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Koh Rong Samloem {a tourist trip}

Well, to say the very least about this place is all I can do. I have made this island my home for a while. That certainly wasn’t part of the original plan, and if you had said to me that I’d be living on a tiny island year ago I would have laughed. Travelling has really made me see that planning isn’t the way to get the most out of life. I have opened up to the fact the universe will decide what is next for me.



I had heard horror stories about Koh Rong, the larger island. Bed bugs and getting sick wasn’t what I was after. So I booked The Drift when I was in Sihanoukville for a couple of nights. The boat you need to get to this bay on Samloem is one that goes to M’Pai Bay or Pier 23. Buva Sea is the best for this and they have an office right down by the pier where you can book. The boat costs around $20 and it is a return, most hostels will book for you.



I am not a sea fairing girl, I can’t swim (with an ounce of confidence) and have spent almost my whole life avoiding water. The boat was fine over, a few beers with some Swiss and some folk from Manchester. I arrived with a sweaty spring in my step and was greeted warmly at the pier and directed the 3 minute walk to The Drift.



When I got to my hostel I was greeted by Kristian, who has come to be family. There was a really sweet wooden dorm where I immediately started unloading my stuff which I don’t usually do in dorms. I felt instantly at home. After gathering myself with an hour or so on the beach out front sketching, I decided to carry on the bevvy and introduced myself to Jody.



The crowd at The Drift were very welcoming, not just the staff – Natalie, Kristian and Julie but the guests too became island family. We booked to go on a boat tour with Mr Han around the island, it cost around $7 each. We sailed to Saracen bay, where the main beach is on the island and had a decent lunch there. This is where all the resorts are. I jumped out the boat into 4ft of water and waded to shore feeling like a super unsexy and very nervous Bond girl. We went around the island to Lazy beach where you aren’t supposed to park your boat but the sand is squeaky and the water crystal clear. There is also a swing {bliss}.



The island family {The Drifters} and I ate 3 meals a day together and drank copious Klangs (Klang o’clock, KLANG KLANG!). The food on the island is fantastic, we had pizza and menemen at Blue Quay, falafel and lamb shish at Babaganus and taco’s at Rob’s place (sadly no longer there). The $2 places are Kiki’s and Queen’s Touch and they serve a load of local and western dishes. The Drift do family dinners as do Bong’s and Dragonfly.

Watching the sunset from Dragonfly is magnificent, as it is when you are on a boat. Fishing from the pier or watching the chaos of the supply boat’s arrival are fun ways to pass the time. The bioluminescent plankton on a night when the moon is low or hidden is a must, I cannot be more sad at the fact I’ve not managed to get a picture of it yet! My kit is weak!!! Hammocks, reading and literally doing nothing is the order of the day on this island. You can trek from M’Pai Bay to Clearwater Bay where Driftwood hostel is. It takes a little over an hour to walk along the beach and through the jungle to reach this slice of quiet paradise and I recommend it for anyone wanting some light adventure and exercise.



No wifi, no shoes, no distractions, plenty of time for reflection, meditation and yoga on the beach. Also there isn’t an ATM on the island so bring cash for a bit longer than you planned so you don’t have to cut your time short, most people extend their stay!

For those not interested in the island village life, go to Saracen Bay. Those who want to get remote and high, stay at Driftwood and those who want to get really immersed in local culture come to M’Pai Bay. I can’t begin to tell you how much I love it but I’ll try to sum up life here in the coming months.



Come now, before it is too developed, you won’t regret it. It changed me, I came to the dawning realisation that the meaning of life is to control all of your time and that is fucking profound to me. We are constantly distracted with things to do that aren’t pertinent for a happy life. I am on a mission to remove those things from mine, “that’s just life…” is not something I am willing to hear anymore.

*** I spent 1 hour on Koh Rong as I left with part of the island family to go to Kampot. The weather was stormy so we changed boat over there. I didn’t like it; it smelled, I had to put my shoes on and the fried rice was rubbish. It’s not for everyone… ***


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