Sunday 10th September, 2017
This is an island that doesn’t want you to sleep, makes you forget to eat, but totally remember the killer hangover.
I’m staying at Island Boys, and it is pretty much what it says on the tin. A group of good looking lads that would be too cool for me to speak to back home, gathered together in a shack on a beach, smoking, drinking all day every day – one even told me that he has never been to a festival before: “because my whole life is a festival.”
Can you imagine living and breathing festival life every day of the year? Yeah it sounds great for the first few days, maybe even couple of weeks, but sure enough the piss on the toilet seats get to you eventually.
Koh Rong doesn’t expect to see people in the morning, nor do they particularly want to after last night’s manoeuvres. Nine thirty am check outs and a 50% late fees taunt the night seekers – they know full well no one wants to be up at that time, the party didn’t stop until four…
Tuesday 12th September
Let’s start again. I was feeling pretty worse for wear after my first night on Koh Rong (if it wasn’t blindingly obvious). Often described as Cambodia’s Ibiza, it certainly lived up to its reputation.
Don’t get me wrong, we had such a good night. Bar hopping on the main strip was fun, and we even found ourselves having a little drum and bass session, reminiscing about Outlook Festival. It all started with a few free beers when we checked in, then came the rum, then came the Joss shot.
Beware the Joss shot. They sell it to you in a little foil sherbert packet thing, and you mix it with a shot of your choice: rum or vodka is preferred. It’s a toxic shot glass of luminescent Korean Ginseng that looks like a genuine science experiment, and has pretty much the same effect as a line of cocaine – “fab, that’ll do me” was my initial reaction.
You feel the bubbles start fighting with your own stomach acid and the rancid sweetness sticks to your tongue. It perked me up for sure, but for $2 a pop, the tab the next morning made us truly pay the price. Those island boys love it, always egging you on and having a shot with you. Goddamn it.
Me and Jake ended up staying another unexpected night, but a much more comfortable stay, at the Green Ocean Guesthouse. We had an ensuite bathroom with a flushing toilet (hoorah!), towels and a beautiful balcony area. It was a bit more expensive than Island Boys ($15 compared to $8), but hey, whatever.
The reason why we stayed an extra night? Koh Rong Ink. We couldn’t resist! Well actually Jake went in to get a tattoo, and I got super jealous so got one too. The studio was immaculate. The tattooist, Draft, was professional and highly skilled and we were kept well informed during the whole process. Admittedly, it was not what I was expecting for the notorious party island, but I would definitely recommend it to anyone considering a tattoo in the area.
I don’t hate Koh Rong, honest, I just think one night is enough. There’s so much more to do than drink (apparently) if you look further afield. We bumped into Adventure Adam who offers jungle treks, bike rides and to guide you to the different beaches on the island. He seemed like a cool guy. We also went on an adventure to seek out the zoo on the island, apparently owned by a crazy lady terrified of tigers, but it was closed when we got there 😦
So yeah! If you want to spend more time there, definitely try and explore more of what the island has to offer. I’m pretty happy to be back on mainland now – next stop Kep!
Eat: At Sigi’s! The best Thai food of my life so far, Sigi is the chef and owner who spent a lot of time in America – he loves a chat. Expect to spend around $6 here, but it is so worth it.
Drink: Well, you’ve got to try Joss. It’s sold at pretty much every bar on the island for $2 a shot, or $0.50 for just the sachet.
Do: Explore the island! There are always guides being offered up into the jungle, and to the different beaches.
Stay: Green Ocean Guesthouse for a comfortable stay and somewhere to nurse your hangover the next day. Alternatively, there are $4-5 dorms and $8 private rooms all around the island. If you want to be extra fancy, I hear you can rent bungalows too.