Koh Rong was the very first island I have ever visited in the year of 2009. I was there with my 3 others brothers. ( 2 of them are from another mother). I was there by boat, a fishing boat. It took 2h to get there. We packed our foods and we bought our tent to camp. We opened the tent right in the middle of Soriya shopping mall, and everyone looked at us strangely. Though, we had a lot of fun.
We arrived the island about 2PM in the afternoon. We were looking for a place to camp. I got so excited about the peaceful and beautiful island. There were 2 families, we have met. One was the Chinese Cambodian family who lived near by the port selling stuffs, and another 1 was the fishing family who lived near our camping area. It was a very funny memories when our foods were smell like gasoline, we told each other that “Don’t pee on the fire!”. We were not dying because of we did not have our foods. The villagers were so kind and friendly. We became friends with them. The fishing family offered us coconuts and had lunch at their house and we gave them a bottle of Cocacola. Since then Koh Rong was one of my best camping memory with my 3 brothers.
I have left the country for 3 years, and returned after that. I always want to go back and visit Koh Rong again, but when I did, Koh Rong has disappointed me.
In 2015 New year time again, it was exactly 6 years after I was with my 3 brothers for camping, so everything has changed. I would like to send a short letter to my 3 brothers through this blog, You can see how is the pictures different.
Dear brothers( Rithy, Jam and Soe)
I know people definition of beautiful differently. But for me, Koh Rong has no more a spirit of beautiful, and quiet. Where right now, Koh Rong is full of many many foreign own businesses, Boom Boom parties so loudly until 12AM, or even party all night long. I know, wherever a tourist area, there is always drugs, prostitute, pickpocket, stealing going on, and so is Koh Rong. I was with the military polices. There were 10 of them walking along to observe the case of illegal drug dealers. Cambodian sell, and foreign use. When there is demand, there is always supply.
To come to Koh Rong, there are nothing much beside, come for party, get drunk, get tan, and lay on the beach. I admitted that the water is still truly beautiful and green. That is what remain in my memory. After 6 years, I have been looking forward to seeing Miss.Koh Rong again, and I was excited to tell you guys about my second time to Koh Rong, but it was not like what I have planned. There are more about businesses, I am not sure, If I should be happy, that local people at least could earn extra income through tourists, while many many big bars, bungalows, are restaurants are own by forefingers, and at the same time, the way of living, culture have been disappeared slowly through the wave everyday.
Now, locals won’t offer me a free coconut anymore while 1 pack of instant noodle cost 3$. I can’t find the families we have meet in 2009. Almost everything here is a western price set. When I walk on the beach, I sometimes did not feel this is Cambodia. I was planning to stay 2 nights, but I have changed my mind, I stayed only 1 night. 1 room cost 20$, not like our tent camped nearby the beach. Maybe it is a paradise for those who seek for party all night long, get drunk, and get tan. But not for me. So this is just something I want to share with you.
It is so different from our 2009 camp. Miss. Koh Rong has changed. Soon the Royal group will develop Koh Rong, and there will be the issue of chasing the local people out, because they have been settled without any land tittle. There might be the same case like in Beng Kork lake. It is sad. Now, at least they can earn extra income through selling stuffs to tourists but soon will be tearing on Koh Rong.”
For those who love Koh Rong and enjoy your time there, it is up to you, it is only my point of view that I have visited Koh Rong while it was just a remote island but now it has changed, so it something I can’t really accept. I wish, I have a chance to visit Koh Rong I have visited. But maybe only in my dream. Though, my camping time in 2009 was still my best memory of Koh Rong that I will never ever forget.