Cambodian Beaches

Date: 28/04/2007 | Author: Gabby

We didn't intend to visit the beaches in Cambodia. We had been told they were a bit rough and with (we hope) a lot of beach time in Vietnam, we felt we didn't need to. However, after 4 days in Siem Reap in soaring heat the last thing we wanted to do was head straight to Phnom Penh.
After a 6 hour bus ride from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh and a 3 hour car journey from there, we arrived at Sihanoukville's Serendipity beach in time for a quick swim before the sun set. A gorgeous crescent shaped, white sanded beach dotted with bungalows, beach bars and restaurants. We checked in to 2 adjoining (and expensive) rooms right on the beach front at House of Malibu, just for 2 nights to give us the chance to look for something else.
We had a quick dip in the sea and within minutes Florence complaied that she had been stung by something - we got straight out and headed back to our room. She wasn't screaming with pain but by the time we got back I saw that she had a huge welt across her tummy - a nasty jelly fish sting and not a great start to our first Asian beach!
The next morning, Dave and I went for a dip before the girls woke up. The gorgeous beach was littered with rubbish - plastic bags, disposable nappies, plastic bottles - loads of stuff. I don't think the rubbish is there all the time, it's a tidal thing, but we saw very few bungalow owners cleaning the area in front of their patch. It's a real shame, tourists have only been coming to this area in the past few years, I hope the Khmers (and ex-pat) business owners address it before the tourists decide not to come back.
We had been recommended a place on the next beach down, Otres Beach, so moved there the next day. We checked in to our hillside bungalow at the Queen Hill Resort and again jumped straight in to the (much cleaner) sea. Within seconds the girls were screaming that they had been bitten. Sea lice! They are little mosquito like creatures and thei bites itch for ages. So we all ran out again. I was really upset 'cos I thought we'd really stuffed up by moving. The girls were fine after a while and far more concerned about me being upset than they were about their bites. I just longed to be in cold temperate oceans rather than warm, tropical ones!! We spent the afternoon on a small boat snorkelling off one of the outlying islands. No sea lice, no jelly fish, just lovely and the girls have become great little snorkellers.
Just off the coast of Sihanoukville is Bamboo Island, one of the few Cambodian Islands with overnight accommodation. We kept our (cheap) bungalows at Otres beach and armed with day bags took the 1 hour boat ride out to the island for an overnight stay. What can I say - it was gorgeous and in itself was worth the trip to the Cambodian beaches. Very reminiscent of Thai beaches 20 years ago - no electricity (power supplied by generators), palm trees, golden sands, turquoise seas - perfect!
We were in one of 10 bungalows at Bamboo Island Resort, owned by the same people who run Coasters, one of the better accommodations on Serendipity Beach. The food was great, the staff lovely, the bungalows basic but clean with balconies and hammocks - we felt we had arrived in paradise and were all gutted we could only stay there one night.
Bamboo island is the destination for lots of day trippers, but once they had left, we pretty much had the island to ourselves (only 2 other couples were there). There are 3 different bungalow operations on the island, I am sure within a few years there will be more. I just hope, by then, the Khmers have learnt to really look after this bit of paradise.

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