Cambodia, Koh Rong Samloem

Traveling to Koh Rong Samloem

Are you longing for some islands with pristine beaches, a chill vibe, and good food? Then you must head over to Koh Rong Samloem in Cambodia! It’s one of Cambodia’s most visited and loved islands, and it’s not hard to see why. The sand is so white that it’ll make your eyes tear up – not even kidding! Don’t be like me and forget to bring your sunglasses.

The island is located just outside of Sihanoukville, only a quick ferry ride away. Depending on where you come from, you need to head to Sihanoukville before you can go to Koh Rong Samloem. There are two famous islands: Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloem. The first one is known to be the party island and the other one is known to be the more calm island. But even if it sounds like there’s nothing going on there, it’s far from the truth. You can still find bars that plays loud music, fire shows and the occasional jungle parties here as well. And if you’re a real party animal, check in to “Mad Monkeys” where you’ll guaranteed have a party every night.

I stayed at the hostel “Onederz” which suited me just perfectly. Beware though that everything here is double the price so a room in a dorm cost me 10 USD instead of the normal 5. Withdraw as much money as you think you’ll spend plus a little more, because there’s no ATMs on the island. The hostel is, just like all the others, located just by the beach, so you just need to run out and jump in the crystal clear water. Saracen Bay Beach is the main beach that everyone seems to neglect for other, more “hidden” beaches, but make sure that you spend a full day on the main beach. It’s absolutely divine, the water is calm, the sand is insanely white and since everyone seems to be heading to other beaches, you might even find yourself alone there. But if you want something a bit more wild, hike for about 40 minutes to “Lazy Beach” which is, just as the name says, where you go to be lazy. The beach is surrounded by jungle and you’ll find a few bungalows and one restaurant here, if you feel like fueling up after swimming. If you go here, remember to not litter and keep it as clean as possible. With the ever increasing tourist influx, it’s becoming harder and harder to keep public areas clean. With that in mind, bring your friends, some snacks, water, and tons of sunscreen. You’ll need it after a full day at Lazy Beach. It’s also a great spot to catch the sunset.

Koh Rong Samloem is the place to go to if you want to relax on your vacation, but also have the freedom to choose if you’d like to have a drink or two. Life here moves slower so just go with the flow, enjoy the island, and don’t forget to snap a few photos to keep the memories alive forever.

Pai, Thailand

Going to Pai during smoky season

As I’m writing this post, I’m in Pai, the famous town in the northern Thailand where you can go swim in waterfalls, visit underground caves and perhaps the most important thing – eat tons of delicious street food. It’s difficult to not be charmed by Pai, especially because the nature here is so mesmerizing.

However, I did very little research before going to Pai and I figured that I would have luck on my side. That wasn’t the case. March is the so-called “smoky/burning” season, when the locals burn the fields to prepare for a new season of crops. There are days when you can actually see the sky, but there’s also days when the fog gets overwhelming and you can barely see to the next building. Not to mention that this is also the dry season, so you should just skip going to the waterfalls – there’s basically no waterfalls because it’s all dried up. However, there’s still plenty to do in Pai, and even though the smoke does bothers at times, it’s still worth going to Pai if it’s the only chance you’ll get.

The first day I got to Pai, the weather was quite lovely. The sky was blue, the weather was hot(!) and I could see how the town is nestled in the mountains. It reminded me of a postcard. When the weather is good, make sure to rent a motorbike and go to the viewpoints or the bamboo bridge. During smoky season, you’ll want to go do activities when the weather is good, otherwise, you might get stuck with smog and there won’t be a reason for you to visit the viewpoints.

Pai is a lovely little town nestled in the mountains and it’s not hard to see why so many people fall in love with it. The ambiance is very relaxed, time seems to have stopped here, and it’s hard not to feel relaxed when you’re in Pai. You have plenty of yoga spots around the town and meditation classes, if you want to unwind both your mind and your body. You can also go on hikes, but it might not be the most pleasant thing during burning season because the air does get hard to breathe. When you feel lightheaded, remember to drink a lot of water, buy a mask to cover your nose and mouth, and try to stay inside if you can.

Although I really wished that it wasn’t burning season when I was there, since the famous bamboo bridge was all dried up and I didn’t get to see any waterfalls, I still don’t regret going there. I see this as an opportunity to come back one day. But if you have a choice, try to skip going to Pai and Chiang Mai during burning season. Not only is it bad for your lungs, it’s also bad for the views.