Cambodia is the land of public holidays and we were lucky to have two major bank holidays in November. The perfect time to get to know local culture and history, and of course to explore a bit more of Cambodia by checking out the remote Bamboo Island.
The 9th November marks the day when Cambodia gained independence from France in 1953. It is a public holiday in Cambodia and people celebrate it in the area around the Independence Monument, which was built to mark this special day. The locals celebrated it with live music and a firework display. We really enjoyed it, but did a little faux pas in that we had a pint in a French-run bar (unknowingly of course). Ooops! 😉
A proud flag at Independence Monument, Phnom Penh
Ooo, ahh, au-revoir
What better way to celebrate the Water Festival – a three day bank-holiday from 10-11 November – than a trip to Sihanoukville, a lovely little seaside town on the south west coast of Cambodia. We took a bus and after four hours we arrived in paradise. The beach near our hotel was fairly busy because of the bank holiday so we decided to find some more secluded beaches in Sihanoukville for some snorkeling and swimming. We went to Bamboo Island, which was stunning. Only a handful of families live on Bamboo Island so it is like a deserted island really. There was no soul in sight apart from a few monks who enjoyed their annual holiday. They were having lots of fun, as the photos below show. Interacting with the monks made Bamboo Island an even more special visit actually.
In the evening we ended up in a local beach bar, where we were the only Westerners and therefore got a lot of attention. We were given drinks and food by the locals and were invited to dance with them and take part in ‘moving chairs’, which was great fun. We still can’t quite believe how warm and open the Cambodians are. Absolutely amazing! We definitely enjoyed our time in Sihanoukville.
Fishing boats in Sihanoukville
'The moon is out early tonight', said one surprised fish to another. ;)
Commando monks, the most tranquil amphibious force in the world
Looks like monks can't walk on water
Health and safety monks with matching orange life vests
Tammy & Chris are a couple hailing from Germany and England, meaning between them they are efficient and polite, but unable to talk about football. Find out why they stopped pushing pens around the British civil service to travel the world on their blog.
We are a couple hailing from Germany and England, meaning between us we are efficient and polite, but unable to talk about football. In 2011 we left the rat-race in London behind to work in international development and see the world.