One Dollar Dorms and 25 Bananas

I don’t really feel like we need to spend any more time in Phnom Penh. It’s not my favourite city on earth, and the beautiful beaches of Koh Rong are beckoning us back South.

We get a bus ticket that will pick us up at 8:00 from our hostel. While we wait, we cut up the remainder of our fruit from yesterday morning. The $2.50 we spent has lasted us two days, not bad!

The usual crowded van picks us up and drives us to a larger bus. It only costs us $6.50 to make the four hour journey from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville, where we will then catch a ferry. We’re on a bus that I would classify as a local bus. The seat numbers are the only things I can read, and there are a couple monks in our company. I don’t think monks take tourist buses but who knows, maybe!

Plan A was to arrive in Sihanoukville at 12:30 (as per the four hour listed drive time) and to catch the last ferry to Koh Rong at 2pm. It’s 1:50pm and we’re still on the bus, so it looks like we’ll be staying the night in Sihanoukville.
When we roll up at 3:00 and all I’ve eaten is a mango and a banana all day, I’m a little hangry.
We find motorbike drivers who will take us to a $2 dorm hostel with a pool for $2 each. Done. They also make a stop at a place to buy boat tickets, and an ATM at our request. My driver is a little too friendly and keeps calling me beautiful, asking if I have a boyfriend, and offering to take me for dinner. No thanks, but a free motorbike ride would be cool. No? Okay. I tried.

The most fabulous surprise in the world occurs when we arrive at the dorm and find out that a fan bed is only $1. One dollar. That’s basically free. We could upgrade to air-con for $2, but who needs air-con really? We take the thriftiest option and go with $1 fan. We drop our stuff and immediately head to the pool-side bar for some food. It’s 4pm and I’m starving. I order a pesto pasta for $2. If I hadn’t already seen photos of how beautiful Koh Rong is, I would totally stay in cheap Sianhoukville forever! But alas, we must leave this thrifty paradise tomorrow morning at 8:30am for the beautiful island. Not complaining. We had to boot a return boat ticket, so that means we’ll be stopping in Siahnoukville again anyway. Perhaps we’ll stay another night on our way back up into the mainland.

The hostel is quirky and basic, but totally awesome, especially for a dollar.

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I take a shower and we walk over to a street side Khmer restaurant for dinner. We each pay 5,000 riel ($1.25) for a plate of noodles and seafood. We get a free pot of green tea with ice just for showing up! After dinner we stop at a fruit vendor to get tomorrow’s breakfast. We get 25 bananas for $1. I can’t handle how cheap things are here. 25 bananas!

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We go down to the beach where there are some bars enticing people with free or cheap drinks and fire shows. It’s fine during the low season, but I could not imagine being in such a party place during the busy season. It’s a lot like Koh Phi Phi, in Thailand but cheaper. The cheaper thing is cool, but it’s still not my scene. I can’t wait to get up and go to calm Koh Rong tomorrow!

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