Sunday, 26 November 2017

Relaxing Weekend in Sihanoukville Day 1

Sihanoukville was a place I had never heard of until Air Asia started to advertise about their new flights there.  A quick google showed blue skies, white sand and crystal clear waters.  I was tempted.  I wanted to go somewhere that no many people had been nor heard of.  Something different.  

I've never visit Cambodia before.  Always wanted to go there but never got around to do so.  So I was happy that with this trip I was able to visit a new country.  The flight to Cambodia was short.  The flight only took 1 hour 20 mins.  Just nice for a weekend getaway, which is what my friends and I planned.  A short, 3 days 2 night trip as my friend E said, there is nothing much there anyway.  So 3 days and 2 nights is just right.  Just so you know....this decision was not wise.

The flight there was short and sweet.  When we reached the Sihanoukville airport, the skies were clear and the sun was shinning.  We were worried that the gloomy, rainy weather may had followed us to Sihanoukville.  The airport was a tiny airport that only had another aeroplane on the tarmac besides the one we came on.  So you can imagine how small and quaint it was.  All was fine until we got off the plane and entered the airport from the tarmac. It was total chaos.  No clear directions on where the lines were and we just stood in a line that nobody was sure it leads to the immigration or elsewhere.  The local immigration opened up another line and I was pushed aside as the local pushed thorough and started to pick their luggage which was just by the immigration.  It was odd.

Eventually I found myself in a line that I led me to the Visa line, which is not the line I should be on.  My friends H & E was in another line behind me and with the crowd of locals behind me I had to keep on moving.  It was funny because then when I reached further up I just hop to so-called line.  There were no visible lines.....just group of people moving to the front.  

My friend H spotted an immigration office with a counter empty.  So she just went to the counter and he proceed to stamp her passport.  It was funny how he was just sitting there minding his business with the crowd of people waiting, not sure where to go.  Anyway we go through the immigration easy enough.  So it was a little weird but it was OK.

Once we went out we saw a booth for taxis.  I think it is a flat rate to any hotels as when we asked, he just showed us a ticket slip that states that it was USD20.  On the hotel website they had also stated that it cost USD20 for a taxi and USD15 for a tuk tuk.  Since there was 3 of us, we just decided to take the taxi.  More comfortable.

The journey to the hotel from the airport was only about 20 minutes.  Some parts of the roads were smooth and some parts there had massive pot holes on the road.  And like in Philippines, the drivers honks a lot but unlike in Malaysia where most honk because of frustration, it was just a friendly honk to tell the other drivers to either make way or so make sure the other drivers see them.  Friendly kinda honk, if you know what I mean.

When I booked my hotel, I wasn't sure about it.  I opted for Otres 2 instead of Serendipity beach.  With what little I can gather online Serendipity is more like a party beach and Otres is a more laid back beach.  I read that the beaches in Otres were cleaner compared to Serendipity.  I cannot voucher for that as when I went to Serendipity it was dark and it was totaly not my scene.  I am glad I picked Otres beach.

The hotel I picked was Ren Resort.  I am so glad I picked this hotel.  It looks exactly like the photos on their website and the service was excellent.  Since there was 3 of us, I reserved the room with an extra bed.  The room that was given to us was big and the funniest part was the shower has a glass that looks straight into the bathroom.  This is not the first hotel I had stayed in with only clear glass separating the bathroom and the bedroom but i still find it weird.  Of course there is a roman curtain that we can use to block but it is still weird to me.

The spacious room with 2 sofas.

Without the blinds, my friend E, who slept on the roll out bed could had a clear view of whoever is in the shower.
The best part about this hotel was that the wifi signals were awesome.  Even as we were checking in at the reception, the hotel staff gave us a tiny slip of paper with the password of the wifi in the hotel. They have a few wifi names and all of them use the same password.  This is to ensure that we truly have wifi connection wherever we went in the small hotel.  At the restaurant they had a wifi named Ren Restaurant, then on the beach, which was like 2 steps away.  It was nice to not to have to worry about internet connection at all.

 After we had checked in, we went to the room and drop off our bags.  Then we went down to the hotel restaurant which was on the beach.  I have to admit, the view was awesome and it was truly a relaxing lunch.  I tried my frist Khmer food, which was Fish Amok.  It was delicious.  Very creamy and taste a little like Otak Otak and it was yummy.  Loved it.

Fish Amok

This was our view while we had our lunch.

We walked the beach after our meal, just to check it out.  However it was very sunny and we were all kinda sleepy due to the fact that we had to wake up pretty early be able to have a decent breakfast and catch our flight.  So walked half way and then went back to the hotel to take a short nap.  The bed was so comfy and before we knew it, we were all sleeping.  H had told us that she will set the alarm for 5pm so that we can have some time to freshen up and catch the sunset.  Well we slept till almost 6.  Apparently H had set her alarm for 5am.  We nearly missed the sunset, well I did.  E and H were determined to catch it and rushed out of the room.  I slowly walked down to the beach and caught the last remaining sun set.  

We checked some of the island hopping option and found that if we wanna go to Koh Rong, we will catch the ferry or a bigger boat and it cost USD22 per person, I think.  But we had an option to just visit the 3 nearest island which was USD15 per person or rent the whole longtail boat for USD60.  For an extra USD5 each, we will have our own boat and we can have our own sweet time.  We decided to just rent the whole boat which was a great choice.  The three islands that we were going are Kaoh Tres, Kaoh Chanloh and Kaoh Takeiv.  

I have to say there was nothing much to do there as it is truly a relaxing place.  Some might find it boring, but we loved it.  For dinner we decided to go into town.  Decided to catch the Tuk Tuk down and it cost USD7 one way.  Apparently if its in the day time, it only cost USD6 but once its night time price changes.  Initially we were wondering why, then when we were on the Tuk Tuk, we understand why.  The roads are dark and when there are no building or houses, it is totally dark and really bumpy ride.  I guess it does takes some skill to drive on a bumpy road in total darkness.  We gladly paid the extra dollar.

This restaurant was recommended  by the hotel staffs.  The name of the place was Sardan restaurant.  It is a training restaurant where they train young teenagers some life skills.  All the waiters were young teenagers and the older ones are their teachers, as it states on their tee shirts.  It is an interesting concept and we can see the kids learning how to pour wine the correct way, to serve the food with proper silver ware.  The food there was amazing, however I kinda forgot the names of the dishes.  Sorry.  Was too hungry to take any decent pictures and I forgot the names of the food.  But we tried most of their Khmer dishes as they stated in the menu.  Food was delicious and the service was excellent.  Like in the hotel, they immediately told us the password of their wifi without asking.  

After dinner we walked around the town looking for a supermarket.  E wanted to buy some local junk food to bring home to Malaysia.  However all they had were small convenience stores and Chinese or Taiwan supermarket which was something not very authentic.  But they did sell some local beer and we decided to buy a can to try it.  It only cost USD0.50.  So cheap and water, it seems to cost more.  We also noticed that there were a lot of hotel casinos in town.  We did not enter any of it as we are not much of a gambler and also gambling in USD is just too expensive for us.

The was pretty much what we did on the first day.  I think I rambled a lot and I do hope this helps.  I am trying to get share as much info as I can.  I will try to write Day 2 as soon as I can. Till then...Aloha.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Wonderful Weekend Vacation With Friends.

I just got back from a short, but awesome vacation with 2 of my girlfriends.  After months of deadlines, stock takes, audits, VIP visits and lots of meetings, I am finally done with all of it for the year, except for a VIP visit next week, which I am not too worried about.  This was a trip that I was really looking forward to and I have to admit, it was kinda like the light at the end of the tunnel where after all these busy months, I will finally get to relax....a little.

When I told my colleagues and friends that I was going to Sihanoukville, they all asked the same question.  Where is Sihanoukville?  What is there to do in Sihanoukville? Is it expensive to go there? And how the heck did I know about Sihanoukville?  To be honest, I never knew this place existed and I only came across it when I saw Air Asia was offering flights to go to Sihanoukville.  It was when discussing about cheap flights to go places, one of my colleague told me to go to Sihanoukville first and tell him if it was nice.  To be honest, the name just kinda stuck in head.


It was about a week later one of my girlfriends commented about how cheap the flights were to go to Sihanoukville.  A quick googled showed photos of white sandy beaches and crystal blue waters.  I was curious and I knew if Sihanoukville is as beautiful as in the pictures I saw online, it would be a matter of time before it becomes over crowded and over commercialized as more and more people hear about Sihanoukville.  Not mention that the flights would probably be expensive too.

So on a spur of the moment I suggested to my girlfriends to take a short weekend trip there.  In the past it was very hard to get all our dates aligned and go on a trip together.  It would had taken us ages to decide and plan the trip however, this time around, on the dates that I had picked, everybody was free. Decision were quickly made and we booked the tickets on that same night.  We booked it on the last day of the Air Asia promotion for flights to Sihanoukville and we not only managed to get the dates we want, we also got a pretty good deal on it.  Round trip tickets to Sihanoukville was RM254 each.  It was a steal.

So we bought the tickets in May, so we had 5 months to wait before we could go on vacation.  Like I said earlier, the trip to Sihanoukville was like the bright light at the end of the tunnel.  The five months was hectic and I was crazy busy with work.  Same went to my friends.  We didn't really have time to research on what to do there.  All we knew was that we would be spending time on the beach and relaxing.

To be honest as the dates came closer, we started to google about Sihanoukville and I noticed that there were not much info on Sihanoukville.  Most of the info I got were on budget backpackers who wrote about the budget hostels and the bar scene in Sihanoukville.  Most spoke about how Sihanoukville was just a stop before going to other more interesting towns or how cheap the drinks were in Sihanoukville.  While I do appreciate reading about their thoughts and experiences there, but that was not the information I was looking for. 

I  found blogs writing about how dangerous it was in Sihanoukville and it was not safe to stay there.  I have to admit, as I started reading these more and more of these blogs, I was getting apprehensive and was worried what I had dragged my friends into.  They wrote about how the locals would repeatedly telling them to be careful of their surroundings and to guard your bags and phones as it would targets for pickpockets, snatch thief and robbers.

There were some blogs that wrote about how beautiful the beaches were and friendly the locals were and how delicious the food was.  But most of the blogs that wrote that were several years old and I really don't know if it was something I would really trust as it was several years old and the more recent ones write about how dangerous it was to go there and also how awesomely cheap it was to get drinks there.  I was not sure which ones to believe and it did got me worried.  So I read more and more about the things to do from what little articles and blogs that were wrote about Sihanoukville, ignoring the nagging voice in my head telling me that perhaps we should cancel the trip.

But I am glad we didn't.  We all had fun and regretted that we only planned 3 days for this trip.  Since there were not much info on Sihanoukville online, I will try to share some of the info I have about Sihanoukville.  Next post I will write about the hotel, the food and the wonderful beaches.  So stay tuned.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

It has been a while....

Not too sure if anyone is even reading this but it has been a a while since I last posted.  I had been wanting to post again earlier this year but I can't remember which gmail account did I use to open this blog.  And I also don't remember password.  And guess what?  All this while, the gmail account and the password was stored in my phone.  I didn't know it.  

A lot had changed since I last wrote and I am not sure if anyone is reading this blog but its just something I felt I needed to do.  I quit my job from that miserable company and found myself a great new job.  I had since moved to Kuala Lumpur, where I was able to reconnect with my old friends and was even able to make new friends, which is totally awesome.  

Why awesome, you ask?  Coz I find making new friends when you when you start working at a new company is tough.  Most of them have their own friends and is already with their own so-called squad.  Yet I managed to make friends in the company.  Some good and some....lets just say not too good.  The one person I started to hang out more with was J.  Gotta say, J is awesome and we had even gone travelling together, which is good coz from my past experience, finding a good travel buddy is hard.  

I had also been travelling, although not as much as I wanted.  I had just finally, after almost 2 years in KL, settled.  So I am trying to travel as much as I could.  With what limited resources that I have, I will try to travel more.  

The highlight of my year was when I went to Cebu, Philippines.  I had never been to the Philippine before and I am happy to go somewhere new.  I loved it there.  I enjoyed myself and I also pushed myself to do things I was not comfortable with.  I also learn that some people never change and they are either oblivious to all the signs that we give them or just couldn't care less.  

I will post more on my trips on my next post.  I am so happy that I finally got my blog back.  Till next time....Aloha!