THE LOWS THEN HIGHS OF KOH RONG
SIEM REAP TO SIHINOUKVILE, KOH RONG BUS
Got a sleeping bus to Sihinoukvile which was a bit of an experience. For the first bus they are just reclined seats and since this is asia you can only lie comfortably if you are 4ft or less. Codys the tallest out of us but he had 2 seats as mike didn’t make it, Dusty seems the perfect height for it so he was alright but I had to lie in the detal position for most of it.
SYRINGES, PLASTIC AND RUBBISH EVERYWHERE
WHERE IS KOH RONG?
I’ll not forget the first toilet stop. It was right in the middle of nowhere and I have never seen so many mosquitos, it was unbelievable! Everyone was on their hands and knees to get to the toilet and the ones that ran immediately regretted it and got a mouthful of flies. The bus driver was nice enough to leave the door open with the lights on so our little friends joined us for the rest of the trip.
Another note on these stops. No matter if you are in the most remotest part of South East Asia you will always find a place which sells Oreos. There might not be anywhere with running water but you are assured Oreos are never too far! We weren’t long asleep until we had to stop again and switch buses. The next 1 was ideal, fully flat beds with WIFI! People around this part of the world swear by WIFI, its everywhere!!
Smashing boat trip sitting on the deck at the front to Koh Rong, can’t wait for some sun sea and sand, will be my first of the trip!
We got to sihinoukvile and have heard plenty of contrasting reports. Paddy said it’s known as Stuckville because once you arrive and get a taste of the beach and party scene you never want to leave. On the other hand it’s apparently the place to go if you are an old man looking for a younger Cambodian.
We were lusting for some island life so we decided just to chill for a few hours and wait for the boat to Koh Rong. This gave me plenty of time to try and crack my padlock code which had decided to set itself a new combination.
- Stock up on cash
- Wifi and signal is limited but improving!
- Koh Rong has a waste problem, reduce this by properly disposing of your rubbish
A BAD START
Off the boat and to our accom, Monkey Republic, another recommendation from paddy. Initially we were not impressed with anything here, the smell was stagnant and there was rubbish everywhere. One of the first things we seen on the beach was a syringe. I have no idea if its the locals or the tourists but the little island cant cope with the number. The rubbish is just taken into the forest and burned.
The accom was a shocker and I was taking the rap for it considering it was my recommendation. They are all wooden shacks and had rot growing 2 feet up the walls. That’s not really an issue but when there are gaps the whole way round the room it doesn’t give the best impression. You could see that instead of replacing the wood or treating it the owners just filled it with silicone. Moving into different accommodation tomorrow and will be having words with paddy!
Wifi is also a problem on the island, especially when you had planned to hook up with some friends arriving tomorrow. Mike is getting the bus the following day so we will have to just wait all day at the port in the hope he will walk past us. Apparently the wifi can be out for 3 days at a time, so I wouldn’t be recommending this place to my sister. Randomly bumped into another friend, sticky Vicky who stayed at our hostel in Siem Reap.
The main beach in Koh Rong is lined with bars and restaurants so there is plenty of options when it comes to nightlife. There are few hostels but signing up to the pub crawl is another great way to meet new people.
Next day we looked for better accom and booked our boat for the following day. Decision was a bit rushed as the more we stayed the more we began to enjoy it for what it was. Our original expectations were unfairly high! We had no idea when Mike was due to arrive so we headed for some breakfast and met probably the best card dealer under 10 years old! A little Cambodian girl who’s mum works in one of the restaurants sits and chats to all the backpackers and after years of the same thing can now shuffle and deck of cards. I hope she manages to get off the island as I can only imagine how much of a goldfish bowl it must be for her!
Best card dealer this side of Vegas
After getting swindled by the young lady we made our way to the port and it was a hateful day of sitting doing nothing in the hope the next boat was Mikes. After around 4 hours of looking at faces he eventually arrived.
That night a crowd of us got a boat to the other side of the island for sunset on Long Beach, a recommendation from my Dutch pal, Roy. A few decided to trek and gave us tip for not coming along but they never made it in time for the sunset! The beach was beautiful and the water was unbelievably warm! There might have been 5 other people on the beach and to top it off there was a local selling cold beers! Could easily do a full day here to chill.
Sunset at Long Beach, Koh Rong
After initially getting of on the wrong foot, Koh Rong has really grown on me. Its certainly got something to do with me having to learn how to backpack. Not everywhere is going to be as clean cut as some of the hostels I’ve stayed and you really just need to appreciate a place for what it is.
Spoke to paddy about the accom and it was Monkey Republic in Sihinoukville he recommended and not on the island, so that explains the disaster!
Heading to Phnom Penh tomorrow to visit the killings fields. Paddy has recommended another hostel so here’s hoping this one works out! Click here to check it out
SAFE TRAVELS, DS x
This episode is part of The South East Asia Series, click to see episode 1.
- Have you been to Koh Rong?
- What was your opinion of the island?
- Any recommendations if I was to return?
Let me know in the comments below . . .