I knew i was gonna stay longer than expected, much longer. Sihanokville is one of those places and i know my patterns now. This sleepy, ever developing, low profile scruffy Cambodian seaside town gets heavily touted as the “Ko Samui 30 years ago”, or “the next Ko Samui..”.
I had my 2 weeks here in order to understand wether i may like this place or not. The answer is probably a yes, especially now that i’ve met some cool people and i know my way round a little better. Despite the many bars in town and on the beaches, live music is pretty much at its beginning here, unless one does’nt include the odd open mics taking place pretty much every night in different places. I’ve got my first gigs as soon as i’ve got in town; The Big Easy and The Led Zephyr, both on the same road, gave me few bookings and i enjoyed playing there. The first place is more catering to a “Lonely Planet-esque” kinda crowd, and the second is popular among expats and long term stayers.
You can get a free room, free drinks and food, and even some money plus a percentage on the bar sales, if you get a gig in one of these places. It’s a great way to travel and to play in front of a diverse crowd, plus one can improve his performing skills, playing at such temperatures !
When you have a gig at night, you need to resist to the 1$ beer temptation, unless you want to get to the stage crawling, so the best way to spend the day is to stroll down the beach. My usual morning walk, would take me from the busy and populated with locals Occheteal beach, to the quietere and wilder Otres beach, few kilometres south.
I like to walk with my guitar and reach Otres beach, where i can lay all day, swimming or sleeping under a tree. It’s nice to walk as the beach gets quieter: the more you walk, the less tourists are insight. Sometimes you’re stopped by the buddhist monks that want a picture with you, but apart from some fisherman and local kids playing in the water, you have the whole beach all for yourself.
Once you get to the little hill at the end of Occheteual beach, all you have to do is crossing the bridge and get to the other side of the rocks. The little bay at the beginning of Otres has become one of my favourites spots. The water is clear and the sea is calm. There’s a big tree providing the priceless shade and you can sit on some giant boulders scattered all around.
Sometimes i spend the whole day here. The beach is so quite compared to where i live, and sometimes you feel like you’re the only man on earth. I will definitely make Otres beach my home the next time i’ll come to Sihanoukville. I’m already in touch with some bars that need live music, so i guess it will be hard to avoid the temptation of lazying on the beach all day until soundcheck time…