How was to rent a Scooter in Sihanoukville
A very popular thing to do while travelling around south-Asian countries is to rent a Scooter and explore the areas a bit more. During our almost 50 days travelling around the Asian countries, it was in Sihanoukville the first time we rented a Scooter. It was also the most adventurous one. We’ve been through places with aeroplanes in the rooftop of a building, we visited a bunch of monkeys and appreciated a beautiful sunset drinking a beer on the beach. Keep reading to get into this adventure with us!
Renting a motorcycle in some Asian Countries
In Sihanoukville, we decided to stay a bit out of the central area and we picked a peaceful beach around 5km from the city centre. Click here to read about all the beaches in Sihanoukville! So, staying far from the city centre brought us the idea to rent a Scooter for a day, so we could also travel a bit around and explore more from Sihanoukville. The rental was super cheap, only 5 dollars for 24 hours. This would be pretty much enough to enjoy a nice day riding around.
During our entire travel, the rental price of a Scooter varied from 3 to 6 dollar per day. In any case, we needed to present our driver license or to leave any document as a backup. Also, the payment was made after we drove. Actually, all the hotels we stayed rented Scooters, so we actually paid only on the checkout.
What to pay attention while renting a scooter
- – Ask about the law in the place. In Cambodia, there is no need to have a driving license to ride a Scooter. In case you are not familiar with motorcycles, scooters have a very week motor and in the most case won’t get quicker than 60 km/h. So in many countries, you don’t really need a specific driving license to ride one. The other fact about Cambodia is that because they have a corrupted government, if a Police Officer stops you and you don’t have a license, he might charge you 1 US dollar for that. Yes, it is weird, but can happen. If you have a drive license of any category, always carry it with you.
- – Never, but really never, ride a Scooter without a helmet. Be sure that you get one when renting it. Never forget to close it under your chin and adjust it to be well fit to your head. Security first, always! Don’t forget that the traffic in countries like Cambodia is pretty crazy – to not say f***ed up.
- – Always test the Scooter before accepting it. Check if the breaks are working fine and don’t accept any scooter that you don’t feel comfortable riding it. Also, mirrors are always welcome. Always try to get one with both mirrors on it.
- – Ask where is the nearest gas station, because the scooters come with a pretty empty tank and you must refill it as soon as you start riding it. Don’t refill more than you are going to use. You won’t be benefiting the next tourist, but only the owner of the scooter. Usually if they come with extra gas on it, they remove it to use it on their own vehicles.
We travel to meet new and cool people
Our main goal was to ride to the train station in the city centre and already book our train ticket to Phnom Penh. If you are interested about on how to travel around in Cambodia, click here to read about it.
So, we went to the train station, bought our tickets and went back to the scooter. There were two guys that parked by our sides and had the same model as ours. Simon had the doubt if in Cambodia would be a minimum amount of gas that you must buy because he had already a previous experience in Malaysia where he had to spend a minimum amount to have his scooter refilled. We took the chance and asked our “neighbours” if they new anything about it. Also, we asked if they had any tip about what to visit in Sihanoukville. To our surprise, they decided to take us around for a tour.
One of the coolest things about travelling around is to take the chance of meeting new and cool people that can increase your experience in that place. For example, in this case, we met a German that was living in Sihanoukville for a few years already and his danish friend that was visiting and also wanted to see the things around. So this German guy told us pretty cool stories about the place and took us for a very nice tour. Everything started with an aeroplane lying on the top of a building. This is a fucking crazy story.
The Russian Millionaire wanted by Interpol
Sergei Polonsky arrived in Sihanoukville a few years ago after stealing over € 80 million from property investors in Russia. Besides his knowledge of being search by the international police, Sergei didn’t try too hard to hide. He arrived in Sihanoukville on a private Jet, parked it in an old airport that lately was demolished. Then he built up a building to put his car collection and used the rooftop to accommodate his aeroplane. By the side of this building he built up a huge mansion that had a special view to the Snake Island, which he also bought it a bit later and built up another mansion their, so he could leave in peace. But actually, getting in and out of the island was too hard, so he also built up a bridge that took him there. Not any bridge, he made THE bridge. After all of this, he closed the access to the island, forbidding anyone to get any closer and lived 8 long years around there.
In 2013 he was arrested by the Cambodian police that wanted to send him back to Russia. He convinced them to let him free and back to his island after saying that his life was in danger in Russia and he could not go back. He was set free again, but couldn’t scape the second time: in 2015 he was arrested because his Visa had expired and because of that he had to be sent back to Russia where he remains arrested until today.
If you want to visit all those impressive achieves of this crazy Russian, you must go to Victory Hill Rd, Krong Preah Sihanouk (click to open the map).
Overview from Sihanoukville
This nice German and his Danish friend also took us to have a look of Sihanoukville from the top. To do so we went to the Independence Hotel Resort & Spa. All you have to do is to pretend you are a guest in the hotel. Walk firmly inside and find the elevator (near to the main entrance). Go to the highest level and walk some staircase up. In another 2 levels, you are going to reach the rooftop that might be opened – or not. Even though, the staircase to the rooftop is windowed, giving you the chance to see the city even if not reaching the terrace.
Get closer to wildlife: visit the Monkeys!
This was the most “awnnnn” moment of the day: visiting the Monkeys. They stay in a forest area near to the road and most of the time they go to the borders to guarantee some food from the tourists. What is extremely cute is that often the newborns are around there and you can watch them training their jumps. It is extremely cute and you must go there to enjoy some time with the sweet little monkeys. No need to be afraid: they are friendly and won’t attack you. Just don’t forget that they are wild animals, so you can walk closer, but don’t try to touch them. Enjoy the cuteness with a safe distance.
You can see the monkeys at the Thnou Street, click here to view the exact location.
One more temple: Wat Krom
After visiting the monkeys we decided to go to the beach and have a beer around there, but on the way, we decided to visit one temple, the Wat Krom. To get there we took a very narrow and bumpy earth road and we entered the temple through its graveyard. After we reached the top, we realised that the main entrance was actually through a very nice asphalt road. Who cares, right? At least we had some challenges with the scooters. 😉
The temple is quite small but very beautiful. The main house is with it walls completely painted with Buddhist figures and looks absolutely stunning. Unfortunately, the light was poor inside of it, not giving too much chance for nice pictures. Although, the outside of the temple was filled with nice and beautiful golden statues that made a beautiful contrast with the blue sky day.
The sunset at the beach
When the sun was about to set, we decided to refresh ourselves a bit in the pop and wide sand beach of Serendipity. The beer cost only US$ 0,50 and we also had a portion of 10 scallops for only US$ 2,00 each. It was a pleasant moment, but a little bit loud. The Cambodians have a habit of partying with loud music and a lot of fireworks every Friday when the sunset happens. We thought was some special day, but our German new friend explained us.
Typical Khmer dinner
But our time didn’t end at the beautiful sunset on the beach. We also went to have some dinner a bit later in a local restaurant. We made like the locals do: every one of us ordered a dish and we shared it through the dinner. Our table was amazingly decorated with a nice shark fillet, raw shrimps, sea food in a curry sauce and beef with vegetables. Everything was really delicious and pretty spicy. So if you have some trouble with hot food, you might be aware that the traditional Khmer cuisine can be tuff.
It was also during this dinner that we learned a very curious thing about the Cambodians: they don’t leave any trash over the table. Every used napkin, a piece of uneatable shrimp or bones of fishes goes to the ground. Some restaurants will also put some trash cans by the side of your table, so you can throw it all straight in the trash, but some others won’t. The fact is that they don’t like to touch your trash, so they wipe it away with a brush at the end of the day. So, don’t give up of a restaurant just because you see too much trash on the ground. This is a local habit and believes me, they see it as a sign of hygiene.
The way back to the hotel
After such an amazing day and filled with adventures, we had back to the hotel. It was already almost midnight and a heavy summer rain had reached us just during the dinner. After waiting for few minutes we could hit the road and drive another half an hour back to our hotel. The road was empty, the sky was clean and we could enjoy the fresh breeze just after rain.
Date of our visit to Sihanoukville: 5 – 8.04.2017