We stayed only a night in Phnom Penh before taking the bus the next morning 6 hours or so to the coast, to a small border town called Krong Koh Kong. The area was supposed to have nice beaches and lots of nature, so we decided to stay a few days there to explore. We actually stayed at two different places during that time.
First off, we did do a tiny bit of sightseeing in Phnom Penh, but mainly wanted to relax while we were there. We had dinner at a really nice italian restaurant, looked around the Independence Monument, and then pretty much called it a night. The next morning we took a tuktuk to the bus loading area. The bus itself was not bad, but they played Khmer music videos loudly the Entire Way There, which got old quickly since in every video they do the same exact dance. Ugh. Anyway, other than that minor annoyance, it was a fine ride.
On arrival we took motos to the Oasis, which was our stay for the first two nights in Koh Kong. It is a really beautiful though place, especially the pool, though when we got there it was thunderstorming and the power was out due to some accident on the Thai side of the border. It took a few hours for it to come back on; meanwhile we ate and relaxed. We also made plans to go to Koh Kong Island the next day with a few other people.
Oasis pool and looking out from the property
The trip out to Koh Kong takes about 2 hours, as the motors on the boat aren’t very strong. It was really nice though, the clouds in the morning gave way to clear skies, and we really enjoyed the trip. Once we got to the beach we explored and relaxed, had lunch cooked there, and then left in the late afternoon.
Unfortunately, the beach was absolutely infested by sand flies or sand fleas or whatever those annoying biting insects are. They don’t hurt at all, but the bites look bad. However spending any time in the water meant having all the sun’s rays reflected at you. As a result I got horribly sunburned and as much as I liked the beach, really couldn’t wait to get the heck back to land. Kenji got burned too, but not as badly as I did. Pity as it is a really beautiful place!
Anyway, that night after taking care of my sunburn, we took a tuktuk out to town for dinner, as well as tried to find people for a waterfall trip for the next day. No one wanted to go, so we decided to take a small motorboat out there instead.
Dessert at dinner and a breakfast banana milkshake
To get to the second and third falls without swimming was a bit difficult. At one point I just quit, so Kenji went on ahead a little while I waited for him. He came back after getting to the bridge, then we found some shade and a quite place to swim and cool off for lunch that we had packed up before coming, then headed back.
Another hour or so back, then we cleaned up and checked out of the Oasis and took a tuktuk to the pick up point on the Tatai river to get to our next sleeping place. We had decided to do two because while the Oasis was more central, Rainbow Lodge sounded really really cool. And it totally was.
It is an eco lodge a bit up the river of about 7 bungalows, all run on solar power. There are tours to different places and free kayaks and it is just a really beautiful place to relax. And the food was excellent too!
Lunch/a snack when we got there… this thing was the most amazing ever: baked beans, ham, and cheese on a toasted bagette. Holy cow it was good!
After the kayak in the morning and then breakfast, which was also super yummy, we went on a hike with a guide and two other people through the rainforest to a small lake and then the waterfall. We were first warned about the leeches, but didn’t really know what to expect. I was the first in the group to get one, which lead to screaming and flailing, but I have to say that everyone did that at one point or another. Leeches are cool in a creepy way, but no one wants one near them. We spent most of the first leg of the hike with our eyes glued to the ground trying to avoid them and finding the best ways to flick them off.
By the time we had hiked an hour or so and gotten to the lake we were pretty tired. We all cracked open the sandwiches we had and chowed down, swam a bit, then prepared ourselves for the next leech-infested leg of the hike. However at that point we were more used to them, so it turned out to not be a big deal by the end of it. Also though, there were definitely less than the first leg, so it was easier to keep track of them.
We hit the end of the second leg and enjoyed the waterfall immensely. Unfortunately Kenji got bitten twice by a leech, but other than that no one else did. We waited for the boat and got taken back to the lodge where we had another lunch, cleaned up, then hit dinner and went to bed early. The next morning we were taken back and dropped off for the bus which took us back to Phnom Penh.
I definitely liked the second set of falls much much better than the first! Next entry is Phnom Penh