My travels started off in Phnom Penh, which is actually the capital of Cambodia. I stayed in Mad Monkey Phnom Penh and had a thoroughly wild time that I can’t quite remember (#shock). I also had a more somber and sober experience in the Killing Fields and S45, learning about the genocide that occurred in Cambodia between 1975 and 1979.
My next destination in Cambodia didn’t have much to offer apart from an abandoned casino which I never bothered to see. However you absolutely must visit, and you must stay at Arcadia Backpackers. A hostel situated right on the river, this place has a pretty sick waterpark. It includes the world’s steepest slide (maybe not officially), which took me a very long time to work up the courage to go down. It also has something called ‘the blob’, a swing, and some tubes you can float around in with a beer to wind down after all that excitement.
Two words: shit hole. I hear actually that Otres beach is pretty nice, but the main strip, good lord. I stayed at the Big Easy, which I had hoped would be a sociable party hostel but honestly it was just so dead. The restaurant here is so good though. I spent my time here just sat inside using the wifi.
Koh Rong was an interesting one. I started off staying at Suns of Beaches which is off the main part of the island and only accessible by boat. The hostel runs boats from the main beach a few times a day for $2. This place is really secluded and serene, and probably lovely if you’re a couple. But as a solo traveller I was a bit bored. The place wasn’t very sociable and there’s nothing nearby to do and no wifi at all. I didn’t have a book but there was a bookshelf I borrowed an Agatha Christie book from, only to find to my absolute dismay that the ending was missing. I never did find out who the murderer was.
Next, I moved back onto the main part of Koh Rong, and stayed at Island Boys on the main beach. This is a fairly run down and dirty hostel, but this is typical of the whole island. At night there was blaring music and full bars, but everyone was just kind of sat there stoned and mesmerised by the fire shows. Everyone we met there seemed to have the same story: they came here on their travels and they loved it so much they just never left. I really can’t quite see why. You need to take all the cash you’re going to need to Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloem, as cash machines have somehow not made it here yet.
One of the highlights of my whole trip in Cambodia was going on a full day boat tour with Adventure Adam. We visited a local fishing village and saw how the locals live, which was a really cool experience that other tour companies didn’t offer. Our boat did break down and leave us in the middle of the sea for hours, but we had plenty of beer and we had a pretty good time watching the sunset.
Koh Rong Samloem
The highlight of Cambodia for me was staying at Mad Monkey Koh Rong Samloem. This hostel is on a secluded beach with no wifi or signal, so everyone is really sociable. I spent my days lazing on the beach and the hammocks in the sea. At night, everyone gathered round to drink in the common area. Definitely buy snacks and alcohol in Koh Rong and take it with you. Your only option once you’re there is the hostel bar/restaurant and it’s pretty pricey. Running out of money and having to eat peanut butter and crackers for lunch every day isn’t fun.
Here I stayed in Mad Monkey Siem Reap, but this one was a little dead compared to the others. From what I’ve heard I’d probably stay at Funky Flashpacker if I were to visit again. I didn’t do much in my 5 nights here except get up before the crack of dawn to see the world’s largest religious monument, Angkor Wat. The sunrise was pretty good and it wasn’t too crowded, we managed to get some decent photos. The guided tour was really interesting, but the early start took its toll on me and I.