A 4 hour bus ride from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville, then another 3 hours took us to a rest-stop at the side of the road called Sok Srei, from where we were to catch a taxi to the coast.
The car was there waiting so we watched as they loaded plastic containers into the boot filled with petrol to the point that the lid would barely close. Malene and I sat in the back seat plus our two back packs and our hand luggage, in the front two passengers shared the passenger seat plus the driver. Oh well not too bad I could just see the top of Malene’s head through the back packs for a chat. So we set off and 150 meters down the road we stop for another passenger, I think no way!! where will he sit? Be aware that Cambodians do space really well, in the driver’s seat of course, the driver moves to the middle sitting on the hand-break and the passenger squeezes in. The car is awash with petrol fumes and the driver is now driving side saddle from in-between the front seats. One hour like this no way, I stop the car in true Yiannopoulos fashion and make the last passenger get in the back. Now we had all our luggage on our laps, but better safe than sorry, well we still had the petrol but we all made it there safe though a little high.
The third stage was by far the easiest we took a little boat across to a tiny tropical island going by the name of Koh Totang although it also seems to have other names.
On the island there are five cottages making up Nomads Land and two local families, one of them operate a small fish farm and from within their stilted home sell a few basic items like biscuits for passer-by fishermen and us.
Our hut, called Fish in the Sky, was great, basic to the max and yet very liveable – we loved it straight away. From the room and our small wooden deck we looked straight out to the sea and neighbouring islands.
The view is stunning any time of day…
Nomads Land cater for the basic amenities – food is included and you can buy beer, wine and other drinks. There is a common open air guest area on stilts for meals and chatting with the other guests, a small wooden jetty to swim off, two kayaks, masks and snorkels and then it’s up to you to somehow fill your day.
Swiss family Robinson comes to mind as we had to adjust to our surrounding, take the bathroom for example, the toilet worked with coconut husk and a bucket, it worked really well never a bad smell and comfy as any fancy western set up, there was a tub of water and a plastic saucepan to shower with and any wet mess drained away between the floor boards. A bamboo deck with two hammocks, no adjusting was needed here and as for the room or hut it was perfect.
There are coconut trees, cashew trees (who knew each nut comes with it’s own fruit that can also be eaten?), mango and pineapple plants, birds include Hornbills and Kingfishers. The staff was manned by an Australian couple who own Nomads and a lovely mix of volunteers, one living in a tree house, another in an old traditional shack and some new ones who arrived the same day as us and were just as lost initially although they quickly found their feet and cooked delicious meals while trying to keep the chooks out of the kitchen.
Little Lionel, Henriette and Sergio on one of their outings.
Hard to describe our time here other than it gave us a primitive sense of being truly relaxed, absolutely no obligations, filling our days with swims in the warm water, snorkelling, reading, kayaking round the island hugging the coast and staring into the jungle to spot the birds. Falling asleep to the sound of the waves and waking up to the sun straight through the windows as there is no need to draw the curtains.
A tough routine by any measure. I hope the photos describe it better than I can, I don’t think my words do it justice.
The last day on the island came round as it always does and we confronted the chaos of the real world, said goodbye to new friends and with a stroke of luck got onto the right bus back to Sihanoukville.