Koh Rong is an island in Cambodia which many people flock to when passing through the country. It’s an island for those looking for socializing, partying, and paradise. Many times people arrive on the island and stay there for an extended period of time. It sucks you in and sometimes you can’t get out. When I found out that you can work for accommodation, food, and drink I knew that I had to stay on this island for longer than 3 days.
Before arriving at Koh Rong though, there are a few things everyone should know to better prepare themselves for maximum enjoyment, so let’s get the negative parts out of the way and their solutions:
Wifi is Almost Nonexistent
The people of Koh Rong do not spend a lot of time on the internet, making improving their internet the least of their issues. As a local business owner once said, “Wifi makes you boring.” A few places don’t actually provide wifi and those that do… well, expect to be waiting at least 5 minutes for a page to load.
Solution: The place with the best wifi is Coco’s Restaurant not too far from the pier. Otherwise, you can hotspot your Cambodian SIM card– this, however, only works when you are closest to the pier.
ATM’s Do Not Exist
…Anywhere on the island. There are services provided so that you may get a cash advance but it’s usually a 10% service charge.
Solution: Take out enough money from the mainland before reaching the island.
Most Accommodation is Not Advertised
As I previously stated, wifi sucks on this island making it difficult to create an account on Booking.com or Hostelworld.com. Bigger resorts can be found online, but if you are a budget backpacker you won’t be able to find many hostels on the regular accommodation websites.
Solution: You will have to wing it when it comes to accommodation, good ol’ backpacker style. As soon as you alight the boat, you will be greeted by staff trying to sell their accommodation, but you don’t have to use them, there are plenty of guesthouses who don’t promote at the pier. You just have to be willing to search for it by walking around the main strip which contains most of the hostels. It’s not a very big strip so it won’t take long. Keep in mind that ocean views are a bit more expensive, so if you want something cheaper look in alleyways. Also, some hostels have Facebook pages for you to look at pictures. Runaways’ is recommended as a good starting point.
Bug Bites Are Brutal
Mosquitoes, bed bugs and sand flies. They’re everywhere and they will come at you with a vengeance. There is no escaping the wrath of these bloodthirsty freaks of nature, but you can try.
Solution: Bring mosquito AND sandfly repellent. Coconut oil also works and is sold on the island. Bed bugs… well… they live in the wood of the chairs as well, so there’s no escaping them really. Just keep an open mind. Honestly, you will be bit, but at least you get to enjoy the lovely oceans and chill vibes that come with it.
Don’t Feed the Animals
When arriving on the island you will find that there are many stray cats and dogs and you might feel the need to save them all. The thing is though, many of the animals are being well kept by the staff at the different bars and restaurants. They even hold fundraisers to make sure that the animals are cared for and given vaccinations. The dogs wander freely around the island, but they always return to their chosen home. If you feed them they won’t return to the staff that has been taking care of them.
Solution: Just pet or admire them.
The island is a wonderful place to get lost in but it comes with some faults, just like any person that you may fall in love with. So come to the island and enjoy the beautiful sights that it has to offer.