Koh Rong is the definition of paradise- its long stretches of white sandy beaches and unbelievably clear blue-green sea are like heaven on Earth. Koh Rong is far from being off the beaten track; I’d say it’s pretty firmly on the banana pancake trail, but this didn’t bother me in the slightest, in fact for now Koh Rong is a little slice of backpackers heaven. The beach front bars and restaurants offering $1 beer create a buzz along the shore-front, street vendors are selling fresh fruit smoothies or iced coffee, hipster vests and board shorts are railed up for tourists to buy and you can purchase tickets for whatever bar crawl or beach party is happening that night. There is a sense of electricity in the air, something is always going on-which I love, seeing as I always get bored lying on the beach.
You can hire a kayak for $12, hike to Long Beach, simply bask in the sunshine or enjoy an ice cold drink in the endless bars here. Joe and I went on a day trip with Ankounamatata and the day was absolutely incredible; one of the best days we’ve had on our entire trip, beaten only by the Elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai on Christmas day. The tour starts at 12pm, where you will board the boat to the first snorkelling hotspot- a secluded island not too far from Koh Rong with literally nothing there but a hillside temple. You’ll then have the chance to jump off the boat and snorkel in one of the best corals in South East Asia, the fish of all colours and sizes we saw were incredible-I felt as if I’d wandered right into Finding Nemo. But beware of the scary looking Sea urchins, nobody wants to step on those nasty, spiky things. After more snorkelling, and a few beers later it’s time for a lunch stop (included in the price) in Koh Rong Sonleum and a wander around the local village and school. Try some Khmer fresh coffee with a view in Dragonfly bar before heading to Sunset beach to watch, you guessed it the Sunset. The tour provides a free cocktail, fruit and Oreos which you can enjoy whilst playing pool, volleyball or sprawling out in one of the many tree top hammocks here before sitting by the Sea to watch the Sun go down. For the Pièce De Résistance we got to swim with bio-luminescent Plankton. In the black of night, we jumped off the boat into pure darkness, but once you start to flail your arms and kick your legs the Sea becomes alive with tiny water fairies, dancing in the blackness.
Truly a once in a lifetime experience, I urge you all to book this tour. $20 will get you everything I mentioned above along with a great guide, a few free whisky drinks, fab music on the boat and a generally fantastic day. You can find Ankouna Matata along the beach, next door to Q bar-go have a chat with them they’re awesome guys.
I can easily see why people book here for 4 days and stay for 4 months, you feel as if you’re in your own Koh Rong bubble here and you have no cares or responsibilities. I wish we didn’t have to leave but our clock is ticking; we only have little over 2 weeks before we fly to Bangkok to start our next adventure. Stay tuned!