Koh Rong is a 40 minute speed boat or 3 hour slow boat south west of Sihanoukville. The main beach is very small, less than a mile long I’d guess. But the dense area of guesthouses/restaurants is less than a 5 minute walk from one end to the other. The beach front is lined with guesthouses. Each has a bar/restaurant downstairs and rooms upstairs. Each property sets up tables and chairs; however, there are no lounge chairs during the day. Every morning the tide is up to the guesthouses making it impossible to lay out early morning (the majority of mornings.)
The island turns off electricity sometime between 12:30am and 2:30am depending on the night. After that it’s up to generators to keep the party going, but there’s always somewhere going. There’s also very little wifi aka even those that have don’t work.
I stayed at Island Boys my first night which was a mistake. I ran off the ferry thinking there was going to be a lack of rooms so I grabbed the first one I found. Turns out Mangos right next door is the late night bar that plays music until 5am every night with their generator. It was a rough night of sleep but I lucked out by meeting another girl traveling alone in my dorm. The next morning we moved into a private room together at Bongs.
For breakfast every morning I ate $1 chicken noodle soup with chilies. It tasted just like the soup I used to get in Laos which I loved. Plus I think the hot soup and spice killed everything that was inside of me each day.
Everyone staying on the island had something wrong with them. I had an infected mosquito bite on my wrist. I was forced to take antibiotics because it was getting worse each day. It became an open wound that swelled, which I had to clean and wrap-up 3 times a day. I was also scolded not to go into the water anymore, which is apparently how it got infected in the first place. That put a real damper on my beach vacation.
Other people also had infections and were on antibiotics. Almost everyone had food poisoning or a stomach bug too. However, this did not stop anyone from drinking and partying through the holiday.
I ran into almost everyone I’d met in the past two months in Koh Rong, including my German guy friend from Bangkok/Koh Tao, and my Canadian girl friend from Chiang Mai/Pai. We had no idea we’d both be there so that was a great surprise. Also, another girl we were with in Chiang Mai is now working at Coco’s in Koh Rong. I saw people from all over Laos, and a British guy whom I recently met in Phnom Penh. I ended up hanging out mostly with him and his two guy friends who now live in Singapore. All in their thirties and just on vacation- it was a nice break from hanging out with backpackers in their early twenties.
Our first night was at SkyBar which was my favorite night. It’s the only bar that’s not directly on the beach but just up a slight mountain. The walk was great exercise (that I actually did once daily anyway.) The bar is completely open walled which allowed for a nice breeze. All the other bars on the beach are mostly enclosed and incredibly hot inside. On any given night the hot spots were Coco’s or Bunna’s. Mango’s and Island Boy’s were good for late night, and Bong’s was more chill.
Christmas on the island didn’t feel like Christmas. Although I’ve spent Christmas on the beach before this year was different. Normally I’m leaving the cold weather for a lovely holiday, but after spending so much time in the heat, Christmas here just seemed like a themed weekend. Nonetheless it was a fun week. Unique trees and “snowmen” scattered in front of different bars.
My last day on the island I took a solo walk around the bend of the beach. About 45 minutes away from the main beach, through a mini-forest and across a mini-island lays a pristine beach. I did the full walk although I ended up coming a bit back to find a secluded spot in the shade. I spent the day napping and reading. I did take a dip in the ocean without wetting my wrist (because I just needed to,) and it was well worth it.
I had expected all days to be this relaxing on Koh Rong.
My last day most of my friends had gone. It was just a few chill people left so it ended up being a relaxing early night which is exactly what I needed.
The next day I left. My Canadian and I chilled, ate fried rice from our cheap place, and took the fast boat back together. It was a good end to a good week. Especially since we were both crippled- her toe and my wrist. We’re always same same. Adios beach.. For now.