After a short and relatively pain-free bus ride from Siam Reap to Phnom Pehn (minus the chewing noises from the people in front of us eating deep-fried tirantulas, I kid you not), we arrived in the city. What was once the ‘pearl of South Asia’ retains some of its charm it was known for in the early 1900’s, despite being almost completely evacuated by the Khmer Rouge during the late 70’s.
We spent a few days in the City visiting the killing fields (sobering, shocking), checking out the National Museum, doing some shopping, relaxing by the river, and enjoying the happy hour(s) at the Foreign Correspondants Club (first glass of wine in Asia!). I even fit a run in along the river!
Ready for a break in city travel, we moved on to Sihanoukville. It’s the Vang Vieng of Cambodia, the backpacker party central. Not exactly what we were looking for, but good for a day at the beach and a night on the town*.
My co-worker Emma (thanks Emma!) had suggested we check out Koh Rung island off the coast of Sihanoukville, so we booked a night in a bungalow at Monkey Beach and a 2 hour boat trip with the dive shop. It was just what we needed, and as Camille put it, a real turning point of our trip so far. As soon as we got on the boat we knew we had something good. Pulling up to the island, there’s only a few bungalows and a white beach with crystal blue water. We booked a second night as soon as we ate at our bungalow restaurant for lunch. Unbelievable Thai food. Perfection.
We spent 3 full days on Koh Rung lounging in a hammock, laying on the beach, floating in the water, reading, playing volleyball, eating, hiking, and drinking a few beers. We’ve figured out there are a few simple elements to having an amazing time at a location: great people, good food, good location, and availability of cold beer. Koh Rung had it all.