The most amazing thing about the Cambodian Island of Koh Rong is not the white sandy beaches, the crystal clear water, the jungle views, the friendly locals or even the plentiful supply of fresh fruit smoothies.
It is the phosphorescent plankton that is visible in the water after dark.
A combination of low light pollution on the island and the warm temperature makes these tiny glowing lights visible in the ocean after dark.
We were told many a fable about how best to see this natural phenomenon by an old hippie in a local restaurant. Including, to wait until the island’s generator goes out for the night and that the best place was out the front of the Paradise Resort.
So there we were waiting on the beach in the middle of the night when the owner of the Paradise Resort passes by on his nightly walk and informs us that his resort has its own generator so therefore the lights never go out…
We ended up walking down to the beach closest to the cape where it is darkest and had the whole beach to ourselves. But the truth is that you can view the tiny glowing lights in the water at any beach on the island.
It is necessary to get in the water as it is movement that makes the plankton visible. It is an amazing sight to see the tiny glowing lights appear as you move and the best is watching the stream of light that follows kicking your feet.
One thing that the old hippie was right about though was the idea of taking a snorkel mask into the water. We didn’t have one but you can imagine how great the sight would be.
And it is impossible to photograph so you will just have to travel to Koh Rong and see it yourself!
Koh Rong is a 2 hour ferry ride from the coastal town of Sihanoakville. Tickets are available from any of the shops along the main strip near Serendipity Beach or from your hostel/guesthouse. It should cost $5 and will include a bus to the harbor.
Arriving at the island there are a few shops, restaurants and guesthouses which offer cheap accommodation at about $4 a night. But keep walking along the beach to the the right for the more secluded bungalow resorts of Monkey Island, Paradise Resort and Treehouse bungalows. Those looking for more seclusion can travel by boat to the other side of the island to the lonely beach resort.
Buildings on the stunning Cambodian Islands are growing every day so my advice is to go sooner rather than later before ‘low light pollution’ is a thing of the past.