Koh Rong Samloem – An Unexpected Night in Paradise

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After two evenings of debauchery in Sihanoukville with a group of German backpackers that we met at our hostel, we decided to trade in the nights of glow paint and free shots for a more subdued adventure out to the islands we had heard about off of the Cambodian coast.

A sassy Irish couple that we were playing a few rounds of pool with overheard our plans, and next thing I know I was on the phone with their friend Mo, who was apparently “setting us up nice”, and we were booked for some kind of island getaway the following day.

The next morning with little to no information as to where we were going or who we were supposed to be going with, we clambered into an anonymous van full of locals and Chinese tourists, hoping that we were in the right place. The van pulled up to a pier outside of Sihanoukville (a good sign, we were in fact going on a boat) and we hauled our backpacks alongside all of the cooler and day bag toting families we were to share our afternoon with.

It turned out to be a really lovely trip out to the islands with Sun Tours. We were served a great breakfast and vegetarian-friendly (always a plus for me) lunch, and they stopped several times for all of us to jump off of the boat and snorkel. Eventually we pulled up to the stretch of pristine, virtually empty beach that is Koh Rong Samloem.

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Strapping on our bags, we trekked down the beach in search of the cheapest bungalow we could find. We found a simple little place (whose name escapes me as it was in Khmer) in a beautiful, secluded spot right on the sand. We spent the afternoon playing with the most adorable puppies, soaking ourselves in the warm shallow water, reading on our little front porch, and walking up and down the beach looking at the few small resorts lucky enough to call Koh Rong Samloem home.

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Our bungalow only had electricity from 6-11pm every night, so being the typical millenials that we are we took advantage of the device charging time before heading down the beach to Greenblue restaurant for dinner where I spent more time playing with the resident cats than actually eating.

Once all of the light was gone from the sky and all of the lemongrass tofu had been scarfed down, we donned our bathing suits again and plunged into the dark sea to experience the amazing phytoplankton. I was mesmerized. I sat in the water for ages swirling around in the water and watching the bioluminescent trails follow my fingers.

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The next morning after finding some breakfast at a neighboring resort, we soaked in our last few hours on the gorgeous, nearly uninhabited island, then packed up and went to meet our boat at the little pier as it dropped off its afternoon group of day-trippers.

Apparently there is another side to the island that is just as wonderful, however our time frame didn’t allow us to trek through the jungle to check it out.

Our overnight excursion felt like a dream. We saw almost no one for 24 hours and loved every second of the peace and serenity that the comes with Koh Rong Samloem.