From Sihanoukville we took the slow boat to Koh Rong. It was supposed to take two hours. Due to a lengthy stop at another island it took almost four. The slow boat was not just delivering tourists. It delivers everything to these islands. These boats really are the Island's lifeline. There is no electricity on the island. Everything is run from generators. Generators which are used sparingly. Usually in the morning and then again in the evening. Thankfully giant blocks of ice are used to keep the beer cold. Wifi is also fairly rare. I understand that Koh Rong & its smaller neighbouring island only become a tourist destination a couple of years ago.
Once on the island the hunt for accommodation started. But, not before being amazed by the whitest of white sand. White sand which squeaks under foot & sea which was crystal clear. Turning turquoise some 10 metres in. Accommodation can cost as little as $7 (shared dorm) & as much $100 (luxury beach bungalow). We were aiming for around twenty bucks. Starting in the middle of the beach & leaving Cat in a bar, I found everywhere either fully booked or out of our price range. One joker had a room with a broken door for $50! Catherine then went in the opposite direction & found a place above a bar for $20. It was set out just like a beach bungalow but it was on top of a bar. Very large shared balcony with a hammock. Private bathroom and a fan. The pub was called Bongs! I found this very amusing. But later learned that bongs is just Cambo for Bro's. The guy who ran Bongs tells me that as little as seven months ago the place was empty & now everywhere is fully booked up.
Our four nights at Bongs were like being at a music festival. Falling asleep to crazed people, screaming with laughter and shouting over loud music. Waking up to crazy people and loud music. We joined in for a few nights which really was the only way to go. Out of the four nights there was no water pressure for two days. Which meant no showers or flushing toilets. Being covered in sand soon became the norm. All of this was a high possibility and known to us before coming here so it wasn't too much of a pain. Bongs was pretty cool. All of the staff are subsidising their travelling by bar work and are all really up for a laugh. Bongs also had two kittens. They can not be any older than a few weeks old. Abandoned by their mother but loved by every patron of the bar.
Night swimming here is fun. After a fair few drinks and with everywhere closing. One of us had the brightest of ideas to go for a dip. Floating around the Gulf of Thailand looking at the light pollution free sky. It felt like you could touch the stars. Beer goggles? Beer telescopes? Maybe? But it was very beautiful. Yet another highlight of our trip.
Then things took a turn for the worse. Or actually took a turn for the down right hilarious. Dripping wet we got back to our room with no towel or key. Looking around to no avail. We couldn't even find any one who works in the bar who may have been able to give us a spare key. On our balcony I drag a mattress that was perched up against a wall and find a blanket (soggy towel). I then begin to persuade Catherine to lay down. Just have a little kip. Everything will be fine in the morning. Further into the night shivering she wakes up and realises that the room key is attached to her bikini for 'safe keeping'.
Every other time you go in the sea you end up getting a small jelly fish sting. Nothing too painful. Slightly itchy pin pricks. Which soon go away. But I would still not like to meet this fella while taking my night swim.
Four nights at Bongs seemed like enough. Festivals don't usually go on much longer. Peace & quiet was needed. We checked into a place called Tree House Bungalows. They have twenty feet high tree houses right on the beach. But, they are fully booked well in advance as Tree House Bungalows is one of a few which have a website & can take online bookings. The beach bungalow we rented seemed spacious & perfect at first but soon the cracks (holes) appeared. Noticing that there were holes in the doors, windows which would not close and a bathroom which was pretty much open air. I barely got any sleep. Hearing the noises of rats all night. Woken up at 5am by the cockerels. Cockadoodle dooo! times a million. At least I was awake for the sun rise which is a very rare thing for us. With the bed sheet & pillow I headed to the beach with Cat waiting for the sun. Romantic <3
Only staying at Tree house Bungalows for one night (blessing in disguise) as they had already booked out our room for the following few days. Even though the man told me I can book extra days when I like. Cockadoodle do not stay here! Our third & final accommodation was an awesome beach front bungalow. Thanks to John & Sally who treated us to a little luxury :) This place really did rock. The photographs speak for themselves.
From our new fantastic home we went for a bit of an adventure. Walking to the other side of the island. Some jungle hiking but mainly flat & mainly on the beach. There and back is roughly 12km. It was so much fun. Finding more jelly fish, star fish & shells. Shells that were perfect enough to be sold in one of those tacky beach side shops. Maybe the most interesting thing we saw was a Red Bull can full of barnacles & was probably once home to a crustacean. Some people had pitched tents just off the beach. I wonder how long they have lived there?
I briefly mentioned the squeaky sand. This is also known as whistling or singing sand. Its the noise the sand makes as you stroll across the beach. I watched this super boring documentary that explained why some beaches sing & others do not. So squeaky sand is quartz, smooth and round a bit like marbles & virtually all the same size. The sound is then produced when the top layer of sand grains slides over the layer beneath it.
We fell in love with Koh Rong. Eight days and eight nights in what was as close to paradise as we have got. The temperamental water & electricity all part of the fun. WIFI is available in some places. The sun sea & sand is probably the best I have ever had. I feel lucky to have come here now. The Island was bought some years ago by a corporation & plans are to make it an ECO friendly resort. This is their idea of an ECO friendly resort- remove a large part of the jungle. Buyout the local businesses & families. Knock down the existing buildings. Implement water works & electricity throughout the whole island. Build an airport. Build huge holiday complexes that will more than likely only be available to the super rich. ECO resort eh :/