Before MTV introduced this Snooki into the world, another one was well known among backpacker circles on the "Banana Pancake Trail" through Southeast Asia. That would be Sihanoukville, Cambodia. I first heard of Snooki from some backpacking travel bloggers that I follow on Twitter, and after it kept coming up as a place to see, I knew we had to add it to our itinerary.
Snooki was pretty much exactly as advertised: lots of hostels, lots of bars, lots of beaches, and lots of cute children on the beach who try to sell you manicures, bracelets, hair braiding, anything you want! Of course, if you follow all the warning signs around town (which we did) you aren't supposed to buy anything from these children as it would only perpetuate their exploitation. (Check out this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clx1ZlmYu2I). It was hard to say no to these children, but luckily there are a multitude of NGOs working on their behalf that you can support by visiting stores, restaurants and even hostels/hotels.
We stayed on Serendipity Beach which seems to be the main spot for backpackers and is bustling with hostels and beachside bars and clubs. The first day we did a little market shopping before heeding the advice of our hotel manager, Damien, who told us that the nicest beach was about an hour and a half's walk on Otres Beach, and apparently it was the place to watch the sunset. Since I'm a sucker for beautiful sunsets on the beach we decided to head that way, it was a nice walk there but unfortunately started to rain just as the sun was about to set, so instead of a great sunset we huddled under a metal bungalow to wait out the thunderstorm. Once it was over, it was already dark and we were quite a ways away from our hostel so we hopped in a tuk-tuk for the return trip. The tuk-tuk ride ended up being one of the more terrifying rides of my life as it was on a red-dirt road that had just been soaked by the rains, so our poor driver had to drive in figure eights the whole way home to avoid potholes and puddles. At one point I said to the other girls, "this is one of those moments where if our parents could see us - with no idea where we are in the middle of a field in Cambodia, driving next to yaks, through a shantytown and with no lights in sight - they would probably freak out." Luckily, our driver was an expert and we made it back to the hostel safe and dry, ready for another night out on the town where we found ourselves in the middle of a "white party" that required florescent body paint that will apparently never come out of clothes. The next day we packed our bags once again and hit the Cambodian highways for the journey to Phnom Penh.