I definitely found paradise on the islands of Cambodia and I also had my very first doctor's visit since leaving home (but I'll get back to that in a second). Long Set beach on Koh Rong island was the most peaceful and beautiful beach I have ever been on. Crystal clear water, white sand and almost no people - it was postcard material. The beach was still blissfully undeveloped, with only a handful of resorts and restaurants scattered across it and I almost had the beach entirely to myself as soon as I stepped away from the Reef on the Beach hostel.
My first morning there I went for a walk to one end of the beach and quickly got stuck at a Thai restaurant chatting to Eak, a funny Thai-Cambodian guy working behind the bar, for almost two hours. I walked all the way to the other end of the beach and jumped in the infinity pool there,
before slowly walking back to eat lunch at Eak's restaurant, on the way stopping every few minutes to take a dip in the sea. I then walked to the neighbouring restaurant, Sandbank, where I met up with David and his friends - Celina (Philippines), Toni (Iceland) and three Australian guys. I ended up spending the rest of the afternoon and evening there, just chatting, swimming and playing cards with the others. At some point in the evening Mariana and two German guys, Felix and Flo, joined us and we stayed there until it closed at 11 pm. We sat down at Reef on the Beach and ended up talking until 2 am - it was such a cosy night, despite having to cancel a plankton boat tour because of rain.
The next morning I sat with David and his Australian friend until they had to take the ferry and then went to Eak's restaurant with Felix and Flo for breakfast.
We spent the day together swimming, before they, too, boarded the ferry back to the mainland, together with Mariana.
After having said goodbye to everyone, I was prepared for days of relaxation and sunbathing alone, but after only a couple of hours of alternating between napping in a hammock and swimming in the sea,
I met Yonni, an Israeli guy, who I ended up talking to in the sea until past sunset. I showed Yonny (who had just arrived) the plankton, but it was less luminescent than my first night there, so we quickly went back to the hostel. I ate dinner at the hostel with a nice German girl, before going to bed early.
I spent the following morning in much the same way as the one prior: going for a morning swim, walking to Eak's restaurant and alternating between the hammock and the sea. Around 11 am, Yonny and I met up and rented a kayak to paddle out to a tiny Island that Eak had told me housed only a tiny pagoda and two monks. The trip turned out much easier than anticipated and we reached the island within 40 minutes, where we pulled our kayak onto some rocks. There were one old monk and one monk that couldn't have been older than eight on the island, as well as a family making them food. The pagoda was at the centre of the island, at the top of a flight of stairs, and was little more than an elaborate home altar, but it was fun to see none-the-less. We explored the surroundings of the tiny island a little, before settling down on the pier for a rest and then paddling back. It was a fun little adventure and Yonny was good company (he certainly talked a lot).
I continued my hammock/sea routine for the rest of the day. In the evening I joined a game of musical chairs at the hostel, which was lots of fun and spent the evening chatting to Yonny and a couple of other nice people. We went for a swim in the water again and this time the plankton lit up like thousands of little stars every time I moved. Combined with all the actual stars that were visible in the sky it truly seemed like a magical night.
My last morning on Koh Rong I repeated my usual routine and then hugged Eak goodbye, before boarding a slow boat to the main pier on Koh Rong.
The speedboat that was supposed to take us to Koh Rong Samloem was delayed by an hour and so I explored the main beach together with a Dutch girl named Lana and boarded the boat around 2 pm.
We reached Saracen Bay on Koh Rong Samloem about an hour later and I found Onederz hostel a little further down the beach. Saracen Beach is the main beach of Koh Rong Samloem and it was much more developed than Long Set had been because of it. But even then, in comparison to the beaches of Southern Thailand, Koh Rong Samloem was really quiet. I walked the whole length of the island on my first evening there, went for a swim and to bed early. I was determined to have some relaxed days completely alone on Koh Rong Samloem.
I did actually manage to spend my three days on Koh Rong Samloem alone, although not as relaxed as I had hoped.
On my first morning on the island, I woke up with a really swollen lip and my whole body had been itching for days now, without any visible bites (something I'd just assumed was irritation from the plankton or bites from the tiny flies). Mum was worried about it and so I booked the next ferry to the mainland to see a doctor.
Back in Sihanoukville I got a tuk-tuk to the International Clinic and immediately got a consultation with a Russian doctor. She took my allergic reaction seriously and diagnosed me with first arising Quincke's edema (which I've gathered means something along the lines of potentially dangerous allergy). She put me on a pulstherapy program (three days on steroids, seven days on antihistamine and dietary restrictions), which should hopefully desensitise me completely. She gave me a steroid injection and sent me off with my medicine and a cannula for emergencies (although the risk of me going into anaphylactic shock should be very small). She also sent me off with the cheerful remark that should I get another allergic reaction again after having completed the pulstherapy, even if it was just my lip swelling, I had to be hospitalised for three days. Safe to say, I was having a really shitty day, the steroids and antihistamine making me aggravated and tired.
But just as the sun was setting over Koh Rong Samloem I decided to go for a swim. And the peacefulness of floating alone in the calm waves combined with the beautiful pink sky made the whole day seem not so bad.
Everything had gone to plan, the doctor had been helpful and I should be completely fine in a weeks time. All in all, it could've been much worse and I was back on the beautiful island, ready to relax.
And relax I did - the next two days on Koh Rong Samloem I spent doing absolutely nothing: I swam in the sea, ate at Bamboo Jam (and a couple of other places) and relaxed in the shade.
The medication made me a bit tired and moody, so it was perfect that I was taking a social time-out (although I did end up chatting to a couple of people).
And on the 3rd of October, I bought my flight home. I'm officially going to be back in Denmark on the 11th of November at 3.45 pm almost exactly seven months after leaving. It seems so weird to actually have an end-date, but even though I'm gonna miss Asia I also can't wait to see everyone back home (I'm already excited for Christmas).
Picture: a cat decided to crawl on top of me to sleep during my planning
Today I took the ferry back to Sihanoukville
(or Shitville as people like to call it - it is truly the shittiest city I've been in, with massive casinoes being build everywhere, large Chinese billboards and trash and mud actually making the entire city literally stink like shit) and got a tuk-tuk to Onederz hostel in Sihanoukville from where I will be boarding the overnight bus to Siem Reap in a couple of minutes.
I could've stayed on the islands for weeks if I'd let myself and am definitely sad to leave the tropical beach paradise, but I'm also so excited for the rest of my trip - staying with Felix and Flo in their house in Siem Reap, meeting up with Axel at a Workaway in South Thailand and then spending my last two weeks in Asia on the beach somewhere in South Thailand with Julie. It all sounds pretty good to me.