Although I am a total beach bum, I was down in Sihanoukville with some people who aren’t particularly fond of spending complete days basking in the sun and floating in the water. So after about 5 days of surf and sand, we decided to check out the nearby Ream National Park.
The day before we were to take the trip, the four of us spent some time researching it – trying to find out the cheapest and best way to explore the park. What we found, though, was that there wasn’t much information available. The Lonely Planet doesn’t have much to go on and the Internet chatter is pretty quiet as well.
Nonetheless, we decided to skip on the full-day package tour touted by all the local travel agents (costing about $20 each). Instead, we rented motorbikes ($4/day) and headed out ourselves. It was a short and uneventful ride out to the park.
Once we got there, though, we realized that it wasn’t going to be too easy to explore on our own. For one thing, the park is mostly made up of mangrove forests. Mangroves are like big bushes that grow only in places where there is both salt water and fresh water. They basically grow in rivers or swamps and don’t really make for good hiking areas. In addition to that fact, the only person in our group who was really keen on hiking was Nick – the rest of us were feeling a bit hot and lazy. So we opted for a ½ day boat ride around the park ($35 total – we split the cost 4 ways).
Normally the full day boat tour ($45) will take you through the mangrove forest and out to a deserted beach. Unfortunately, we arrived too late and weren’t able to do the full tour. No worries, we paid up our fee and hopped into a little long-boat.
There were no river banks to speak of, but thick mangrove forests sprouted up out of the water to mark the edge of the river. After an enjoyable (but monotonous) 45 minute boat ride, we arrived at the “Mangrove Viewing Tower.”