Cambodia pt. 1 – Koh Rong Island

Good Morning!

We’re back from Cambodia! Taylor and I had some more time to kill before heading back to work after the Chinese New Year. This place was high on Tay’s list of places to go in southeast Asia, so we set off for one week! IMG_73411We caught an early flight from Shanghai to Phnom Penh two Mondays ago. Our plane landed at 2:30pm, but we had to apply for a visa upon arrival. Getting a visa upon arrival was very straightforward and took little to no time. I would imagine it’s much busier in the summer so keep that in mind. You will need a small passport photo, but if you don’t bring one they will just copy your passport photo for $5. Once we were done, we took a 15-minute Tuk Tuk to our hotel. After checking in, we dropped our stuff off and headed into the city for some exploration. We decided to have some drinks in front of the Tonlé Sap river while the sun set.IMG_7321IMG_7326 If you’re traveling to Cambodia, your trip will be made easier if you download the Grab app. It’s their version of Uber. Not only is it cheaper, but you don’t have to worry about negotiating with a driver, you can pay through your credit card, AND their vehicle (even Tuk Tuks) are registered. **if you’re wondering what a Tuk Tuk is, it’s the vehicle in the righthand photo below. 2Taylor really wanted to eat at the F.C.C, so that’s where we headed next. Thankfully, it was just right across the street. F. C. C. stands for Foreign Correspondents club and holds a very special place in history. This was the hotel/restaurant that all the journalists from the Vietnam war would stay and write their stories. They had old black and white photos from the war covering the walls, along with various news articles. Oh, if walls could talk…IMG_7328The next day, we had an unexpected long day of travel. At 9:30am we took a van from Phnom Penh to the coast of Sihanoukville. What was supposed to take 4 hours, ended up taking 6. There was a lot of traffic and we stopped twice. We had a ferry reservation at 3 and we missed it. The last ferry of the day left at 4:30pm and we’re super lucky we made it in time for that one. While Sihanoukville is right along the coast, it’s very undeveloped and not the greatest. We sat on the beach while we waited for the ferry.IMG_7352.jpgWe were headed to Koh Rong Island for 3 nights! It’s a bummer that we missed a whole afternoon on the island, but oh well what can you do? Our speed ferry took 45 minutes! IMG_7367IMG_7365IMG_7372.jpgOnce we arrived, we walked down the beach to White Beach, which was an assortment of tropical bungalows that we’d be staying in for one night.4.jpgIMG_7408Untitled designIMG_7374IMG_7407.jpgKoh Rong is a total backpacker island. I was actually shocked to see how many backpackers were there. It would be really difficult to visit Koh Rhong if you weren’t willing to backpack. We saw a few travelers with their big suitcases, and they were struggling to get them up and down the sand. The island is still pretty raw and new, so you have to be willing to “rough it” while here. It’s not for everyone. There are an abundance of hostels to stay in (starting at $6 a night), and also various bungalows! Even though we stayed in bungalows the whole time, there’s not much to them. The electricity on the island goes out two hours a day, there’s no hot water, and AC is rare. Nonetheless, it’s a cool place to stay if you’re up for the beautiful views and the adventure!IMG_7497.jpgIMG_7496IMG_1134IMG_11362The appeal of Koh Rong is how affordable it is. As I said above, hostiles start at $6 a night and bungalows range between $30-$100 a night depending on the place. Not only are the accommodations affordable, but so are food and drink! Fresh fruit smoothies go for $1/$2 and meals vary between $5-$10. This is why the island is a prime location for backpackers who are traveling for several weeks at a time. Their travel funds can stretch far here. IMG_7411783EF95FD-9C13-425C-9A73-9405B23E3998.JPGIMG_7528.jpgUntitled design-3Our second and third nights were spent at the Treehouse Bungalows, which was just a short walk down the beach from White Beaches. We wanted to stay here the whole time, but they were booked during our first night. Our treehouse was simple like the previous bungalow, but situated directly over the water. We had the best view of the sunset, and could hear the ocean waves throughout the night.IMG_7421.jpgIMG_7420.jpgIMG_7419.jpgUntitled design-257179497943__B4C0D4ED-B49A-4A3E-B5AB-8FFF0FC966FE.jpgIt was snowing in Nanjing when we left, so it felt great to be in the sun for a few days! This is considered their dry season, so the temperature is hot. Some of the locals told us that the summers are miserable here. It’s hot AND humid and the bug population only increases (make sure you pack bug spray)! I couldn’t imagine being here with no AC during the summer months.3IMG_7540.jpgIMG_7537.jpgUntitled design-4One day, we decided to take a boat tour. This tour was only $10 a person and lasted 7 hours, so if you’re on a budget, this would be great! We snorkeled, fished, swam, were fed snacks and dinner, and got to swim with the sea plankton. This is a fantastic way to meet people from all over the world. If you get motion sickness easily, avoid this tour at all costs.IMG_7510.jpg13 nights in Koh Rong was the perfect amount of time for us! We were able to soak up some sun and beat the winter blues. When we booked our trip before we left, we booked a return speed ferry back to Sihanoukville at 4pm. We realized that the ferries ran behind on the way over, so we changed our reservation for 1pm instead. I’m so glad we did this because not only was our ferry running behind by an hour, but it dropped us off at a different port because of rough waves. We had a flight to catch to Siem Reap, so this was a wise move!! IMG_7616My next post will be about visiting Siem Reap and Angkor Wat!

xoxo

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