Welcome back to the next Chapter of my travel in Cambodia.
I took a bus from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh, the country’s capital city. I only stayed here one night because I missed the sea in this hot weather so much. Phnom Penh has some nice attractions like museums and a variety of historical monuments that I would’ve actually liked to see and so I thought I will come back after the Islands and then go from here to Vietnam with a bus. But like so often on my travel, my plan changed and I didn’t end up going back. The city is very big and also very dirty. I didn’t like it there too much so I was happy to leave the next day.
From Phnom Penh I took a bus to Sihanoukville, just a one day stay so I could get an early ferry to the island. Sihanoukville is not that nice either. The chainese own most of the place, everything is even written in chainese and khmer and it’s very dirty with a lot of construction sides. The next day I finally went on the ferry to Koh Rong Sanloem.
Koh Rong Sanloem
I arrived in the north of the island in a small fisher village called M’Pai Bay. My hostel was 5 min from the beach and it’s called the Twisted Gecko. It’s a very nice place, the owners are both from Britain and I felt very welcomed. I had some bananas from the mainland with me and Yams, one of the owners, told me that the guy who runs the hostel across the street makes banana cake. So I went over and asked if I could make a banana cake with him. I spend my first day making a banana cake in a pot over the fire. It was actually very simple but fascinating to me because I never thought about baking a cake in this way. It was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed it! He actually does a lot of baking and cooking over the fire for his guests and taught me how to make peanut butter as well (even though I was actually not one of his guests he always welcomed me with open arms)
On my first day I met a German girl in the hostel and as we thought about what to do today Yams offered to show us a waterfall near by. So Franzi and I waited until he was able to leave. We then walked up towards the mountains through the little Cambodian village that is located a bit further inland than the tourist places. After we passed the village we entered a small trail into the forest. We only hiked a little bit but I think I wouldn’t have found it on my own. We arrived to a little pool and a small but very pretty waterfall. The water was cool and refreshing and deep enough to swim a little. We were all alone, surrounded by nature and enjoyed a relaxing afternoon.
After this wonderful experience we went back to the hostel and had a relaxed and chill evening playing Mario card.
As I woke up the next morning the sky was pretty gray. I went to the little cliff bar where I did my yoga workout every morning which gave me good energy for the day. Back in the hostel I took my time and talked with Franzi until in the afternoon the sun came out again. So I went to the beach to lay in the sun for the rest of the day.
The next day I booked a boat tour to the Sunset Beach on the west coast. There are only few trails through the jungle, so all the beaches on this island are separated from each other. On this boat tour we had 3 snorkeling stops and of course a longer break on the Sunset Beach. While driving around the island we were able to see the beautiful untouched nature of koh Rong Sanloem. It’s known as the snake island so there are not that many birds on it. The jungle mountains that stretch over the island make it impossible to cross it by foot. It was so relaxing driving along the cost and seeing this beautiful peace of art called nature… A little bit before the Sunset Beach the boat stopped and all the passengers got their snorkel equipment. We could snorkel from there to the beach as long as we wanted. Of course I had my little action camera with me to take some nice pictures of the underwater world. Although the first snorkel spot was a bit blurry, due to the storm two weeks ago, I was still able to see some fish and choral.
When I got out of the water I arrived at a long and beautiful white sand beach. There are only two hostels there and some tents for rent. One is real shut off from the outside word on this beach. I think there is a hiking trail to a beach on the other side of the island but mostly if you want to go somewhere else you have to take a taxi boat. We stayed there for like 3 hours so I relaxed at the beach and enjoyed a mango banana smoothie.
At around 4 o’clock we headed out again to the second snorkel spot not far from Sunset beach. The water here was a lot clearer and I saw an even more beautiful and fascinating scenario of coral, fish and sea urchin.
Sadly at this spot there were very few fish and as soon as I came near them they swam away so I just stopped trying to get a picture of them. The next stop was not too far from our beach and from there we could see the sunset as well. We all jumped in the water again to do some snorkeling before it would’ve been too dark. At this point I was already a bit tiered so I didn’t snorkel that long.
As it was my first time making pictures under water a lot of them are a bit blurry but now I know for the next time how to improve my fotografic skills. After watching the sunset we returned to the pier of M’Pai Bay. I have to say this day was perfect. I had great company, an adventures trip under water and a relaxing afternoon at the beach. Right now I’m truly tasting the sweetness of life!
While I was on my boat trip, Franzis friend Jassi arrived. So today we all together went to the Clear Water Beach the most beautiful beach on this island. It’s a 40 min hike from the village and the humidity in the jungle makes it feel like 40 degrees. Otherwise I really enjoyed the hike and it’s so worth it! We arrived at a beautiful white beach with very few people there. I’ve never seen such white sand and the water is so clear! It was so nice and easy to swim there and it felt like being completely weightless. We relaxed at the beach and swam all day.
On my (planed) last day it rained all morning so my plan to go to the Clear Water Beach again was overthrown and we stayed in the hostel mostly playing Mario Card. In the afternoon the sun came out a little so we went to the beach near the village. After that we had dinner at one of the restaurants on the coast. My stay here was very nice and I enjoyed it very much. Little did I know by that time that I would spent another three nights on the island. In this night I couldn’t sleep at all, I had fever, was shivering, had to throw up and had very bad stomach cramps. The next morning I was way too waek to go anywhere. I don’t really know from what but I was pretty sure I got food poisening. Luckily I had some medication and I also got some from the hostel. So this day I stayed in bed all day just sleeping and drinking water or tea. The next day I already felt a little bit better so that I was able to eat a little and go out to the beach in the afternoon. On my final last day I was already feeling good again and enjoyed the day on the beach under the trees. But my stomach is still a little bit upset, it takes up to two weeks until it’s fully recovered. When I left the island I was a bit sad because this place was somehow magical to me and I think I could’ve stayed there for at least another week but my time is short and I still have to go to Vietnam.
My last days in Cambodia
From Sihanoukville I took a way too full bus to Kampot. It’s a city lokated at a riwer and it’s the most clean one I’ve been to so far. It’s not very big, the people are very friendly and everywhere are small shops, cafes and restaurants which gives this city a neat flair. My hostel was a bit out of town so it was nice and quiet and the walk to the city center was only 20 minutes by foot. The good thing was that one could also rent motorbikes or order food from the hostel so if you’re really lazy you can just stay there all day ;). But since I only stayed there three nights I wanted to do some tours and side seeing. The first day I made one of the tours that were offered from the hostel. I was the only one who wanted to do it that day so it was just me and the tour guide. He is actually from Germany and lives in Kampot for five months now. Our first stop was the Tempel cave. It’s located 30 min out of town. The entrance of the cave was a bit further up the mountain and when we climbed all the stairs we arrived at a big entrance. The Tempel is known to be the oldest in Cambodia and its actually already a wart of the cave now.
Further in the back starts the labarinth of the cave. Two Cambodian boys guided us through and I have to say this was really a challenge for me. The path we took was very tight and small so one had to climb and crawl. I actually don’t feel very comfortable with small spaces but I overcame my fear and for that I was really proud and happy when we got out.
After this successfull adventure we drove to a beautiful lake for a drink break. There is not much to say to this trip but I think the pictures say more than 100 words anyways.
Our next stop was now the pepper farm. Kampot is known to have the best pepper in the world. When we arrived at the farm a British volunteer showed me the pepper plantations. They grow them around a brick column to make sure the plants grow straight up and keep them in the shadow with a net.
The guide told me that in the Khemer Rouge era all this land was abandoned and it was not allowed to grow pepper anymore. So after this suppresion the people were afraid to return to their old homes because a lot of land was still in the possession of Khemer Rouge officials who continued living there. This land was brought only 10 years ago from a french/Cambodian couple. The pepper farmers then had to first relearn the pepper growing techniques that kind of got forgotten through the dark past. It takes a lot of skill and constant observation to make the pepper right. They need the right about of sun, water and space. When they are ready to be harvested they pick the green ones first to make the black pepper and the red ‚fruit‘ to make the red and white pepper. When I tried it, it was much stronger then the pepper I know from Germany.
To finish this adventures day perfectly and relaxed we went to a hotel where one can swim in the infinity pool in exchange for having a meal there. The hotel is located 5 min from the pepper farm right in the mountains. From the pool I had a beautiful view over the landscape and the food I had was good and quiet cheap. I think this was a very nice way to finish my trip in Cambodia!
Cambodia was very adventurous for me and I certainly learned a lot. The nature here is just breath-taking and the people are mostly very friendly and generous as well! I enjoyed my travel here a lot and I’m so thankful to be so fortunate to do it!
Thank you Cambodia and maybe see you soon.
I wish you all a nice and relaxed day ❤️