The Paradise Island of Koh Rong

All the people I'd met the night before also wanted to head to Koh Rong so we decided to go together. We hadn't booked a bus so one of the guys offered to get up in the morning and sort it out for us, sending a message with the bus time. i got a message at 7am saying I had to be ready now! I dived up, brushed my teeth and ran downstairs still in my pyjamas, hair stood on end. There was no one there. When I asked at reception she said the bus had already left. I was freaking out when one of the guys appeared. There had been some confusion and the bus had left, but she hadn't managed to book us on it, but not updated the guy that had tried to sort it for us. I was relieved. Food takes ages here so I ordered breakfast and ran up for a shower. I managed some eggs on toast and a coffee before our bus arrived.

The bus took about 6 hours and I was seated next to a woman that did not know what personal space was. She kept standing on my foot and had her arm resting on mine. She also talked really REALLY loudly on the phone for a large portion of the journey. So I resigned myself to only having half a chair and a headache until we got off and boarded the boat. For the first night we got a hut on the beach between the 5 of us ($16 each). It was in a small wooded part and had wild monkeys running round. We dumped our stuff and walked over the white sand beach into the crystal clear waters of the sea. We had a dinner of barbequed barracuda.

In the morning we moved to a guesthouse that was cheaper ($8 each). We spent the day sunbathing and swimming. I was only in the sun for 4 hours but totally burnt myself. Beetroot face. In the evening we met up with 3 English guys and walked the 15 minutes to the other beach for the full moon party. It was okay, maybe over-hyped so everyone was quite disappointed.

After breakfast we rented some hammocks, packed an overnight bag and set off on the hour hike across the island. It was hot. Really hot. Towards the end of the hike you had to climb down huge boulders. I was carrying some of my things in my hands and only had a tote bag so really struggled to get down. It was a huge effort and I was exhausted at the end of it. What a sight when we arrived at Long Beach though. 9km of the most beautiful beach I've ever seen. We were straight in the water!

We walked for about half an hour down the beach to find a secluded spot. There were some trees and a small hut with a bench outside, so we strung the hammocks up between the trees. I put mine under the hut. Some of them were high up in the tree and had to climb up to get in. We took a dip, lay in the sun, read until it got dark and then walked half an hour back to the nearest restaurant. We'd been told it was really expensive but it was actually cheaper than restaurants on the main side of the island and good too. I had green curry for $4. Then we walked back in the dark, the guys lit a fire and we all sat around talking and playing games.

I underestimated how vicious the mosquitoes on the island were. The net on my hammock didn't stay up properly so I used my hand to keep it up off my face. I woke after an hour or so and my hand had been bitten lots and my finger had swollen. I started panicking, making myself paranoid that I could have been bitten by a poisonous spider and there was absolutely no one around to help if there were any problems. Then I heard a low growling noise and the bags next to me being rustled. I don't think I've ever been more frightened. I lay still and prayed I would fall asleep soon.

It was a long and restless night and I felt pretty awful when I woke. But at least I was alive and hadn't been bitten by a venomous insect. A morning swim refreshed me and we pottered about for the morning, took down the hammocks and walked back. I didn't want to climb over the boulderous mountain again so caught the boat back around for $5. I took a shower and sat in a cafe eating breakfast and reading my book. The afternoon was just more time at the beach. In the evening we went back to the BBQ place and I had red snapper. On the table next to us was someone I'd met in Phnom Penh. He had met some English guys on the boat over and so both groups sat together having some cocktails and then went to the sky bar and danced on the tables.

Today another day sat talking and lying in the sun. Then beers later. The day after that the group of 4 other people I'd been with left, so I switched to a hostel and met up with the other guys I knew. We sat around the bar chatting as there really isn't much else to do an island other than sunbathe, swim and drink beers. My final day on the island we sat around the bar at the hostel talking to the owners - who offered us weed at 10am! Then mid-afternoon the girl that ran it asked if I'd do some free tequila with her. 3 shots and a few beers later I was feeling the effects and took myself off to bed.


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