If you think of Cambodia most probably you have antique temples and Siem Reap in your mind. But not many people actually connect Cambodia with paradise-like islands and dreamlike beaches.
And the best part is that these beaches are far less touristic than most famous beaches, e.g. in the South of Thailand.
Due to the bad weather that was waiting for us during the raining season, we couldn’t visit the most popular islands, such as Koh Rong. But we had the chance to enjoy some sunny days at the coast of the mainland – At Otres Beach 2 in Sihanoukville.
Someone explained to us that in the South of Cambodia around the coast area the weather usually changes more or less every five days.
That means five days of sun are followed by five days of rain. Since we were about to have some sunny days we decided to have a look at the small islands surrounding Otres Beach.
What to find out in this post
- 0.1 How to join the Sihanoukville Island Hopping Tour
- 0.2 What are the costs of the tour?
- 0.3 What should you bring?
- 1 Island hopping Tour around Sihanoukville in the South of Cambodia
How to join the Sihanoukville Island Hopping Tour
Everything started while having a walk at the Otres Beach after a small bath in the sea in order to dry. Otres Beach is part of Sihanoukville, the probably most popular beach destination in Cambodia. That’s where we met Micky.
Micky is working for a travel agency and was desperately looking for someone to join his tour for the next day. If you don’t run into Micky you can as well book your ticket in one of the many travel agencies around Otres Beach.
What are the costs of the tour?
During raining season the island hopping tour costs $15 per person. (I am not sure whether the price is changing during high season though)
Anyway, we got pretty lucky, as Micky seemed kinda desperate to find two more people to sign in for his tour for the next day. He was pretty honest with us. He needed us to join in order to get his commission. So, in the end, we paid $10 per person. Nice price, don’t you think?
The price includes a pick-up from your accommodation, breakfast at the beach, the boat trip, the tour guide, snorkel, lunch, some fruits and drinks (besides alcoholic drinks)
What should you bring?
Sun protection (sunscreen with SPF 50+), if you have pale or sensitive skin, you might wanna bring a light shirt that you can wear while snorkeling, mosquito repellent, towel and your camera (preferably a waterproof one)
Island hopping Tour around Sihanoukville in the South of Cambodia
The pick-up from your accommodation is around 08.30 am. (Keep in mind that locals usually are not really exact when it comes to times) You will be picked up and get driven to the nearby beach for a nice breakfast.
The short drive is practical to get to know people that are gonna join your tour as well. We shared the taxi with a super cute couple from South Korea.
The breakfast at the beach felt already like a little highlight to us. You sit directly at the beach with a perfect view of the shore. Is there any better way to start your day?
The food itself is nothing really unique but the quality is surprisingly good. (We didn’t actually expect much for the price we’ve paid) They served a vegetable omelet and toast. Furthermore, you could choose between tea and different kinds of coffee. And as soon as you have finished, your trip is ready to start.
The boat drive
Just a couple of minutes walking from the restaurant along the beach you can find your boat already waiting for you.
If you tend to get seasick like me, you might rather wanna sit at one of the outside spots. You can try to focus on points far away that aren’t moving (I know it is not always easy to find one when driving in the middle of the sea), chew some bubble gum, drink enough water or even take some pills that prevent seasickness if you have any.
Anyway, since the boat is moving steadily and the waves are usually more or less small, it’s probably gonna be fine most of the time.
For anyone else, the boat trip is perfect for taking pictures of the amazing turquoise blue water.
Snorkeling – Or how to ruin your following days
Our first stop was just in front of some small island. The water was really nicely clear. The crew has brought the snorkels and made sure everyone was getting one of them.
And off we went into the cool water. We were really lucky with the weather as the sun was shining pleasantly and there were not too many clouds at that point. The waves were indeed not uncommonly high. So it seemed to be perfect circumstances for snorkeling.
Anyway, here is where my misadventure started…
I swam to the point where I could tell the corals were the tallest. As I tend to get nervous when I am running out of air underwater, it was practical not having to dive so deep in order to explore the corals.
But when I started to put my head under water I realized that my snorkel began to fill up with water. Either it wasn’t really connected or there must have been a lack somewhere, through which the water could enter my snorkel. While I tried to breathe in (before I realized there was water in my snorkel) I accidentally swallowed some seawater. Immediately I rose up from the water and tried to hold my head as high out of the water as I could in order to get some air and cough out the sea water I just swallowed. Unconsciously I tried to bring myself back to a more upright position not having in mind that the sharp corals were directly beneath me.While trying to keep my head over water I started moving my legs and arms. So, of course, I cut my knee and my foot deeply. Great
The lucky part of my little misadventure
Still, all I wanted was to get my head out of the water to get some more air into my lungs. Instead of just swimming back to the boat -what probably would have been the easiest – I realized that Eduardo was standing in the water near the shore. Without thinking I approached until I could finally feel ground under my feet. And finally, I could get my air and calm down. Now I realized how much my knee and foot were burning in the salt water and how deep the cut on my foot actually was.
After I calmed down from my little panic attack I decided to give it another try. The snorkel got filled up with water again. But since I had solid ground under my feet this time it was fine since I just needed to get up again.
But when I looked at the ground I realized how lucky I just have been. Directly next to my feet was a huge sea urchin. If I would have stood just a few more centimeters to my right-hand-side it would have stabbed my foot. But sometimes you just need to have some luck.
Snorkeling for Eduardo
Luckily, the impression Eduardo had of this snorkeling adventure was completely different than mine. While I was panicking in the water and cutting my foot, he truly enjoyed watching the underwater world, the animals, and corals that he could find on the ground. Unfortunately, the water wasn’t clear enough for good pictures but you could see a lot anyway. He had a lot of fun snorkeling
After snorkeling through the riff for about half an hour we went on to the next island. The little island offered an amazingly nice beach. Besides that there was basically nothing on the island but what else would you want if you have a beach? And actually, exactly that made this island so unique. Sandy beach and turquoise water. After taking a little walk along the coastline I decided to have a swim even though my foot was cut. But the clear water was just too tempting. The water had the perfect temperature refreshing but not too cool.
After bathing a little Eduardo went on to take some more pictures while I lay down in the little piece of shadow I could find on the island. Although I was wearing 50 SPF sunscreen I felt like my skin has had enough sun for the day. (And yes, the feeling was right as it turned out to be the strongest sunburn I’ve ever had. But not only me, also Eduardo, and basically everyone that has joined the tour was burned. Which made us stay inside the next few days. Best beach holiday ever, right?)
After around one hour of beach time, we went back to the boat for a little lunch. Afterwards, we had another 30 minutes that we could spend on the beach. Either swimming or playing volleyball with some of the locals around. By now, my foot just hurt too much to do anything, so I just spent my time in the shade trying to dry a little. Anyway, I enjoyed the beach a lot.
After relaxing on the beach it was time for some adrenaline. Our next destination was a little island that was full of cliffs. This point of our tour was the one I was looking forward to the most. But now that my foot was still bleeding I didn’t feel like climbing up the cliff and jumping anymore. So I stayed with some other people back on the boat watching the others jump.
Sitting on the shaking boat made me get a little dizzy though. So I was more than happy when after around 40 minutes eventually even the last girl was brave enough to jump. Finally, we could go on.
Snorkeling, part two
And for the second time that day we made a stop near another island for snorkeling. This time I obviously got another snorkel. But after I jumped into the water I felt something weird. Suddenly everywhere on my body I felt this kind of little itches. Was it just me? Anyway, I saw all the girls getting back into the boat. Ok. It wasn’t just me then. From many beach holidays as a kid, I remembered that feeling and knew it was just harmless jellyfish. It might itch for some minutes and that’s basically it. So I decided to stay in the water in order to cure my upcoming sea sickness a little. But every move made my foot hurt more and the salt water burned inside my wounds. Anyway, I tried to stay in the water as long as possible and to ignore the pain and the itching jellyfish. From the distance, I could see Eduardo waving at me trying to make signs for me to follow him. But he was just to far. And my foot just hurt too much to swim anymore. Unfortunately, I didn’t know that the place where he swam to was not only full of fish but also free of jellyfish.
I decided to just stay where I was trying to move as few as possible. But suddenly I felt a storm coming up pushing the waves higher and higher.
I put my head underwater in order to catch a glance at the fish beneath me. Suddenly, a big wave rolled over my head. When I got up again, I could feel that one of the jellyfish was glued to my face. Bah! After I ripped it off and threw it back into the water I realized that being on the boat might not be the worst option.
In the end, I spent the rest of the trip on the shaking boat. The upcoming storm and rain made the boat shake even more and I felt awfully seasick. Whoever wanted was by now able to try out some fishing. I’ve already realized during my stay Maldives though that I totally disliked any kind of fishing which was not done just for fun and not in order to eat the fish afterwards.
The way back
And finally, the last person gave up on fishing. And we could go back to the Otres Beach. In the meantime, the rain got quite strong so that we got completely wet on the way and the waves got higher and higher. In the end, we arrived the Otres Beach of Sihanoukville around 4 pm with perfect sunshine.
All in All
Although, it might not really sound like I can totally recommend this island hopping trip. Obviously, Eduardo had much more fun than me (well, already the next day I had to bring him to the hospital, but I will tell you that story in my next post about Otres Beach 2). Especially for this price, the tour is totally worth it. So if you are staying in Otres Beach and someone is approaching you about an Island Hopping Tour just do it.
Anyway, you might wanna be smarter than us and bring a light T-shirt for snorkeling. So you don’t get as sunburned as strong we did. And in case you get sunburned anyway, maybe just schedule this trip for the last day of your stay.
If you are looking for general Information about traveling Cambodia please click here.
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