On our way to the island, Koh Rong Samloem, we decided to break up the trip a bit and stay one night in Kampot, where we stayed at another Mad Monkey hostel. We enjoyed some pizza and card games and called it a night early, in preparation for the travel day to get to the island.
After a 3 hour bus ride, a 2 hour wait by the pier, and a 45 minute speed boat ride, we made it to a pier where we were picked up by a longboat owned by our hostel/resort…you guessed it…we stayed at another Mad Monkey hostel! The boat took us right to the part of the island we would be staying for the next 4 nights.
I had heard about this island from some friends I have made throughout my travels, so I was aware that there would be no cell service or wifi at all while there. Some people weren’t aware of this and it was slightly amusing to watch the shock on their faces when told they would have to put their phones down and make friends!
We were led to our dorm by a traveler currently working for the hostel. It was (of course) the furthest away from the main area where everyone hung out and also the furthest from the bathrooms. We were literally on the edge of the jungle, but hey, no complaints here! We wanted remote, and we got it!
Everyone literally locked away their phones for the remainder of the trip until our last day, when we decided we had to get some pictures as proof we were there!
Our four days on the island were spent relaxing in the water, soaking up the sunshine, meeting new friends and exchanging travel experiences and recommendations, playing endless games of beach volleyball, and playing cards at night with everyone at the resort, indulging in some Cambodian beers.
Highlights of our time on Koh Rong Samloem were:
1) Snorkeling and Fishing trip offered by Mad Monkey – A group of about 25 of us headed out on a longboat to first snorkel, which was fun. I have been spoiled with some incredible snorkeling on my trip, so I won’t pretend it was the best, but it was fun. We saw lots of fish and sea urchins. The highlight of this excursion was the fishing. We were given water bottles that had fishing line attached to the middle, with a weight and hook on the line with some squid attached to the hook. We dropped the line into the water until we couldn’t feel the weight (meaning it was on the ocean floor) and then raised it slightly. When you felt a fish bite, you just pull up on the line and “reel” it in. At first I thought it was silly, but then the guy working at the hostel told us that we had to catch fish in order for us to all eat the fish we catch right there on the boat! The pressure was on to supply enough fish to feed 25 guests and 3 local workers! I was in shock when I caught the largest fish on the boat! It was such fun, we spent hours fishing in different spots and jumping off the boat into the beautiful blue water to cool off. When we were done, the crew cooked the fish right there in front of us on the boat on a fire pit. We ate it with cooked rice and it was delicious! Unfortunately, there are no pictures as proof, since our phones were locked away and dead for days.
2) Bioluminescent plankton – Every night when the bar closed, everyone went swimming in the ocean to see the wonder that is bioluminescent plankton! It was SO cool! It was pitch black out except for the moon and the stars, and when you moved your hands around in the water, you see bright neon green sparkles in the water for a few seconds. It’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen, and one of the main reasons why people come to Koh Rong Samloem!
3) Activities- We also got involved in the nightly activities coordinated by the staff to get the party going each night and getting people to mingle. On our first night, our team won first place in “Beer Olympics”! Other nights we participated in trivia and the beach volleyball tournament, where we barely lost out to a team of British and Canadian men. For 4 girls and 1 guy, we were quite proud of our effort!
We had such a great time on Koh Rong Samloem. Sometimes, you have to unplug and disconnect in order to connect with others, and we did just that in our four nights on this island! With new friends and memories made, we head onward to Siem Reap next!