Even the paradise of Lonely Beach couldn’t convince us to stay in one place very long. We have a friend who recently moved to Sihanoukville, so we decided to take a mini van there from Koh Chang. There is nothing I can write about the border scams in Cambodia that hasn’t already been written before. Fortunately, we were well informed and only had to pay the $1 “health certificate fee” and an extra $2 on our visa but they tried every trick in the book.
The dirt roads near the border were bad. The recent rains had created holes in the road large enough to swallow a motorcycle but other than that, the trip from the border wasn’t too bad. We stopped once for drinks and snacks and I discovered that chili powder on pineapple is delicious.
The sun had set by the time we arrived in Sihanoukville last night. Tuk Tuk drivers swarmed the bus before it had even fully stopped and began grabbing for suitcases and backbacks. We weren’t quite sure how far the bus station was from the center of town but we knew our hotel was on the Golden Lion Circle so I was sure we would at least recognise that landmark when we passed it. That didn’t stop the driver from trying to get us to go to a different guesthouse. At one point he stopped the tuk tuk near the circle and started arguing with us but luckily I looked across the road saw the sign for the Panda Guesthouse and we got out there. He charged us $5 which I later learned was too much and then tried to collect a commission from the guesthouse owner which didn’t work since we had booked online.
The owner of the guesthouse upgraded us to a better room. The WIFI didn’t work in our room but it worked fine on the terrace down the hall and in the bar downstairs.
We were starving so we asked the owner for a recommendation on where to eat. He suggested an Italian restaurant that had just opened down the street and we decided to go for it since we were too tired to really explore the town. The side street he sent us down was dark and we weren’t sure how much farther the restaurant was. I started to get nervous and then we saw a shadowy figure headed straight for us. We decided to head back towards the main street and noticed that the person was following us. I was really starting to worry when I heard a familiar voice calling our names. Yes, it was our friend Tristan that we had come to visit. It turned out that he was working in a bar next door to the Italian restaurant and had seen us walk past.
We stayed at the bar for a couple of hours and had some fantastic food from the restaurant next door, which is run by two expats. Tristan filled us in on all the best places to go in Sihanoukville and what scams to watch out for.
Now it is early afternoon and I’m sitting in a coffee shop with the best coffee and icy air conditioning. The WIFI in this cafe is fantastic and the menu is filled with tempting ice cream drinks. I might sit here until the day cools off a bit.