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open mind, empty stomach

travel, food, and fun

There are many popular tourist destinations in Cambodia, and Sihanoukville ranks among them. It is not famous for its rich culture or history (the place was only created about 60 years ago), instead it is known for its beaches, close-by islands, and heavy party scene. Coming from a tropical island, a place like this is not exactly what I’m looking for on vacation. I had planned on avoiding Sihanoukville altogether, but the Vietnam consulate is located there and it is the fastest way to get a visa. After a 5 hour bus ride from PP, I arrived at the Sihanoukville bus terminal. As usual, legions of tuktuk and motorbike drivers converged on us as we got off the bus. They were especially aggressive and I decided to walk the 8k to the beach with my backpack on rather than reinforce their behavior. The walk wasn’t too bad and was reminiscent of my rukking days in the Army. The Vietnamese consulate was on the way to town and it literally took 2 minutes to get my visa. An expedited visa in PP costs an extra $10 and takes an entire day. While I was walking I bumped into 2 friends I met in PP, it’s a small country! I eventually made it to the beach and checked in at a guesthouse located on the waterfront. It was $7 a night for a rundown room, but I have stayed at worse for more money. I ate at the only place in Sihanoukville that had a hint of Cambodian culture: the market. The food was good and cheap and I ran into a couple I has spent several days with in Siem Reap, Al and Haze. They are awesome and I was very happy to cross paths with them again! We shared a meal and went for drinks after. The PP friends joined us and we all had a great time together. I had a pleasant time in Sihanoukville because of the familiar faces, not the place itself. It is packed with aggressive tuktuk/moto drivers, loud and obnoxious western adolescents and totally void of anything that makes a place special. I met people that stayed on the islands and they said they are really nice and nothing like the town. I would only recommend going to Sihanoukville as a launching point for a few days on the islands, it’s not even worth spending a night there. I checked out the following morning and headed to Kampot for some much needed R&R.

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