Once an independent traveler plugs into the coconut telegraph, certain places pop up with amazing regularity. Sihanoukville in southern Cambodia has emerged as one of those hot spots so we landed knowing it would likely have many amenities travellers love- mainly a wide selection of places to stay and eat.
Named after their beloved King Sihanouk who passed away in October and was coincidentally cremated in an elaborate ceremony while we were in Cambodia, Sinville as it is called was developed as the major port for the country in the 1990s. With its lax visa regulations, Cambodia has become a haven for expats who are escaping from Thailand as that country tightens its rules for foreigners who wish long-term stays. In fact a good proportion of the operators of restos and hotels in Sinville are escapees from sleezy pattaya in Thailand- or so we were told.
Independent travel can take its toll- you have to make all the arrangements and count on things to go wrong. Normally we don’t mind but before we departed for Cambodia we saw numerous signs on Koh Maak offering direct minibus service to Sihanoukville, our next destination.
Inquiries were made, associated costs discussed and eventually we settled on a package that would include high-speed boat to the mainland, pick up by deluxe minivan at the dock and onward to our next destination. Keep it simple.
On the appointed day, we headed to the little dock next to our Makathanee Resort in a downpour. To the east a magnificent water spout was rolling across the water, backlit by morning sun- it was eerily beautiful but dissipated before hitting any land mass.
Our high-speed motorboat was an adventure as we bounced along over the waves at a record pace. I enjoyed watching the passengers seated in front bounce about as if they were bobble heads.
Wish I had a tiny island, floating in the sea
Palm tree sway won’t get in the way
It’s a tropical ease.
Lea Kottke, Tiny Island
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KOH MAAK PHOTO GALLERY- CLICK HERE
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Koh Maak, Thailand, near the coast of Cambodia: Jan. 25 – Feb. 2, 2013
Red dragonflies. Blue pool. Green palms. Violet flowers. Golden sand. Bright sunshine. Rolling surf. Twittering birds. Sizzling fish. Ahh… what more could one ask for?
Chris celebrates our arrival…
It was the day before the full moon. The tide was up, the water a bit rough, but the air was hot and the sun shone bright. Lots to look forward to at our newest destination: Koh Maak, a quiet 16-square mile jungle and rubber tree covered volcanic island about an hour speedboat ride from the pier near the town of Trat. We picked Koh Maak out of the many islands that hug both coasts of Thailand because it promised little in the way of activity except tropical breezes and good eats, and after the pace of Chaing Mai we were ready to scale down the excitement level.