Life is a journey

Life is a journey

mandag 2. oktober 2017

A hidden paradise In Cambodia!

I think I might have found paradise. 
In Cambodia. 
In Koh Rong Sanloem. 

When I decided I wanted to go to Cambodia, I didn’t really had any expectations.
As I’m travelling around south east Asia, I thought I had to include Cambodia, as the country is about to develop a lot, and a lot of things have changed the recent years. Their history is quite interesting, and according to what I’ve read online, they have some hidden gems, not everyone have visited.
I don’t have any friends that have been to this country. At least, not that I know.
Its not like Thailand, or Bali, places almost everyone know something about. I had read online that Cambodia is for the experienced traveller, but I have to admit I was quite relieved and happy when I met Mia, a Danish girl at my age, who wanted to go with me.
No matter how experienced you are, sometimes its just better to be two girls going together.
We started our journey in Cambodia in Siem Reap, where we spent 3 nights. We visited Angkor Wat, and walked around in the city, the pub street where you find most of the restaurants, all the small market stalls with beautiful, handmade stuff and tried some local food.

Both of us got a really good first impression on Cambodia, even though the prices were a lot higher than what we’ve both heard. Everyone have kept saying Cambodia is one of the cheapest countries in all of SEA, but hey!! When you pay 4 US for a tuk tuk, one way in 5 minutes, its not cheap!
In comparison, a tuk tuk look a like in Indonesia or Philippines costed 1,5 US for the same ride. Small costs like that will eventually be a lot in the end.
Boats, busses and transport is in general the highest I have experienced. A local buss for 6-7 hours is 20 US, while in other countries you get the same distance in a better bus for 5-10 US. 

Getting in to Angkor Wat is 37 US and because you need a tuk tuk to drive you around, you need to add 10 more US. That means 47 US which is just above my daily budget!
To travel alone in this country would have ruined me, so if you plan to go on your own to Cambodia, make sure you have enough money, and don’t expect to save a lot money.
The next stop for just one night stay in Battambang, where we wanted to go with the Bambo train. I have already written a lot about these on facebook, so I’m not telling more now.
They are about to close during the next upcoming months, so we were really happy to see it before they shut down. It was so much fun, where we drove down the old railway in 60 km/h, the hair was blowing in the wind and we just couldn’t stop smiling!
If it doesn’t close down by some reason, I can really recommend going here

The third destination was the capitol of Cambodia, Phnom Penh. Unfortunately we were really unlucky with the weather during the 4 nights in this city, as it rained everyday!
I know I am travelling in low season in some countries, but it vary a lot from country to country how bad the low season is.
Like in Thailand, the rainshower only last for a couple of hours, and then its sunshine again.
However, in Cambodia, the rainshower can last a whole day, or two!! It never seems to stop!
That means we spent a lot of time inside the hotelroom instead of being outside, exploring the city. We had a really nice room in Rachana hostel, so spending time in the room was more than okay.
We were lucky though and got to visit both the S21 museum and the killing fields without any rain, which for us for the 2 main attractions in Phnom Penh.
These two places shows how the Khmer regime killed between 12-20.000 innocent people, how 3 out of 8 million people in Cambodia got murdered, and what gruesome things that happened to the people only 40 years ago.
I got shocked how all of this is possible, and how some people can destroy an entire country just like that! I have written a long post on facebook about this as well, for those who want to know more. 

Well.. After spending a lot of hours in busses with barely any other backpackers, packing up and down and walking around the hot cities of Cambodia (Cambodia is SOO humid and hot!!), we were dreaming about lying at a beautiful beach.
The last time I laid down at a beach was in Indonesia in the end of August. By that time, I was soo tired of beaches, and couldn’t wait to see something else.
Now, I was longing to get away from the citylife, and jump into the ocean.
We arrived Koh Rong Saturday 24th September. It was raining. A LOT!!!
We had booked a bungalow in the jungle called “Starfish Bungalows”. They had really good reviews so we took the chance.
That was not what we expected.
During our first 24 hours, we saw the biggest spider outside on our terrace, it rained so much it was dripping from the roof and down in Mia’s bed, the sheets were kind of wet because of the humidity so both of us slept with pants and sweater on, I woke up and found plenty of ants in my backpack because of an old “oreo cookies” package, and the saddest part of all. When we walked from the beach, it was all so bright and light, and then we walked into the jungle, and it was just so depressing.
Both of us know that Koh Rong is a less developed island compared to lets say, Thailand, but we have both travelled for a while, and accommodation is for both of us an important part for us to feel comfortable. When you travel for 6 and 9 months like we are doing, you will eventually get tired of bad accommodation, and all you want to have is a nice and clean room, with a toilet that works, and no animals.
That’s why we moved to Sok Hong guesthouse – and stayed there for 4 nigts!!
Together with the nice accommodation the nice weather came
We spent our days walking along Ko Touch beach, where all the restaurants and most of the hotels are. Koh Rong is known for being a party island, and that’s true. Everyday you will find a party, even in the low season. I joined a half moon party one of the days at Police beach, but in the high season they have Cambodias biggest pub crawl twice a week!
In addition to Koh Touch beach you have 4K beach. 4K means 4 km, but the beach is actually just 2,5 km, haha. We spent two days here, and this is absolutely beautiful!! The water is crystal clear, even though its low season. Of course there is some shit on the beach from all the trees around, but you wont find any garbage floating around in the water.

One of the days we joined a whole day tour with the company “Adventure Adam”. We left the bay at 9 am and came back around 8 pm. We went snorkelling, swimming in the sea, visited a small, local fishing village with sand and palmtrees no matter where you walked, we stopped at a beach where we had to walk from the middle of the sea and into the beach. Here we sat down, talked and drank some beer around the bonfire, and saw the most prettiest sunset ever.
Because it has rained a bit during the whole day it was a rainbow in the ocean on the one side, and some amazing colours in the clouds on the other side. I really didn’t know where to look!! 

After 6 nights this island, we had both fell in love with Koh Rong. We had heard the other island was even more beautiful, so we booked 2 nights at Koh Rong’s sister island, Koh Rong Sanloem. 
Ohh My Good! Koh Rong is absolutely worth a visit, but Koh Rong Sanloem is a completely another island, in a positive way!

How do you imagine a paradise to be? 
Hard to say? Let me help you… 
Imagine I 8-10 km long, white, sandy beach. (not sure how long it is, but it is long). 
Its all quiet. The only sound you hear is the sound from the ocean, and some small boats. 
You don’t see any big resorts with 5-6 floors. Only bungalows along the beach, with hammocks, sunbeds and trees, covering the bungalows to give them a bit privacy. 
The water is crystal blue. Light blue and a bit darker further out. Compared to most other islands and places, there is really quiet or no music at all. Only people talking with a low voice. 
You don’t need to wear your shoes. No matter where you go, its going to be sand. No cars, no roads. Only the beach and your naked feets. The restaurants are placed on the beach, just 2 meter from the ocean. If you get dirty, you can just go to the water and rinse your hands. 
I did that yesterday, after eating too many king prawns, the biggest I’ve ever seen! 

Can you imagine this place? 
well, its called Koh Rong Sanloem, and it excists! I am here now, and I just love it! 
I am sitting outside my bungalow, at the veranda writing this. 
At the moment it is raining a bit, but it doesn’t matter. Its still paradise, and we still have 2 more days. 
The sun will come out again. I just know it! 

The sad part about these island is that it is about to become a tourist place. By that I mean big resorts, roads, cars, cruiseships and more people. By more people its going to be more sounds and music, and the silence will disappear.
We talked with a local guy at the restaurant yesterday and he said he came to this island 18 years ago. By that time it was nothing here. Just the long beach!
He think it’s sad the paradise will be gone. Because by time, it will.
I am soo lucky and so blessed I have been here now, and experienced this island before it gets like Thailand.
Its not so many hidden islands left around the world, and I said to Mia. “I’m happy we live right now, and actually can see places like this. Our children will probably never visit abounded islands like this, because in 10-20 years, all of them have been explored. 10 years ago, Thailand was just discovered. Now, every second person I know have been to any of Thailand’s island.

So… While I’m sitting here in paradise, and reflecting about life, I hope you enjoy your life back home. Maybe you take 5 minutes and search for your next holiday. Maybe Cambodia?

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