‘This is what Thailand looked like 30 years ago’

That’s according to Vanny Ea, owner of Pura Vita, an idyllic resort made up of about 20 bungalows on a secluded beach with pristine white sand and crystal-clear water on the island of Koh Rong, off the southern coast of Cambodia.
The beaches of the Northern Marianas’ will always be my favorite, but Koh Rong’s Sonaya beach is now a close second. Koh Rong is an undeveloped island, meaning there are no roads, no traffic, and much of the island is covered in a lush jungle lanscape.
Pura Vida is pricier than many of the hostels located in the island’s main village – especially considering you only have power for four hours per day because of its remoteness – but as one of the resort’s guests commented to me as we were leaving after two days, “People will pay anything for that location.”
And they do. Ea told me she’s preparing to add some additional bungalows to keep up with demand, but she says she does not want development of the island to get out of control.
My two days on island were spent hiking through the jungle, alternating between sunbathing and swimming in the Gulf of Thailand, and ordering food from the resort’s restaurant.

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Highs and lows of Cambodian living: weeks 3 and 4

The highs:
-My first story from Cambodia came out! Read it here. It’s amazing how much this simple story means to me. It probably has something to do with the blood (due to blisters), sweat (so much sweat!) and tears (blisters + sweat = frustrated Kristi) that goes into accomplishing even the smallest task right now.

-I traveled to the coastal town of Sihanoukville and then headed to the island of Koh Rong, where I spent two relaxing days laying on the beach, reading and exploring the juggle. (Read more about my trip in a future post.)

-I went dancing with some great girls and saw Phnom Penh nightlife up close.

The lows:
-My phone stopped working while I was in Sihanoukville and only showed a flashing Apple icon. Both my iPhone and my laptop were on their last legs when I brought them over here, and I knew they may die on me. In fact, the Apple people told me my iPhone was going to die at some point and I needed to buy a new one. But I refused because that’s what I do. So it died on me and I lost several of my pictures from Koh Rong, though I was able to salvage some.
I was not able to salvage the iPhone, unfortunately, and I had to buy a new used iPhone.

-Trying to do too much. If you know me, you know I’m not one to sit still for long and I tend to take on a lot. I believe this is one of my best and worst qualities. It’s also something I really need to work on: either taking on less or learning to handle the stress that comes with taking on too much. Going to Koh Rong was great because I basically left my worries on the mainland for a few days, but they quickly resurfaced and I was back to deadlines and juggling lots of commitments once I returned to Phnom Penh.

Lessons learned:
-Paying the extra three bucks for a minivan over a bus is sooo worth it when traveling.

-I must buy Internet and phone time separately for my phone.

-How to say “turn right” and “turn left” in Khmer.

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