After Phnom Penh we headed south to the coast, it was only a 4 hour journey which felt like nothing compared to the long journeys we had done recently but after just 10 minutes in the mini bus our very happy driver bumped into another car, he only caught the side but we had to stop for about 20 minutes while they debated what had happened and the end result was that he had to pay for the damage which we didn’t think was fair as it was only a scratch on their car which was a 4×4 jeep with leather seats and tv’s in the back and would affect him money wise a lot more than them but this is Cambodia and im sure they saw it differently to us.
We reached Sihanoukville (a name which no one knows how to say correctly) first where we stayed a night in Monkey Republic which was a cool hostel with nice rooms and a good bar and restaurant. I had heard the beaches here weren’t very good so we decided to have a wander down to see but as we did it started raining… again! So we got massages instead! We had a good night out that night, we started in our bar where beer is literally cheaper than water and cocktails and shots were sooo cheap and then headed down to the bars on the beach for more cheap and free drinks and ended up playing pool with locals, running into the sea and then dancing with an extremely camp local who told us to call him Beyonce!
Our next stop was Koh Rong which is an island just off the south coast, we woke up too late to get the morning boat over to we did go down to the beach in Sihanoukville in the morning where we got bombarded by hawkers selling bracelets, massages and everything else you could ever think of. We did get sucked in by one group and got some braids put in our hair and brought a bracelet off a guy called Nicki and also said we could call him Nicki Minaj!
The boat to Koh Rong only took 40 minutes on the fast boat but the sea was quite rough and if it had been any longer I think I could have been sick! We got off the pier and headed down the beach to find a bungalow, the start of the beach where we were walking was full of bars and pretty dirty which wasn’t what I expected as I had heard such amazing things about the island but we walked a bit further where it got a bit quieter and we got a bungalow for all 4 of us for $20 a night.. bargin! It only had power from 5pm-1am but that is pretty standard on the island.
The weather wasn’t that great while we were there, the sun did come out for parts of the day so I think I managed to lie on the beach and top up my tan a bit and when it did come out the beach and the water was really beautiful! The only down side were the sand flies which you didn’t notice until a few hours later when you became covered in little annoying bites, along with the many mossy bites too.
On our second full day there it was Sarah’s birthday so we rented a boat in the afternoon, we started off with some snorkelling, it wasn’t as great as other places ive been but we saw more fish and coral than I expected and we went onto a tiny island and at the top they had a temple with some Buddha statues which was cool, I did feel a bit bad being in front of a temple in a bikini though!
We then went over to another beach called long beach and by this point the weather had turned beautiful, this beach was really deserted.. and very long, so it was amazing to chill in the hammocks and swim in the warm clear water. We waited for it to get dark and then to the boat took us back out to where we went snorkelling but this time it was to see the plankton and this was such an amazing experience!! Plankton are fish but they are microscopic and when they sense movement and body heat they are attracted to it and they light up. We jumped off the boat into the sea and all of our reactions were ‘oh wow!!’ we were literally glowing!! This definitely topped off the whole day and was a major highlight!
After 3 days I had had a good dose of island life and headed back to the mainland to catch an overnight bus to Battambang.
Overall I liked Koh Rong and it definitely grew on me but I think I had too high expectations after being spoilt in Thailand by the islands there and hearing such great stories however I did think that most people who had told me how good it was had been a few years ago and I think this made a huge difference as I can imagine it has changed a lot and got a lot dirtier. There is another island – Koh Rong Saloem just a 10 minute boat away which is a lot quieter and had the weather been better I would of liked to have headed there but I think I would of got bored sitting in dodging the rain and the girls needed to move on and I was happy moving on with them!