Homestay and Sihanouk
Next stop on our trip was a village near Chambok, where we were allowed to stay in one of the villagers’ homes. On one hand I very much appreciate that way of accommodating tourists because it helps the locals – the whole village benefits and the houses interchange, so it’s not just one family harbouring visitors all the time. The tourists always bring some gifts for the kids like toys or books – well I always buy books, often to learn basic English. And for us it’s very interesting because we get to see how people live, eat some home-made food and on this occasion, we also got to watch an amazing dance performance prepared by the local kids. Shockingly we discovered that most of the dancers were in their teens and we thought they were all under 10. Kids in Cambodia, especially girls, are very petite for a long time into their adolescence.
I can also very highly recommend a hike to a waterfall. It might take couple of hours and it’s definitely uphill but I think it’s worth the effort. The reward can be a picking and a refreshing swim in the river on the way back.
The last stop in Cambodia was a beach town of Sihanouk. Well that was a site. First of all, Cambodia similarly to Thailand, has a garbage problem. Our guide tried and he probably keeps trying to show people how to treat trash in a responsible manner. When he sees a child throwing something on the street, he picks it up and explains to them that it should be thrown into a trash can. And few minutes later the parents do exactly the same: they litter the streets providing the worst example possible.
Sihanouk is a party place and we were there for New Year’s Eve. The main thing is of course to enjoy the sun there. First, we took a cruise to a very nice little island, beautiful beach, great snorkelling opportunities. One thing thou, you have to be very careful with pickpockets. I almost got mugged and one of the guys in our group lost his phone and almost his wallet.
And if you ever use the laundry service there, check if what you got back is everything you’ve left and if it’s actually yours. I lost my favourite pair of hiking trousers there that accompanied me everywhere for almost 10 years.