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Published: December 13th 2012
If we were looking for paradise, we found it on Koh Tonsay (Rabbit Island). The days melted into each other and we never wanted to leave. Here is a breakdown of what we did each day to the best of our recollection:
We were up early in Phnom Penh to catch a bus to Kep where we caught a boat to Koh Tonsay. We got to Kep at about 12:30 and the next boat left at 1:00 so our timing couldn't have been better. We made a pit-stop at the local market to buy some fruit before making our way to the docks. It was about 1:30 by the time we made it to our new home.
As the boat drove up it looked exactly like the photos we had seen on Google images. The side of the island with the bungalows has a beach just under a kilometer long. There are about 5 different places that offer bungalows and have restaurants. The first bungalow we looked at was $8/night with a bathroom and would sleep all three of us. When we told the lady that we would be staying at least 7 nights
she lowered the price to $7/night. There was a hammock on our porch, a beach volleyball court right in front of our bungalow and the beach was just beyond the volleyball court. Behind the bungalow was jungle.
Way back in Pacitan (the second stop on our entire trip) we thought we were going to be getting a bungalow on the beach, since that didn't work out we have been looking for something similar ever since. Well we found it, on Koh Tonsay in Cambodia.
Immediately we all changed and went for a dip. Our entire afternoon was spent laying on the beach chairs. We watched a beautiful sunset before getting changed and heading to the closest restaurant for dinner. All three of us ordered crab and after placing our order we watched someone walk out into the ocean to fetch the crabs from the trap. That's fresh! When our meals came, we were ready to dig in and so were the bugs. Our dinner ended up being kind of ruined because of all the bugs were swarming us, but the crab was still delicious. After dinner we had a few drinks, walked the beach and star gazed before
heading to our comfy beds.
All we really did on day two was lounge around. We alternated between shade and sun, had a few meals and went for a mini adventure walk that only lasted about 20 minutes. For dinner on the second day Jaf and Rebecca ordered Grilled fish and Tyler got Shrimp in pepper sauce (the Kampot pepper grown in the region is considered some of the best in the world). All three meals were melt-in-your-mouth good.
Got drunk, whisky then rum.
We really wanted to have a beach bonfire so Jaf took a boat to town to fetch some supplies (fish, shrimp, more fruit, cheap booze). Rebecca rented a tube and floated around in the ocean most of the day while Tyler swung in a hammock and read his book. Another hard day on the island!
Ironically while Jaf was on the mainland he ran into his brother and two friends – who we knew were coming but weren't sure when. Our trio (Tyler, Rebecca and Jaf) became a family, a family of good old Canadians. Matt, Sebastien
and Jahan got a bungalow at the place next door and we all hung around at our bungalow. Jaf and Jahan caught up - after not seeing each other in almost 2 years - while the rest of us got acquainted. Right away we knew it was going to be a great bunch of people to spend some time with; we all got along great! Around 4:00 we walked over to a smaller more secluded beach to start our fire. Since none of the guys could get a fire started Camper Becs took care of the task. An hour or so after the fire had been lit we were happy with the bed of coals and tossed the fish and shrimp (wrapped in tin foil) directly on the heat. The fish had been spiced with peppercorns, a sweet and spicy chili sauce, some limes, garlic and onions. It was delicious!! We watched the sunset from our little beach before heading back to our bungalows. The whisky had been passed around for the last few hours so we were all in great spirits. Matt described it best when he said “I was walkin' left all night”.
The rest of that
day is slightly fuzzy...
Since we had such an amazing time the day before we wanted to repeat it all over again. Jahan and Seb took a boat back to Kep and bought more fish and supplies for another fire. The rest of us hung around snacking throughout the day. We had some great sloppy pork sandwiches and shared a watermelon and a pineapple.
The other guys came back in the afternoon with a good sized catfish that we could all split. They also bought a case of whisky - because it was 75 cents a bottle, a carton of cigarrettes - because it was 25 cents a pack - and three cases of water - because apparently it was going to be another day of drinking.
This time we made our fire right on the main beach. The lady running a restaurant that we were frequent customers of gave us wood and played our music through her sound system. Since we got hungry again later in the evening we all pigged out on a late dinner. While we were sitting near the beach after eating another islander pointed out some bio-luminescence
in the water. Whenever the water moved it lit up like blue fire flies. It was super cool and we all splashed around before calling it a night.
We talked Salmon (not sure how to spell it, but she's the nice lady running our favourite restaurant) into making it happy hour all day which meant 75 cent cans of beer for everyone!!
Every day we had been watching boats of people come and go but none of them really seemed to want to party with us and most of them were just day trippers. On Day 6 we found some friends. Hannah and Danielle were from England; Dan and Avi were from the States (Minnesota). All day we laid in the sun, floated around in the ocean, listened to great music, drank beer and talked it up.
After three days of some serious drinking, we were all very quiet. Most of the day was spent laying in hammocks reading. Jahan actually put in a full 8 hours of not moving from his hammock.
Around sunset Nicky arrived. Nicky is a friend of Seb and Jahan's. She
was pretty disappointed that we weren't into partying but promised her the next day would be more fun.
Matt, Jaf and Jahan all left Koh Tonsay and went to Kampot. For over a week we had been talking about walking around the island so finally the two of us strapped on our hiking shoes and walked into the jungle. The first path we tried didn't go to far and we had to back track. The second path led us to a locals home then to the other end of the beach. The third path would have taken us to the other side of the island but after about 30 minutes we were missing the beach too much so we turned back and changed into our regular island attire, bathing suits.
Seb and Nicky moved into our bungalow and we held true to what we promised Nicky the night before. We all rented tubes, floated around and drank beer most of the day. At night a bunch of locals that had just finished university showed up with huge speakers and were having a party. Of course we joined in and had a great time!
Time to leave. We said good-bye to all our new friends – Blacky, Scar, Trolly, MGB (mini grey beard), Grey Beard, Mrs. Grey Beard (all the beach dogs we named), Salmon, the cats, the chickens, the ducks – and sadly caught a boat back to the mainland.
As soon as we got to the docks we were greeted by a tuk-tuk driver. He had apparently driven the three guys to Kampot the day before and they told him to pick us up the next day. All four of us crammed into the tuk-tuk with our bags and took the dusty 45 minute ride to Kampot. Luckily the tuk-tuk driver knew exactly where our other friends were staying so we all re-united at Kampot Guesthouse.
OVERALL ... Neither of us wore much more than bathing suits the entire time, we barely wore any form of footwear and in the 9 days we were there, we each only showered once. The ocean was our shower, the beach was our entertainment. Koh Tonsay was way too much fun. We loved every minute of our time there. We are so happy to have met
such amazing people and we are hoping to travel with them for at least the next week before we go our separate ways. By then Paul will be with us though so the fun will keep on going. Travelling with other people has definitely been a bit of an adjustment but there hasn't been a dull moment.
Xoxo Ty+Becs (Jaf, Jahan, Seb, Matt and Nicky)
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