Since we had been roughing it for 3 weeks in Siem Reap (accommodation wise), we decided to treat ourselves for a couple of days in the south of Cambodia on an Island called Koh Rong. We caught a mini van from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville which took 4 hours. Sihanoukville is known as the party town for backpackers. We only needed one night there so we could catch a boat to Koh Rong the next day. We had decided to wing it and not book any accommodation, for a bit of adventure/crazy-ness I guess.
When we arrived in the main town of Sihanoukville we realised that it really was the backpacker mecca, they were everywhere! We opted to stay a bit outside of town, about a 10 minute Tuk Tuk ride to Otres beach (shout out to Wasson for the heads up). I went into a place to ask if they had any availability for 1 night, luckily they did. The place was mmmm interesting. The place was on stilts and looked like it was about to crumble, one half of the staff were locals and the other half were (failed) western backpackers. Western customer service was woeful, while the locals were great at dealing with customers. We went to the beach which took about 20 foot steps from our hostel to the sand. The water was so hot! Bath tub hot. It was somewhat nice because we hadn’t been to a beach since freshy in Sydney. The downside to the beach – apart from old fellas wearing budgy smugglers, weird hippies, and drunk backpackers, it was littered with rubbish! It was so sad. Such a beautiful beach being ruined by backpackers themselves. Beer cans left on the sand and floating in the water, it just made me feel upset for the Cambodians who lived there, as this is their beautiful home and it’s being ruined by stupid backpackers!
The next morning we woke up early to catch a boat to Koh Rong. We took the speed boat which took 45 minutes which was quite a nice boat ride. As we approached, we could see a beautiful island with small houses, lots of backpackers, and we could hear “doof doof” music getting louder and louder. We could tell it was going to be a party Island. One of the first things we had noticed was there was litter but a lot less than Sihanoukville. It was also weird seeing people walk along the beach with their massive packs on!
We had decided to wing it again and luckily we got our own bungalow at a place called Monkey Island, which was right on the beach and about a 5 – 10 minute walk from the main party area. Once again, nice Cambodian staff, but dreadful western staff. The place was nice, but the best was the sand and water we were surrounded by. It was so calm and crystal clear and also good because we were a little bit away from the party scene. We were still sticking to our budget by eating local Khmer dishes which cost $1.
A few of our friends from C.E.S.H.E who had been to the Island before said we have to visit this beach on the Island called Long Beach. A 7km stretch of white sand, crystal clear water, and a lot less backpackers. Hell yeah we were down for that! How to get there? A 45 minute walk from one side of the island to the other over a mountain and through the jungle in the blistering heat! It was one of the best jungle/bush walks I’ve ever done. We walked through skinny walkways with trees and vines brushing us, slippery vertical rock inclines and declines, and we even passed a water buffalo. Eb hadn’t sweat so much since our last session at cleanshred haha. When we walked through the last trees and vines, waiting there was the best looking beach we have EVER seen. 100 times better than the beach out the front of our bungalow. The walk was so worth it, and it took us 45 mins exactly. Next time we visit there, we will take a tent and camp there. Photos don’t do this beach any justice but we tried.