Currently, if you ask me where is the best place in Cambodia to enjoy the nature and fresh atmosphere, I will not hesitate to reply that “Koh Rong ranks #1 among all in Cambodia”. Exaggerating? Probably. But I cannot stop admiring its beauty from time to time, and this is my second time I visited the island. In the previous post of Koh Rong, I mentioned a lot about bungalows and gorgeous Long Beach, now in this post, let’s explore more about Koh Rong at different angles with my second visit.
My second time there still caught my exciting impression, you might say I have already fallen in love with Koh Rong. Spending 5-hour travel by bus from Phnom Penh to Sihanouk Ville (7am-12pm) and 1 hour on speed boat (3pm-4pm) from Sihanouk Ville to Koh Rong, finally we arrived. YEAHHHH!!!
After arriving, everyone of us kept thinking of playing in the sea, and no more waiting, we rushed to check in at Coco bungalow, kept some valuable belongings at safety box at Coco office, and hurriedly walked to the sea. Despite the rain, we stayed soaked in the sea for an hour or probably more!
BBQ on our own
We did some shopping for dinner from Sihanouk Ville, for the sake of saving, as well as to experience own BBQ on the island. I had expected we could borrow a BBQ cooker just like last time, however, no cooker available at the moment. Fortunately, the foreign chef at Coco was kind enough to get us a newly designed cooker specially for us.
Morning at Koh Rong
In the morning of the second day, I walked along the beach to another part of where TreeHouse Bungalows locate, while the sun was rising and shining. This time, I walked till the rocky end of the place.
After a while, we had breakfast and planned on what to do on the island for this whole day. And we chose boat trip for it has all activities we wanted to do.
Boat trip around Koh Rong can be easily found on the island. That includes snorkeling, fishing & BBQ, Long Beach & sunset. Based on my experience, mostly Khmer tourists prefer this package, whereas foreigners love getting more adventurous such as trekking through the jungle to Long Beach, self kayaking to snorkeling area or diving. We took boat trip cost $12/person with the above package mentioned including Coconut Beach visit (another beach I just know). FYI, you can also get the boat to visit Koh Rong Sanloem (កោះរ៉ុងសន្លឹម), another beautiful island nearby (more untouched and less inhabited), with the price of $5/person for round trip or perhaps you can negotiate to include that in boat trip package and adjust the fee accordingly based on your skillful bargaining.
I admired a lot about Long Beach in the previous post, now this is another thing to show off. Coconut Beach is another beautiful beach in Koh Rong, where you take around 30 minutes to travel by machine boat from Koh Toch (main part of the island). The place has quite reasonable amount of coconut trees, which is why it is named so. The boat driver told us that people usually go there during rainy season; I am not sure about the reason, but I guess during rainy season, the area would have more water, since I went there during dry season, I could see more space of sandy beach with shallow water.
As I mentioned that Long Beach has clear green sea water with long white sandy beach, Coconut Beach is comparable in terms of natural beauty. Coconut Beach has crystal clear blue sea water and white sandy beach. It is worth visiting, especially for photo taking.
From Coconut Beach to the small island (unknown) where is suitable for snorkeling, it takes around 30 minutes or more. We were the only boat that went there, while a group of foreigners were already there by kayaking. For the first time, I did snorkeling despite the fact that I could not swim at all, so I depended thoroughly on life jacket and snorkeling mask. Funnily, even my friends could not swim either, and the boat driver called us as “snorkeling stars who could not swim”. It is worth experiencing this as I snorkeled a little down, I could see nice view of corals and fish all over the place under the water. Presumably, we spent about 1 hour snorkeling into the shallow water, and then headed to the next location for the next activity.
Fishing and Fresh Fish BBQ
I was wondering where we would go for fishing, maybe at another island nearby?! No, it is at the open space in the sea near Long Beach. I guess we could also fish somewhere else, but since the boat trip included fishing, BBQ at Long Beach & sunset sighting there, so it would be easier to fish near there.
Fishing needs patience since it takes time to wait for the fish to get lured by the bait. We waited for a while, then the boat driver’s little son caught a red fish, and one after another. I also caught one, and I was kind of excited for the first fish I got, but then thing got boring, everyone was hungry because we all skipped lunch, and no more fish caught, so our boat driver spread his long fishing net into the sea, waited for a while then pulled it up. Everyone kept eyes on the net to see if there was any fish caught. One by one, we got around 11 fish, so we hurriedly headed to Long Beach.
Again, I was still amazed with the beauty there, especially its long white sandy beach like fine powder. Nothing left to eat, we only had boiling instant noodle, and the boat driver’s son fried those fresh fish for us (faster way to cook than grilling, plus we were starving). With boiling instant noodle and fried fish with spicy sauce, it was more delicious than it originally was while you were hungry; we also called the kid to join us.
Sunset at Long Beach
Not only its own beauty, but Long Beach is also the best place on the island where we enjoy watching sunset. It is stunning when the sun is slowly getting down and touch water surface till it is gone.
After sunset, we returned to Koh Toch, when the sky was already dark. The sea was a bit wavy, but it was still alright unlike last time.
Night at Koh Toch, Koh Rong
On the island, only Koh Toch is where most people gather, other areas are quieter. I guess there are less than 10 pubs and restaurants there, yet they serve enough to the visitors. BBQ, grilled meat and mainly Western food are available, including drinks especially cocktails.
While having dinner at Coco restaurant, we were asked by foreign staffs there of why it was kind of a rare that Cambodian visitors visited the island. Mostly, more foreigners go there. They were a bit surprised that we told them we are Cambodian.
Thus, I am writing the post, partly to help promote Koh Rong to my Cambodian mates, and share my trip on this gorgeous island to the readers, hopefully, Koh Rong will be more well-known as one of the best tourist sites in Cambodia.
Some additional photo highlight:
MESSAGE for the visitors: Kindly take care of the environment! Please keep rubbish in the bin! Please avoid any means which cause pollution, especially to the beach and sea. Please SAVE FRESH WATER as much as possible! (We experienced lack of fresh water during this trip, and we realize how precious fresh water is!)