Cambodia Part 5
Koh Rong Samloem
Koh Rong Samloem hit us with an immense laziness and dullness which made us want to hang out in the hammock all day long instead of exploring the island.
We arrived at noon on a speed ferry at the pier and were picked up by a small motorboat that took us immediately to our beach resort. During the 2 minute ride we saw that the island wasn’t so lonely and isolated as we read on the web. One resort borders the next one and compared to the other stops on our trip, this place was truly overrun by tourists – and it wasn’t even high season. Our following walk along the beach didn’t show us the opposite. On the contrary, it was even worse and we saw littering everywhere. Even though the staff of our resort was keeping its area clean, large areas of the beach seemed like a garbage can and on a few occasions, you see sewage water running into the sea, fading the clear, turqoise appearence of what was once a paradise.
Given the circumstances, we had a lucky shot with our resort. Here, the beach was looked after and the water was welcoming. Our cabana with seaview had a round bed with a flawless mosquito net and a fan.
Vegan Island Food
We still had numerous proteinbars and nuts and back in Otres we had bought a watermelon, a dragonfruit and a mango to bring with us to the island. Nevertheless we were glad to see that the resort bar offered a few dishes that could easily be veganized. After asking the staff about the ingredients (never forget to mention oyster sauce), we gave red curry with vegetables a go. A hefty price of 5$ was more than we were used to by now, but after all, this is an island and so costs are always higher. On the following days we ate roti with vegetables, noodles with vegetables and for the first time we tried the traditional Amok.
Amok is a dish usually served with fish, we got vegetables instead. On the mainland you might find it with tofu, but sadly there’s none on an island like this. Our biggest surprise was breakfast. As it was included and due to our laziness, we didn’t even bother looking for anything else on the beach. One of the three breakfast options was vegan: fruit, baguette with jam and tea. While the baguette wasn’t spectacular, the large fruit bowl totally was!
Have you ever been asked: “What would you eat on an island?” Well, this was literally that moment. We definitely felt a lack of protein, there were no beans, peas or tofu in sight. The restaurants only offered western food like burgers and barbecue. Just a quick reminder: they have to ship meat and dairy to the island as well, but unfortunately noone cares about plant-based ingredients. Good thing we had our supplies!
In an attempt to escape the laziness, we browsed through the trips that were offered on the island: Journeys on the boat, snorkeling, Kanu, massages and Stand Up Paddling. The most popular one was the plankton light tour. The plankton starts to glow in the dark when it gets touched, a reaction it does in fact out of fear. Not worth the effort, we linger on the beach.
At the end of the shore are bigger bars with loud music and brighter lights. Is this what the neighbour island Koh Rong looks like? We don’t want to find out.
On the internet we found two trails leading through the jungle to the other side of the island. The short one (1,5km) ends on lazy beach, the other one is apparently more challenging and gets you to sunset beach. The latter is famous for its sunset view but then you need to go all the way back in the dark. Due to our idleness we didn’t even try.
Instead, we opted for the lazy beach. The trail was pretty easy but good footwear is recommended. We came along other tourists, locals and lots of mosquitoes. One group claimed to have encountered a snake, I saw a squirrel. Apart from that, we didn’t see any wildlife. The other side of the island didn’t feel like a “lazy beach” – the sea was wild and the wind was blowing. Not amazed by the sunset, we made it back earlier than expected.
Thoughts on Koh Rong Samloem
Life on the island is different than in any other part we’ve seen of Cambodia. If you want to chill out for a few days and do absolutely nothing, then this is for you. And bring lots of supplies with you. A meal is 4-12$, even water and fruit cost more than usual. For everyone else, we wouldn’t recommend this expensive journey and advise to stay on the mainland. We tend to only shoot beautiful sights, don’t let that fool you. All in all, the beach is not a paradise due to littering and sewage.
After three days, we were happy to leave and couldn’t wait to hear them shouting again “Hello Sir, tuk tuk?”
Cambodia Travel Log