We recently took a trip to Cambodia for a break from this city and to explore the south of that country, something I’d never done before. After being there I have to ask myself why haven’t I done this before?? It was just so good.
Originally we were going to travel first to Phnom Penh and then down to Sihanoukville, but ultimately we decided to go in completely the opposite direction. We flew from Sai Gon to the southern Vietnamese city of Rach Gia, caught a taxi into the market/bus depot and boarded a 25 seater local bus that eventually had around 35 persons on board. However, it was comfortable enough and for the 3 hour trip to Ha Tien on the border the princely sum of 38,000 VND (US$1.80) each was very reasonable.
The bus dropped us outside of Ha Tien and still 7 klms short of the border leaving us at the not too tender mercy of the local motorbike taxi drivers. Eventually we settled on 50,000VND each for them to take us to the border, which didn’t turn out to be a bad proposition really as they stuck with us and walked our bags through for nearly an hour in the very hot sun as we left VN and purchased a visa etc on the Cambodian side.
We paid them off on the other side and were besieged with individuals offering to take us to Kep for outrageous sums but Lan began talking to one guy in Vietnamese and he offered to take us in his car for $15. We accepted and he became our driver for the rest of the trip only ever scaring me once when, on the road to Phnom Penh he tried to overtake 3 trucks on a blind corner that was cresting a hill and we met an oncoming car half way. After a couple of expletives I asked him not to do that again.
From Kep we drove to Kampot, then to Sihanoukville and on to Phnom Penh. From there to Sai Gon we caught a bus which is a manageable 6 hour drive. So actually we did a large circle with many pleasant stops on the way.
The pick of the places we stayed we both agreed was Kep closely followed by Kampot. Sihanoukville has better beaches but it also has a seedy feel to the place and too many children trying to sell stuff which turned me off. Phnom Penh of course is Phnom Penh, hasn’t changed too much over the years and I always enjoy being there.
I’ve put a lot of images up on galleries divided into 4 sets, Kep, Kampot, Sihanoukville and Phnom Penh for your viewing pleasure. Please click on the images below to go to the galleries.