Krong Ko kong, Sihanoukville, Kampot & Kep
21.10.2012 - 04.11.2012
Our next stop was Krong Ko Kong, a coastal town on the border between Cambodia and Thailand. The town itself was fairly small and quiet, with not a great deal to do apart from its main attraction of a boat trip to the uninhabited island of Koh Kong. We booked onto a boat trip the day after we arrived and set off early in the morning to the island. On the way to the island we passed some amazing beaches lined with palm trees, completely deserted, so we had high expectations of the beach we were heading to. Unfortunately, the beach we arrived at wasn’t as nice as the ones we had passed on the way, the beach was pretty narrow and full of washed up plants and seaweed but the water was still nice so we had a snorkel armed with a harpoon gun! Unsurprisingly, the fish were safe as we couldn’t work out how to use it and Josh took the elastic harpoon band to the chops whilst trying to arm it!
We then were called over for our fancy seafood barbeque we were promised. This was a bit of an anticlimax as there no barbeque and the just brought over a plate of shrimps and some rice. Also, we had been promised free drinking water all day on the boat but after the four hour boat trip there, we then found out they hadn’t brought any water with them! They had to boil some of the stream water up for us which came out warm and brown, not the most thirst quenching drink after snorkeling and sunbathing in the midday sun! Before we left the Island we went on a small trek up a stream to some fresh water pools.
The journey back was a bit of a nightmare, we didn’t return until it was pitch black and it took about 5 hours, when we were told it would be 2 hours! We managed to get some money back and this paid for our bus down to Sihanoukville which we took the following day.
Sihanoukville is well known as a coastal party destination and is full of backpackers keen to take advantage of the cheap alcohol and beach front bars. Needless to say we made the most of this and had a couple of nights out drinking Mekong whisky buckets and playing beer pong on the beach! We stayed at a good guesthouse called monkey republic which was run by four lads from Cambridge who moved out to Cambodia a few years ago. It was cheap and lively with good food.
Our days here were spent chilling at Otres beach which was a short tuk tuk ride down the coast and was a lot quieter and cleaner than the hectic Sihanoukville beachfront. When it was raining or when we were feeling worse for wear, we made good use of the cinema rooms where you could watch films in a private room with comfy chairs, popcorn and air-con! We also managed to watch the weekends football in a bar on a big screen, where to our surprise, the ex-Chelsea, Portsmouth and West Ham manager Avram Grant was sat behind us enjoying a beer with the football! Rob shamelessly asked him for a picture but to his disappointment, the flash didn’t go off so the beautiful moment couldn’t be captured.
A short boat journey from Sihanoukville was the Island of Koh Rong (a.k.a Monkey Island). We stayed here at a place called treehouse bungalows where you could stay in seafront or tree top wooden bungalows that looked out to an incredible view of other islands. We stayed here for one night and soaked up the sun on the stunning beaches of the island where we snorkeled and ate barracuda fish in the chilled atmosphere.
We then moved on down the coast to Kampot where we hired motorbikes and rode through Bokor national park 10km outside the town. This was the first time we had been on motorbikes here and within 5 minutes we were soaked through after the heavens opened! We filled up a full tank of petrol and headed up the mountainous 45km road through the national park. The views were unbelievable throughout the park, we stopped regularly to take some snaps and take in the amazing scenery. The road itself was great fun, we bombed around hairpin bends and raced each other to the top! On the way we saw waterfalls, large Buddha statues and old French colonial buildings that were used as casinos/hotels before the civil war. At the highest points you could see for miles and with the clouds below you, these were some of the most stunning views we had seen on our trip so far.
After getting carried away and being far to heavy handed with the throttle on the way up, we realized at the top that we were all pretty much on empty tanks so we had to coast it on the way down and gamble that we would make it home!
About 30km down the coast was the small fishing town of Kep, world renowned for its fresh crab. Here we hired motorbikes and explored the coastal road and Kep national park, where we rode around the dirt tracks admiring the views. We visited a temple at the top of a large hill and looked out onto the coast as the sun was going down. On our way home we got some incredible views of the sunset and made our way to the famous crab market, with restaurants on the waterfront where we had lunch and dinner. The crab lived up to its reputation and was delicious.........which was nice.
From Kep we went on a day trip to Rabbit Island, a 30 minute boat ride off the coast. We had a cracking day here, chilling on a beautiful beach, throwing a ball around, reading in hammocks, playing volleyball surrounded by tall palm trees, bamboo huts and jungle in the background, a great way to end our journey through Cambodia which has been nothing short of sublime!
Next stop, Vietnam!
Keep it in third,
Karl, Meredith and Griffith