25th of February 2016:
We surprisingly arose fairly early (8am) given that we came home at 3am. Our plan was to jump on a speed ferry to Koh Rong Samloem. As we awoke early we got on the 11am Ferry. There are two islands, Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloem. Koh Rong is the main one, however apparently it’s very touristy and a big party island, whilst Koh Rong Samloem is less touristy and more laid back. Given last nights adventures we were pretty done with partying and don’t usually tend to enjoy places that are full of Westerns. The speed ferry was actually true to its word, it only took 45 minutes to get there compared to 2.5 hours on the slow boat. The island was something you see out of a movie, where you don’t actually believe that it’s a real place.
We hadn’t booked any accommodation and we had been told a place called Castaway was the cheapest. So we walked down the white glistening beach till we eventually found it. Their dorms were $12 U.S. each, otherwise their bungalows were $40. This wasn’t exactly cheap like we were used to. So Nick sat down with our bags and I walked back down the beach. The next closest accommodation in price was $60 per night. So we didn’t have much choice. We put our bags in the room and Nick headed down the beach to take photos and I just laid on the sand listening to music.
As Nick turned up I opted to go for a run so I headed off the other direction. It was gorgeous the sun was starting to set and the ocean was as flat as a lake. The run to the end of the beach only took 5 minutes so as I headed back I did some sprints, leg, arm and ab workouts. After 20 minutes I headed back home, I wanted to run but my sunburn prevailed, as burn, sand and denim shorts are a horrible mix.
For dinner we walked two hostels down to the restaurant that looked like a huge blue plastic marquee. The bungalow their was gorgeous however something you would expect in Greece. The prices were not as expensive as we may have imagined and I ordered spaghetti marinara and Nick ordered Seafood pizza. The lady told us it takes 2 or 3 people to eat the pizza however in only 25 minutes Nick had demolished the entire pizza and wasn’t full. My spaghetti was gorgeous, it tasted just like home. Which after awhile is amazing! We even ordered dessert, chocolate crepe. After we were completely full we headed back to go to sleep. As I opened our bathroom door there were 100’s of ants! Everyone that knows me knows how much I HATE ants!!! They just covered the whole floor! Nick was already in bed so he didn’t really care, he said just spray them with the shower. So I did for 5 minutes and they weren’t dying! Then Nick went to go get some bug spray. As he was gone I felt something on my leg. I thought it was my anklet annoying me again but as I looked down I saw a black scorpion. Now I wish this was a joke but I screamed and flicked it off. Meanwhile Nick walks in with a bowl of coffee!! I was so confused he went out to get bug spray and came back with coffee, I don’t want to stay awake for this tortuous occasion! Apparently the so called “termites” do not like the smell of coffee. So Nick was just throwing coffee on the ants. Honestly it looked pathetic and a bit of a waste of time but we had no other option.
26th of February:
Last night Nick awoke at 2am and told me he was going outside. I remember this clearly but as I was obviously asleep I didn’t question him why! Then at 6am I hear him rushing in saying “you gotta get up the sunrise is beautiful”. So I got out of bed still dazed from my sleep and only a couple of minutes later did I ask him, “have you been outside this whole time?” The room had apparently been to hot for him so he went outside to sleep in one of the hammocks on the beach.
To my amazement the sunrise was gorgeous. As we walked out it was still dark, then a few minutes later half the sky was dark and the other half starting to turn colours. It showed a blue and pink coloured sky and clouds across the island. I was however still tired so I headed back to bed and fell into a deep sleep till 9am. Checkout was at 10:30am so we packed our things and had breakfast before officially checking out. I had a scrumptious sand which, ham, cheese and cucumber. We wanted to stay on the other side of the island as we had heard it is even more isolated, and cheap. As we arrived to the path, a tractor with a carriage on the back arrived, with 3 adults and a baby. They told us there’s only one accommodation over there and it’s $65 U.S. A night! We didn’t know what to do! Then Nick thought if we asked people if they wanted to stay over there we could share a room. I thought this was weird, just because we’re literally asking strangers. As I had predicted he got no luck. After 15 minutes and our backpacks still on our backs, we decided to head off there anyway. The walk was 1.5 km, and by the time we were walking it was now 11:30 so the sand had become blisteringly hot! To the point where if your thongs (flip flops) sunk into the sand you could feel the sting on your feet few seconds later. However thankfully most of the walk was in a jungle. As we arrived I just felt hot! We asked if we could stay a night there and she then proceeded to tell us there was only one room left and she will have to call the main land to confirm no one has booked it! All I could think of was I don’t want to walk all the way back with these bags again! Thankfully our prays were made and the room was still available. I was astonished that the food prices were actually reasonable as they were the only restaurant on that side of the island. Our bungalow over looked the ocean and was absolutely gorgeous inside! The bed was to die for! It was nice to have some peace of mind that we weren’t going to get attacked by bed bugs that night!
Nick hired two snorkels for us for only $2 U.S. And we headed off down to the rocks only 100m from our room. The water was semi clear, and there were some huge fish but not as many as I may have hoped for! Unless you go under the jetty then there seemed to be 100’s all bunched up in a metre gap. After 30 or so minutes snorkelling around I headed back to the bungalow. Nick stayed out for 10 more minutes, and then proceeded to go to the other side (right hand side of the beach). The snorkelling there was worse than the other side. Nick went all the way to the end of the island a few 100 metres out. There were a few fish and the rest were big spiky black things. That honestly looked like they could kill you!
As we hadn’t had lunch yet and it was already 3pm we headed up to the restaurant. It was so close to dinner and we had pre-ordered a fish for 2 so I didn’t want to ruin my appetite. So I opted just for chips. Nick ordered fried rice and a passionfruit juice. A quote from Nick that demonstrated how hard our life is… “I can’t eat my food and lie down.” First world problems right there! As we had just finished our food Nick notices our English friends, Graham and Charlotte walking past. Neither one of us knew we were at this particular island. As a result they pre-ordered a fish for dinner with us.
As the sun was setting they borrowed our snorkel for a bit and swam around. By 6pm we were ready for dinner. As we waited they taught us card games such as shithead and Romy. Then the food came out! For what we paid I honestly think the restaurant lost money! We had 2 large fishes 2 sides each (mash potatoes and rice for us and chips and rice for them) in addition we had countless dipping sauces. This cost us $10 U.S each! By the end of the night we had drank 2 bottles of white wine and played endless card games! By 10pm we headed out into the sea to see the Plankton. I tried to do it with my clothes but my shorts got soaked so I ran back to my bungalow only 10 metres away to get changed into my bathers. The plankton was mesmerising, as you splashed your hand back and forth you could see these little glowing dots everywhere. It looked like glitter had been poured into the sea. Sadly after 15 minutes Graham and Charlotte headed back with their torch light and the night was over. It was one of those nights where you just feel so satisfied with every little thing. Also the bed just felt gorgeous to sleep in so that was a huge bonus after so long sleeping in horrible hard beds. A night I’ll never forget!
27th of February 2016:
I didn’t want to leave! I wanted to stay just one more day at least! However as time was ticking for us to catch our plane in Bangkok we didn’t have all the flexibility like we were use to. As we awoke we went to grab some breakfast. I think I may have gone a little over board with the chocolate as I ordered Nutella crepes with hot chocolate. After finishing the 2nd crepe I just felt so full. As we had an hour till we had to check out we quickly ran to the beach to swim and make the most of our private white sands. I wish we had more time there, but we couldn’t of stayed any longer anyways as paying $65 U.S. Was astonishing let alone for two! Thankfully this time we did not have to walk all the way back as the tractor drove us. We had two elder U.S.A woman on the tractor that complained about the fumes. I must admit though it was disgusting so they jumped off half way to walk back. Normally the tractor stops at the end of the path but as the two older ladies jumped off the local guys didn’t want to carry their bags to the jetty so they drove us all the way. We definitely felt lazy! Unfortunately our boat was due to leave at the 4th jetty which was another 250m down the beach. As we arrived it was 11:50am and our ferry was due to leave at 12pm. So we ordered a drink. As it neared 1pm we were confused as to where it was, the lady however told us it wasn’t going to arrive until another 45 minutes at least. So we quickly ordered food and Nick went out to have one last swim. Finally after 2 hours it arrived. As we were trying to get on I noticed she was rejecting people. As we neared the front I realised the people who didn’t pre-book their return ticket were not allowed on as our ferry was completely booked out and so was the 4pm ferry. Thank god we rang up in the morning! That would be horrible to wait 2 hours and then having to stay on the island another night! Our seat was inside where the seats were lower than the window and the only time you got fresh air is every 5 minutes. After 30 minutes I just felt so sea sick, Nick was asleep so I left him to run outside. The boat was completely packed with people standing that I accidentally stepped on someone’s foot as I was running. I literally only just made it, however there was a guy standing close and due to the wind direction I had a little freak out that I threw up on him! Thankfully (I think) it was just on the boat, and apparently my top. The ferry was going so fast that if you sit outside by the edge you got soaked. However as I was still standing by the edge feeling ill I became drenched! Not the look I was after, drenched with vomit on my top! I wish it was a lie! As the boat came to the end I saw Nick with our bags trying to get out to me. However there was no luck pushing through all those people. We were told to hop off and they will take the bags off the boat. They were literally throwing the bags and catching it over the huge gap between the boat and land. A bag could have easily fitted down the gap and into the ocean. Thankfully no ones did! Now you would think if your girlfriend just threw up you would let her take things slow. However No! We apparently had to run up the hill to get to the accommodation first before all the backpackers arrive. My stomach was still turning and now my calves were burning from running up a hill with our huge backpacks! We wanted to stay at Monkey republic as we had a good time there before.The private room was $12 as the dorms were $6 each. So we opted for the private room, as we opened the door there was no air conditioning and a very dodgy fan that was falling apart. So we changed for the dorms. However, we had to stay in different rooms. One room was Cambridge (girls dorm) and the other Oxford (boys dorm). They were directly opposite each other but at least it had air conditioning. Usually people in dorms are quite nice but all the girls seemed to have known each other so they weren’t really up for a conversation. That night we were pretty tired so we got some dinner at our hostel and by 10pm we were happy to go to bed! All the girls in my dorm had gone out for the night, but to be honest it was nice to have a room to yourself for once. So I slowly got everything ready and drifted off to sleep.
28th of February 2016:
I wish I could say I got a good nights sleep but I would be lying! I woke up every hour thinking I was going to miss my alarm and apparently so did Nick. My alarm was set to go off at 7:15am ready for our day tour snorkelling around 3 islands. The bus was suppose to pick us up at 8am, however a tuk tuk arrived. We weren’t really sure if this was legit but we seemed to have gotten in anyway, thankfully he picked up someone else only 5 hostels up the road. Our drive to the boat was about 10 minutes down the road. As we arrived I saw dodgy looking boats lined up. We left at 9:30am off to our first island. As per usual Nick sat up the front ready to take photos and I sat inside the boat on a seat. The positive thing about Cambodia is their water is so incredibly warm, unfortunately the snorkelling was not that fantastic. The island was better than here. The water had stuff floating around everywhere, it was so murky that at the beginning I honestly couldn’t see past my hand which made me feel very uncomfortable whilst I was thinking about sharks! After only 30 minutes we got on the boat to head to another island. He said we had 45 minutes here to sun bake and swim. Before we knew it they were calling us to hop back on the boat. As we jumped on lunch was ready, chicken and salad. It was best not to watch them cook the chicken or to think about it. Everyone stayed on the boat waiting for 2 girls. They came on apologising to me and Nick saying; “sorry I don’t eat meat”. The mere reason they were saying this was just to get some reassurance that it was ok, but to be brutally honest I really didn’t care if they ate meat or not I was happy sitting on the boat out in the sun. As we had all finished we were confused as to why we weren’t leaving. After 15 minutes I asked what time we were leaving… Now he says 1:30pm. This was still 45 minutes away so everyone jumped off and kept swimming. Finally we were officially leaving to go to our last island to snorkel. By this point the Norwegian girl had taken my snorkel (which was the last working snorkel on the boat) and so I wasn’t that interested in swimming in murky water whilst my googles leaked. However she did come back early so I went snorkelling for 10 minutes. Everyone seemed to be heading back so Nick and I thought it was ending. However everyone was just done. By 3pm we were headed back to the main land.
We had no plans so headed to the hostel bar and as my parents were online it was the first time I face timed them. It was so nice to see their faces again. It was crazy how fast time had gone and yet it felt like nothing had changed. I got to speak to them for 30 minutes, about everything and anything. It really makes you miss home when you get to see a little piece of it (even though they were in Darwin). This adventure has been amazing and I know by the time I blink I’ll probably be on a flight returning home.
29th of February 2016:
Today is a nothing day, as we have our bus booked to go to Bangkok at 7pm. We check out at 10:30am and leave our bags in the luggage storage for the day. After breakfast we head off down to the beach to sunbake the day away. I felt like we were just waiting for time to pass so we could get on the bus. After 4 hours we headed back to our hostel to have a shower to freshen up. The shower I went into was about a metre squared room with a toilet, basin and shower combined. In addition there was about 9 mosquitos trapped. There is nothing worse than being in a metre squared room, naked with 9 mosquitos, you feel a bit vulnerable. I was happy to get out when I could! Dinner was another hour to waste as we waited for 6:30pm pick up to come.
As the bus arrived Nick was playing team pool with other guys and they were on the black ball, I had a bit of a panic that he was going to choose the pool game over catching the bus that was already out the front! Thankfully he jumped on. As we found our sleeper beds on the bus, two girls were already lying in it. As typical South East Asia they had double booked the bed so we just picked the top sleeper beds in the front row behind the driver. Little did we know that this 17 hour bus ride was going to be eventful. After an hour we finally left Sihanoukville after picking up people and sitting at their bus office for 30 minutes. Nick fell asleep fairly quickly but every time we had stopped I was awake as you never know what is going to happen. The bus had universal power points in each bed. This was amazing as all my devices had actually gone flat. The only concern was that, that meant my electronics (phone and IPad) could be seen. So I had it under the blanket and either Nick was sleeping on it or I was hugging it so tight that no one could have stolen it. As we had learnt from Vietnam people are very nifty thefts so I slept with my bag under my pillow with the Zips facing in and Nick slept with his bag by his feet pushed up against the window. We stopped twice before arriving in Luang Prabang. The first stop majority of the bus got off and although I stayed on I wasn’t keeping track of people. As we arrived in Luang Prabang we had discovered a man was missing. The guy opposite him said he hadn’t seen him since the first toilet stop. All his belongings including his passport was still on the bus. Can you imagine being stranded in the middle of no where in Cambodia at midnight, with no money, phone or I.D. I was so worried for him because I couldn’t imagine how stressed and scared he must feel. After another 30 minutes sitting at their Siem Reap office we were just about to head off when a man runs with one of the bus officials. It was a miracle he is here! The local didn’t even sound that concerned he just said; “sorry about that”. You left him in the middle of no where and he some how miraculously got here, surely he deserves more than that! However as he was heading off to Ho Chi Minh city he had to jump off our bus and wait for the next bus to arrive.
Now you would think after leaving someone behind a second ago you would be more consciously aware of it? Not in Cambodia your not! I watched this guy say to the official; “is there enough time to go to the toilet?” And he said. “Yes”. Literally 3 minutes later I hear him say, “OK, go now”. So the bus left, then all of a sudden we hear a guy running down the isle saying, “stop… Stop my friend”. We had only stopped 100m down the road, but for some reason the bus driver just couldn’t understand that he was missing someone. So after a phone call with their English translator, he gave a horrible laugh; as if it was the guys fault for wasting his time, and did a U-turn.
To Be Continued…