A five hour bus trip took us from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville on the Cambodian coastline. There were some pretty nice views along the way of the Cambodian countryside.
This is the place to party in Cambodia and a lot of foreigners flock here to drink and chill out. Unfortunately this means that there is a lot of rubbish around the place and you get hassled A LOT by people wanting to sell you things. But if you put that out of your mind you can have a pretty good time. The beach is full of deck chairs and umbrellas for you to hang out on, and an abundance of bars to party the night away.
Unfortunately for me, during my time in Myanmar I got bitten by what seemed like hundreds of bed bugs on an overnight bus. This caused my body to have an allergic reaction because of all the bites, which had been steadily getting worse through our time in Cambodia. So as soon as we arrived in Sihanoukville I headed straight to their small and run down hospital to get checked out. The doctor could not speak a word of English but one of the nurses had some basic knowledge. Luckily my friend Sophie was with me so she could assess what drugs they were giving me (she is a vet). I ended up on a drip for 3 days in the hospital which was pretty disappointing. The doctor would come in each morning and evening, inject me with some more drugs, and then pat my head. The staff there were incredibly friendly and looked after me really well. Luckily the bites and rash cleared up a lot during this time and I got to spend a day on the beach in Sihanoukville.
Due to my stint in hospital we ran out of time to visit the islands off Sihanoukville. This is something I really wanted to do, but hey sometimes things happen and you can’t do everything. We did end up stopping for a night on Koh Kong Island which is a few hours north of Sihanoukville. We ended up catching a ride with a slow boat that was taking supplies to Koh Kong Island, lumped in with mattresses, ducks and chickens. The boat cost us about US$20.
Once we arrived on the island it was paradise. The beach is all white sand and clear blue water and the island is covered in jungle, making the island look kind of dark and mysterious. Kind of like the island on the movie The Beach or the jungles in King Kong, it was pretty incredible. We stayed in a small basic hut just off the shore and basically just soaked up the sun and cooled off in the sea. It was a bit pricier than the other places we had stayed in (in Cambodia) but definitely worth it! If you do come out here, pack some snacks as you can only buy food from one restaurant on the island which can add up pretty quickly.
Luckily when Andrew and some friends visited Sihanoukville in 2015 they got to pop out to Koh Rong Samloem just off the coast. It’s about a US$25 round trip, but definitely worth it to reach an island paradise. It’s all hammock living, clear sea swimming and seafood.
Cost wise our time in this area was cheaper than it should have been (due to the time spent in hospital). Realistically, with all the island visits and cocktails you will want to buy, you’re looking at around NZ$70 (US$50) a day.
Editor’s Note: Visited Cambodia in 2012, updated in 2017.