We’ve found paradise. It’s an island called Koh Rong Saloem, a southern island off Cambodia. We’ve spent 5 nights here and it’s been incredible. The beach runs for around 300 meters and is enclosed in a U-shape bay (like Maya Bay aka ‘The Beach’ only without the hundreds of boats & tourists). The sand is white and totally powdery. The water is crystal clear (around 7 meters visibility) and is luke warm so perfect for swimming & cooling down. At each side of the bay there are rich coral reefs with tropical fish and even little sharks. The island faces south and the sun drops in to the sea each night so the sunsets are spectacular. At night the sky lights up with the most impressive display of stars we’ve ever seen. Of all the beaches we’ve visited during our current & previous travels this one is the nicest by a mile - it’s just perfect, and it’s totally undiscovered in terms of mass-tourism.
There are only 13 bungalows on the island (the resort is called Lazy Beach) so the place is quiet even when it’s fully booked. Most days me and Neil have the whole beach to ourselves and even if someone does join us they’re 100 meters away. The bungalows are very simple and electricity is only available from sunset until the early hours of the following morning. The main bar area is where everyone congregates and it’s the perfect place to lounge around eating, drinking and chilling out. There are a wealth of ways to spend a few hours away from the beach: ping pong, board games, books and magazines etc. There are 3 Westerners who run the front of house and they’re all mega friendly (-big thanks to Chris, Jay & Carrie!). A Cambodian family runs the resort behind the scenes and Ken (+ his sisters) are fantastic cooks.
This is the beach everyone in Cambodia talks about, the place everyone wants to stay and due to having so few bungalows it’s very exclusive and the waiting list is usually 1-2 months. Despite what we’d heard about the waiting list, on Boxing day morning I called their booking office (while very hungover) to see if there was any availability and it turned out they could fit us in for 5 nights from the 30th Dec - 4th Jan. When we arrived we found that the 4 people we got the boat here with were supposed to be 6, and we called 10 minutes after they’d rung up to cancel one of their bungalows due to 2 of their group not being able to make it due to an unexpected death in the family. Horrible circumstances but for us it meant we could come and see what everyone had been talking about! New Years Eve was great! The staff built a bar on the beach, decorated the trees with thousands of fairy lights and littered the ground with comfy chairs and cushions. Me and Neil decorated one tree and received loads of compliments about it! We also had a huge bonfire which was a focal point for the dancing later on. They served a set menu which started off with sushi and champagne at 4ish, then after that there was a barrage of food until midnight (Asian nibbles & a big BBQ). We spent the night playing drinking games with the staff and a group of 14 ex pats who had come over for the occasion and then drinking & dancing later with the 4 English we’d arrived with. At midnight we all ran in to the sea (in underwear!) and swam with the fluorescents which was totally unreal. Fluorescents are some things in the sea which light up at night and glow especially bright when you distrub the water. As we swam it was like a thousand little fireflys or sparks swimming around you - a total highlight and amazing experience. Me, Neil and the 4 English were the last ones standing and at 6am we decided we better call it a night before the sun came up. We dread to think how much we spent but according to the drinks tally me and Neil had out-drunk all the other bungalows by a mile!! Boxing day was a total right-off and after waking up at 2pm we just lounged in the bar all day eating and drinking until we felt human again.
We’ve not done much exploration of the little island since we arrived here, we just can’t get enough of the beach so usually we’ll spend the whole day on it. Today however turned in to a bit of an activity day; after breakfast we went snorkelling and swam along the coral reef to the right of the bay, the fish were crazy! We saw all shapes, sizes and colours. There were loads of sea plants that looked like they belonged in a sci-fi movie - I wish we had an underwater camera! After lunch we joined the staff and other guests and went around the bay to a beach occupied by the Navy. From there we scaled a hill and went to an old abandoned light house which had spectacular views of the island. This is our last night and although we’ve had 5 nights here we wish we could stay a litle longer (due to it being booked up to the hilt there is no way we can extend our stay). It’s quite sad to consider this beach will most likely be sold off and ruined within the next few years. Sihanoukville (the port town) is already really over developed (all with in the last 3 years) and the Cambodian government has flown in the Phuket planners in to come and work their misery here. They’re selling off the beaches and island to the highest bidders. If you want to come and experience this totally idyllic beach then you’ll have to be quick. We couldn’t recommend it more so do it now - before it’s too late!! Everyone should get to see this place.
We’re heading over to Bamboo Island now for another 5 day stint. It’s not quite as popular and their waiting list is weeks rather than months but we’ll let you know how we find it! We’ll send this blog post out tomorrow while we wait for the boat to Bamboo Island.
P.S on our first night despite our bungalow sleeping 4 there were 5 of us in there! Me, Neil, 2 almost foot long lizards & one total beast of a spider - you could even see his eyes twinkling in the light!!
P.P.S we just arrived back at main land after a very wet ride to main land! The waves were massive and we got totally soaked!