I’ve been on this island for a few days now and haven’t really seen much besides the area where my bungalows were. Today that would all change when Rob, Leticia, Luke, and I decided to take a boat around the island and enjoy a few leisurely activities along the way. A local who owned his own boat offered to take us exploring around the island for the small fee of $5 per person, which included lunch and snorkeling. Deal! So in the morning, we grouped up and met the guy (I forget his name but I’ll refer to him as the Captain) at his dock. His boat was small, but big enough to hold a few people, so it did the trick. Thankfully, the weather was amazing and the waters today were extremely calm which was great for my stomach. 🙂 With everything in our favor, we set a course across the blue to a small island that had a buddhist temple at the top of it’s hill.
The captain threw the anchor overboard and said that we could snorkel here. It’s been years since I’ve snorkeled but was pretty keen to just swim around the small island. This was a great place to snorkel because the water was deep enough where I wouldn’t touch or scrape anything, and there were still loads of coral and fish to see. It was a bit choppy though along the coast and we kept bumping into each other which made for great laughs!
On that small islet, we took off our flippers and went up the flight of steps to the buddhist temple which looked like it had been abandoned for a bit. There wasn’t much to see here, so we went back to snorkeling. About fifteen minutes or so, the captain summoned us to return to the boat and set a course around the bend of the main island of Koh Rong. The sun was shining bright so the others decided to lay on the deck and get their tan on while I decided to stay cool under the covering since my tan is already so great ;). We got a great synopsis of the island coast as we cruised along. Most of the island is uninhabited, with acres of jungle spilling over into the coast. Along patches of water were small fishing boats, with locals fishing for their dinner for the night; which brings us to our next stop. The captain steered the boat near some of the other fishing boats and dropped anchor. He let us know that we would try our hand at line fishing. Line fishing is fishing in the simplest of ways. Basically you have a a spindle with a few dozen meters of fishing line attached to it, with a hook on the end. Just attach the bait and unravel the line into the ocean and once you feel a tug, just start spinning the line back up. Sounds simple. The captain gave us small shrimp to use as bait. None of us were successful in catching a fish except for Luke who caught a little guy. What our captain didn’t mention to us at the beginning was that the fish we caught would be our “free” lunch for the day. If we didn’t catch any fish, we would have to pay a very small price for fish that’s already been caught. Even if I caught my own fish, I still would not have eaten it. Blah! And if I did catch one, someone else is going to have to take it off the hook. I’m not touching that slimy thing. Spiders, snakes, bugs…no problem. Fish? Take it away!
So since we were mostly unsuccessful, we rose anchor and boated to a small village nearby. The village was risen above the waters via a series of wooden polls and planks. There were wooden boats everywhere, and the rickety bridges that connected the village huts were the “main avenues” of the community.
It was a completely different world compared to the other side of the island we stayed at. The locals here were pleasant and were in a peaceful state. Even so nice, one of the local woman caught a big fish right in front of our eyes, descaled it, cut it, and prepared it for us. You couldn’t get fish any fresher than this.
The cook told us the fish would be served with rice. I politely asked her if I could just have the rice without the fish. I told her I didn’t really like fish. She didn’t really understand why but was worried that I would starve. I’d be okay! I’ll just eat when I get back to the bungalows later. Afterwards, the captain summoned us and gave us directions for a hike over a hill to the opposite side of the island. He told us on the other side, we would find a hidden beach where we would find no other people called Coconut Beach, one of the best beaches in Cambodia. We made the hot hike over the hill. The sun was beaming! It was so hot that the captain declared we carry the sole female of the group, Leticia over the hill!
As we trekked closer the captain told us he would go back and command the boat around the island to pick us up in about an hour or so, and we’d have free time to explore what the beach had to offer on our own. We soon found that everything the captain said was true. We arrived to a beach, barely touched by man with ivory sand and waters as clear and blue as the afternoon sky.
I’ve been to many beaches on this planet, and I can say without a doubt that this particular beach is one of the best beaches I have ever been to! The water was a perfect temperature, not too cold, yet not grossly hot. The visibility underwater was clear as day. Their was a smooth, gentle current that brushed the milky coast. Palm trees, as tall as skyscrapers served as the backdrop for this prodigious setting. This was the life. The others agreed. We ended up staying here for more than an hour, constantly reminding each other how stunning this beach was.
After awhile, we saw the captain steering our boat towards us. It was time to go. We hit the sea and cruised back around the island towards our main dock. Along the way, we each took turns guiding the boat along the route, much to the amusement of the captain.
It’s been a fascinating day, exploring mostly unseen parts of the island and as simple as the day was, it was one of my favorite days in Cambodia so far. That beach, Coconut Beach, was just something special. We finally made it back to the bungalows where I immediately took a nap in my bungalow. My time here on the island was coming to a satisfactory close.