There’s something magical about islands. It almost never fails to amaze me and bring along good vibes! Any beach lovers could vouch for that. One last stop before making my way back to Sihanoukville – Koh Rong! It is always better to see somethings once than to hear about it a thousand times. My exact thoughts when it comes to Koh Rong. I’ve researched on what to do, asked some savvy travel blogging friends about it, heard many different versions of what this island entails – only to spend a night on this island. I wished I had more time to explore, but obviously I had a job waiting for me back home. Reality!
“Koh Rong (កោះរ៉ុង) was little more than a jungle-clad wilderness rimmed by swaths of sugary-white sand, with a few beach-hut resorts speckling the shore around tiny Koh Tuch village. You’ll either love it or hate it, but for young travellers who descend off the ferry in droves, Koh Tuch Beach is a vital stop on any Southeast Asia party itinerary.” – Lonely Planet
24 hours on this island and it was definitely not going to be enough! I recalled disembarking from Island Speed Ferry and couldn’t help feeling FOMO immediately. The journey was only 30 minutes from Koh Rong Samloem. Snapback to reality – the chalet was kind enough to arrange a pick up by motorbike. There were strips of restaurants, bars and backpackers hostels along Koh Tuch village.
Where to stay?
Ocean View bungalow was located about 15 minutes walk from the main pier. A night’s stay costed about USD $30 with air conditioning. Well, that’s half the cost of what you would get at KRS. I really like that it has its own balcony deck, which was nice and private. You could enjoy a couple of beers, while overlooking the beach from above. Room was pretty huge too with an attached private bathroom. There was a small waterfall just walking distances from the hilltop bungalows.
What to eat?
First up – oven baked pizza and beer! Best combination right after island hopping. You could easily spot Bamboo restaurant along Koh Tuch Village. It started raining cats and dogs, so timing was perfect for dining in. Make sure to ask for some chilli flakes and olive oil. The waiter will gladly bring them to you.
Another sweet spot would be Coco’s Restaurant, a stone’s throw away from Bamboo restaurant. They had an extensive list of food on the menu, ranging from italian pizzas, western food and all the way to local cambodian dishes. I’m always fond of the local cambodian black pepper chicken rice. Paired them with Angkor beer and BAM !
What to do?
Perhaps it was low season, most of the activities seemed to come to a halt as the weather was pretty unpredictable. According to Lonely Planet, SkyBar was rated #1 on Koh Rong. I was pretty disappointed when I was up there as I pictured it to be filled with party goers and non-stop music all night long. It was rather quiet and peaceful. The small hike up was fun with signs motivating you to what known as Koh Rong’s first cocktail bar. Here’s a glimpse of the walk up.
The weather was kinda gloomy, hence I couldn’t be bothered about getting a perfect shot. I’m pretty sure there is a hiking trail that connects SkyBar to the other side of Koh Rong – the famous Long Beach. There are several luxurious resort situated along Long Beach and the most convenient way to get there would be a taxi boat ride (USD $6 one way) from the main pier. Since time was constrained, I didn’t make it for any hike. Gutted!
Extras: There is Ritchie Rich’s pub crawl every Tuesday and Friday nights. Tickets were $8 in advance and $10 at the door. Free shots were promised and you will definitely be in for a hammered night.
One of my consolidation was probably this private waterfall. It was the closest thing to nature since I didn’t have the time to fully explore the jungle. Even so, I was pretty intimidated with this one. I’m not good at judging the depths of waters and I also have a fear of snakes lurking around the rocks. Well, I was told.. sometimes you gotta take chances!
For most of the time at Koh Rong, I spent observing people. It was a different kind of experience watching the world goes by. Backpackers disembarking and hustling their way to their respective hostels, local Cambodians going about their daily life fishing and selling goods on the main strip, island expats running their small businesses in the village, kids playing with each other and me… well, sipping coffee and just be lazy. It’s not often I get to switch off and disengage myself from the internet. I appreciate the time off from social media. No life, no news. Just pure beach vibes.
Till then Koh Rong! Thank you for the adventures and sweet memories!