Cambodia Pages > Cambodia Pages > Travelogue

Text and pictures by Bernhard Heiser

    Part 7:  Sihanoukville and the south route back to Thailand
The taxis from Kampot to Sihanoukville leave near the TOTAL gaz station. The price is 8.000 R for a Toyota Camry limousine, the trip takes 2,5 hours. The middle part is extremely rough, no tar road, big potholes. At the Veal Vean crossing that changes suddenly. The last part of the road, connecting Phnom Penh with Sihanoukville, is brand-new. I get a room in the S1 guesthouse near the market for 4$ (nothing special, but centrally located). Wat Sotanien is a temple, located on the biggest hill of Sihanoukville. A nice walk, rewarded with a good panorama over the coastline (picture). The best view is certainly behind the antennas at the big, black rocks.
With a little searching you can find a narrow path leading down west through the meadows to the road. I pass the Galaxy Nightclub and go on to the industrial harbour. This is probably the ugliest part of Sihanoukville. I'm glad to reach Mealy Chenda, a popular guesthouse on a hill near Victory beach. I guess the nice view from the roof terrace (picture) is familiar to everyone of you who has been to Sihanoukville before. The food is excellent too and not too expensive.
I walked enough for today, so I take a moto to Sokha Beach to have a lazy second part of the afternoon there. It'a really nice beach with trees giving shade, cold drinks, cristal clear water, not too crowded. A funny detail: The sand is squealing under my naked feet, I can't remember having experienced that effect anywhere before.
I'm getting hungry again, but the sunset is too fascinating to leave now. I balance the camera on my little daypack and take a few more photos.

The evening program: Apsara Restaurant (expensive, but good food), Biba discotheque (near harbour, strange place), NASA nightclub (almost empty, better for weekends).

My last day in Cambodia has come. After breakfast at the market a moto takes me to the harbour. There is only one boat now to Koh Kong, leaving at noon. I have more than two hours left, a good opportunity to explore the harbour area and to buy food for the trip. The girls sell salted pineapple pieces (delicious), bananas and fish.
"Hey man, why don't you take the boat?"

In the Sihanoukville fishing harbour
Fisherman preparing his boat
The speedboats to Koh Kong / Thailand leave from here. The ticket is now 600 Bt or 15$. There is a little booth for passport check where you have to write your name in a book. There are many travellers on board, I'm back on the main route again. It's a good idea to bring a warm pullover as the aircondition sometimes is very strong.

The south route is okay if you want to get from PP to BKK in only one day. However, the trip is expensive compared to the Poipet route (all in all I paid about 1000 Bt from Sihanoukville to BKK !)

After two hours we reach the small island of Ko Sdach, a paradise for smugglers. We pass Ko Kong island and arrive in Dong Tong (sometimes called Ko Kong City) at 4 pm. Another checkpoint, then we board little bathtub-boats with huge outboard motors. The driver asks for 100 Bt. There's no time for long discussion now, as the border closes at five. What follows next is the hardest boatride I ever had in my life. First we speed through a canal with mangroves on both sides. Then we come into the open sea and go along the coast line. Jumping over the waves, things are getting harder now. Most of the time I'm flying in the boat, trying to keep my bags together. 
Finally we arrive in a little bay where we have to cross a fence (picture). Is this already the border? No, not yet. We have to walk up to the road, cross the border into Cambodia again, get the exit stamp (very funny prodedure) and then go to the Thai side of the border for immigration. Wow, it's ten to five, we did it. The pickup to Trat is 80 Bt, the bus to BKK is still waiting there for us.

Goodbye Cambodia, see you again soon.

Did you like it? Hey, the trip goes on! You can read about my 2002 Trip that started on the Lao-Cambodian border on the Mekong. Follow me to Ban Lung, with a motorbike through the jungle to Mondulkiri, read about funny bamboo-train rides in Phnom Penh, see the trainride to Kampot and Bokor and travel with me on a backroad along the Thai border from gem-city Pailin to Poipet, where it all began...

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