Unplugged, Unworried, Unhurried: Relaxing on Koh Rong Island

“Don’t worry about a thing, cause every little thing is gonna be alright.” This and other Bob Marley hits play at a comfortable volume through the stereo of an open air bar on a hilltop overlooking a seemingly endless expanse of vibrant cyan coloured water. Beyond the reggae rhythms, I can hear the distant sounds of ocean waves and breeze-blown palms. Despite being slightly overcast, this day is very bright. In my sunburnt skin, I am happily hanging in a hammock under the shaded shelter of the thatched roof bar. It is mid morning, and I’m taking intermittent naps between chapters of my book.

I am on a small island off the south-western coast of Cambodia. There is a small beach village here that even has electricity (sometimes), but there are no roads or cars here. There is no wifi, no atm, no air conditioning, and no hot water. I haven’t seen my shoes in 4 days since I got here; the earth delights to feel my bare feet. I’ve also left my smartphone and even my watch stowed away at my guesthouse. No need for any of those here! When I’m tired, I sleep. When I’m hungry I eat. This is island life: Snooze, feed, read, repeat. With sand in my hair and between my toes, I am perfectly content. I am present. Unplugged, unhurried, unworried. Here, now.

This small island is encircled on all sides by pristine, unspoiled white sand beach. Away from the village, the untouched patches of fine white sand make a kind of squeaky crunching sound underfoot, similar to the sound of freshly fallen snow under the rubber bottoms of winter boots. This is oddly comforting. The water off the beach is crystal clear. Shoulder deep in it, I am able to plainly see the freckles on my toes through turquoise-tinted translucence. Is this even real?

Unfortunately, my island getaway has not been without a pesky bout of illness, which had me out of commission for an entire day and night. Presumably caused by a bug in something I ate or perhaps the ice in my drink. Whatever it was, it assaulted my immune system and turned me into a whimpering and moaning waste of life for an entire day and night, thankfully not longer than that. It passed just as quickly and mysteriously it arrived. When it did, I returned myself promptly to the beach!

Koh Rong island, only talked about in whispers as recently as last year, is now mentioned in some of the internet’s travel guides and is making it’s way quickly into the itineraries of many of Cambodia’s backpackers. They say the time to visit Koh Rong is NOW… development is knocking on the…sand. Investments have been invested and development plans are underway for a monstrous five star resort. This resort will bring with it the first roads and motorbikes, undoubtedly more resorts after it, tourists-en-masse, and, of course — money. Koh Rong as it is today — mostly undeveloped, untouched, and unspoiled — won’t be for much longer. But for now, it’s one of Cambodia’s best island getaways, and I got to spend 4 whole days soaking up it’s sunshine and glory. Oh yeah I did.

“mainstreet” ofKoh Rong village. (there’s only one street on the island, and it’s not a street, it’s just a stretch of beach)

Fun Fact: I visited the beach on Koh Rong where the 32nd season of Survivor was filmed!

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