I planned this particular part of the journey really well (or so I thought). I’de arranged my pick up time to coincide with an 8am drop off in the new town of Sihanoukville, ready for my ferry across to the the island Koh Rong. As with “Everything Kyle” this was not the case and things were not quite as smooth sailing…
The coach dropped me off in a pitch black carpark at around 4am. In a place which appeared to be miles from anywhere. There was not an ocean. There was not a sea, there was not a river… nor any water for that matter, let alone the bloody ferry port I was supposed to be delivered to! The coach load of other travellers were all confused as to what we were doing pulling up into the derelict grounds. Some of us, including myself were pretty sure it was just a toilet brake… How wrong we were!
“FINAL STOP, FINAL STOP” was shouted down through the aisles of the sleeper coach as we were frog marched off.
On attempting to exit the bus, what appeared to be 20,000 tuctuc drivers descended on us like 20,000 flies attracted to a rotting meat market, in the mid day sun. It was pandemonium! Drivers were trying to take the bags off your back, hands were grabbing your shoulders left right and centre- quite literally! Enthusiastic drivers would be your “best friend” from the second you made eye contact, following through with the mandatory “where you from, where you from, where you go, come come, I take you my friend”. Of course, all of this was done by multiple drivers at the same time making the whole situation a little unbearable. Half asleep at 4am, dazed by confusion and agitated by not having a clue where they were, some people, including myself, were understandably ‘direct’ in their responses.
I met up with two other guys who were travelling my way. Fena from Chilli and José from Equidor. We decided that the three of us together should just get a tuctuc to the ferry and by splitting the bill, it would be dirt cheap… so we did just that. Just in time too, as the heavens opened and what must have been a 2 hour solid monsoon hit! We arrived at the ferry port and sat together under a porch finding out about each others adventures, cultures and travel plans. The ferry came at 8am, we boarded and the 40 minute trip across the water went well.
Thanks to a friend I had met, Jeremy, from Paris, I already knew my heading on reaching the Island: Nest Hostel. I was also meeting him there as he had left on a coach, an hour or so earlier than me from my hostel in Cambodia, Siem Reap.
The Nest hostel was a fair walk from the ferry pier on the Island. It was about a 20 minute walk. (Remember at this point we have overfull backpacks on our back, overloaded rucksacks on our front and are somewhat unsteady on our feet, especially on ‘unstable’ ground) The three of us walked across the beautiful white sand beaches, through a little woodland area of exotic palm trees and dangling vines, over a little stream with natural stepping stones, under a tree branch or two, up a slope, down a few rocks and then round a corner…. We had arrived in pure paradise! Our own private beach which had views spreading out miles in to the ocean and strategically far enough away from everything else so as we felt as though we were on our own private island.
Nest Hostel was fantastic. The beds in the dorms were and still are the biggest and most comfortable I have ever slept on! Big up those Nest Hostel guys 💪💪💪
Our private beach was glorious in the daytime sun, but come sunset and in the dark of the night came a very big and beautiful surprise… our own private waters full of plankton lighting up like a million tiny stars as you walked through and disturbed the waters!
This island was and still is in my mind -PURE PARADISE ISLAND