It all started here...

It all started here...

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Sihounoville, Cambodia

(As I was uploading photos for this page, I realized that I had to go to the hospital emergency room for some unbearable pain. Had emergency surgery and stayed at the hospital through Christmas, eight days total. I will continue as I physically able to finish this trip report now that I am home. Please bear with me.)

Sihounoville, Cambodia -- November 27, 2016

Sihounoville is an important port and beach town for Cambodians. Today, we joined a tour set up by CC members Annette and Vinson using Sihounouville Seaside Tours with Mr. Sothy. The cost was $60pp for the day, including coffee break and lunch. 

We had room service again for an early start at 7:45.

Tour buses in port.

We met at the Atrium on deck 3 and then went off the ship. We were the first group off as soon as they opened the gangway. We did not see our tour bus in port and finally realized that we were to meet them outside port gate. Took the long walk to the port gate where a bunch of tour operators gathered to meet their groups. We had no problem finding our guide and soon we were on the van, all 11 of us.

Walking away from the ship towards port gate.

Quite desolated.

Almost there!

Here is the port gate...

and our guide.

Into the van, which was a little cramped for 11 people.

First stop was the fishing village.

Busy fishermen sorting their catches that morning.

Huge ice blocks were ready for use.


It was a bit smelly but it still has some beauty in it.

The locals were very friendly and didn't mind these strangers crashing into their private lives on their floating houses. I believe all the tours come here for a peek. There was a group in front of us and as we were leaving, the HAL tours started arriving.


ice factory

As we were leaving, a couple of HAL tours arrived. Their big buses were not able to get inside the village so they had to walk through the tiny alley ways which was like a maze. Some HAL tour members who couldn't keep up with the guide were lost. A couple were following us by mistake and then some just totally lost so we had to tell them where to go to find their groups. I can see how difficult this will be for those who have mobility issues with the big group.

Looks like an entertainment center for men. Watching TV or playing on the computer.

Beautiful dresses in front of the dress making shop.

Cute local kids!

Our next stop was at Wat Krom Pagoda. This must be another main attraction although this temple is quite modest comparing to the ones in Thailand or Myanmar. As we drove on the grounds, kids and adults swamped around our van and begged for money. Some were selling little items but none of us was interested in buying. The HAL location guide already warned us about the begging and the kids. He said to keep your shoes with you if you are taking them off to go inside the temple, otherwise the kids will steal them for ransom.

Another reclining Buddha.

None of us wanted to go inside, so our shoes were all safe!

Building for the monks.

Dining Hall where the monks share whatever they collected for the day.

Some families will bring food and supplies to the temple.

Tombs on the grounds

This temple is just a small size one and it did not take us long to see everything.

Independence Monument

Independence Monument was our next stop. Actually it was just a short stop for photos.

Sandan Restaurant
Then we were taken to this nice restaurant for a coffee break. This restaurant is a training restaurant for street kids, as I understand. We were seated outdoor and a small buffet of snacks like satay, fresh fruits, coffee and tea was served.

Phsar Leu Central Market
The purpose of this stop was for us to shop for souvenirs. To tell the truth, there wasn't much that was of interested to us. This market is very busy and it does have all kinds of things in there. From toys, clothing, fruits and vegetables, anything you can name of. It was interesting to see but for only 30 minutes, it was not easy to really find things to buy. We did buy some mangosteen but they were not cheap and the quality was not the best either. We were actually attracted by this woman who was baking cakes using a dutch oven like stove, fresh and hot, right on the spot. Almost got some.

all kinds of goodies

That's the baker!

Don't they look delicious?

People are so desperate in making money in this developing country. Those who tried to sell tours for the day ran along the HAL shuttles as soon as they see one coming to the market trying to attract tourists. HAL provided shuttles from port to central market for a price.
I wish we had longer time here at the market to really appreciate what there is to see.

Kbal Chhay Waterfall
The drive out to the waterfall was kind of far and it seemed to be a local favorite spot to spend their holidays relaxing and having fun. It is pretty in many ways, but we just went to Jiuzaigou in Sichuan, China where we saw the most amazing ponds, rivers, and waterfalls. So this really was nothing in comparison.

Walking through the little 'village' to the waterfall.

Huts or cabanas where locals would rent for the day.

It must be fun having picnics and just relax while the kids enjoy playing in the water.

Otres Beach
As described on our itinerary, this is a wonderful beach in Cambodia. It looks nice albeit a little bare. All they had to do is to clean it up a little and this can even be like Pattaya! Again, we stopped here just for a little while to take photos. 

ChC did take the chance to dip his feet in the water.

Back in town.

Having lunch at Sandan Restaurant.

Set lunch menu

Beef salad

My lemonade, not so good. After I ordered this I regret having something with ice in it since we were warned ahead of time. But the menu said the ice served here is safe. Good thing nothing happened to me as I worried the whole time that afternoon.

As we were enjoying our lunch, a performance of traditional Cambodian dance was on stage.

Seafood soup

Our main--curry chicken, braised barracuda, and jasmine rice.

Dessert--black sticky rice with coconut cream. Excellent!
I really enjoyed the meal, which was delicious and refreshing. Drinks were not included but prices not too bad.

After lunch, we took a drive around the city and along the beaches before they dropped us back off at the port gate. From there we took the shuttles back to the ship which saved us the long walk after the day. Checked out the vendors by the ship but again there was nothing of interest. To tell the truth, there is really nothing of real importance at this port that are must see. It was good to see how ordinary people live in this part of the world though. 

Like most days, we napped and relaxed before going to Rottendam for dinner that evening.

Scrimp skewer

Japanese Rice Cake Soup

Prime rib

Chocolate cake with ice cream.