The two sleek, black canines leapfrogged each other at Mach 2 along the beach’s meandering tidal trace. My whistle brought them to an instantaneous halt. Like cartoon Roadrunners encountering an unexpected pile of ACME birdseed. Their slender heads tilted in my direction and in a flash they were gone. Beep! Beep!
Two hours by outrigger boat from Sihanoukville lays the island of Koh Rong Saloem. A sandy amoeba vacuoled with crescent coves and fine white beaches. Anchored by two steep prominent headlands and saddled by a low, jungle-covered ridge.
Karen had gotten wind of this place during one of her research forays. On a trip of this duration it is amazing how much time you end up spending on the internet targeting your next ‘holiday’. When we started this journey the only things we were certain of were our points of entry and departure. Our actual route is more whim than it is strategy.
Lazy Beach Resort is the brainchild of a young Brit who stumbled upon the place during one of his travels. He leased a private stretch of sand on the southwest side of the island. He called a buddy back home to partner up with
and the two set to work. They’ve built 12 basic bungalows with private, cold water baths. Each hut is furnished with two, mosquito-netted double beds and two bamboo shelving units. The front porches are slung with two hammocks. The porch railings are cluttered with seashells and beach glass discovered by previous guests.
The large bar/ restaurant is housed in a sprawling wooden posted, thatch roofed pavilion open to the outside. There is a small gift shop stocked with Lazy Beach T-shirts and sarongs. There is an excellent paperback library for the use of guests and a large open deck suitable for star gazing and there are, oh, so many stars to gaze at.
Lazy Beach has a generator which provides power from sunset till closing time which happens around 1 AM when the last of the bar’s revelers make their way to bed. When Karen and I first arrived we quickly noted the lack of fans in the huts. Chris, one of the managers, assured us that the evenings at Lazy Beach were so cool we would likely need to use the provided blankets. This advice was ‘less’ than factual. By the end of our stay, Karen and
The Other Side of the Island
Big beach with a few houses and no people though it is used by day trippers from time to time.
I had come to the conclusion that Chris suffered from a congenital anemia that had rendered him chronically hypothermic. Our hut at night was in a word; Stifling. So much so that we were forced to sleep with our windows open and this situation led to a myriad of other issues. But I digress.
The bungalows are $30/ night. The boat to the resort costs $10 US each way. The restaurant’s prices are not unreasonable. Entrees are $6-$7 US. The menu is comprised of Western and Cambodian food. Cocktails average $3 US each. Soft drinks are a buck. The food is well made and presented. The resort’s garden provides a steady stream of fresh ingredients. Housekeeping in the huts is non-existent. Most visitors stay an average of 2 to 3 nights so rooms are only cleaned between guests. The communal dining area is very comfortable which is a good thing as you will be spending the majority of your indoor time there to escape the heat in your room. The place is nicely appointed with sofas, cushioned chairs and soft lighting.
The beach is about 2 Km long. There are small reefs at either end. Of the two,
the reef to the left as you face the sea is the most rewarding for snorkelers offering vibrant corals and large fish to ogle. Unfortunately, due to its location and prevailing currents, Lazy Beach is a catch basin for trash floating in the Gulf of Thailand. Flip-flops, water bottles, Styrofoam and wooden planks are but a sampling of the sea’s morning offerings. On one walk I found a blister pack of birth control pills. A two months supply with but a single pill missing. Losses like that can ruin your entire vacation! Lazy Beach staff can often be seen policing the beach with large trash filled baskets. Unfortunate, as this time could be better spent cleaning huts or installing fans.
There’s a huge beach on the NE side of the island about a 20-30 minutes walk via a narrow trail over a ridge. You definitely want to be wearing shoes for this trek. At the top of the ridge we saw a troop of 30-pound monkeys loitering in the canopy. We stopped to take in this marvel of nature. Our curiosity did not go over well with our simian cousins. They began Tarzaning down the limbs towards us, led
by one particularly cheeky fellow who took great pleasure in flashing his brilliant white canines at us. We skedaddled.
The big beach is fine sanded and blessed with warm, brilliant, aqua-marine waters. There are a couple of small houses at either end. With the exception of the occasional day tripper you will pretty much have the strand to yourself. Unlike your hut where you will enjoy the company of multitudes.
A Gecko is a fairly large reptile with more than a passing resemblances to a Mexican Beaded Lizard. Unlike its North American relative the Gecko is non-venomous and normally reclusive. On our first day at Lazy Beach I grabbed the bathroom door handle and had it come off in my hand. Imagine my surprise when said handle took a deep, palm expanding breath and glared at me with baleful eyes. Yikes.
At any given time you will find a minimum of three Geckos perched about your bedroom quietly eating bugs, mating, sleeping, crapping on the floor or just hanging about with their buddies sharing Gecko gossip. We met a trio of Spaniards who, after a 5-day stay, gave their hut (#3 if you care) the title of
Gecko Palace. They claimed that they had no less than 5 Geckos in their bungalow at any given moment.
Since we were forced by the heat to leave the windows open our bungalow became a belfry at times. Fleshy flaps of skin beating a staccato against the rough-planked walls. Heads like miniature German Shepherds. They were way cool.
Leaving the porch light on resulted in our front door being enameled with 1 inch wide shimmering amber beetles. At night Asian Pouch Rats scurry through the brush. These rodents grow to a length of 30-inches from tips of their pointy noses to their earthworm tails. Any food you leave in your hut will attract these miscreants and they will silently make their way into your abode like starving Ninjas. The Spaniards woke to find large, gaping, frayed holes gnawed through their North Face knapsacks due to some cherry-flavored medication being left inside. It’s a jungle out here folks.
One night we had a termite swarm on the island. As the only source of light for miles the dining room was confetti’d with thousands of the large-winged insects. The place turned into a Gecko soup kitchen. Dozens
of the reptiles suddenly appeared. So intent on the moveable feast were they that they became oblivious to our presence. Scurrying over floors, walls and ceiling. Jumping from floor to table to chair to you. Leapin’ Lizards! I thought it an amazing experience. For Karen? Not so much. It was over in a matter of hours. The room strobed as the other guests raced around capturing Kodak moments.
Lazy Beach has two resident dogs. Boysi and Spoon. Slender, black whippet-like hounds given to sudden sprints over the beach at speeds worthy of a Florida greyhound track. It wuld be hard to bet against either of them. When they’re not tearing up the beach they can usually be found sleeping in the dining room or noisily greeting new guests when the 2 PM boat arrives.
In retrospect we probably stayed longer than we should have. Four nights would have been optimal. By the time we left we were fairly played out between the insects and the bats and the Geckos. Long days of sandy sheets and cold showers left us moist, gritty and frazzled.
That being said I suspect it will not be these minor issues that I
will revisit when I think of the resort in the future. I am certain that for all its minor faults the things Karen and I will remember most will be the quiet, the stars and those two dogs flying like arrows over the surf.
The huts on the beach are cooler than the ones in the back even though they’re a little smaller. Hut #1 is the best as it is completely tree shaded.
The Lazy Beach booking agent is on Serendipity Beach Road. It’s the dirt road with piles of rocks along the sides. (What’s that all about anyway?)
Bring bug repellent, snacks, flashlights and mosquito killing spray. Snacks can be stored in the rat proof kitchen.
Boat leaves the resort at 8:30 in the morning. Boat to the resort leaves Sihanoukville at 12 PM.
Bring shoes and snorkel gear.
Leave the damned porch light off!
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