What Could Possibly Koh Rong?

December 2, 2018 Off By resignatedsurvivors

Hello all. Firstly, a massive apology to our readers for the delay in this week’s post, we know you have been waiting patiently and eagerly and we are sorry to have kept you waiting. To put it simply, we have been having FAR TOO MUCH FUN (we know it’s not a great excuse, but it’s the only one we have). This week, we travelled to the south of Cambodia to experience a different kind of vibe, exploring the coastal region of Sihanoukville, its beautiful islands, and then to the Kampot region, world famous for its peppercorn industry.


For anyone thinking about travelling to South East Asia, Cambodia is a MUST. As we mentioned last week, it has a rustic charm about it, which perhaps Thailand may have had twenty or so years ago. It is relatively undeveloped compared to its neighbours, but this is why we loved it. Our journey south began with an eight-hour bus journey from Phnomh Penh to Sihanoukville, a plain and dirty city perched on the edge of paradise (as we were to later discover). Two bus journeys and one tuk-tuk later (the second bus broke down so were hauled on to a passing tuk-tuk to negotiate the remaining three kilometres of bumpy pothole-filled dirt road), we arrived at our little jungle bungalow at Otres beach, a small coastal area which we discovered quite unfortunately is now little more than a building site. Perhaps it was once a quaint coastal town, but it has now fallen victim to the developing tourism industry, specifically Chinese investors buying up large plots of land in order to build mega Vegas-style hotels and casinos. We’re glad we saw the place when we did, as we imagine it will be a very different place in ten years’ time. 

Saracen Bay, Koh Rong Sanloem

Satisfied we’d seen enough of Sihanoukville, we hopped on a ferry to the island of Koh Rong Sanloem, the smaller of two of Cambodia’s island paradises. Upon arriving at the island pier, we were blown away by the island’s beauty, far more beautiful than any of the Thai islands we had visited and indeed on par with Bora Bora and the Caribbean. Our home here was a tiny beach shack located a few metres away from the water’s edge and it was bliss, powdery white sand, crystal clear turquoise water and very few people around. 

The correct path to Lazy Beach

Being the Resignated Survivors, of course we weren’t content with just sitting on a beach for a few days, so we decided to explore the island. There are no roads or wheeled vehicles on the island, so our only mode of transport was our own two feet, and we decided to follow what looked like a relatively simple path to the other side of the island to “Lazy Beach”. Sounds easy, right? Wrong. Although we successfully made it there, the way back was a different story. Being the urban-dwellers we are, we took street lights for granted and forgot that we’d be coming back in the dark. Note to self – phone torches are RUBBISH. So naturally, we lost our way off the path and ended up walking into a swamp. I fell victim to quicksand (almost knee deep) and it was frankly one of the scariest moments of my life. In the panic of trying to scramble out of there before the ground swallowed me up, I screamed “my shoes, my shoes!!” as they slipped off my feet and sank further into the sand. The heroic Mr RS managed to stick his arms into my fading footprints and salvage my lovely flip flops before it was too late. By then I was in shock, trembling the rest of the way back to civilisation and in need of a stiff drink or two to calm my nerves. Utter horror. Needless to say, we didn’t go back down that path again. 

The view from the pier on Lazy Beach. Even on a cloudy day it looked beautiful

Finally, we ended our trip to Cambodia in the wonderful town of Kampot and its surrounds. The region is the home of the humble peppercorn, however this little ingredient was elevated into every dish we came across, from meat sauces to ice cream. We even visited a peppercorn farm and were lucky enough to do a peppercorn tasting (who knew there were so many varieties?!) and got to see how they produce and process it. Cambodians take their peppercorns very seriously, but it was interesting to see where this omnipresent ingredient has its roots (quite literally!). 

La Plantation, pepper farm
Pepper during its early growth stage
A farmer at the pepper farm

Finally, we ended our time in Cambodia riding our scooter around the beautiful southern countryside, amongst rice fields and waterfalls, taking in every inch of the stunning scenery and natural beauty the country has to offer, and we loved every second. Thank you, Cambodia, we will definitely be meeting again.

Much love,


The Resignated Survivors

Our rusty old bike on a rusty old road. This was surprisingly one of the better roads in Kampot

Highlight of the week: Kayaking our way through the serene mangrove rivers dotted around Kampot, experiencing pure tranquillity with barely a soul in sight for miles. 

The beautiful river which we were lucky enough to have all to ourselves.
Mrs RS doing the hard labour, albeit for only 5 minutes
A lady from the local village on her way back to her water hut
She made it with time to rest

Other notable things: We rode our scooter up the Bokor mountain, situated at the Bokor National Park. It is a truly stunning experience, with thirty kilometres of perfect winding road (our bums would like to say a special thank you to the Chinese for building this) leading to the most incredible views over Kampot and the surrounding areas, and one of the best sunsets we have seen on our trip so far. The atmosphere at the top of the mountain is quite eerie, as there isn’t very much other than an ancient hill station and a massive old-school fancy Chinese-run hotel that had the feeling of not being used for a very long time. There are so many staff for so few guests at this hotel, that one even rode over to us on his bike to see (with some suspicion) what we were up to when we stopped by the side of the road to take photos. It left us with a very strange feeling and we were glad to get back on our bike and head back down to normality.


Lessons Learnt: Being in a country with “rustic charm” has its flaws, particularly when the infrastructure is so poor that it takes six hours to complete an 80-mile journey. Frustrating but all part of the experience. Never have I been more grateful for the M1! 

After the 30 km ride to the top of the Bokor Mountain, we found this development by Chinese investors. It's a residential terrace for those with enough money to spend.
Sunset from the top of Bokor Mountain where we were in amongst the clouds
More of the buildings and views at the top of the Bokor Mountain