I’m a sissy when it comes to motorbikes, or even mopeds for that matter. This is because my ex-boyfriend had two superbikes!! Yes, two!!! As if one wasn’t enough! (A Kawasaki Ninja and Suzuki GSX-R, in case you’re into that kinda thing). Fuck me, they’re fast. And scary. And he fell off, and got hurt, badly. (Luckily not while I was on the bike.) I also witnessed a motorbike crash around the same time, on the M3 in England… so following those two incidents, you could say I’m fucking terrified of bikes.
This does not help when you visit Asia.
Two wheels… kinda a big deal in Asia. It’s how you get around. Full stop.
So, looking back to our last full day in Sihanoukville in Cambodia in November last year, we had 3 options… lie by the beach/pool all day with a cocktail – like we had done for the past 3 days already. (My first choice… obviously!!) Go on a moped adventure (arghhhhhhhhhh!) or go on a tuk tuk adventure. Option 3 is way more expensive, because you’re effectively paying a dude to taxi you round all day, whilst also acting as a tour guide.
I knew Sander wanted to go out on the moped but he put no pressure on me whatsoever (which helped) so after a few hours of fannying around, googling stuff and delaying the inevitable… I decided to woman up, don my *highly* unflattering shiny red helmet (complete with go-faster stripe) and go for a ride. Selfie stick in hand (for Google maps directions, naturally) we were on our way.
Possibly THE most unflattering picture of me ever in existence… but honesty is my middle name. So fuck it.
I was completely shitting myself for the first 5-10 minutes on main roads with all shapes and sizes of vehicles whizzing past – read: all bigger and faster than us! I finally began to relax a little when we were off the main road and onto a dirt track where we could go more at our own (my) pace. Thank fuck. Aptly named the Red Road, we were soon covered in terracotta coloured dust and looked like we’d caught a bad suntan.
Before you reach the waterfalls there’s a dead end. Well, I suppose it’s a car park (of sorts) with lots of stalls and ramshackle ‘restaurants’ selling their delicious wares. I decided I deserved a treat for being so brave, like when I give the cat a meaty-stick after taking her to the vet, so we opted for a miscellaneous deep-fried roll to celebrate our (my) safe arrival. It was banana-y and yum.
Then onto the main event!
The waterfalls are spectacular. Not middle-of-nowhere, just hiked 30 mins though the jungle to see them spectacular, like in Bali. But beautiful in their own right. Well, we did drive 30 mins to see them, so they’re kinda in the middle of nowhere… but no hiking/jungle takes a bit of the effort out!
There were more people there than I had anticipated, seeing as this is supposed to be a ‘hidden gem’ and considering the location… though I guess to me it was some kind of treacherous journey, while to others it’s just a pootle down to the local shop! But still, it was worth it. Simply beautiful!
Selfies taken (that bloody stick did come in handy for something!!) and waterfalls explored, we went in search of something a little more substantial to sustain ourselves for the long journey home. (30 mins, tops.)
They had beer or beer. Or water. I had water in my backpack. They had noodles or rice. Or noodles or rice.
I’m a wine and curry girl myself, but seeing how traveller-y I felt right at that moment, coming aaaaaaaaall the way here (eye rolling myself right now) I decided to fully embrace the backpacker lifestyle and opted for beer!! And noodles!!
The best beer and noodles of my life I might add. (I hate beer, I haven’t drunk it since 2007, bar one night in Amsterdam when I was too drunk to know what the hell I was drinking. It also turns out I’m gluten intolerant – which I found out after my trip – so I think that’s why I’d subconsciously avoided beer for so long). But in that moment, I enjoyed every single swig of my ice cold beer, which was paired perfectly with the delicious noodles. This lady could cook! In fact, the Dutch guys next to us ordered another plate of noodles – with much difficulty – as she couldn’t quite get her head around the fact they wanted to eat ANOTHER whole plate of dinner.
Noodles and the only beer of my 2 weeks in Cambodia downed, bellies satisfied, our trip was confirmed as a great success (I can only hear those two words in Borat’s voice, anyone else?) and in fact – the highlight of our few days in Sihanoukville.
For this, I’d like to thank the two lovely Cambodians (who spoke outstanding English) who we met in a swimming pool in Siem Reap. They urged us to make sure Sihanoukville was part of our itinerary as it was “where Cambodians go on holiday”. It had in fact been part of our plan all along, but after hearing that – it was cemented in our itinerary.
So, long story short; if you’re in Sihanoukville and fancy a break from chilling out and relaxing on the beach and frolicking by the pool (are you mad??) then I highly recommend the Kbal Chhay waterfalls. One of our highlights of Cambodia, and our whole trip for that matter.
Google maps location:
Approx 30 min drive from Sihanoukville.
Entrance fee: $1 per person. (Correct as of November 2016.)