Ok so this was a joke of a day but I guess its all part of the backpacker experience. this is a map just to show you what little distance we needed to cover, less than 200 km.
We woke up at 6 am for a bus transfer to the port which was smooth sailing apart from waiting 20 mins to get a ferry ticket that we had already paid for and everyone else had already been given but we were special and had to wait. a very pleasant journey back to the mainland to Ha Tien with comfy seats and an English movie on the big screen, we thought that this would be an alright day of travelling!
We arrived at the port to a lady holding our names up and were told to wait, thinking our bus will be arriving soon. we were all herded to a local family run cafe where we waited 3 HOURS for our “bus” and the women took our passports and charged extra $2 if we didn’t have our vaccination booklet ( i did 😉) or an extra passport photo (i left mine in the taxi 😬).
Finally, we thought we were on our way when the bus arrived but after 15 mins we had to get out and wait at the Cambodian border for another hour with no sign of our ladies with our passports but they luckily arrived with our visas sorted. we then walked to our next bus where we were all packed into a very hot bus and began our journey with an Israeli girl who started chatting to us and kept close to us in the midst of uncertainty.
After a drop off in Kep and what we thought would be a drop off in Kampot, the driver took a “well-deserved break” after only an hour driving and we sat on the side of a very smelly road – not helped by the fact that the bin men had just been and one girl on the bus vommed when we arrived from car sickness (we know that’s my fave thing!!!) 2 hours pass and our driver comes back and we pile into another bus. it’s 4.30 pm by now and we were meant to be in Sihanoukville at 3 pm according to the company. hopefully, our 1hr40min journey will be what it says it’ll be but NO! Sihanoukville is what I can only describe as a disgusting version of Vegas – the rate of development is astonishing with no tarmac roads or sewage pipes. so much so, our incompetent driver drove us into the sand and we all had to get out to push at 7.30 pm. we arrived in the centre to 28-degree torrential rain and muddy roads. we were not impressed with Cambodia!
We were looking forward to a recommended Italian place but once we had arrived in the hostel and dropped our bags off we checked and it had closed! Losing almost all hope we picked the top place on TripAdvisor, no matter what the price. it was the sweetest place we’ve been to called Sandan – it was a school for hospitality teaching marginalised children with a gift shop run by the parents of students to earn them a living while they go to school. we were all on the brink of tears after such a long and draining day comforted by this ethical restaurant and sweet people. our view on Sihanoukville had changed and we were very excited to get to Koh Rong the next day for some more beaching and party scene!