The sun shines high in the sky and the breeze of the wind is refreshing. The water is light blue and gets darker of color as it goes to the horizon. From our beach chairs we stare into the massive sea while our feet are resting in the white sand.
We are having a ball as we cool down in the water of 28 degrees. Otres Beach is the holiday destination where we longed for. Despite all this we pack our bags after a few days in search for a bit more action.
The forth beach of Sihanoukville, Otres Beach, is after a couple of days a bit to quiet for us. We find ourselves a place near the popular Serendipity Beach, where the action should be. It’s loaded with restaurants, beach chairs, fruit sellers, nail polishers and much more. There is much to see and it is the perfect place to sit all day and pretend to read a book. Meanwhile we follow everything around us, from the boats in the waves, till red burnt men who get a massage, from women who get rid of their hairs to kids who are begging. Sihanoukville is a great place for a real Cambodian beach holiday.
Soon we get to know a group of Cambodian street kids who try to earn some money by selling bracelets, fruits and paintings at the beach. We don’t buy anything of them but we talk with them and they love swimming with us. Sometimes we are surrounded by four fruit plates, three bags of bracelets, flip flops and a lot of clothes. At the same time the owners of these things are enjoying a swim, while we watch their stuff. We also have nice encounters with Dutch people, Australians and Italians and we are having dinner with others regularly.
I am looking forward to diving and I make a booking for a trip to have a look under water. Marlous comes along on the boat to snorkle. It’s more than a year ago since I graduated for my Open Water Course so I go through all the theory while we are heading for a good dive spot. With a big step I enter the water and together with a French guy and the dive master I descend towards the bottom. There is much more live under water than I have seen in Greece and I enjoy the different types and colors of the coral. During the second dive we spot a blue spotted ray. It’s a good feeling to dive again and to see all the beautiful things. The group on the boat is nice and during our break there is a Canadian guy who sings and plays the guitar.
With four days to go before our visa expires we start cycling again for the last kilometers in Cambodia. The road we want to cycle has just opened and we hear different stories about it. People think it’s very brave of us we want to cycle on this new access to the Thai border. We still think it should be a nice part through the jungle. The first part leads us on the busy Highway to Phnom Penh. From Sre Ambel we take the new side road which leads to Thailand. This part is still in construction and won’t be finished everywhere yet. In Sre Ambel we meet the French cyclist Hervé again who we met before in the southern part of Laos. He went faster than we expected and he is on his way to Thailand too. We decide to cycle the coming days together.
The route takes us straight trough the jungle where only a few people are living. There are four big rivers which we have to cross and the bridges are being built. At the moment there are ferries which brings the traffic from one side to the other. Just after Sre Ambel we cross the river on an overloaded boat. Hervé tells us he can’t swim and he finds the boat trip a bit too exciting. At the other side Marlous and I are very surprised when we see tarmac lying in front of us. Up till now we find the route easy to cycle and we enjoy the nature and the people we meet.
Hervé thinks a bit different about all this. There where the tarmac is it isn’t smooth enough, if there isn’t tarmac it’s too dusty. When the road goes uphill it’s too steep so he can’t keep cycling and if we go down hill it’s too steep as well and he goes to fast. It’s too hard, too hot, too dusty, too dry and too far. Marlous and I don’t understand why he still cycles after three years when he complains like this. We are surprised by his comments many times. This makes us realize that we are very happy together and it makes us enjoy our travels more. For us everyday is beautiful, every road is a new challenge with many surprises. We still see many new and special things and we are cycling with a smile on our face.
In the village of the third ferry we ask if we can sleep somewhere. First they tell us there is nothing but after a while a scooter comes and takes us with him. He brings us to a garden where a few wooden huts are. There is nothing in the huts but we can rent it for 5 USD. It’s a high prize, because normally we get a shower, a bed, a fan and sometimes a tv included for the same prize. Their last prize is 3 USD and Hervé doesn’t want to sleep in his own tent. Marlous suggests that we take one hut together and that we will sleep in our inside tent in front of the hut.
There is no shower so we take a dive in the water in front of our hut to refresh ourselves.
The last day of cycling to Koh Kong is a bit harder than the days before, with more dust, sand and higher hills. It’s hot and our pace is low. The nature is very beautiful with high trees, amazing views towards the ocean and it’s very green. Unfortunately Hervé doesn’t enjoy the day again, and we let him cycle in front of us or behind us so we don’t here his grumping. When we arrive on top of the last hill there lays tarmac again and we enter Koh Kong smoothly.
In Koh Kong we change some dollars into Bath, we stroll along the streets and we have a beer together with Hervé. Hervé starts early tomorrow and we want to take it easy and are planning to find a place at the beach in Thailand. Our routes go apart from here and the next morning Marlous and I paddle together with the two of us towards the border. We start with the longest bridge we have seen in Cambodia and soon we arrive at the border.
* Sihanoukville – Sre Ambel: 105km;
* Sre Ambel – Trapeang Rung: 83km;
* Trapeang Rung – Koh Kong: 63km;
* Koh Kong – border with Thailand: 11km
Total cycled kilometers in Cambodia: 1061km