Saturday, January 12, 2013

Beaches and stuff

As a bit of a counterpoint to the capital, we arranged for a few days on the excellently named Lazy Beach which is found on the island of Koh Rong Samleom and only accessible by a 2 hour boat trip. Clouds threatened rain on the way, but nothing came of it and we were treated to dramatic skies instead.

At the risk of cliche, I'm going to use the term a little piece of paradise to describe this place. A private beach, with only 16 cabins though you'd hardly know anybody was there. We genuinely had the beach to ourselves during parts of the day. Crystal clear water to swim in, our first snorkelling experience (multicoloured fish and coral along with sea urchins and white sand - simply stunning, despite some inhalation of sea water!) as well as some incredible Khmer food and even Beer Lao. The cabins themselves were cozy, and nothing beats the sound of waves to coax you to sleep. Despite getting scared awake at 3am by the sound of a gecko cry right above my head (like some weird horn sound - no escape in SE Asia!). Even set the alarm for an early wake up to swim in the sea while the sun came up. Bliss.

Less blissful was the trip afterwards though. 2 hours of choppy sea, then a truly epic 15 hour bus ride from the coast to Siem Reap. I'm loving Cambodia, but man it ain't easy travelling around this country. The roads are pretty terrible, and buses stop all the time to pick up random people and things so you never know when you're going to get somewhere.

Forgot to mention while in Phnom Penh that we attempted to go to see the Royal Palaces, but were informed they were closed. As it turns out, the controversial ex-king Norodom Sihanouk who I'd been reading about as being very much alive had recently died and was lying in state ( We were also at the Killing Fields on the 7th of January which is Liberation Day (34 years since the Vietnamese booted the Khmer Rouge from power). So living history all around!

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