After a short tuk-tuk ride from Otres beach, we arrived at the small port at Sihanoukville’s Serendipity beach for our fast ferry to Koh Rong. While we only had a brief glimpse, Serendipity seemed like the polar opposite of Otres; busy, full of bars and young back-packers – a shock to the system making our island getaway even more appealing. Chaotic pier negotiated, we found our ferry and took our seats for the 30 minute crossing to Koh Rong.
As we approached Koh Rong’s main port & beach we could see a fairly densely packed collection of bars and bungalows centred around the pier. We’d heard this part of Koh Rong is famous for it’s party scene and once off the ferry it was pretty clear this was the case with lots of bars, drinks offers and seriously loud music. The challenge now was to find the once daily water taxi to Sok San beach further around Koh Rong’s coast. I say it was a challenge as we’d seen occasional reports online of people either not being able to get there by boat or having had to trek up and over the island’s snake infested interior and with reports of King Cobras there wasn’t a chance we’d do that! Turns out it’s really simple to get the boat; $5 per person for the regular 11am taxi or approx. $30 to charter your own boat.
45 minutes later we passed a headland revealing Sok San beach, also know as ‘long beach’, a huge 7km stretch of white sand with barely any development and as we got closer seemingly very few people. Once we arrived at Sok San village, we made our way down it’s main ‘road’ – a stretch of sand in between wooden bungalows and settled ourselves into our beachfront bungalow all of 10ft from the clear blue sea.
There’s not a huge amount more to say about our stay on Sok San other than we spent 4 days on an almost perfect beach, swimming, reading, laying around in hammocks and watching the dogs and chickens arrive on the beach at dusk as they did every day. At times it felt like we were practically the only people there and at it’s the sort of place where there’s still enough local life to make it feel like a genuine island experience. How long this will last is now only a matter of time as we’d read an investor has purchased the island with plans to bulldoze what’s there and build and exclusive 5* resort.
Hopefully these pictures will give you a good sense of the place.
From Koh Rong, we decided to head to Kep – a small seaside town famous for crab served with fresh pepper from nearby in Kampot. We’d both seen Rick Stein visit Kep on his Far Easten Odyssey series back in 2009 and have wanted to make the trip ever since.