I spent my time in Cambodia in Siem Riep, Phnom Pehn and then Shihanoukville. That’s pretty much as well worn a tourist trail as you can get in Cambodia but I’d already decided that I wasnt going to wander far afield or spend much time away from a beach where I could go swimming, meditate and do some yoga.
Unfortunately, Shihanoukville turned out to be pretty crap as far as beaches and beach resorts go and also expensive for what you get especially seeing that Thailand is just across the border. Another traveler who’d spend a lot more time in Cambodia going to many different places basically put it best:
“It seems that because they dont have that much, they try to charge as much as they can for it. So you end up paying a lot more for a lot less in Cambodia.”
I’ve got to agree.
Still, that’s not to say Cambodia isnt special. Because it is. It might be filthy (as filthy as India), poverty-ridden and corrupt (although you’re shielded from it as a western tourist). Its people might seem desperate to earn any sort of money from you but still there’s something lovely about them.
Sitting on the beach being assailed by women selling massages and food, children selling bracelets, men selling sun-glasses, I was still struck by their smiles and openness. They cluster around and chat (their english is great), make you promise to buy something from them later and then come back and chat some more. It’s relationships they’re selling and they’re good at it.
Nonetheless, I doubt that I will be returning to Cambodia very soon and if I do, it’ll be to work.