A relaxed town resting over the river with a few great café/bars and empty garden squares. The famous colonial bridge looks like a temporary creation always undergoing road works. The nearby national park was bought out by the vice-prime-ministers brother (the richest man in Cambodia) hence no more visits to see the animals/birds available due to a “dangerous landslides” hmmmmmmmmmmm! However a good session on the net in a recommended bar overlooking the river and the town square.
Not being entirely sure of the information we had be given on the national park, we cycled in the early afternoon further west in a ghastly head on wind slowing us down to less than 10km per hour. We stopped at the entry to the park and were told that we could visit the old French hill station , but with no guide and with the prospect of only seeing the aforementioned new development of a new mega luxurious pad for a local oligarch - we decided to carry on. The wind eased off but we still did not manage to make it to the next town. A spicy papaya salad, a drink and we started hitching. We got a lift in a very flash 4x4 with a manager of the building work on the national railway line. He was an older businessman, nice but focused, driving last thing in the evening to pay cash to foremen for the workers building the railway. He was handing out big sums of dollars kept in a black plastic bag in between his feet at different locations along the rail route. He told us that the he does it every day and there is no banking system to pay for the workers – what a black market creation by the government themselves. He also told us that the average Mr. smith`s basic wage is 5 US dollars per day and goes up (a little) with experience.
Dropped about 20 km further just to change for a next taxi lift which we caught in the dark. We agreed to travel in buttered old Toyota Corolla estate with our bikes hanging out the back. When full (most of the journey) we totalled 11 people, 2 bikes, 6 massive sacks of plastic items on the roof and other luggage. The car visited lots of places on route and finally got dropped us in Sihanoukville A bit of research and we got a nice hotel in a quiet sport just off the heart of town.
Cycled 85 : hitched almost the same