Cambodian Beaches You May Never Want to Leave

1. Otres Beach, Sihanoukville

In my opinion, Otres is the perfect place to stay in Sihanoukville. You can lay out on the beach all day with a good book or swim in the calm refreshing water. People will come up to you asking you to buy sunglasses, fruit, massages, even fortune readings, but we found the amount of people to be much less than nearby Serendipity Beach. At sunset, grab a $.50 beer and watch the sun melt into the sea. At night, walk along the beach to one of the many restaurants/guesthouses serving all sorts of delicious foods (Indigo, Everythang, Papa Pippo). Late night, you can take a tuk-tuk to the party scene in Serendipity or swim with the bioluminescent plankton. The great thing about Otres is that you can almost guarantee you will be able to hear the ocean from your guesthouse, meaning you can fall asleep to the sound of waves crashing upon the shore. On Saturday night, head to the Otres Night Market for food, drinks, live music, and good company.

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2. Koh Ta Kiev

About an hour boat ride from Otres Beach lies the island of Koh Ta Kiev. Accommodations are very basic as the island is sparsely populated and not yet developed but you can find dorm rooms, bungalows, and hammocks (yes, you can sleep on a hammock on the beach or the jungle!) for next to nothing. There is something quite magical about one of the places on Koh Ta Kiev, Ten103 Treehouse Bay. The food is delicious – we enjoyed the best fish we’ve had on our trip, Trai Jin Jou Aim, and caramelized chicken and veggies with rice, Bai Srope. There are plenty of places to read a book, take a snooze, or meet other travelers while chillin in this jungle/beach oasis. Head to the Absinthe bar in the trees to try some “real” Absinthe and have a few laughs. Just be careful while swimming in certain areas, we saw the after-math of a bad sea urchin sting!

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3. Lonely Beach, Koh Rong

After walking along the main Koh Rong beach, you will see a sign saying “Woodfired Pizza.” Follow the path through the trees and alongside the rocky beach. You will pass some bungalows and the pizza place. The walk is a piece of cake (or should I say pizza?) compared to the hike to the more popular and less stunning Long Beach on the other side of the island. Continue to follow the path (10-15 minutes) until you find yourself with a dark turquoise lagoon on your left and the stunning bay to your right. Now you have found Lonely Beach! The beach’s name says it all – there is practically no one there. For us, it was the perfect escape from the high season tourist rush that is difficult to avoid on the small strip of Koh Rong. Even if it’s not high season, you won’t want to leave this beach for its secluded location and its stunning views!

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Did we miss out on any other awesome beaches in Cambodia? Let us know! 

An Unforgettable Visit to the Killing Fields Museum

Spoiler alert: this is not a post about a happy memory of my travels in Cambodia. You may have guessed that, considering a title with the word “killing” in it probably isn’t exactly cheerful. This post is about one of the most raw and powerful moments that I’ve experienced traveling: visiting the Killing Fields Museum (also known as the Choeung Ek Genocidal Center) outside of Phnom Penh in Cambodia.

Neither of us can recall learning anything in our history books about one of the most terrible genocides in the 20th century: the Khmer Rouge. We were in disbelief after learning the atrocities of the regime and couldn’t ignore the pain on many of the Cambodian people’s faces. It seemed as if every Cambodian person we met was still processing or struggling from the effects of the Khmer Rouge. The Killing Fields Musuem is a way to remember the victims, honor the survivors, and never forget the genocide that occurred. I want to share some of my tips and recommendations with hopes that you will visit.

Educate yourself before you go: Although you will learn a lot on the tour, it is good to have a basic understanding of Cambodian history and the Khmer Rouge prior to your visit.  If you are looking for a book to get started, I recommend reading “First They Killed My Father” by Loung Ung.

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Visit in the morning: If you want to avoid the hot afternoon heat and humidity, visit in the morning. Somehow I think you will still manage to get chills.

Listen to the audio tour: This is essential for your visit to the Killing Fields. The audio is only $6 (as of December 2014) and is included in the price of entry. The narrator walks you through the various sites and tells you many stories that are difficult to hear.

Plan on staying a few hours: The audio tour lasts an hour and a half so allow yourself at least two hours. This is not something that you want to rush.

Be respectful: This is a really powerful place and, of course, everyone processes differently but I found the fact that people were laughing and joking while we were still doing our audio tour to be pretty disrespectful. So don’t be like them! And please, do not take selfies with the skulls!

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Visit S21 Prison on the same day: Also known as Tuol Sleng Museum of Genocide, S21 Prison, was an additional location (originally a high school) that the Khmer Rouge used to torture and execute Cambodians. I don’t mean to downplay the significance by not dedicating more time to it but I don’t think it would have been quiet as impactful had we not just visited the Killing Fields Museum or vice versa.


Have you visited the Killing Fields Museum before? Do you have any other tips or recommendations? Share them below! 

11 Italian Phrases to Live By

ildolcefarniente The sweetness of doing nothing.

mattina

A good day starts in the morning.

romantic-italian-love-phrases-beautiful-illustration-italian-for-my-girlfriend-luce

You are the light of my eyes.

lamore

The love that moves the sun and other stars.

5265803378_580511ac9f_zI will love you forever. plus a day.

sogni No stepping on dreams.

A dinner without wine is like a day without sun.

labellavita

The beautiful life.

viaggioThe departure is nothing else than the beginning of the homecoming.

mangiare

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not ate well.


lareobaleno

If you want to see a rainbow, you must learn how to love the rain.