Koh Rong, Cambodia
Head south as far as you can go, then hop on a ferry, and you will arrive at Cambodia’s newly treasured island called Koh Rong. It isn’t much yet but that’s what makes it special.
Just a few years ago, Koh Rong was still undeveloped for the most part, with a few beach huts and and a small village at the main pier, but mostly just wild jungle. Today that village, called Koh Tuch, is crowded with backpackers, restaurants and bars, but there is still a lot left of the island that is hardly touched. There are still no roads- only walking / motorbike trails and taxi boats to get you around. This alone makes it a much more primitive island experience than most can find these days.
James and I stayed on a beach away from the main village called Nature Beach. With only one bungalow and camping style resort, it was quiet and definitely more secluded, except when they turned the party music and rave lights on at dark. We enjoyed the quiet of it but also would’ve liked to be closer to the action going on at Koh Tuch.
Most of our time was spent swimming, relaxing and exploring near Nature Beach. However, the highlight of our Koh Rong adventure was the $10 boat trip we managed to find that included snorkeling, fishing, free beer & whiskey, BBQ at sunset and swimming with the phosphorescent plankton. Sounds too good to be true, I know, but it was even better than expected. The staff was extremely generous with food and drinks, and all the activities were a blast. Swimming with the plankton was a new experience for me and it was brilliant. Basically, these tiny plankton glow in the water when you move around. I’m not sure why they do it but it is so cool to see the water glowing as you move your hand across the water.
On the boat we also met a fun group of Vietnamese girls who taught James and I one of their drinking games, which involved putting charcoal all over each other’s faces. Then, after the drinks, we proceeded to learn a bunch of dances to their favorite songs. We had a lot of laughs trying to communicate with each other and sharing dance moves. There’s something so exciting about partying with people you can’t even talk to properly- gives you a new perspective I guess.
The downside to Koh Rong was that evening after the boat trip. It started with James and I walking all the way back to Nature Beach from Koh Tuch, about an hour long walk, in the pitch dark and rain. Probably not the smartest idea but a taxi boat is extremely expensive at night so we decided to go for it. I definitely wouldn’t recommend, however. After we got past the main village and resorts, I was terrified. Every noise made me shutter and every dark object on the ground freaked me out. We eventually made it back safe and sound but it wasn’t without some tears if I’m being completely honest. Of course the fun could not stop there though. About an hour after getting back, I got sick and remained that way throughout the night and the next morning. Cambodia, you got me. Fingers crossed I’m one and done now though.
As Koh Rong is not the easiest place to get to, with a couple long bus rides and ferry to and from, it requires a journey but is a unique experience if you get the chance. I was happy I got to see the island side of the country since the cities are of course chaotic, dirty and sometimes pretty sketchy. Koh Rong was our last and overall very pleasant Cambodian adventure before we meet the beautiful country of Vietnam.