It has been a long while since I wrote about my travel experience. This particular one to Cambodian costal province Koh Kong, stroke me with virtually indescribable memories. Yet, I find them valuable enough to elaborate them here. By “mid-lands”, I refer to both “islands” and “divided territories”. By no means, I intend this post to sound political as SFA is not affiliated with any movement other than filmmaking and personal development. Therefore, take it from your responsible angle! And you may learn an adventure tip or two along this journey to the other side of Cambodia.
1- Prepare your minimum or essential!
Of course, from my essentialist post, you may learn that I attempt to keep my stuff as minimal as possible, wherever I go. This time around, my suitcase simply made it look more bulky than it was! Anyway, reserve two nights in a row, respectively in Koh Sralao and Kon Kong Krao. Also, carry a raincoat and a big plastic bag to wrap your suitcase, if you opt for the rainy season like us.
2- Get covered with a reliable community “leader”
As you know, a community leader does not have to be a village chief or a local authority. What challenged us back then was the uneasy clash between these two. As Koh Sralao was known to host some environmental activists to advocate for Koh Kong Krao, we were all administratively identified and medically checked up for a “certain purpose”! Despite her muslim origin, our lead, Bong Teav, did a great job covering us from this constraining procedure.
3- Mind your food (poisoning)!
Our lead is also one of the greatest cooks of her island! So we were served with this rich range of sea food from steamed crabs to curried catfish! What we did not realize as a side-effect, was to eat durian after this convivial dinner. As a result, most of us had serious diarrhea, with two needing to stay put and the rest of us leaving for Koh Kong Krao! Koh Kong Sralao villagers also farm other tropical fruits like rambutans and mangos.
4- Cross the biggest storm and the bottom of your heart
Despite the warnings both by our Koh Sralao contact and our boat driver, we were determined to head all out to Koh Kong Krao. We thought, after the first storm half-way, nothing else would come between our plan. Yet, after a retracted stop close to Koh Moul, a new storm still hit the sea and swung our boat like a rocked baby!
5- Experience the natural splendor
As the saying goes, following the bad weather came a clearer path. Yet, the reminiscent wind kept stirring huge waves ashore, only to keep our boat from docking safely. In spite of our driver’s hesitation, a few of us decided to swim from our pending boat to the shore of Chamkar Dong 3, for about 50 meters. Later on, a few islanders from that only tiny village of the whole wide island came to our “rescue” in their smaller engine boat. Different from our long-tailed one, this latter could take us across those bumpy waves in safety! After unpacking and setting up our tents, we finally camped our evening away with heart-to-heart conversation. Yet, we knew we could only enjoy the nearby nature for such an overnight stay.
6- Get “castaway” from your own land
After this warm camping moment and wavy return, we thought our teammates stuck at Koh Sralao could stay there on, without hustle. What shocked us when rejoining them, was that they were “chased” off that shuttle island the evening we got to Koh Kong Krao! I personally realize the local authorities seemed so sensitive about our visits that they wanted no trouble on their own (is)land.
Unpleasant experiences aside, we still wanted to visit Koh Kong Krao again. Only, next time may we go from Ko Kong central port, all the way to Kong Kong Krao. Let’s see if any period between this November and next April will treat us right. After all, we are no “political” activists. What keeps us active is film and “family” 🙂