Koh Rong – a paradise island with serious downsides

When we finally arrived at the ferry we just had enough time to jump on the boat and we were off. Until then I had to pee super urgently , but the toilet on the ferry was broken. Great! This trip  seemed to start off perfectly. First getting stuck in the sand, then no toilet. There were several stops on Koh Rong, for example the main pier in the village or the one on 4K beach.

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Koh Rong from the ferry

I didn’t have any reservation but a friend had recommended a hostel on 4K beach to me, so I got off there. Apparently they must have changed their name, since there was no hostel with this name on that beach. I carried my luggage all the way from the pier to the place which name was closest to what I was looking for (it was far and due to being a beach no chance to roll something) only to learn that the Reef at the Beach was fully booked. Plus it was not a hostel and way too expensive anyway. At least I could finally go to the toilet! They allowed me to leave my stuff there and walk along the beach to check out other accommodations. There are two more very expensive places with bungalows and finally also the Malibu Hostel. I learned that this was the former Reef Hostel, I was looking for. Unfortunately the dorm there was also full for that night and the bungalows too expensive. Ok, now I had a problem! The guys in the Reef at the Beach allowed me to use their WiFi, so I could look online for an option. I found something for one night in the village and the following two nights there was space in the dorm of the Malibu hostel. So I booked that and had to find a way to get to the village. There were no roads on Koh Rong, but there was a possibility to walk to the village from K4 which was almost 1 hour along the beach and through the jungle. Usually I would love to walk that, but not with my entire luggage. So I got a taxi boat to the main pier. I checked into the Coco Beach Resort directly opposite the pier. After that ordeal I first had a shower and then sat in the bar to work a bit on my blog and chill.

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the view from my dorm at the Coco Beach Resort

Later I walked around got some food and drinks. In the Koh Toch Village you can get cheaper food than at the 4K beach since you can move away from the beach where you can find some local restaurants and in the evening there are also some street food stands at the beach.

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you want some Muslim with your breakfast? – funny translations in SEA

Later in the bar of my hostel I met a couple that I had met in the Komodo National Park in Indonesia while diving about 5 months ago. The next morning I had a great breakfast at the Runaway: filled avocado with tuna, tomatoes and onions. It was delicious and very filling!

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great avocado lovers breakfast

Then I started my search for a decently priced boat back to 4K beach. I ended up at the Three Brothers. They charged $5, but didn’t tell me that they wait until the boat is full. So I waited for ages and eventually got a bit annoyed. Especially after the owner (some eastern European guy) behaved like a real asshole and started screaming at me and calling me all kind of things only because I asked a normal question. Fortunately one of the local guys working there intervened and we went on the boat. It is very sad for the locals working there, but I won’t recommend the Three Brothers in any positive way with a boss like that and the way they treat their customers. I just don’t like this asshole of a boss to make any money with tourists the way he behaves. When I finally got to the Reef Hostel I couldn’t check in yet, but went for a swim. This beach is amazing! Cristal clear water, white sand, palm trees, hammocks, like a little paradise!

 

The next 2 days consisted of swimming, reading, drinking coconuts, walking along the beach (once with a little photo shoot assisted by 3 girls on a day trip),

 

relaxing, once a massage at Pura Vida for $8, happy hour and one great dinner at the Sandbank.

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my office

The food in the Reef Hostel was not exactly great. It was ok, but not very good and the service was almost nonexistent. The next day I had booked the ferry to Koh Rong Sanloem (another smaller island) at 8 am. The next ferry would only go in the afternoon and was too late for my taste. Unfortunately the inter-island ferry would only leave from the main pier in Koh Toch Village. So the day before I had talked to the guys at reception that I would need a taxi boat at 7:15 to be at the ferry in time even with the usual delays. The answer was no problem I should just come in the morning. Well, I did that. But there was no one there. They were all still asleep tending to their hangovers from the usual party the night before. I could not even check out. So much to service! It was very windy and the sea rather rough. I had to wake one of them; it was getting later and later. He told me that the boat couldn’t go in these conditions. By then there was another girl who wanted to get to the ferry in the village. So they said they could try with the bigger boat, but that would cost more. Since we didn’t have much choice, we agreed. Getting to the bigger boat which was anchored in deeper water was the next problem. They had a raft like construction on a rope on which you can pull yourself forward towards the boat, but the waves were so high that we had no chance to get out. We only got soaked while trying (with all our luggage). So we aborted that mission as well. They said they would organize motorbikes to get us to the village. Yes, people in Southeast Asia, drive motorbikes really anywhere! They had one there and since Emmy had booked with them directly they took off with her and I had to wait. They made me wait for 2 hours, laughing in my face (not the friendly way) when I tried to get some information, not caring at all that I would miss my ferry and just being assholes. The guy who had driven Emmy was back a long time ago already. Then I finally got on a bike and had a hell of a ride to the village for double the amount of money we had usually agreed on. I just wanted to get away from this place at this point and was too tired to quarrel even more, so I just paid and left. My ferry was of course gone by that time, so I had to wait another three hours for the next ferry. I went for some breakfast finally, got some things in a supermarket and worked on my blog until it was finally time to leave this shitty island.

My résumé of Koh Rong is not exactly great. There are many many people who just try to rip you off, like a typical tourist moloch. It is rather expensive, but service is basically nonexistent. Most locals are rather unfriendly and some expats there as well. They only see the money but don’t realize that they aso have to do something for it. It is too expensive for backpackers but with this service absolutely not made for high class tourists as well. In Koh Toch Village and also partly on 4K beach it is rather a party island. I don’t know how the other side of the island is, but what I have seen and experienced won’t make me advertise Koh Rong, rather the contrary. There are beautiful beaches and all, but location is not everything. They still have a lot to learn if they want to keep the tourist! This place has potential, but not like this. The dorm in the Malibu Hostel is great for example, but the staff and the food are not.

 

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