Favorite thing: There's a very useful Vietnamese consulate on the hill before you come into Downtown from Victory Hill and was where I got my Vietnamese Visa. It only took about 5 minutes of waiting before I had the visa in my passport and in my hand! Quite amazing and just shows you how fast they can really do it. My visa cost me $37 (December 2008).
As a solo American traveller in Cambodia, I got used to eating by myself, particularly in Sihanoukville (Kampong Saom). There were many solo travellers in Phnom Penh and Angkor with whom I could eat dinner or visit sights. Convenient. Plus the guesthouse atmosphere is conducive to meetign other travellers.
In Sihanoukville (Kampong Saom), that's less true. Most of the travellers are couples or small groups. So I spent the bulk of my time on my own. On the third night, though, I noticed a woman sitting by herself as well. I figured, what the heck, misery loves company, right? So I invited her over.
"Jessica," as we'll call her, was an twenty-something American (of Irish and Aussie descent) girl from Philadelphia who had come to Southeast Asia after the tech crash. Having cashed out her stock options, she had been in Southeast Asia for several months and had just finished biking across Cambodia. I couldn't imagine: a single woman biking along the gawd-awful roads of Cambodia, but she had a terrific time and didn't worry about safety once. Apparently, that's a significant difference from her Vietnam experience.
Anyway, I enjoyed filling her in on the news of the past few months, and she enjoyed talking to an American. As she put it on her online journal:
"The last 40km to Sihounakville went by pretty fast and I arrived here just before 2pm. Found a great place to stay for $3/night, then showered and rested before looking for some dinner. I went to a restaurant with a view of the sea to watch the sunset and wound up meeting an American guy, Andrew, and sat with him for dinner and beers and good conversation. He told me all about the Olympics and other things at home that I've missed - so great to catch up on things! Really nice guy..." How's that for a ringing endorsement? So three cheers for "Jessica"!
Favorite thing: As Sihanoukville faces west, you'll get some lovely photo opportunities when the sunsets along the beach. Here's a few shots of mine.
Favorite thing: Independence Beach is a privat beach for Sea Breeze Guesthouse and Independence Hotel. Anyway it's nothing to do in this beach and it's not so nice, so who care if it's closed for the public.