We crossed the border from Vietnam into Cambodia via bus, which was the easiest border crossing ever. You literally step out of the bus, walk into the immigration building, and directly out the other side back onto the bus. You dont even take your bags off the bus.
Our bus took us to the city of Pnom Penh, where we spent 2 nights at Longlin House 1, before taking another bus to the town of Sihanoukville. It was from there that we took the ferry to the island of Koh Rong.
Our 2 hour boat trip to Koh Rong was on rough seas, and like some of the previous boat trips, there were a lot of sea sick tourists vomiting everywhere lol.
Our accommodation on Koh Rong was Palm Beach, which is an idyllic isolated resort that is only accessible by boat. Nothing but deserted beaches, the sea, and the jungle. We stayed in a wooden bungalow on stilts over a pond, which had a great balcony with hammock that we loved to chill in.
We were immersed in nature, enjoying some early morning thunderstorms, and the melodic sounds of frogs and insects. Our bungalow came with its own giant gecko, about 35cm long, who was beautiful, and kept all the mosquitoes away. The bungalow was not completely ‘sealed’, so it was easy for insects and other critters to get in. we also had two resident rain spiders that made the bathroom their home. So every time we were in there, we had one eye on the giant spiders looking back at us.
This island is renowned for having the bio-luminescent plankton in its waters. After watching the magnificent sunset every evening, we would go down to the beach for a night swim, to see the glowing plankton. It was the first time we have ever experienced what was like ‘fire flies’ under the sea. It was absolutely magical! On our night walks to the beach we would encounter loads of giant hermit crabs, clonking their shells on the path as they scuttle away from out torches.
Unfortunately, there was no ‘good snorkeling’ spots on this beach, but the tranquility of the deserted powdery white sand beaches with its turquoise blue calm waters, with ‘post card’ perfect palm trees, more than made up for this.
One of the days we decided to explore the other side of the island. There are no roads or marked paths through the jungle, so it was a bit of an adventure. We crossed the bay at low tide when the sea was out, and walked to a nearby fishing village, where we tried to get directions from the locals. We failed miserably at this due to the language barrier. We eventually passed through the village into the jungle, and after about 2 hours of blindly trekking, we exited the jungle onto ‘Lonely Beach’. During our walk we spotted giant horn bills in the trees, and it was refreshing to see these beautiful birds in the wild, and not in a cage. Lonely Beach is another deserted beach on the island with only one house which is a backpacker venue. There was nobody there, so it really lived up to its name. On the beach we found a giant swing attached to two tall palm trees. It was so much fun swinging over the waves as the rolled onto the beach.
On one of the days we got a local girl to take us to a hidden waterfall, which entailed a 2 hour hike through the jungle. It was totally worth it, and we stayed for lunch and swap in the ice cold mountain water. On our hike we passed many water buffalo, which the local inhabitants keep, but allow to roam freely. It was funny to see the buffalo chilling in the shade of the trees on the beach.
At night we would also take walks to the mangrove swamp to look for fire flies, and we only mananged to spot one 🙁
After an amazing week relaxing in paradise, we made our way back to Sihanoukville by boat, where we stayed for a couple of days at Otres Long Beach Bungalow, before moving on to Siem Riep. There is not much to do in Sihanoukville, but our accommodation was within walking distance to the beach, so we could at least spend our time swimming in the sea while we arranged our Siem Riep itinerary.