After spending the night on Otres beach we caught a tuk tuk at 6.30 am in order to catch the boat from Sihanoukville to take us to Koh Rong. The journey took 2 ½ hours and I slept on the bow of the boat for most of the way. But when we were about 15 minutes from the pier the boat broke down! So a small fishing boat had to come out to tow us back in.
We arrived at a rickety bamboo pier where we had a brief induction by one of the dive school teachers informing us that there are limited places to stay and so if you haven’t booked then you may struggle (whoops) as there are only 3 resorts on the whole island but that some local people have created rooms within their houses that visitors can stay in. He also told us that electricity on the island shuts off at 10 pm and warned us that we may come across water buffalo walking along the beach and that although they are pretty harmless we should not approach them as they have attacked people in the past! Brilliant. After this we headed down the beach hopping on the SCORCHING white sand hoping that we could find somewhere to stay. The walk along the
turquoise water would have been amazing if it wasn’t for THE most
painful sunburn from yesterdays stupid antics.
The 3 resorts were called Treehouse Bungalows (literally bungalows built high up in the tree tops), Paradise Bungalows and Monkey Bay Resort. Unfortunately they were all either fully booked or the cheapest room they had was about $30 – wayyy too expensive for our budget. So after a huff and a moan we dragged ourselves back down the beach and settled with a $5 per night room in some little shack which
didn’t have a light, fan or shower in the whole place. This island literally is back to basics! We dumped our stuff and went to ‘sunbathe’ in the shade further back down the beach in a nicer area,
and swam (in along sleeved t-shirt) in the sea which was ridiculously
warm! A little while later we were lying on the sand when a guy from Paradise Bungalows was walking his dog and approached us to say he’d had a cancellation and if we still wanted he could give us a $25 bungalow for $20... just don’t tell any other customers! It was stillpretty steep for our poor budgets (!) but we figured that as it would be split between the two of us and because the island was so beautiful
and it would mean staying in an amazing bungalow meant we could justify it for a few days ;) Plus, Becca and I might only be travelling together for one more week and so we called this trip to Kho Rong our ‘honeymoon’ together before we split! We thanked the guy and ran off to move our bags back up the beach to Paradise. We both felt pretty bad on the family who we had agreed to stay with and so attempted to pay them the $5 anyway for the
inconvenience but they didn’t really understand what was going on and
wouldn’t take it... so we legged it (more like hobbled along with sunburn) up the beach again to Paradise and moved into our amazing bungalow!
Although our time on Kho Rong was awesome, I was SO annoyed at myself
for getting sunburnt on Otres as it meant I had to spend all my time in the shade or completely covered up because the burn was soo sore. The most tempting thing to do would be to go in the sea to cool down as it made the burn feel better but I was paranoid that the sun would get through my clothes and make it worse! So I spent 90% of my time complaining in the shade! Ahh well, you learn from your mistakes I guess?
On one of the days we went for a walk and found a path that cut through dense trees so followed it as we knew there were other parts of the island that were completely deserted. After walking for about half an hour we came to a massive stretch of clear beach which was total paradise as although there weren’t many people on the main strip, there was absolutely nobody on this part at all. It was a couple of miles long and was completely undisturbed white sand and calm blue waters. We walked for a little while until we came across a
couple who were in the water who we didn’t see earlier and thought nothing of it and continued walking when we saw some writing in the sand. On closer inspection it was a marriage proposal! At this point we’d been on the beach for a little while and the sun was going down so we headed back knowing it was going to be impossible to make our
way back along the ‘path’ in the dark. We caught up with the couple and asked them whether they’d just got engaged – which they had! – and
said congrats even though it felt a bit odd about being the first to know and say it as we didn’t know them at all. It was pitch black by now but luckily I had my torch again(!!) so we could just about make our way home (saw a snake on the way back). That night we ate dinner at Paradise and had my first glass of wine since Japan! Yum. We ended up going for drinks along the beach at Monkey Bay Resort as they had a younger crowd there (Paradise tended to be older couples relaxing) and then when the electricity shut off at 10 the bar tenders moved it down to the beach.
After a couple of nights on Kho Rong we decided that we should probably head back to the mainland because it was getting expensive to stay on the island and we couldn’t really do much anyway because of our sunburn restricting us to shade at all times! We’d really enjoyed it but decided to head back and maybe check out some other islands or maybe move onto the coastal towns of Kep and Kampot. We caught the return boat at 4pm and sailed back with the sunset and lightening!
That night we stayed at a place called Cinderella and managed to haggle to price down to half of what they asked even though we didn’t think it would work. In fact the receptionist didn’t even put up a fight, he just agreed on the first price we suggested.. must remember
that... He had Winnie The Pooh on his laptop screen and for some reason I shouted across the room in excitement "look, Winnie The Pooh!", but he misheard me and my babbling english and replied "you want one??" thinking I had just proclaimed that i needed a poo...(!!) Embarassing.
The next day we worked out dates that we had left and Beccaskyped the others because she was going to meet back up with them when I headed back through to Thailand to do the south and it turns out we didn’t have as much time left as we thought. Or more like I didn’t have as much time because my flights were all pre booked before I came away but Becca has an open ticket so she isn’t in as much as a rush as me. Because of this we decided instead to head up to Siam Reap that afternoon.