A broke girl with a bucket list

The Cheapest Beach Getaway

The Cheapest Beach Getaway

Three days in Sihanoukville, Cambodia

Out of our entire trip, Sihanoukville was the place we had thought the least about. Squeezed into the end of our time in Cambodia, we didn’t expect much except some beaches to chill out on that were pretty similar to the ones we had at home. Boy were we wrong.

We still had a couple of hours of daylight left when we arrived and so decided to wander down to the beach after dinner at our hostel. It quickly became clear we had vastly underestimated this place. The sun was setting over the pier, making silhouettes of the fishing boats on the water. Restaurants and bars lined the pavement above the beach, and the sand was full of small couches and chairs that you could sit in and enjoy the sunset. It was stunning.

Serendipity Beach sunset Image © Alice Petch 2017

The next day we got up early and, without a plan, headed down to the pier. At the information booth we paid $15 US for a whole day snorkelling trip (with breakfast and lunch included) that visited three of the smaller and quieter islands. After meeting the rest of the group at a small cafe for our breakfast, we set out on the boat towards the first island.

After an hour or so we arrived, and immediately put on snorkels and started exploring the reef that surrounded the island. Our next stop would be our longest, giving us more time to explore and eat lunch, so we set off in the boat again towards Koh Ta Kiev.

Koh Ta Kiev Image © Alice Petch 2017

The afternoon was spent swimming in the insanely clear water off the island, dozing on the beach, exploring the coastline and eating lunch: fresh fruit, rice and chicken that the guides had brought along pre-prepared. After one more snorkelling stop on the way home, we arrived back to Serendipity Beach pier, exhausted, salty and extremely happy.

We had quick shower at our hostel then headed out in search for dinner – getting distracted on the way by a back massage that only cost $9 US! We ended up at Dao of Life – a vegan restaurant located next to the pier.

I don’t think I’ve had better food – even in Sydney! Seriously, this place was spectacular: the food was fresh, delicious and super cheap. We ended up going back for breakfast the next morning and another dinner it was so good.

Vegan banana and almond pancakes at Dao of Life Image © Beth Howlett 2017

On our second day we decided to get a tuk tuk out to the Kbal Chhay waterfall. One dusty, bumpy and seriously terrifying drive later, we pulled up into a small village that surrounded a river and our driver waved us out.

We followed the water through the village and then across the rocks, climbing down to get to the bottom of the waterfall, which was deserted apart from some locals who were washing upstream. It felt so far removed from the crowded beaches and streets of Sihanoukville, and we had as much time as we wanted swimming, taking photos and enjoying the peace and quiet.

Kbal Chhay waterfall Image © Alice Petch 2017

Later in the day, we headed off to Otres beach, located about a 15 minute tuk tuk ride from the centre of Sihanoukville. It was by far the most crowded, but also the biggest beach we had visited, and the water was still crystal clear and as warm as a bath.

On our final morning, we visited Dao of Life for one last breakfast before walking along Ochheauteal Beach towards the pier which took around an hour. As reluctantly as we had arrived we got onto the bus to leave, not wanting to part ways with such an amazing place.

Boats on the way to Koh Ta Kiev Image © Beth Howlett 2017

Stayed: OneDerz Hostel, Sihanoukville | Transport: Giant Ibis BusDao of Life