Our first taste of the Cambodian Coastline

Trip Start Mar 18, 2009
Trip End Jan 12, 2010

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Five days have passed since we arrived in Cambodia and it was about time we made our first journey away from the hub, Phnom Penh. Since we will be spending two months here, we thought best to leave Angkor Wat till a much later time. That left us with the option to explore the Cambodian Coastline.

Our chosen route for exploration would be to start at Kep, then move onto Kampot, before finishing in Sihanoukville. Tickets for the bus were extremely easy to arrange and cost us $5 each. The journey in total would be around 4 hours, although we knew beforehand that the route to Kep wasn't really designed for buses as the bridges all had weight restrictions on them.

We awoke at 5:30am and packed our bags before heading downstairs for breakfast. A minibus would arrive at our hotel at 7am and take us to the Sorya Bus Station were our adventure will begin. Both of us felt a little nervous and excited as we had no idea what the journey ahead would have in store. 7:30am arrived and we set off. The bus had a/c but no toilet and the roads were extremely bumpy. Every bridge meant on a short off road detour until around 3 hours into our journey we were stopped in our tracks as a lorry and a minibus had a collision on the bridge ahead. We sat stationary for around 20 minutes until both vehicles were moved.

No other foreigners on our bus seemed to be going to Kep so we weren't too sure when we had to get off. As you can ask the driver at any time to stop and hop off, which a lot of Cambodian people did. Around an hour later we saw our first glimpse of the coast and funnily enough a giant statue of a crab! That was in the Lonely Planet so we knew we were close. A minute or two later we hopped off and after being mobbed by tuk-tuk drivers we secured a $2 ride to Botanica around 2 kilometres out of town.

Botanica was a little paradise run by a Belgian called Stefaan, comprising of 4 bungalows in a beautiful garden. Chickens roamed around freely during the day, while frogs croaked away at night. We were definitely going to be one with nature here and we were looking forward to it. 3 nights of bliss!

Kep in itself is a very laid back place. This was evident when Stefaan told us bicycle rental was free and you didn't need a lock here. Also most of the local restaurants didn't even open until 5pm. Due to it also being the rainy season there was only one excursion available locally; a trip to Rabbit Island. The cost would be $7 pp with car and boat transfer. We booked this for tomorrow and opted to spend our first day relaxing in our hammock and reading our books we purchased in Phnom Penh. Our first night was a little interesting as we discovered two large geckos living in our bungalow, which gave us both a fright.

11th June – Day Two.
Today we would be picked up from Botanica around 9am and taken to the pier where we would make our journey to Rabbit Island. It seemed we arrived a little early and had to wait for some tourists from Kampot. In total there were 6 of us. The boat journey was interesting to say the least. The sea was extremely choppy and our vessel was a mere river boat. White knuckle springs to mind. Both of us sat at the back and held on with a nervous grin hiding our fear. I don't think any of the tourists were too impressed. The return journey couldn't be any worse? (see video)

25 minutes of fun and we arrived. We all hopped off the boat and were greeted by a man and two dogs. Picturesque wouldn't be the best word. To our relief the guide set off and we followed him, hiking in total around 5 minutes to another part of the island. Litter and thatched bungalows set the scene; although it was the most impressive piece of recycling we have seen so far. On the beach were a couple of seating areas. This would be home for the next 6 hours.

We seemed to be the most prepared as we brought our books and a packed lunch from Botanica. Another couple didn't seem that impressed and were definitely bored. The weather was a little shaky to start with, but around 2pm it really brightened up. That was evident by the sunburn to my face. It was a unique island, as cows were grazing behind us and dogs appeared to roam free, but it was definitely a worthwhile day and we were glad that we did it. Oh and the return journey was worse, everyone was soaked as the waves crashed over the sides of the boat :)

12th June – Day Three.
On our final day in Kep we decided to just relax. Emma read her book, while I got the tripod out and practiced some macro photography in the garden. I think I am getting better... There wasn't a single cloud in the sky or a drop of rain in sight. Perfect conditions to go and watch the sunset, our first so far. So around 6pm we took two bicycles and cycled to the coast. We sat on a wall dangling our feet in the sea and watched the sun retreat behind some distant mountains. It was a beautiful sight and possibly the best sunset I have ever seen. Definitely the icing on the cake. Kep has truly been a breath of fresh air and our miniature paradise.
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rfbevis on

Do you remember that boat trip we had in DR to the island Emma? That was quite choppy till the boat broke down!!

The sunset was beautiful...as were the photos of flowers, frogs and wildlife!

Do you need sunscreen when we come?

Love Ma

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