Sun, sea, and suspicious ravers

With the untimely event of my sister’s selfishly scheduled wedding fast approaching (just kidding sis) James and I have taken the opportunity to spend near a week on the beach mainly relaxing and catching some sunshine. You may think that’s hilarious that we need some time to relax, but I’m telling you, constantly being on the road and exploring is of course wonderful but it’s tremendously exhausting! 

In all the time we have been away, we haven’t yet spent a prolonged period of time just laying around and doing pretty much nothing but working on our tans and drinking beer – so Sihanoukville was the perfect place to trial this lifestyle. I’ve become accustomed to it quite quickly! 

Following the advice of the guy that ran the cinema we visited in Phnom Penh, we headed to Otres 2 beach. It was a wise choice. This beach is full of luxury resorts with beachside infinity pools, bars, restaurants and the most gorgeous views of the blue sea and the surrounding islands. Our backpacker budget hasn’t quite stretched to a luxury resort so we are staying in a budget guest house a couple of streets behind the beach. Regardless, it’s a lovely little place, and we are moments away from a sun lounger at the beach and 75c beer so I have no complaints. We even have air con (woop!). 

We haven’t spent an entire week relaxing however. We took a 3 day self lead excursion to the cities of Kampot and Kep, a two hour scooter journey away. Two hours is not a long road trip, however it is somewhat more uncomfortable on the back of a narrow scooter, in the heat of the sun and on roads that are often little more than dirt tracks. 

Off the beaten track via local farmland – we did wear helmets honest!
Proof of attractive helmet wearing for all concerned parties

The local children shouting a familiar “hello, hello!” from the roadside

Kampot is a pretty riverside city that is home to many expats as well as a large Durian monument.. I’m not sure why, however if you have ever smelt this beloved Asian fruit you’ll be glad to know the monument lacked its trademark stench.

Sunset by the river – Kampot

 We found a bar owned by one of said expats with the Melbourne Grand Prix on and beds upstairs and therefore we were set. He gave us some great tips places to visit during our stay. 

The view from the top of Phnom Bokor mountain
An eery abandoned church on the mountain.
Abandoned hotel and Casino at Phnom Bokor

A further 25 minute drive took us to Kep – home of an incredible crab market and highly recommended seafood. 

Aside from this, Kep will always be remembered by us as the place we almost got our scooter stolen and I panicked about how we were going to get out of paying $1000 to the guy we rented from in order to get our deposit back; a deposit in the form of our most prized possessions – our passports. 

I happily tried to start a scooter and had to begrudgingly get James to come and look because it wouldn’t start. It was at this moment that he told me I was in fact sat on someone else’s scooter, and whilst it was indeed the same model, it actually had several very noteable differences – the presence of a number plate being one. I quickly jumped from the scooter and of course began to panic slightly as there wasn’t another in sight. James wandered off and whilst I was bewildered at first, I was later grateful, as we found the scooter merely 300 feet down the road but with someone’s helmet on it! The key fitted, and when we popped the seat James’s swim trunks and our own helmets were inside. The scooter was conveniently blocked in by a van so we quickly removed the helmet, manouvered it out and rode away only to be immediately ambushed by a couple of screaming locals shouting that we were stealing from them. 

First instinct might tell you to accelerate hard and whizz off into the distance, but without wanting locals to chase us any further or worse the local police spot the scene we stopped, showed them our possessions in the seat, told them they weren’t having it and then proceeded with the whizzing off. A lady said she had just paid to rent it, and maybe she really had and it was an honest mistake on her part to chase us rather than the scammer she paid, but sadly someone had definitely been up to no good. 

Aside from that, we survived near 400km with just a tiny rucksack compared to our normal luggage with only another minor mishap of a puncture! And we have our passports back – phew! 

We have now returned to Otres beach and have resumed sun bathing, snorkelling and possibly beer drinking whilst we plan our return to Thailand. Attending a Jungle Rave was not on our original relaxed itinerary but we have done that too! The midnight storm made it quite the experience and we got a little bit soaked and mud covered! A DJ and fairground in the dark jungle was a first for me but quite the experience – even if we were surrounded by a variety of vacant people that looked as though they had done a lot more than drink too much! 

We ended up writing off the next day and were extremely grateful for our air con. A gentle reminder to us of the reason we don’t party so often any more – we are very bad at recovering from it! 


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