© 2011 notworkrelated - David Rutter & Helen Roscoe. All rights reserved. notworkrelated koh kong 30th 31st 32

Cambodia – Koh Kong – 30th/31st January

We got an early bus to Koh Kong, although as per usual it took over an hour to leave the city and then we were still stopping along the way to pick up other passengers, many of whom didn’t have seats so were sat on plastic chairs in the aisles. After around 5 hours or so we landed in Koh Kong at a bus stop a little way out of the main streets, tuk-tuk drivers once again were hassling us to take pick up into town, but we knew from the scale of the map that it wouldn’t be too far to walk. We met Ali and Carl who’d been traveling mainly in India on the bus and we all decided to walk in together. We landed at The Dugout Hotel, which is quite easy to find on the main street leading towards the market. The manager is Australian and pretty helpful when it comes to advice in the area, we opted for a room that was more than we were hoping to pay but thought we’d just stay there the one night. They have a small pool there too so we were keen to go in for a dip to cool down from the afternoon heat.

Later on we met up with Ali and went to have a chat with a local eco-tour operator ran by a friendly chap called Mr T, his office is located at Dugout, and they are owned by the same guy who runs the Oasis Bungalow resort a little way out of town. We found out about tours on offer and what was possible for us to do and see on Koh Kong Island, after going back and forth and realising we couldn’t stay on the Island, Mr T made a few calls and pretty much made up a tour for us on the spot. We could take a 2 day boat trip to Koh Kong Island, visit the beautiful beaches, have barbecues on the beach, all of our food and stay at a fishing village called Alatan that is connected to the island via stilts and wooden bridges. For the 4 of us to go it would cost $55 each! This was a good price considering the tours we had paid for in Vietnam. So we agreed and decided to leave the following day. If you do go to the tourist office at The Dugout please note that this isn’t a tour they do on a regular basis so don’t expect it to be advertised. They offer other types of tours including jungle treks and mountain biking in the area, Koh Kong itself doesn’t have much going on, it’s a small town which can be used as a handy base to go off and explore.

We were picked up at 8am and taken to the harbour where we had a boat, driver and guide waiting with us along with a fridge full of food. It was a long boat that they had decked out for our comfort, Mr T came along to make sure everything was ready and set up for us and off we went. The first part of the boat trip took around 2 hours and on the way we even bought our fish from a local fisher-mans boat! We took a brief stop at beach number 1, we all jumped off the boat and went for a swim in the crystal clear waters. The beach was beautiful with no-one else around so we were excited about going to the further afield beaches.

After around half an hour we carried on towards beach number 3, here we stopped and the driver threw in the anchor. We had until around 4pm here, and so we swam, sunbathed, ate a fantastic fish barbecue meal, swam some more, the guide built us a shelter from the sun, Carl tried to catch a crab and so on. All in all it was absolutely gorgeous, we had the whole place to ourselves, the sea was beautiful and clear and it was so serene. At last we had found a paradise. We had heard that not many people come to Koh Kong Island other than on day trips because the military operate the Island so it’s not the safest place to stay, also the trips only go when there are more than 4 people so this meant we didn’t see any other tourists, only fishing boats.

After a lazy afternoon on the beach we got back into our boat and made the hour journey to Alatan fishing village. We weren’t expecting what awaited us at all. The village is build up of around 50 or so houses all built on stilts going away from the Island for around 1km. As we arrived many local children were waiting for us, all shouting hello and smiling and laughing nervously in anticipation of our arrival. We instantly felt very humble and privileged to be there and were taken into the house which would be our base for our stay. As soon as we got inside the children were posing for photographs, asked Dave to do some English spelling and took us up onto the Island where their school is based. We were quite overwhelmed by the whole experience, they were so happy for us to be sharing their home with them, showing us around their school and attempting to speak English with us. The photography opportunities here were fantastic.

After an hour or so of playing with the children we sat down for dinner and enjoyed more fish, rice, salad and fruit. We had previously seen two full size snooker tables in one of the houses a little further away from where we were and asked if we could play some snooker/pool. We have no idea how easy or hard it was for them to get those things in there, we were amazed that they had them and they clearly kept them in mint condition. It was also amazing to see how each family have some way of making money; either by fishing, selling groceries, a little cafe at one end and then the snooker hall!

So we played for an hour until going to bed at around 10pm, we had an audience watching us the entire time and Helen didn’t play well at all. We kind of just wanted to be unseen at this moment in time wishing for a game of pool on a snooker table to end!! Unfortunately for us Ali and Carl beat us 2-0, but Helen always makes a point that pub sports…just ain’t her thing! ha ha!

So to our bedroom which our hosts had vacated for us for that night, 4 of us all lined up on a thin mattress, with water underneath and noises from loud televisions, babies’ crying and the like meant we were on for a restless night. Still the experience of being there far outweighed any of this and we were very happy to have stayed in Alatan that night.

(Leica M9, Summicron-M 50mm f2.0 & Olympus PEN, 17mm f2.8 & 100mm f2.8, processed in Lightroom 3)

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  1. Posted 25 Feb ’11 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    I’m jealous!!! Im back from India which was amazing but had very little chance to explore what with all the yoga. Lots of love to you both x x x

  2. Posted 2 Mar ’11 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Hi Helen and Dave,

    Could see Venture technique in photos of children. What a wonderful experience. Did the boat drives have safety jackets on board?

  3. Jo Dubs
    Posted 8 Mar ’11 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    How funny that you met someone we know. Mr T Itake it is the guy with helmet on in the 2nd photos 4 down. We know him as Rifty. He used to work for our mate. You should have mentioned our names it may have got you a good deal. Can’t believe you didnt even pop in to Oasis and name drop.

  4. Posted 16 Jun ’11 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    Great shots! I’ve seen tons of photos of Thailand, but I think that yours really capture the spirit of the place.

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