Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Koh Rong Island, Cambodia

Just a 2 hour boat ride away from Otres Beach and you'll find yourself at Koh Rong island. Also known as the island that gives you the mysterious food poisoning. But determined not the let it ruin our experience, we hopped on the boat and headed on over for the night.

Now, (just our luck) we didn't end up having the best experience during our 24 hours on Koh Rong island but view-wise, it was absolutely beautiful. We arrived at the harbour around midday and hopped onto the partly put together, partly falling apart pier and wandered down onto the beach to find a place to stay for the night. You're quickly approached by many travellers working there trying to get you into their hostels, so we found ourselves at one called Island Boys. To give it credit, it's location was absolutely perfect.

Literally a 2 minute walk from the pier and amongst all the main bars and nightlife, it's hard to knock it. The only thing I will warn you about (if you choose to stay here) is that it's very VERY basic. Our 4 bed room had 2 bunk beds draped in pink mosquito nets, and the building itself is very minimal - just wooden beams holding it up and no ceiling. So although all the rooms upstairs are divided off, you can hear everyone in the rooms next to you as there's huge gaps where the roof should be. Hard to explain, but you'd know what I mean if you saw it!

The room itself though was very cute and quirky. The walls were covered in writing which when we inspected it closer, turned out to be poems and motivational quotes. After wandering around the island we quickly named it 'Pirate Island' as it literally feels like you're staying in that sort of vibe.

The above photo is what the main 'town' part looks like. I say town but it's pretty much the smallest little road/path/sand-lined front I've ever seen where most backpackers tend to stay, as this is where all the shops and hostels are, as well as the bars for the bar crawl in the evening.

We spent the rest of the day eating at a little floating restaurant down at the pier over the sea, sunbathing on the beach and then getting ready for the famous island pub crawl in the evening. We had so much fun!

However, it wouldn't be right if I didn't warn you of some things that happen here. So here are the negatives and little warnings about the island:

. Food Poisoning - We'd been told by so many backpackers before we came that the one thing to watch out for on this particular island is food poisoning. 9/10 people we'd spoken to who had been had suffered with food poisoning. Many people put it down to the meat there and the conditions it is kept in (sat out in 30 degree heat for a couple of hours is never a good sign), but even those who didn't eat the meat still somehow ended up with food poisoning so it really is a mystery. Even though we were only there for one night, one of the girls managed to get it and was seriously sick. All I can suggest is to be very careful. Don't get ice in your drinks, become a veggie for your time there and just stick to western food. There's not much more you can do about it unfortunately - you're either lucky or unlucky.

. Thieves - Out of our big group, 2 people had personal belongings stolen. 2 phones and a wallet. Keep your stuff safe! It can happen anywhere in Asia but Koh Rong just seemed to be the devil for us.

Even though our night was ruined by food poisoning and theft, we still managed to have such a fun time here up until then and had these things not happened, we'd of loved it even more. We decided to head back to Otres Beach the next day to get back to our comfort zone, but we'd have probably stayed another night if we weren't in such bad moods.

Despite our bad experience, Koh Rong should definitely be on your list of places to visit if you're in Cambodia!

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