Phnom Penh – Eating, Drinking and JollingOctober 6, 2017
Recently we had the Water Festival Celebrations in Cambodia. It is one of the biggest national holidays, different to others as everyone flocks to the city (usually they head into the country!) Boat races are the main attraction in Phnom Penh. All the hustle and bustle means that we take our blissful week off work to escape the city. This year the beach was where we wanted to be.
Armed with my inflatable pineapple we headed for the coast. We decided to spend a couple of nights in Kampot on the way, the road is much quieter and who would say no to a day or two on the river? We stayed at Villa Vidici, which is lovely. Right on the river, they have great places to sit and relax with a cocktail or, if you are feeling adventurous, you can hit the water on a SUP or kayak. We spent most of our time laying by the pool.
Our next port of call was the ferry to Koh Rong Samloem from Sihanoukville – sometimes spelt Sanloem (KRS). We had booked tickets on the Cambodia Island Speed Ferry, which does a loop KRS then Koh Rong (the party island of the two Koh Rong islands). We sped off to KRS, although a little green – if you get sea-sick like me this is probably not the best option as the boat is all enclosed with no fresh air, only air-conditioning. We came back to the mainland on Speed Ferry Cambodia which was more open and does not go to the other island on its return to Sihanoukville. The trip takes around an hour, and ferries are generally late.
Once we arrived on the island a representative from our hotel Samloem Laguna Resort was there to show us to the hotel. They normally have a boat that can take guests to and from the main beach to the slightly secluded area of Saracen Bay, where the hotel is. As the sea was high we walked. The walk is not the best… but the destination is worth it. The management staff were very welcoming. The room was lovely, big and spacious, a beautiful view with a big bean bag and swinging chairs – perfect to sit back and relax. The resort has its own private beach and plans for a swimming pool and tennis court.
The food was good, dinners were ‘family style’, so if you have any meal requirements it's best to write ahead. Breakfast is yum and the chef has a flare for chocolate! The chocolate banana pancakes are a must-try!
We decided to take a walk to Lazy Beach which is the other side of the island. There are a few walks/hikes to different beaches on the island. Lazy Beach is the easiest and slip slop friendly. So off we went…
Walking to Lazy Beach you head into the jungle from Octopus Bar, which is a great place to stop for a drink. It is about a 1,5km walk to Lazy Beach from there. It is a pretty walk through the trees with paradise waiting for you on the other side.Lazy Beach Resort is the only one on the beach and it is a beautiful setting. They have a restaurant overlooking the beach for a tasty snack, lazy lunch or sunset cocktails after a swim in the sea. You can stay at Lazy Beach - the rooms seem basic but clean and staff are very friendly.
My parents had been to KRS a few weeks before and stayed at Sol Beach Resort, which they just loved. Apparently, the pizza is delicious. There are so many hotels, resorts and backpackers along the beach in Saracen Bay and beyond. It all just depends on what you are after.
There is anything from the luxury resorts like Sol Beach, to the Mad Monkey Hostel (around the point by boat) where the party is. If you are looking for a party, and fancy checking out Mad Monkey, there are skilled boat drivers that can take you there from the pier, if you are coming back to the main bay after dark the trip will cost you between $20 and $30.
In my view KRS is a great place to relax, sip on a cocktail and have a float in the sea.