Unfortunately – primarily only for us – Sihanoukville , while very relaxing, was a slap in the face after the country life we’d been experiencing. It honestly felt like Kuta Beach to us. It was just so strange to head down this rutted dirt road lined with NGO shops and internet cafe’s only to turn at the end and find 3 kms of beach lined with beach chairs and hedonistic tourists clicking their fingers for more beer, massage or cocktail (insert appropriate tourism verb here…). Don't get me wrong, the beach itself is quite lovely but it was just so hard to take after being in "real" Cambodia for a few weeks. It was like everything that is wrong with western tourists going to South East Asia. I literally saw tourists clicking their fingers or abusing the local servers. Disgraceful. What's wrong with people.
We were hoping for some amazing locally caught seafood, but it was to be the last night there before we found any. There are beachside restaurants and bars lining the sand, but they have all learnt to cater to what the tourists want, so if you want to come to a beach in the middle of nowhere and eat Chicken Schnitzel - Sihanoukville is the place for you. It was soul destroying to see the amazing Cambodian food served only off the beach or in little out of the way places. That's where we do usually eat if truth be known, but I just don't get why people come to somewhere outside their comfort zone and then only eat western food. Their loss I guess.
We also saw a really cool house in such a great location that we actually considered for quite some time, moving over there, factory and all. A simpler life always sounds better to me, but Brad needed some time to think about it and has never brought it up again. Cest La Vie..
- Spend the $15 on the day boat trip - but beware of the goat!
- Don't rely on super fast internet. The cafe's are cheap but its not speedy
- Choose accommodation off the beach for a much more affordable stay. Lets face it you have the beach, you don't need a pool.
- Be respectful of the cafe's along the waters edge. The umbrella's and lilo's belong to the cafe and you will need to support them to use the facilities. Don't be like some people we saw who pretended they didn't speak english, refused to move off the sun loungers all day and drank and ate only their own food and water. If you don't want to pay to eat one meal, go and lie on your towel at the other end of the beach.
- Use the time to rejuvenate for the next leg of your trip. If you are heading toward Phnom Penh it is about to get very real and a few days R&R to prepare for that won't go astray.