One thing I’ve learnt about Cambodia, is any timeframe you’re given for a bus journey, you should double or triple it. My journey to the island of Koh Rong Sanloem was no different. Leaving Kampot at 10.30am, I finally arrived at my hostel at 5.30pm. A bit grumpy, but trying to be positive, I witnessed another incredible sunset (although during the excitement I managed to fall on the rocks and cut my leg) with a new friend Tim, then went for dinner trying Khmer dish Tom Yam for the first time. Good start 😉.
The islands of Koh Rong and Koh Rong Sanloem are well known to backpackers. Koh Rong as an island is bigger, more built up and touristy. While Koh Rong Sanloem, which is only 9km long per 5km wide, is an up and coming place, with less tourists (and no roads and cars). I decided to avoid the crowds, opting for the smaller island.
Obviously there isn’t too much to do on Koh Rong Sanloem, other than eat, explore the various extraordinary beaches, water activities and snorkel/scuba dive. But I think that’s what attracts people to it. For me, I enjoyed it, but four days was more than enough.
Wednesday 22nd March
The jungle on the island is dense, so when exploring you have to be careful. Tim and I had heard about a secret waterfall, so decided to brave the forest to find it. Leaving tracks and marks of the route we were taking, we found the stream to the waterfall, however sadly it was empty. Absolutely boiling hot, we climbed down some rocks to swim in the sea. A quick paddle later, in true Jess style, I ended up getting stung by teeny tiny jellyfish. In Kep I mentioned a new friend called Alba. We were reunited on the island, going snorkelling along Lazy beach and Sunset beach for the afternoon. Sadly majority of the coral reefs around the island were dying, however there was still a lot of other life to see. The evening was spent stuffing our faces with the tastiest vegan/vegetarian all you can eat buffet. This restaurant called The Fishing Hook, is well known across the island as it is a charitable programme, helping people in the local community. Quite fairly, if you don’t finish your plate, you have to pay an additional $2 to the local hospital.
Other than the stunning beaches, Koh Rong Sanloem is also renowned for it’s glowing plankton, which light up the water in the evening if you shuffle your feet in the sea. Unfortunately because of my cut, which I had just bandaged up for the evening, I didn’t go in. I’m sure there will be another chance to see them along my travels.
Thursday 23rd March
Meeting three French friends Ludo, Charlotte and Caroline at the hostel, we joined forces with Tim and Alba, creating a little island crew. Hiking along the Mpay Bat and then through the forest, we found Clear Water Bay. I think the photos speak for themselves…That evening I tried sorting my ferry off the island, however it was fully booked 🙈. Maybe that’s why so many people stay! So another two nights on Kong Roh Sanloem is was.
Friday 24th March – Saturday 25th March
My last day on the island I said goodbye to Alba, then spent the day on the beach with Ludo and the evening drinking Pastis. My journey off the island, started at 5.45am to make my 6.30am ferry as the buses to my next stop Koh Kong, only left early. Of course I arrived at 6.10am at the pier, but the boat got there at 7am 🙈. At least I got the end of the sunrise…
Jessica Storm ✌️