To celebrate my birthday this year, Chris and I decided to escape the hustle and bustle of Phnom Penh and head to the coast for a few days. Which in Cambodia tends to mean a bus ticket to Sihanoukville, Cambodia’s number one beach resort. Although Sihanoukville receives mixed reviews due to some of the dubious antics it attracts, we’ve been a few times and always managed to find the right type of places to enjoy ourselves. During our first visit we visited some remote islands off the coast. This time round I was keen to explore some other beaches in Sihanoukville, such as Otres beach and Sokha beach.
Even though it is the rainy season in Cambodia at the moment, it usually only rains for half an hour or so each afternoon, so we thought we would manage to catch a decent amount of sun by the beach. But we should have known what was to come when our bus journey took an hour longer than anticipated due to flooded streets. The combination of massive potholes and flooding is not exactly the ideal condition for traveling by bus. It was a very long and bumpy ride, but we made it in the end.
When we arrived in Sihanoukville in the afternoon it immediately started to rain, and proper rain too. I thought that this would be the usual half-hour afternoon downpour, but when it was still raining two hours later I got a bit concerned. We checked out some weather websites and to our horror we found out that a mini cyclone was making its way to Cambodia and it wouldn’t stop for two days. So much for checking out some beaches.
So what do you do, when it is raining all the time? That’s right, drown your sorrow in some of the beach bars on Serendipidy beach. It was my birthday after all. We weren’t the only ones with that idea, so we had a really good night actually. Chris had such a good time that he actually fell asleep in one of the beach bar’s lounge chairs and didn’t wake up until 6am the next morning. When will he learn that he is not 21 anymore (or even 31, for that matter)?
The next morning it stopped raining for a few hours so I took my chance to wander around to take some photos of Ocheteaul beach, which is the beach where local Cambodians tend to hang out. It was filled with street food vendors selling the freshest and most delicious sea food. This beach is quite the contrast to the backpacker hangout of Serendipidy. It is more of a family affair with local children enjoying hours of fun on blown up car tires or banana boats. At lunch time it started getting very cloudy again, so I decided to go back to our hotel to check out on my husband and nurse his hangover (or failing that, laugh at his pathetic-ness). As expected it didn’t stop raining for the rest of the day, so to cheer us up we went to a nearby German restaurant for some much needed schnitzel, goulasch and potato salad, followed by a few cheap drinks down Sihanoukville’s very own Khao San road – Serendipity road.
The weather finally improved on the third day and so we were able to go to the most divine beach in Sihanoukville (in my opinion) – Otres beach. Otres is a few kilometers away from the more crowded beaches near the main town. There were only a handful of backpackers around and so we had the amazing deserted beach and the cute little restaurants all to ourselves. It was pure relaxation and bliss after the wash-out of the first couple of days.
On our final day the weather was also holding up, so we decided to treat ourselves to some delicious lunch at the exclusive Sokha Beach resort and make use of their amazing pool and private beach. This is by far the cleanest beach in Sihanoukville with soft sand and no beach vendors to disturb you every 10 minutes. It was the perfect place to end our quest to discover Sihanoukville’s beaches.
Have you ever been traveling during the rainy season, or even worse, been to a beach in the UK during a ‘summer’ bank holiday?