Why we went to Cambodia…again
Our college friend Brian lives in Cambodia. He lives in Phnom Penh and is part owner of and manages the Mad Monkey Hostels. We had visited the Siem Reap location in 2014 and had too much fun and too many “hand grenades”. We were overall unimpressed with Cambodia and I said I would never go back. But when you’re halfway across the world and in a bordering country it seems rude not to hop down from Vietnam to say hey to Brian.
Plus his new hostel location was on the island of Koh Rong Samloem and the gorgeous water was luring us in. So that’s how we ended up in Cambodia again. And in true Mad Monkey fashion, we overindulged…again.
We stayed at the hostel resort the whole time so I don’t have to much to recommend in terms of restaurants, etc. We took the boat out one day for fishing and snorkeling. It was great until we realized the pocket on our dry bag was unzipped and our phones were soaked! I’m telling you, Cambodia is cursed for me.
Getting to Koh Rong Samloem from Vietnam
This was quite the journey. We took a 13 hour bus from Ho Chi Minh City to Sihanoukville on Viet Dream. This included switching buses and a tuk tuk ride in Phnom Penh. The traffic was insane! We had to spend the night in Sihanoukville before taking a ferry to Saracen Bay Beach. Then a boat from the hostel picked us up.
Sihanoukville: Quite possibly the worst place on earth
We arrived late in Sihanoukville and were a little lost finding our hotel. I booked the Patchouly Chill House and it was nice enough but the surrounding area was dismal at best. I don’t think I can accurately describe Sihanoukville other than that massive Chinese-owned casinos and hotels were contrasted with super impoverished Cambodian living conditions. The stark difference was bad enough but then there was the trash and filth. It was so bad. I was very uncomfortable here and couldn’t wait to leave.
On our return trip from Koh Rong Samloem we had to stay another night in Sihanoukville and it happened to be our third wedding anniversary. I booked a bit nicer of a place, Sok Sabay Resort, and the staff was great. The hotel offered a nice respite from the outside filth. It felt like how Cambodia was supposed to be before the Chinese real estate invasion.
After 3 nights on Koh Rong Samloem and 2 in Sihanoukville we were more than ready for Indonesia, our next stop.
Bring on Bali,