After 4 days we spent in the capital of Thailand and capital of Cambodia it was time to hit the beach. To change hectic Bangkok and bustling Phnom Penh we decided to visit some of the Cambodia’s’ best islands. First three nights starting with Christmas Eve we started off in Koh Rong Samloem situated west of Sihanoukville just 1 hour by boat.
Once we arrived to Sihanoukville we were late already and barely made it onto a 12 o’clock boat to Koh Rong Samloem. We decided to take a TBC speed boat company which departs from Serendipity pier at 12 just a right time to get to the Koh Rong Samloem island. The boat was late of course due to strong waves. After about an hour or so we arrived to our new paradise. Our accommodation called Sweet dreams Samloem was situated on the widest beach of the island called Saracen bay. The island itself is not that big where majority of space is covered by jungle. There are approx. 5-6 beaches with lodgings. We couldn’t wait to see our private bungalow on the beach. Right after our arrival, Max showed up and offered us a fresh fruit cocktail. It was 24th December and it was difficult to believe that we gonna spend Christmas on the beach in such beauty. But then Alex showed up and told us bad news. “Hello guys, I am Alex, I am the owner and unfortunately I have to tell you we have no place for you due to mistake on Agoda booking site.” I took it as a joke and kept smiling until he repeated it again. “But don’t worry we have 3 options for you”. First option was to get money back and sleep on the beach because it was impossible to find an accommodation there in that period of year. Second one was to move into another bungalows at the end of the Saracen bay where Alex had booked a room for us, or to stay in Sweet dreams but in the different room that we booked.
After we checked new bungalows offered by Alex at the end of the beach I and Maria decided to stay in Sweet Dreams Samloem since it was our pick from beginning and both guys were really nice to us. What they offered us was a brand new bungalow on the beach which was supposed to be built long time ago but was actually being finished the day of our arrival so we had to wait until 7pm to get inside. Due to the fact that there was a reconstruction still going on nearby bungalows we were offered all-inclusive service during our stay including alcoholic drinks as well. After all we got ourselves a pretty good deal.
It was my second year in a row spending Christmas away from my home and I knew I am gonna miss our Slovak traditions. Christmas Eve is the most important day in Slovakia because we have a family dinner and after we open presents. In Koh Rong Samloem we had a tasty dinner but no family, no Christmas tree, neither presents nor traditions. It was a bit sad, but also a new experience which is always a good thing. We got to know some new people from the resort as well as our Ukrainian owners Alex and Max who started their new lives on this yet unspoiled island 1 year ago. To be able to build a resort on such island you have to rent the land because only Cambodians can buy it. I’ve been told that most of the resorts on Koh Rong Samloem are managed by Europeans. There was still some free land to rent which is a sign that the island is still in development process. Most of the small resorts were built by wood being in harmony with jungle. It was really impressive what these guys with the help of their friends and some locals built in such a short time.
Koh Rong Samloem is not only about Saracen bay which is a beautiful white sand beach, but there is also Lazy beach just 20 minutes by walk through the jungle path. We packed necessary things like headlamp, tripod, cameras, water and mosquito spray and headed out for a sunset on Lazy beach. Once we got there I was pretty surprised there was not that many people how I thought. It was a nice wide beach with different sand color than our Saracen Bay. After some swimming and romantic walks around the beach it was time to set up the camera for sunset time lapse and just to enjoy this breathtaking views with the person I love the most. Just before the sun went down we were able to take some incredible pictures with huge red sun, clouds and even a fishing boat which all together looked like from a movie scene and almost unbelievable to witness. I can’t remember more beautiful sunset than this one on Lazy beach on Koh Rong Samloem. Once the sun went over the horizon it was time to go back and pass the jungle once again but this time in dark. Thankfully we had our headlamp and cell phone with LED light. It was very adrenalin thing to do. There were many animals like frogs and small lizards running under our legs, monkeys jumping above our heads and strange noises coming from the dark. I can’t really imagine being there alone without light…
After cool jungle walk we stop by a small local shop on the beach and booked a snorkel-fishing trip for the next day. We were told that instead of 10 am the trip will start at 4 pm because of the full-moon party which was happening day before and guys from local shop would have a hangover so that’s why 🙂 On the local fisherman boat it was just me, Maria and another Italian couple. The snorkel equipment didn’t look very appealing as well as the boat captain. It took us 20 minutes to get to the spot where we were supposed to snorkel and see fish and corals. Instead we saw almost nothing. I guess that our captain just took us on the spot where he can catch the fish. So after not even 5 minutes of “snorkeling” all 4 of us got back on the boat and were offered a nylon with hook by our Cambodian captain with no English what so ever. At least he was smiling all the time. It didn’t even take him a minute and he caught his first fish while smoking a cigarette like a king. After 5 minutes passed he already filled up the bucket. When we heard him laughing we knew he got another fish. Finally after almost 40 minutes I caught my first and last fish. I felt proud, but I probably wouldn’t provide much of a diner for myself or family. An hour had passed and we were already pretty bored so we tried to convince our captain to go back. Luckily he understood us and we could end our “snorkeling-fishing trip” which was definitely the worst 10$ I have ever spent. On the other hand it was a great time to relax, enjoy sunset, meet a new couple and just watch a local fisherman catching fish like a boss.
Our 4 days during Christmas on Koh Rong Samloem were over faster than we wanted. Thankfully our trip wasn’t even getting close to be over and we headed to Koh Rong Samloem’s bigger brother Koh Rong. The morning before departure we got really confused because nobody would tell me when and if there will be a boat to Koh Rong. I even called to a boat captain who didn’t know. Schedule in Cambodia doesn’t mean anything by the way… So when we saw a boat coming without knowing if it is going to Koh Rong we packed all our stuff, said goodbye to Alex and Max and went to pier on Saracen bay. Lucky for us the boat was coming from mainland, but heading over to Koh Rong so we were able to board pretty new looking fast boat. Saying goodbye to one of the most relaxed and beautiful place I have ever been to. Koh Rong Samloem was truly an unspoiled paradise with beautiful beaches, cool jungle and friendly people.