I went to Koh Rong for a week and ended up staying for a year.
That’s how it generally works. People rock up to this undeveloped island, 25km off the coast of Cambodia, and plan to relax for a few days before continuing on to the rest of Southeast Asia. And then they stay.
When I arrived with my friend Frankie about two and a half years ago, we never planned to stay as long as we did. However, one week turned into two, which turned into a month, which turned into monthly rent, full time ‘jobs’ (as though working on Koh Rong is ever really work) and some of the best memories of our lives.
Although I left the island about a year and a half ago, I still have such fond memories of this crazy little corner of the world, and despite all the cold showers and tropical diseases and creepy crawlies, I wouldn’t change a thing about the time I spent there. It’s so funny seeing people that I know still living on the island (how are you still alive, seriously?!), and seeing that nothing ever really changes. With this in mind, I decided to put together a list of things that happen to you when you live on Koh Rong. Some of the details might be a little dated (maybe air conditioning is a thing now??), but for the most part, the Koh Rong experience is pretty much still the same.
So, how do you know when you’ve been living on Koh Rong for too long?!
You gossip about dogs more than people
You know every food menu off by heart and have eaten everything at least 10 times
You don’t remember what it’s like to sleep in a bed with no sand
You have fond memories of your first worm and may have even given it a name
You are friends with so many random Cambodian people on Facebook and you have no idea how
You don’t remember the last time you went 24 hours without a Joss shot
You know almost every dog on the island by name
“Mr Boombastic” doesn’t make you think of Shaggy (unfortunately)
Walking home after a night at Police Beach or 4K could result in stepping on a King Cobra
You know more facts about mosquitos, bed bugs, ticks and sand flies than Google
90% of your wardrobe consists of Koh Rong singlets (Bongs, Mathilda, Klang…)
You know who says the phrase “DO NOT TOUCH WHAT YOU DO NOT KNOW”
You wouldn’t be able to live without a bum gun
You share your bedroom with geckos, mice and cockroaches
You know never to ask for a “hurricane” at Island Boys
Royal D is the answer to all life’s problems
You’re used to being covered in a layer of sweat at all times
You wake up to the sound of roosters and/or building works every morning
Glitter, glitter, glitter. Everywhere
You don’t remember when you last wore a bra
You have very strong opinions about which boat company is the best
A holiday for you is a trip to Sihanoukville for a hot shower and air conditioning
You hate Coco’s without knowing why
“Have you seen the plankton?”
You live on the island but you’re paler than every single tourist because going to the beach is just SO much effort
Your feet are really really messed up
You’ve been to the mainland and forgotten your shoes at least once
On that note, shoes? What are shoes?
EVERY bug bite you have gets infected
But yet you continue to drink on antibiotics against all medical advice
The words “Royal Group” make you SO angry
But you know that despite everything, this messed up little island is home and you wouldn’t change a thing about it
Are you currently living on Koh Rong? Did I miss anything out? Are the showers still cold and the beers still warm? Share your experiences with me in the comments section!