Koh Rong is a small island off the coast of Cambodia – we arrived and departed in the rain, but the days we actually spent on the island were wonderful. We relaxed on the white sandy beach and dipped in and out of the sea.
We wanted to visit ‘Long Beach’ on the other side of the island, where you can view the sunset, but you either have to trek through the woods for about an hour, or get a boat round to the other side. We decided to trek, but frustratingly couldn’t find the way. The path was not well marked and we didn’t want to still be lost in the woods when it began to get dark, so we headed back to the beach that we had started at. We then asked around for a boat trip to Long Beach, but all the locals told us that the waves were too big, and that they wouldn’t risk taking us. Eventually an old Cambodian man, wearing soggy green briefs, agreed to take us out to see the sunset from his boat. We still didn’t believe them about the waves, as the water looked calm, but after just a few minutes on board, we realised they were very right! We screamed, a lady cried whilst clinging to a life jacket, grown men were crouched in the middle of the boat, all whilst Mr Green Briefs smoked a joint and laughed at our fear. After persistently coaxing him to turn around (despite the sun not even being set yet) he did, and we arrived back on solid ground, our nerves just about in tact.
After dinner, we went for a late night dip in the sea, and noticed that as we moved, the water around us would glow. It was the glowing plankton, which entertained us for a while. Until we discovered that our wallet was missing. The day was dampened as we realised that the only Cambodian currency any of us had, Emma’s credit card and driving license, and our travel tickets for the following day, were all in the wallet. Let’s just say that it made the next morning a very interesting one, as we were trying to leave and there were no ATMs or banks on the island.
We were glad to have made it to Phnom Penh after all the drama, and took the opportunity to visit the ‘killing fields’ just outside the city. We had heard lots about it from other travellers, but didn’t know very much about the Cambodian civil war or the genocide which affected the country so prevalently in the 1970s. Learning of the people’s history was very moving and we are glad that we managed to make it.
For our last stop in Cambodia, we spent a restful couple of days in the city of Siem Reap. The night markets make for good pre and post dinner browsing and although they are mostly full of all the same things we have seen at every market in South East Asia, there did seem to be a few alternative, handmade products on offer.
We ventured out before dawn, to catch the sunrise at Angkor Wat, a world heritage site. The temples around the area were built in the 12th Century and although areas are in ruins, you can still see a great deal of detail, especially the intricate carvings all over the walls. We visited several temples, driven between each by TukTuk, and the trip totally wore us out. We were home by 10am and back in bed for a nap.