After a couple of days in Phnom Penh, I made my way to the island of Koh Rong, with a quick stopover in Sihanoukville. I have to be honest, wasn’t the biggest fan of Sihanoukville, which had a very seedy vibe, however it is the gateway to some stunning islands off the south coast, so unfortunately it’s an unavoidable place to visit. After a very bumpy speed boat trip (of which I was trying not to vom the whole time!), we hopped off the boat and I instantly felt like I was in paradise – a welcomed surprise after being in Phnom Penh.
Shacked up in a bamboo beach bungalow for a week with some friends I had met along the way, it was the perfect place to unwind and completely what I needed after hopping from town to town. The general relaxed vibe oozes across the whole island, which has an abundance of white sand beaches, where dogs chase water buffaloes and local children play happily in the clear turquoise waters.
It was pure perfection – a haven for complete relaxation, whether that be just sitting in a hammock reading a book or trying your hand at other activities like diving or kayaking.
In the evenings the island would come alive with your pick of beach shack bars serving up delicious BBQs while playing out a mixture of reggae and dance music. The whole island is generator and solar powered, which means there’s only really electricity from 5pm to 2am in most places – so when the music stops, you’re either going to bed or heading down to the seafront to carry on the party if the rum cocktails have been in full swing (which in my case, was most likely the latter…)
I have to say I didn’t do much here but laze around and drink $3 cocktails at Monkey Island (our home for the week). But one day we did venture out on a boat trip where we got the chance to snorkel around some coral reefs and do a spot of fishing. We used these makeshift fishing rods made out of coca cola bottles, some wire with a hook on the end and a small stone to weigh it down. It turns out fishing is not my forte as I didn’t manage to catch one bloody thing!
After that we made our way to Long Beach, where we bbq-d the fish for dinner while watching the sun set over the clear blue waters (luckily some of the others were much better at fishing than me so we didn’t go hungry!).
Once the sun had set, we hopped back in the boat where our guide then took us out to some open waters to see the plankton. In the complete darkness we rather reluctantly jumped into the water and as we swam around, the plankton lit up like little balls of magic around us. I think that’s the closest I’ll ever come to feeling like The Little Mermaid (obviously every girl’s childhood dream!). I didn’t stay in the water long for fear of other creatures lurking around, but it was definitely a big highlight of the trip for me.
All in all this paradise island did not fail in keeping my inner beach-bum happy, and after almost a week of doing practically sod all, I decided to pack up my backpack again and head on to Siem Reap (via Phnom Penh again) to check out the famous Angkor Wat Kingdom.
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