We arrived in Cambodia via the Hat Lek / Koh Kong border with surprising ease, having seemingly avoided the scams and touts we were worried about. I guess we had gotten a little comfy in our travellers flipflops, as we didn’t really do any research into where we were going to stay, nor did we get a sim card to investigate hotel reviews before venturing in, just wishfully thinking we’d wing it as we had successfully done before. Upon Lonely Planet’s recommendation, we were taken to the Koh Kong Guesthouse and checked in for the bargain price of US $6 a night!
… It was a mistake.
We should have noticed the warning signs in the bedroom straight away: the bed was isolated in the middle of the room and the legs were encased in plastic insect traps. The sheets were dirty and there are bloodstains on the pillow, which we didn’t notice until late at night when we were ready for bed. We’re on a shoestring budget here and have quite low standards, particularly when staying in a place one or two nights only. BUT. After watching some TV on the bed, we actually saw the bed bug that had just bitten one of us strolling across the covers. Killed it and it burst with fresh blood – well, I guess that explains the stains on the pillow. GREAT.
Asked for a different room – got shown one in the basement. If anything, it was even worse. Dead roaches in the corridor. Room was humid, musty and quite filthy. The bed sheets had lots of blood spots and the mattress, which appears to be from the 1920s and filled with straw, had huge holes in the bottom. Based on the fact that *anything* could be living there, we nope’d right out of there, and the staff didn’t seem too surprised, or bothered (about our departure or the bed bugs).
But that’s where the downs stop. We walked about a minute to the left and ended up in the most luxurious guesthouse I had seen since being in Miami Beach on a businessman budget a few years ago – for US $10! Large room, crispy white linens, private balcony, closed shower, everything brand new and clean. Kiang Kiang Guesthouse: YES. I find myself longing to be there again 2 weeks later.
The next day was spent on the amazing Koh Kong Island, possibly the best beach I have seen so far in my life! A long strip of white sand, one lone resort, pristine water, hammocks. Well Cambodia, thanks for redeeming yourself so quickly. We’re happy to be in ya 😉
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