My experience in Koh Rong
To get to Koh Rong you will have to start off in Sihanoukville. From there, you will be able to take a ferry to the island. There is a high speed ferry that will cost you around $20 round trip and a more budget-friendly one, that will take way more time. My boyfriend and I chose the first option, since boat rides are not really our thing and we just wanted to get there as soon as we could. We also made sure to get the first boat in the morning. First, because we wanted to assure we would find a place to stay and second, because we wanted to enjoy the rest of the day at the island. Not to mention that we wanted to avoid the heat of waiting on the pier if it was later on the day.
AND the boat will be late to depart, I'm pretty sure. Be on the pier on time but yeah, don't expect it to leave at the right time. They will want to fulfill every seat on the boat and many people will have a ton lot of luggage to be carried on. Be patient, it's worth it.
Where I stayed
Arriving on the island, my boyfriend and I headed to find a place to stay. Currently, it's a walking distance to cover all the available accommodations around the village. There are rooms and bungalows where you can stay. Don't expect nothing luxurious around the village, even if you are staying in the most expensive bungalows. If you are on a budget, good news: the island is super backpacker friendly, so you can find a place for $5 a night.
In our case, we opted to stay in Paradise bungalows. It is located at the right side of the pier and it's a very cute place. We paid $35 a night for a bungalow up on the hills, not facing the ocean. Honestly, it was bit pricey for what we got, but we really wanted to avoid the crowd of the hostels at the time. We didn't have electricity during the day and no hot shower. Not that we care, but some people do. Not to mention that our bathroom had no roof, so yeah, we could pee and shower under the stars. We, particularly, found it very cool. The rooms also have mosquito nets and small lockers.
We didn't tried the restaurant at Paradise, but heard it has one of the best food on the island. It even holds the prize of 2015 Traveler's Choice on Tripadvisor.
What I did on the island
We wished to have explored more of the island itself. We wanted to go hiking to other parts of the island, but we didn't have much time. If you are planning to go there, please consider exploring beyond Koh Toch Village. Trust me, all the walking will be worth it (you can also take a taxi boat).
Since it was easily accessible from Koh Toch beach (where most tourists stay and where the village is), we decided to walk to Long Set Beach, where the sand it's even whiter and softer. There is almost no accommodations on Long Set, making it a great place to relax and escape from the crowd, and if you walk further enough, you will also see a beautiful river behind the beach, surrounded by an ample jungle and beautiful coconut trees.
Around the village, there are many business offering snorkeling day trips and you also have the option to go diving. Most of the tour trips will take you to multiple locations around the island, give you a meal and drinks and you still can see the plankton at night (if you are lucky).
We kinda went blind and just picked one among all the business offering the trips. It was very nice, since we got to know many places around the island. The guys responsible for the boat fished on the spot and we had very fresh seafood at sunset. The snorkeling experiencie was very short, I would say. In our case, they just stopped in one place and we only had maybe 20 minutes. They said the sea wasn't very clear for snorkeling, so we just followed with our schedule.
We honestly wanted to do a tour called Adventure Adam Tours but the trips only happen on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday. We were uninformed about this, lost the one on Wednesday and had to leave on Saturday, but this is the most complete and recommended tour on the island. The tour costs $25 and goes from 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
At night time, we were mostly exhausted and just wanted to crash down on our bed, but the island do offers plenty of restaurant and bars, where you can have some drinks, have fun and make new friends.
What we ate
The village offers a variety of western food and also local food. We particularly, always go for what the locals eat. It's often cheaper, tastier and obviously, it's always a new experience. I mean, why would you travel so far to eat egg and toast? I really don't get it why some tourists look for eating the same thing they eat back home when they are traveling. Food is a huge part of any culture, why not to explore it and get to know it, right?
So for every meal, we looked for eating at the local restaurants of the village and typical Khmer food. Usually in the morning, we ate Kuy teav, one of the national breakfasts of Cambodia. At lunch and dinner, we had meals like amok, curry and delicious bbq seafood. For snacks, plenty of fresh fruits and fruits shakes are sold all over the island.
Koh Rong is a must-go destination if you are in Cambodia. Even if the island still doesn't have the hype of others beaches and islands around Southeast Asia, it's definitively worth exploring!
For more pictures of Koh Rong, visit my Koh Rong photo serie here.
#beach #tourism #paradise #traveldestination #asia #travelphotography #travel #cambodia #island #kohrong #photography