Squeaky white sand, turquoise waters and bioluminescent plankton help make Koh Rong a true paradise.
Spending a week on the beautiful island of Koh Rong in Cambodia
We found ourselves with 3 weeks left in South East Asia after a whirlwind 2 years of travelling and working. Before we had even left for Asia, Koh Rong was high on my bucket list, but with our flight home looming far too close in the future, I wasn’t sure I would get a chance to visit. The reason I was hesitant about going during those last 3 weeks was that the rainy season was in full swing in Cambodia. In the end, however, wanderlust won and we decided to take a gamble on the hope of one last island getaway.
A less than desirable arrival
I did consider that we might die.The boat ride from Sihanoukville to Koh Rong was a hair-raising experience, to say the least. To start, the weather was appalling; wet, windy and chilly (looking back it was probably still 20+ celsius, but after living in 35+ for some time, it felt arctic). It was a battle to get myself and my backpack along the jetty and onto the furiously rocking boat while futilely attempting to keep dry. I didn’t stop to consider that a boat moving this much in the shelter of the port was going to be going mental at sea. As soon as the small wooden boat set off, everything and everyone started violently smashing side to side. Luggage was tied down, and so were we. Hugging my bag containing my laptop and passport, a journey that should have been a smooth hours ride was a 3 hour boxing match against the waves. I’m pleased to inform you that, of course, we did make it in the end. We pulled into the calm shallows of the island and we were welcomed with a well needed strong cocktail.
Despite a dodgy start, our time on the island was perfect. Being the rainy season, we almost had the place to ourselves, and all for probably half the price. We stayed at Palm Beach Bungalow Resort, which was absolutely gorgeous. The staff were really welcoming and they put us in the bungalow closest to the sea. It was a simple bamboo hut, with a little shower room, spacious balcony and the compulsory hammock. Just what we came for.
One morning the staff told us they were organising a beach clean and asked if we were keen to get involved, which of course we were. A lot of plastic gets washed up on the beaches here. Getting a large group together to free the sand of bottles, bags, food packaging and other rubbish felt good. We rewarded ourselves by basking in the sun on our trash free stretch of sand.
It may be hotly contested, but I’m gonna go right out here and say that Long Beach is the most beautiful beach we found on our SEA travels. Located on the other side of the island to our accommodation, we set out on a two-hour trek. It was tough going with the hot sun beating down, but my goodness was it worth it. The sand was bright white and so fine it squeaked beneath your feet. The water was the most fantastic shades of turquoise and as warm as a bath. The beach itself was fringed with luscious green jungle which provided some much-needed shade. The swing just topped it all off. We had found paradise.
Bioluminescent plankton hunting
We were very excited about seeing the bioluminescent plankton which surround the island. For the best chance of seeing them, we needed a cloudy night that completely blacked out the light of the moon. And to also scout out the area in the daytime so as not to tread on any sea urchins in the dark! You then go into the water, and the movement you create sets them off. We tried every night, but the moon was just too bright for us to see anything. Finally, on the fourth night, we walked into the sea and the glittery blue sparkles followed us! We thrashed about, lighting up the water around us. It was truly magical.
All good things come to an end
We spent a week on Koh Rong, exploring the island, reading on the beach, snorkelling and eating the delicious food cooked at Palm Beach. It was a perfect last beach break before heading back to the UK. Considering it was the wet season, we had plenty of sunny days, albeit broken up by some pretty impressive downpours. And thankfully, the sea for the boat ride back was as calm as a lake!