International Wanderings: Cambodia – Sihanoukville & Siem Reap (Angkor Wat)

Hi all,

After we got off the ferry from Koh Rong, we were now in Sihanoukville (Snooky). This place became incredibly popular after the Laos river tubing got shut down. Dustin, Shawn’s best friend and our current travel mate, had been to SEA on two trips previously and on one of those trips had worked for one of the bars on the Laos river. Through facebook and other social media he had kept in contact with some old friends from this time and they had all moved down here (Snooky) after the river shut down.

We quickly found a hotel, ate some food, and headed to Serendipity beach to explore the shops and bars along the water. The one he was most excited about, and where all of his friends said to go for a good time was Dolphin Shack. By far the busiest bar on the beach! It was a good time! And they invited us to go on their booze cruise that was scheduled for two days from then. We weren’t sure how long we would stay in Snooky, but were happy to stay for this.

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The next day we rented scooters and headed off on a trek to find the ‘waterfall’ just outside of town. This turned into a long trek on a dusty dirt road full of pot holes. Not fun for when you’re all doubling on scooters. We made it to the waterfall, but like in Chiang Mai, we were a bit disappointed again. Very lackluster, we didn’t even take any photos. On the way back we passed the Angkor Brewery and stopped to see if we could take a tour! We couldn’t but we did get some sweet photos out front!

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Once back in town we decided to go check out Otres beach. The map led us on a real trek to get there (or it could have been my map reading…) but we eventually made it! We were happy to have some late afternoon drinks and snacks and play frisby in the water for a bit before making the trek back to our hotel. We found a store that was filled with american candy and chocolate so we brought a bunch back to our hotel and just pigged out and watched some action movie that happened to be in English.

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The next morning was booze cruise time! These guys were serious. Before anyone was allowed on the boat they had to shot gun a beer! Unfortunately, the sun didn’t come out while we were on the cruise but it was fun none the less. Lots of dancing and of course, boozing. We all jumped off the boat when we got close to an island and swam to shore to complete a boat race, where all the girls sat in one line and all the guys sat in another. Everyone has a drink and you can’t start drinking it until the person in front of you has finished their’s and put the cup on their head. The boys won, but I think we fared pretty well! We all swam back to the boat and the drinking and dancing continued as we headed back to shore. Overall, the cruise was a good couple of hours! Would definitely recommend if you’re wanting a little party in Sihanoukville!

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The next morning we checked out and hopped on a bus to head to Siem Reap. I was sooo excited about seeing Angkor Wat! We checked into a nice hotel – but lacking a pool. This ended up being just fine and actually a good tip! Our hotel was fairly nice but because it didn’t have a pool it was actually pretty cheap! The hotel across the road did have a pool and as long as we bought a beer or a cocktail, they had no problem letting us swim and relax there during the day.

Finally it was time to go to the temples! We left the hotel at 4:30 am in order to get there before sunrise, as per our hired tuk tuk driver’s advice. We thought we had the inside scoop and were going to get this whole temple all to ourselves! Wrong! Literally every tourist in Siem Reap was there that morning waiting to watch the sunrise. It was verrryyyy beautiful, so who could blame them? The temples were gorgeous! My biggest regret is not either hiring a guide or buying a guide book. As beautiful everything was, I still felt removed from it. I wanted to know the details behind each temple! I feel like this seems obvious, and I’m kicking myself for not reading up on the history more.

Angkor Wat Sunrise

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Back in Siem Reap we spent the evening wandering through the markets – do yourself a favour and go into the jewelry stalls! So much shiny glitter! Don’t get ripped off though! I can’t guarantee the jewelry is not authentic, but I can’t guarantee it is either. So please don’t pay too much on that ‘gold’ necklace that ends up turning your neck green. But do go in there and purchase the admittedly fake emeralds that don’t cost you much.

After the markets we went to Pub street (yes, that is actually what it is called!) and went to a fun bar called Angkor WHATTTT. We yelled that a lot. Siem Reap actually has a really fun party scene! If we had more time I think I would have loved to stay there longer. It’s such an unexpectedly beautiful city.

While we were there, Shawn and I were getting a bit concerned about how slowly my ankle was healing. We ended up asking a tuk tuk driver to take us to a clinic to get an x-ray done. We went to three different ones before we found one that had an x-ray machine and were able to take us. This was somewhat difficult to communicate but everyone was so nice and wanted to help that they kept telling us different clinics to try. Our extremely sweet tuk tuk driver was so concerned about my ankle! It was adorable, he ended up only charging us the originally agreed to price to take us to the first clinic! The doctor at the clinic was so nice! And thankfully, spoke perfect english! He reviewed my x-ray photos and confirmed it was a sprain, nothing more. He gave me some extra strength aspirin and a velcro/foam wrap that was easy to put on and take off. I was pretty thankful for this, as we had been wrapping my ankle with hockey tape before! Hockey tape fixes everything though.

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Cambodia and I were not the best of friends. The people there were certainly some of the nicest we met; butttt I had the worst luck!! Like I said previously: I got food poisoning; sprained my ankle; and to top it all off on the bus from Siem Reap to cross the Thai border my phone was stolen!! Yeap, worst luck! A lot of people said Cambodia was their favourite country in SEA, so please give it a shot if you’re in the area! Hopefully your experience in the country is better than mine! Not that I can really blame all my bad luck on the country; just my silly actions.

Have you been to Cambodia? Did you love it?

xoxo Alice Rose