Sihanoukville is on the Lonely Planet ‘10 places to watch’ list and it is definitely a growing backpacker destination in the south of Cambodia with beaches, hostels, bars, and partying – not really our scene – we came here to catch the boat to Koh Rong Samloen Island two hours off the coast. Our destination was the low key, quiet, Lazy Beach bungalows. It had been recommended by other travelling families and described as ‘how the islands in Thailand looked before mass tourism.’ Lazy Beach only has 18 wooden bungalows scattered along a private pretty beach with one large outdoor bar/restaurant area serving fantastic food and cocktails with large padded seats and board games to play with the kids.
The island has no electricity and only runs its generators from 6pm to 6am, so there is no wifi, phone or even electricity during the day, so you are forced to relax, chat, read or swim. It was very liberating not having any access to the internet or phones. This is the end of the rainy season so the weather was hot during the day but with the most incredible tropical thunder and lightning at night that lit up the whole sky – spectacular and scary as it cracked overhead shaking our shack!
Here’s Cameron’s report on his 11th Birthday:
“Sun, Sand and Smoothies – what more could a boy want on his birthday! We took a small local boat from Sihanoukville to Lazy Beach, for our pretty 2 hour journey to the island. We were greeted by the staff and walked along the dock, peering down into the glass-clear blue water, with hundreds of tiny fish swimming around – we desperately wanted to jump in! It was so beautiful. There were some other kids staying here too so we had fun playing in the ocean with them. But time to get to my favourite part – my birthday! I woke up extra early to wake everyone up for present time. My Mum & Dad got me some brilliant new headphones, sunglasses and some new cool t-shirts. Then it was time for a long refreshing swim and finally a rest swinging in the hammock. That afternoon we sat with a lovely New Zealand couple, David and Wendy, who we had met the day before. Then I heard some people singing “Happy Birthday” behind me and the staff brought over a huge mango cheesecake with Happy Birthday on it all cut out from carrots. It was “the Best Birthday Ever! ” Another guest Jonathan wrote me a great poem and his girlfriend, Qi, taught Ollie & I how to play table tennis Chinese style. The whole time we felt like we were on a desert island – it was amazing.”
Koh Rong Samloen has been a fantastic rest stop on our fast-paced trip around South East Asia.
But now it’s time to leave island life and head into north-western Cambodia to the city of Battambang.