When we arrived in Cambodia, we were at the end of our fifth month in Asia. We thought we saw it all, in the means of chaotic cities with surprisingly beautiful twists. And we’re coming from Istanbul so tell me about chaos on the street! But Cambodia managed to surprise us once more. It’s safe to say that, it started with our” airport pick-up”. Well, the hostel said they arranged a car to pick us up, an airport shuttle. How naive we were to expect an actual car! OF COURSE it was a tuk-tuk. It was our first of many jolly surprises of the country. Trying to prevent our bags from falling out of the vehicle on the bumpy back roads to our homestay once again we told ourselves, never have assumptions on Asia. And that’s the real beauty of travelling unknown places isn’t it, destroying assumptions!
After a few days in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, we had to make our way to the small village of Ream. Because you see, we’re travelling via volunteering. We’re exchanging a few hours of work for accommodation, food, laughter, new friends and a chance to see the country in the most precious way. Sounds neat, right?
So this time our way was to this small fishing village of Sihanouk Ville. But before heading there we had a small problem on our plate in Phnom Penh. We needed to get visa for our next stop, Laos.
You see, Turkey is an amazing country, with weird connections all around the world. And not necessarily good connections. When we read online that Laos, is giving a hard time for Turkish people on visa process, we didn’t want to believe. I mean, what bad history we could possibly have with a country we basically had no interaction with, am I right? But obviously, world politics is more complicated than that.
Anyway, we knew it would be a little tricky on the embassy so we wanted to go there prepared, with our bus tickets and everything. But of course for that, we needed refundable tickets, because we weren’t sure about the visas. That’s where Camboticket gets wonderfully involved in this story.
When we were searching for online tickets to Laos from Phnom Penh, the name Camboticket caught our eyes more than once. And we found stories about how extremely helpful these people are. So we said, let’s go stalk them with our questions!
The stories were true. They were so helpful and friendly that; although it’s actually an online business, customers kept coming to their offices to handle things. They helped us to find the perfect ticket to Laos and told us about the refund options. We left the office so happy and relieved, that we wanted to have excuses to go back! And Laos embassy gladly gave us the excuse we needed! Yes, you guessed it right, no Laos visa for us!
Well, we did the exact thing that experienced travellers do in times like these: changed the plans! We changed our next stop from Laos to Myanmar and Camboticket changed our tickets from Laos to Thailand + Ream. (unfortunately they don’t have direct tickets to Myanmar. We’ll get there they said, and I believe them my eyes wide shut.) Everything solved seamlessly and we were on our way to Ream, peaceful we can ever be!
Sihanouk Ville is a popular summer spot for both locals and foreign tourists who endeavoured Cambodia’s inland treasures. It’s numerous cafes, easily accessible beaches and pier to the near by islands, make it a perfect stop! Whereas Ream is the silent, peaceful small brother of Sihanouk Ville. Right between Ream National Park and Sihanouk Ville airport, it seems almost stuck.
We didn’t prefer to visit the national park. First of all the reviews we read online were not really appealing. And when our host Roy mentioned you needed to pay for a ranger to wander around in the park, our enthusiasm for national parks were gone instantly. But the curious traveller, with a huge apetite for trees, can gladly combine his/her day with a small Ream Village tour.
It has two virgin beaches. So you can make sure no unwanted tourists will be photo-bombing with your sunset capture. Prek Chak Beach, the long one, has smooth white sand and a magnificent forest background thanks to the unvisitable-national-park-by-low-budget-traveller. A perfect mixture of earthly palette, green, yellow and blue.
On your way to the beach, you’ll see the hammock restaurants with wonderful views of Koh Ta Kiev and Koh Sramauch. Nothing’s better than laying down in a hammock, with the sea extending in front of you. Oh and I forgot to mention the fresh coconut juice.
But before finishing up your day, remember to take a look at Wat Ream, up at the hill. Impressing with a breath taking view, this temple also hosts the most unusual Buddhist sculptures, you’ll ever see.
Our host is a little bit out of village, right on Toek Sab river, a perfect spot for kayaking. We definitely recommend renting a kayak and make a peaceful trip on the river with only wild surrounding you. End of the river is Kbal Chhay Waterfall. It’s a nice complex of waterfalls. A must-see, if you’re around the area. If you trust your level of athletism, going there by kayak would be a nice rewarding experience after three hours of rowing. We did trust ourselves but somewhere on the road laziness overcome and we thought that “maybe we can go there with motorbikes later”. We went there with motorbikes the other day.
We’re coming to the end of our days here in Ream, and missing it already. If you prefer the small villages to the big cities like us, then Ream might be your alternative option against Sihanouk Ville. Or with it’s extensive fruit market, hammock restaurants, scenic beaches it might be a nice combination for your trip!
Safe travels everyone!