Koh Rong Island: Cambodian Paradise

A long and uncomfortable bus from Ho Chi Minh City landed us in Sihanoukville, Cambodia where we briefly stopped for one night before making our way to Koh Rong Island. The introduction to Cambodia was not the most pleasant, it was torrential rain and we almost instantly witnessed a head to head motorbike collision which may have been fatal to one of the drivers. Aside from that, I experienced my first Tuktuk ride and the hostel we stayed at was lovely. We only stopped in Sihanoukville for one night so didn’t really get to see an awful lot of the place before hopping on a high speed ferry to the island of Koh Rong Island.

I instantly fell in love with Koh Rong. The beaches were gorgeous, the bars were a lot of fun, and whilst it was clearly going through an exponential growth due to increasing tourism it still had a very undeveloped, raw feeling to it due to having no ATM, wifi that cut out for days on end, and the only real form of transport being taxi boats.

I shared a beach bungalow with four people I’d been travelling with since Hoi An, Vietnam. It was definitely too small for 5 people but we loved it. We set up one of the lad’s hammock on the balcony which was perfect to chill with a beer and some music on our speakers. The place was constantly sandy and the ‘shower’ was a pipe of cold rain water which definitely added to the authenticity of the beach hut.

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One morning I decided to do a big swim in the sea to try and burn off some of the many thousand of calories consumed in cocktails the night before. My good intentions were not rewarded as I swam right into a jellyfish which attached itself to my face and stung my entire forehead and right side of my face. It was was bloody painful and looked just as bad, still, I endured the pain for the next four or five hours rather than let someone urinate on my face!

That afternoon we took a boat trip which included snorkeling, fishing and then BBQing the fish we caught for dinner, seeing the sun set out on the sea, and swimming at night to see the glowing plankton. It was such a good day and we had the perfect weather for it.

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At 12 o’clock that night it turned my 22nd birthday so we celebrated hard. Many many drinks were consumed and the bar tender made me stand on a stool and down a flaming shot whilst everyone sang happy birthday to me. My two Dutch friends, Mickey and Fien even bought me a vest top that I liked and tied it up with balloons.

The next day we took a taxi boat across to the other side of the island to Long Beach, the whitest beach with crystal clear water.cit was paradise! It was a lovely day despite a quick downpour in the middle. I concluded the day, and my time on Koh Rong, with a giant chocolate brownie and a couple of White Russians before having an early night (yes it was my birthday, I’m not a spritely 21 year old anymore, couldn’t hack another night out).

I had the best time on Koh Rong, and with the news that Chinese investors have bought the island and had already began work on several resorts, I’m afraid it probably won’t be the same for very long. Which is a massive shame, but hey, that’s business. I’m just so glad I got the opportunity to visit it when I did!

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