By Briana Seftel
I felt like an explorer as I boarded the 45-minute boat ride from Sihanoukville pier to Koh Rong island. I came to Cambodia’s second largest island in the Gulf of Thailand in search of bliss, and what I found was more than I could have hoped.
The boat docked in Koh Tuich Village, a quaint hamlet without much of a trace of modern life. You won’t find a McDonald’s or Hilton here, but instead backpacker hostels, hole-in-the-wall bars, and beach bum restaurants. While charming, the village isn’t why I came to Koh Rong - I came for the stunningly beautiful beaches. You know that beach screensaver everyone has on their computers at work? The one you could stare endlessly at for hours? You can find that in Koh Rong.
After buying a bottle of water and something to eat in the village, I decided to walk to the beach. After an hour-long hike underneath the blistering hot sun, I finally cleared through the jungle to the most idyllic beach I’ve ever seen. A flawless strip of powdery white sand stretched as far as the eye could see. The sand squeaked under my feet as a walked to the water, ready to feel the coolness on my skin. I was surprised to see I was one of the few people on the beach.
I spent the next few hours happy as a clam relaxing on the blissfully uncrowded beach and catching up on some reading under a straw umbrella. As the sun dipped down the horizon, I was treated to an incredible array of colors from baby pink to fiery orange. I then hopped on a boat and swam around the water with the sparkling bioluminescent plankton. I have traveled a lot, but this was one of my most favorite travel experiences to date.
After a wonderful day on Koh Rong, I boarded the last boat back to Sihanoukville and took one last look at this precious island. Back to reality.