge of the resort. We hadn’t had pizza in ages so were in heaven!

We spent the net two days sunbathing, paddling in the sea and just generally relaxing. We drank US$1 beers and got our tans back – what more could you want?! The beach was beautiful and I fully understood how you could end up coming for a few days and end up staying for a really long time or finding yourself a job and not leaving at all! We were tempted to set up shop here ourselves so that we didn’t have to leave! (To those at home, don’t worry, we did get on our boat back to the mainland!)

My cousin Cleo had also came to the same island as us for the weekend and so we saw her every now and again in a bar or on the beach. It was really good to see her after being away for over a year and especially when we were both in paradise!

During the night before we were getting the boat back to Sihanoukville to continue our travels north to Kampot, there was a huge thunderstorm. It woke us up and we both just hoped it would be over by the morning seeing as the boats back to the mainland are weather dependent and we had a bus to catch once we were back on the mainland. Luckily, the rain passed by the time we woke up the next morning although it confirmed to us that we had made the right choice in our day to leave as the sand on the beach wouldn’t have been in any condition to sunbathe on and neither was the cloudy sky overhead! We had been lucky with our two days of beautiful blue skies and had the tans to prove it so it was time to leave our slice of paradise.

Sending Love x

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