Koh Rong Island, Cambodia: What Could Go Wrong?


The Plan

Months ago while were were still in the States I made reservations at the Coconut Beach Bungalows on Koh Rong Island in Cambodia to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. The description and the reviews on the internet made it sound impossibly perfect; wonderful hosts, pristine beach, great views, and on and on. How romantic is that?

After spending the past couple of weeks with traveling companions, we parted ways in Danang, Vietnam and made fast tracks to Cambodia so as to be in a position to get to our island get-away with a couple of days to spare. We did the obligatory stint in Phnom Penh, then one night in Otres Beach — which we actually found to our liking — but it was only a stepping stone to the most anticipated anniversary retreat.


A Hop, Skip, Ferry, Water Taxi, and a Jump

Koh Rong, and in particular, Coconut Beach is not super-easy to get to. (Ok, grammar-nazis, shush) Unless you fly, you need to stop in Phnom Penh. For a large city, it wasn’t bad. It had an inviting riverfront and interesting parks, monuments, and temples all within walking distance of each other.

Coconut Beach Bungalows

Coconut Beach Bungalows

From Phnom Penh, you need to get to Sihanoukville to catch a ferry to the island. Unless you are an early-rising, ball-buster, you either spend the night in Sihanoukville (party central) or Otres Beach (laid back and mellow). We chose Otres Beach since we’re old farts and found great and inexpensive accommodation at Otres Long Beach Guesthouse. Additionally, a restaurant on the main drag served up some mighty fine vittles. Just look for all of the gringos.

After a pleasant evening in Otres Beach, we took a fast ferry to the main beach on Koh Rong. There we transferred to a “taxi” boat that looked a lot like a fishing boat on its day off. As we rounded a small point, we got our first glimpse of Coconut Beach. It was impossibly perfect! The sand was whiter than a Hollywood star’s teeth and people and buildings were sparse. Our jovial host greeted us at the boat pier and led us to the property. Beautiful! Our bungalow was spacious, clean, and the view from our private patio was unbelievable. So, what could go wrong on Koh Rong?


Time Flu By

Well, back in Phnom Penh, Pat had started to not feel well. In Otres he even seemed feverish and our first night at Coconut Beach he was completely wiped out. That’s when I started not feeling well, then feverish then wiped out over the three days we were at our beautiful anniversary retreat. Boooooo!!!

The family that owns Coconut Beach Bungalows

The family that owns Coconut Beach Bungalows

When the family who owned the bungalows found out we were sick, they made pots of tea for us and brought water and medicine too. Our anniversary did not go unnoticed either. Robbie snuck a fancy meal with candlelight and wine onto our patio while we were away from the room. They were so sweet! Don’t tell them, but we wound up sharing most of the surprise (the food anyway) with people in the neighboring bungalows as neither of us had an appetite.

Our main tasks each day, which we took seriously, were to walk down the beach for a beer under a palm tree, walk back, float around in the bathtub warm and crystal clear water, nap, enjoy a very light meal at the restaurant, retire to our patio for sunset and scotch, turn in for the night, let the body heal and kick some virus-ass then repeat it all again the next day. By the time we left, we were feeling much better.

Surprise anniversary treats!

Surprise anniversary treats!

It was a real bummer being sick during the time we set aside to celebrate our 25 years of marriage, but what a wonderful family and location to nurse us back to health.


Hike Drink Live Laugh

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3 thoughts on “Koh Rong Island, Cambodia: What Could Go Wrong?

  1. Such a shame you were ill over your anniversary in such a beautiful place. But it sounded like you were still able to enjoy your time there! Really enjoyed reading- we’re going to stay here next week and are glad we booked to stay at Robbie’s place. It’s going to be our first time in Cambodia

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