After 3 days spent on paradise island of Koh Rong Samloen it was time to change it for its bigger and more touristy brother Koh Rong. We wanted to experience both islands so we divided our 6 nights to 3 and 3. Once I read all the reviews of bungalows on Koh Rong I knew the place to go was Coconut beach bungalows due to its beach, amazing owner and laid back atmosphere.
It took approx. 35 minutes to get to Koh Rong by speed ferry which cost 5 dollars. On the pier there was already a young guy waiting for us with my name on a board which was really nice because the main port wasn’t our final destination. And we were really glad it wasn’t, because it looked like a 20th century western city. Hotels and hostels squeezed onto each other with many bars, restaurants and shops right on the beach full of waste. Don’t get me wrong, me and Maria still love to go out and enjoy the atmosphere but this was just too many people, buildings and boats on the very small beach. Thankfully our young boat captain took us to our final destination Coconut beach. On the pier there was already waiting owner of Coconut beach bungalows Robbie. Since the first moment he left an amazing impression on us. We were really looking forward to getting to know him better as well as his bungalows and beach.
Coming from Koh Rong Samloem we already had a bar of our expectations set up really high and I must admit that Coconut beach was a bit worse than what we had on the smaller island. The biggest advantage of the Coconut beach was its laid back atmosphere, amazing people and the fact that only guests and later our new friends from Coconut beach bungalows were there. From the first minute we stepped in Robbie’s bungalows we loved it. He made us feel like home and directly even with our backpacks still on introduced us to all his guests. We got ourselves pretty big bungalow at the end of the resort close to the jungle with stunning view of the beach which just made our day each morning when we woke up and looked out from the window.
My first impressions of that part of the island was that it might be a bit too quiet since there was no other resorts. But it didn’t take long and we made a lot of new friends who had been staying at Coconut beach bungalows for longer time. I have met quite a lot of people while traveling but I have never seen such a great group of people concentrated on one place. Although Robbie’s bungalows were by far not the cheapest place to stay on Koh Rong, I chose it because of its great reviews everywhere I searched. And since Robbie is such a great host, his guests are also incredible people. We were really lucky and 2 out of 3 nights we had a bonfire on the beach with drinks, dancing, talking and full moon as a cherry on the cake. I felt almost like in a movie during our wild beach-full-moon party with great people from all over the world sharing stories and experience.
Before coming to Cambodia islands I found out that there is such thing called glowing plankton and it looked amazing on the pictures. I wasn’t sure if we will be able to see and experience that but luckily for us Robbie just called us during dinner and told us there is glowing plankton so let’s go. Group of approx. 15 people from resort formed while waiting for Robbie to turn off the lights of resort to be able to see glowing plankton even better. I must say that it was one of the most impressive and extraordinary experience I have ever had. Just swimming in complete darkness and whenever I moved one of my feet or arms everything was blue. I felt like I was electrified. It was too magic to take any pictures. Well and way too dark for some to come out good.
Our evening program was really interesting and very well taken care of. But during day there was also a lot to do. At Coconut beach bungalows you can rent a snorkel gear for free and we did. I was excited to see some underwater life but I was really surprised that the visibility wasn’t really that great. There were some fish but nothing colorful neither interesting. Comparing Malaysia, Egypt or even Croatia with Cambodia I have to admit that by far Cambodia’s Koh Rong Samloem and Koh Rong were the worst places for snorkeling. So pretty soon we were done snorkeling and tried to catch some fish on the pier. Robbie gave us some homemade nylon fishing rods with bait and we headed towards our big catch for dinner. In Koh Rong Samloem I caught just 1 fish in 1 hour and it was even worse scenario on Koh Rong’s Coconut beach where after 45 minutes both me and Maria just spent all our bait but didn’t catch any fish.
When I said there was nobody else except for the guests from the resort I lied. There were some of the kids from the local fishermen village nearby. We spent the whole morning swimming with them and playing in the sea. They particularly seemed to enjoy climbing on me and then jumping into the sea. It was almost impossible to stop because whenever somebody jumped there was another kid waiting in the line. We had so much fun with those little ones that we decided to visit them in their village which was located just over the hill 10 minutes by walk. We went there to see how these people live and also to watch the sunset. Once we arrived to the village you could tell that those kids and people were not used to seeing many tourists. Kids just gathered around us, hugged us and didn’t let go. I read stories about Cambodia kids asking for money and being scams etc. but this was just pure happiness for both them and us.
We bought for them some juice and chips. At first they were really crazy about it and started to hit each other but when the oldest one started to manage the box of chips everybody was calm. Really great kids who loved being photographed. In such a small village live around 200 people and there is just a small school and few shops. We met also with a British girl who runs a hostel there and provides a medical service to the locals. It was definitely a place where no ordinary tourist would go that’s why we only met some volunteers and other great backpackers. From the village center we headed to the pier where we found local fishermen preparing dinner. I was offered to try their local dish so I did. No idea what it was. We bought a beer at local shop or maybe just somebody’s living room and went to sit down. While waiting for the sunset some of the local fishermen stopped by and tried to show us some Jackie Chan moves. The sunset itself was truly beautiful and the whole scenery around was just fascinating.
Our 4 days on Coconut beach were over too fast and we had to go to Siam Reap to see Cambodia’s most visited attraction Angkor Wat. But there is an amazing memory in our hearts which we gonna carry for the rest of our lives. In such a short time we were able to meet great people, make many new friends, do lots of activities, see the real life in Cambodia’s village and enjoy their peaceful and laid back atmosphere because that’s what we miss over here in Europe.