The ferry is very simple to book and get to from Sihanoukville. It costs around $20 return and takes 45 minutes on the slow ferry. Be careful when booking if you want to go to Koh Rong Samloen as well because we, along with many others, got stifled by not being able to use our returns from this island but having to either take a boat taxi to another port on the island or go back to Koh Rong to take the ferry. There is a service that allows you to return direct from KRS but we got the wrong one, obviously!
We had booked to stay in a local village on Koh Rong, however when we got there we found out that it would cost us $30 in a boat taxi to get to this part of the island. We managed to get it down to $10 but even so, we decided that we couldn’t guarantee getting back for a cheap price so we decided to leave it and stay in the main part of the island. Koh Rong is basically just a party island. We stayed at Island Boys which is probably one of the most party style hostels on the island. Coco’s bar and hostel is the biggest place to hang out, they had an Israeli guy playing the guitar and singing when we were there. I ended up going to a jungle rave in the night time. There are hidden bars along the track to get to the rave destination and the party was like a very miniature Tomorrowland. I went with two French people and ended up in the middle of their argument about something very silly so I went for a boogy!
Jayde and I decided to go on what I thought would be a short walk through the jungle to get to Long Beach. I was ridiculously hung over and Jayde was ill so this probably wasn’t the best of ideas. I had got my wires crossed with 4K beach and we had actually just embarked on a two hour trek through a jungle and over a massive hill. The track is initially difficult to see as it passes by the side of a bar and then up into the jungle. The heat is exhausting in the jungle because it traps the heat inside rather than being in open ground, not to mention the mosquito bites that go along with the plants that reach over the path.
The walk is beautiful though; the lush green colours that rip through the blue sky and the rocks that jut out of the sides of the mountain, acting as steps to climb down to the beach exude an air of ‘The Beach’. By the time we reached the beach, Jayde and I had nearly thrown up a few times but we felt a real sense of having made a pilgrimage to find water. Exhausted and over heated, we dived into the beautifully clear blue water. We had found heaven on earth.
Thankfully we were able to get a boat back so that we could stay on the beach for longer! You can pay $5 to be taken around the bay, and instead of walking another two hours through the jungle we were more than happy to take a boat!
Koh Rong Samloen
We thought we had found paradise at Long Beach, but nothing can compare to this island. To make it even better, the second I stepped off the boat I heard a Yorkshire accent and lo and behold the guy grew up five minutes away from my house!
We stayed in Old Souls hostel, which is a hostel made completely from recycled materials. The owner is a Dutch guy who made the place himself and his girlfriend works there too. You can volunteer there for free accommodation if you so wish. The hostel is very minimalistic but absolutely perfect. You have everything you need and no more than that. The showers are made from bamboo shoots, the sink from drift wood, and the dorm rooms have mosquito nets. The electricity is rarely used, and gas lamps are used outside. They offer a family BBQ some evenings and usually everyone sits all together by the beach under candle light and chats. The hostel evokes a real sense of community and as soon as we arrived we met the gang and spent the rest of the days we were there constantly together. The beaches are amazing, and everything is so peaceful. We did yoga on the beach in the mornings because luckily we had a yoga instructor with us and he offered to do a class. This guy has been studying Tibetan Buddhism and meditation for 14 years, as well as being a yoga instructor and acupuncturist.
We went on a snorkelling trip on our second day, which you can book in the hostel, and it takes you around most of the island to different spots to snorkel. I saw so many different corals and fish, the sea was a swarm of colours and thriving with life. We hung out on Sunset beach for a while and our yoga friend taught us about some meditation things he had learned. It was so interesting and such useful information, and spurred on my already strong interest in the subject.
If we could have stayed on this island for longer then we would have, but unfortunately my birthday was calling and that meant over to Otres for the Kerfuffle festival.
Kerfuffle is a weekly festival in Otres that spans from 10am to 10pm and boats some trance, phsytrance and techno djs. They have a Ferris wheel to one side and a kids rollercoaster over the dj set. We saw in my birthday and watched the sun rise in the beach. It was the most crazy and amazing birthday yet!
Our next and final stop was Battambang. We decided not to go to Siem Reap this time because we couldn’t afford the entry – $40 per person!