We reached the southern most coastal town of Cambodia named Sihanoukville at 10 am on a breezy morning. Our plan was to take the first available ferry to the island of Koh Rong as we had already lost a day post the night at Pub Street. I didn’t have many days left in Cambodia and was anxious about making the best of whatever time I had in hand. Things hadn’t really worked out as planned ever since the day that Lauren and I had met and we knew that our crazy but wonderfully adventurous streak would surely continue throughout out trip. It had been raining non-stop since my first day in Cambodia and this certainly wasn’t a good time to come visit the beautiful country.
As Lauren and I got off our minivan, we immediately ventured off onto the beach to take a ferry to Koh Rong. The rains on the southern coast were so heavy that the sea was acting crazy and all the ferries to Koh Rong had been cancelled. The locals informed us of the few ferries which did leave for Koh Rong, but not from the main harbour. The system sounded quite fishy to us and we decided not to risk taking the worth since it would be raining in the island too. The weather made the idea of wandering around the island sound terrible and we ended up surrendering our initial plan. We decided to stay in town for another day and wait for the weather to hopefully change.
Once we had our minds made up, we sat down at one of the beach bars to have a drink and find an accommodation in the city. We found a small hotel not very far from the beach at an affordable rent. We spent the entire day sitting and drinking cheap beer as the downpour continued. Sihanoukville was a small town with many ‘touristy’ things to do, mostly famous for being a place to chill out. There were tuk- tuks all over the city. A majority of the town was just filled with food cafes and bars along the beautiful coastline. This made for a highly enjoyable setup and the perfect holiday destination to sit back and relax.
Our luck did not get any better the next day either and we had to cancel the Koh Rong plan. We decided to extend our stay in Sihanoukville. Over the next few days, our schedules usually consisted of crawling all the interesting bars and restaurants Lauren could dig out of her guidebook. Our night life adventures seemed to have made us famous to such an extent that random people in town would stop to greet and talk to us. In short, we were living the life everybody wishes to have- getting away with whatever we did with no responsibilities or things to worry about, relaxing on the beach during the day and partying every night and all of that, within the cheapest means possible. A pint of beer was usually priced at 50 cents and happy hours made the rates even cheaper. We made sure to make the most of it without a mistake.
We did try exploring the city during the daytime if it wasn’t raining. We visited the local market which was the most extreme market that I have ever been to. The stench was strong enough to have made any faint hearted fall onto the ground. We travelled to other beaches around town, bought books and didn’t read them, paid 4$ to a tuk-tuk driver to drive us from one place to another just for the sake of it. It was different then what I usually do on my trips and that is made this experience especially nice.
I asked myself the same question a thousand times- would I have had the same amount of fun had this been a solo trip? The answer was a blatant no. This made me realize the importance of a travel partner on the same frequency as you. I had the chance to enjoy small things like looking for a book shop to buy a book which I knew I probably wouldn’t read. But those small things made me realize that travelling is not only about visiting famous places and taking pictures. It’s about finding happiness in the little things which you usually wouldn’t have or get a chance to do. If it comes down to counting the number of ‘touristy’ things I did in Sihanoukville, I wouldn’t be able to come up with more than a few memorable names but if the question of how much I enjoyed my stay there arises, I can assure you that there isn’t a scale in the world which could measure it.
I meet a lot of people on my trips, people meet and leave in a day or two but this time it was different. When it came to travel compatibility it must have been like 100% between me and Lauren that made this trip stand out in my travel history. Even though our stay in Sihanoukville wasn’t very long but in every true sense the town was real ‘Harbour of happiness’ for me.