And Koh Rong Samloen gets a mention too...
On arrival in Sihanoukville in 2014 I met a lovely fellow Greek girl called Ellie who in turn introduced me to lots of cool and interesting people as well as a guy called Mark Tottenham. It turns out that he had owned/managed the Barcelona Club in Barcelona which had been a bit of a big thing a few years back. We all had a good few adventures, around Sihanoukville (I remember driving past policemen and them trying to stop us for not wearing helmets, Mark just chucked a few dollars at them and they went for that and waved us on), Otres and of course Koh Rong.
Mark took me there (you take the boat from the pier, it leaves through the day (8am to 5pm, costing $20) and the day and night I spent there was memorable to say the least. On the beach where a lot of the hostels are, near where the boat comes in, it was a chill beach vibe and there were puppies everywhere. As of 2017/18 it is now much dirtier and less pleasant. However, there were (and still are as of 2017/18 and according to a marine biologist we met) pristine isolated beaches all around Koh Rong and exploring them in the day is the main reason to go to Koh Rong. On the beach where I was was a nice place to have a drink and watch the sunset and I saw some beautiful postcard perfect beaches there. It was nice and it's not as nice now but it's still worth a trip.
There is also Police Beach and a party atmosphere, it's possible to escape it, but for a lot of people Koh Rong is the party island. I had a good night out there as you can see from the pictures. We think that at the moment, 2017/18 season, and according to others we have met in Cambodia now (I am writing this in Otres November 2017) that Koh Rong is good for a day trip and maybe a night out but if you want an isolated pristine beach in a more romantic and beautiful setting, especially if you are after the glowing plankton which you can see in all of the places around Otres and the islands, try Koh Rong Samloen instead. Or better still Ko Ta Kiev. Either is good, absolutely stunning and much better than Koh Rong. We had amazing plankton experiences on Koh Ta Kiev ourselves, better than Koh Rong.
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There is a sewage and population control problem on Koh Rong, where all the hostels and people are especially, we have heard of people getting infections from the water and Bot Fly and other parasite infestations. There are also massive reports of bed bugs or at least itchy things and sand flies. Obviously mosquitos too. Take lots of deet and only a few clothes so you can clean yourself of bugs easier. In fact, at the moment, it is hard to get away from bed bugs or sand flies on the islands. Actually sand flies are easier, just stay off the beach in the dawn and dusk and overcast days. Bed bugs are a different story and are a nightmare we have escaped until we had our own run in recently and now we are travelling with laundry style bags (and we had to wash everything) as we have had to throw away our luggage to be safe!
However, and I must stress this, you still have to go, to at least one island, even just for the glowing plankton and the sunsets and unspoilt isolated beaches. You can literally be alone on a perfect beach. Think of all the photos you can p*ss your friends off with! I guess again, you have to suffer for the gold. There are some good places to stay that are safe from bed bugs and other problems. You just have to pay a little more for accommodation when you are going to Koh Rong or Koh Rong Samloen.
As for my party on Koh Rong, I had a fun night but there were a lot of people getting completely b*llocked. The music wasn't that great either, I don't know why people think EDM is ok. I did see a good fire show and met some interesting people. I met a guy called Larry Klink who is in the process of collecting money to continue setting up the medical centre on Koh Rong (I contributed an epipen and you can contribute too here). He had tattoos on his leg from letting people tattoo him with whatever they wanted for 30 seconds in exchange for money (see the photos). He was a very cool guy. Therefore, overall, Cambodia is one big adventure, it's not smooth or easy but it's worth the leap of faith and going to an Island like Koh Rong or Koh Rong Samloen is a good example of that. I will remember snorkling with the glowing plankton forever.
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