After our disastrous stay in Otres Beach, we headed back into the centre of Sihanoukville to get a boat over to nearby island, Koh Rong. Having not got much sleep after the events the night before we were both feeling tired and definitely not in our best mood! Therefore, a lot was riding on this new destination to cheer us up!
Koh Rong wasn’t originally on our travel itinerary, however a friend had messaged me when she’d seen I was near telling me to make sure that I go. I’d looked it up on instagram and it looked beautiful – crystal blue waters and white sand beaches. How had we not known about this island before? After a choppy boat ride over – which I spent most of concentrating on not being sick – we arrived at the little pier of the main village, Koh Touch. We immediately fell in love!
Unlike all the other islands we’d visited, Koh Rong was pretty much completely unspoilt by tourism. Yes, the main village is lined with guesthouses, hostels and restaurants – but these are all family run and buildings that look like they’ve been there forever. There are no roads on the island – only small side streets and paths for bikes and people to walk down. It felt like a proper island – which made staying here so much better as it was so relaxing. Exactly what we wanted after Otres Beach!
We were staying at the White Rose Guesthouse, which was right in the main part of the village overlooking the sea. We checked into our room, had a shower then went for a little explore. The main street of the village is only ten or so restaurants long – it’s really not big!
We had a look up and down but decided to eat where we were staying, as we got 15% off and the food looked really good! Every night they had a 5 dollar BBQ, which included a meat of your choice, a jacket potato, salad, fried rice and a skewer of vegetables. And of course to wash it all down, a beer! We both got the steak and it was so so good.
That night we stayed in the restaurant playing cards and drinking the $1 beers. Dangerous! We also made our friend Floof, who became our dog for the entirety of our stay. There are a lot of stray dogs in Koh Rong (they’re literally everywhere), but they’re so tame as they just live amongst the people. A lot of them have been adopted by the restaurants but it’s hard to tell which ones as they all just wander about! The weather that night was a bit mad. It would go from being completely dry and clear to a crazy downpour of rain, so we thought it best to stay in and shelter! After a few too many drinks we decided to call it a night as we were both tired, so went to bed.
The next morning we woke up to beautiful sunshine! We went to Runaways for breakfast (they did Avocado toast, I couldn’t resist), then for a walk to Police Beach. This was south of where we were staying, and so we thought we’d go for a wander to have a look. As the island is so undeveloped, this involved walking through forest until we found a little path down to the beach. We’d both abandoned wearing shoes – you really didn’t need them! Police Beach is a small beach where they often hold parties – you can see why as it’s so secluded! We walked back through the forest to the main village, also home to ‘White Beach’. This was the nearest beach to where we were staying – just a few minutes walk. It’s not hard to see why it has its name – the sand is literally white!
We went for a long swim in the sea here, it’s so calm with no waves. After a while though we saw a dark cloud coming toward us, and after the showers the night before we weren’t taking any chances! We got out the sea and grabbed our stuff, deciding to go for a massage. As we lay down on the bed it started to chuck it down! We’d got out just in time. We settled into a relaxing hour long massage, which cost us $10! I could seriously get used to this. We headed back to the guesthouse to do some work after this, feeling very pampered and sleepy!
The sun came back out after an hour or so, so we decided to walk across to Long Set/4K beach. This was a beach I’d seen when looking up Koh Rong and it looked absolutely incredible. We walked across White Beach then through some jungle which led to Long Set Beach. This can also be called 4K beach! Walking up it was incredible – white sands and crystal waters that seemed to go on forever, but I did feel a bit disappointed. It was really beautiful, but not as amazing as I expected. There was what seemed to be a river of brown, sewage water running across the beach which really wasn’t nice! But apart from that it was incredible. However, we actually decided we preferred White Beach for swimming, so headed back there! I didn’t take my phone or camera with me on this walk, so don’t have any photos. From reading online, I came to realise that Koh Touch is the party part of Koh Rong, and therefore White Beach doesn’t rate as highly as it’s not as clean as the other beaches in more remote areas. However as we visited in low season, Koh Touch definitely didn’t seem like a crazy party place, and the beach was very clean! It may be different in the high season when there are more tourists about.
That night we ate BBQ at our guesthouse (again, it was just so good!) and had a film night. We’d originally only booked to stay for two nights but extended this to three, as we weren’t quite ready to leave yet! The next morning we got breakfast whilst doing some work then went swimming. We’d done a lot of sightseeing whilst we’d been away so it was nice to have a few days of just chilling by the beach, catching up on work and swimming in the ocean! I’m not sure how long we were in there as we weren’t really keeping track of time whilst here, but checked and it was 3pm when we got out!
On our way back to the guesthouse we bought tickets to go swimming with the bioluminescent plankton that evening. These were $5 each. This is something I really wanted to do – I’d seen pictures of glowing waters and felt we couldn’t leave the island without seeing it ourselves. We’d gone wading out the night before to our knees but couldn’t see any, as there needs to be little/no light pollution. We went back to our room to chill for a couple of hours before meeting on the beach at 6.45pm, ready for the boat to leave at 7pm. We got onto a fishing boat with about twenty other people, and headed away from Koh Rong into the middle of the ocean. As I said, there has to be as little light pollution as possible to be able to see the plankton, so once we were far enough away from the island, they gave us snorkels and turned off all the lights on the boat too. There we were, in pitch black apart from the moonlight in the middle of the sea. I’ll admit it, I was terrified! I’m scared of the dark, boats, fish and deep water – and I was currently combining all four of these fears on my own suggestion. What was I thinking?! I mentally pulled myself together- this was my idea and what I wanted to do. If I wanted to see the bioluminescent plankton, which I really, really did, I had to get over my fears and just go for it. So I did! Diving into the water headfirst was the most incredible experience, as the sea lights up into hundreds of glowing dots around you. It really was magical! We stayed in the water bobbing up and down, moving our arms and legs around to create the glow. It only glows when you move, and is brighter the deeper you go. It doesn’t however show up on a camera well, so I didn’t take mine and have no photos of the experience. I don’t think a camera could capture the experience though – it really is something you have to see first hand.
Once back on land we headed to go and get changed before having our last night on the island. We’d planned to go somewhere different for dinner, but having scoped out all the other restaurants we decided that actually ours was the best. We’d definitely picked a good place to stay! We had a few drinks then headed to bed as we had to check out by 10am the next day. We’d had the most incredible last night on the island!
We’d contemplated going to Koh Rong Salamen, as this is only a $5 boat ride across from Koh Rong, but we were ready to move on from island life and onto the next part of our trip. Koh Rong had been absolutely incredible – we both decided it was our favourite place of the whole trip by far. If we’d been here longer we’d have explored the other beaches (which you get to by boat), as these look incredible but aren’t as accessible. However, we’d wanted somewhere beautiful to relax without feeling like we had to pack loads of stuff in, so it had been perfect. I wouldn’t change my time on here at all! Swimming with the bioluminescent plankton is a must if you’re headed to Koh Rong. It really made the island that bit more special. We were so glad to have been told about Koh Rong and added it onto our trip – if you’re headed to Cambodia make sure you don’t miss it!
Charlotte Rick x
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