Koh Ta Kiev: Sunsets for Two

For our 6th anniversary, Alina and I took a special getaway to a special place. Things started out waiting around on Otres Beach south of Sihanoukville.

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At some point a random longtail pulled up on the beach, and after some confusion, we confirmed that it was our ferry. Grabbing our backpacks, we eagerly waded out a few feet and climbed on board.

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We took off down the beach, passing row after row of perfectly maintained bungalows and restaurants each fronted by umbrellas and beaches chairs. Then, we left all that behind.

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We headed out across the open water on a delightful 1 hour journey to Koh Ta Kiev, pulling into a beautiful inlet with beaches extending in both directions, and flashes of tents and hammocks back in the trees.

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As we disembarked, a chubby Australian with a red face and mop of curly hair waded out to lend a hand. “I’m Liam, this is my place”. He showed us basecamp, just a small bar, fire circle, communal dining hall, and a bunch of tents and hammocks strewn about.

DSC00816WThere was also a thatched bar where everyone convened at night and meal times to socialize.

DSC00817WWe were told to go off exploring and find our own perfect camping spot, so we headed off up the beach, poking around here and there, eventually settling on a place just back from the ocean, nestled in the Jungle. We had a 4-man family tent, a few ultra-thin mattresses, some pillows and a bunch of sand. Perfect!

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After settling in, we headed back into basecamp and settled in the hammocks for some needed relaxing. Throughout our stay there were about 6-20 guests total, which made the whole place really great for the two of us.

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There was all sorts of stuff to do. Some people rented fishing poles and disappeared for an afternoon. Our you could rent kayaks and paddle down the beach or get taken on a tour around the island by some staff. As per usual, we chose the free options. We grabbed some goggles one day and just paddled around, but all the beach sand made the water cloudy. We also packed a picnic lunch and set off on a trail winding through the jungle that cut to the other side of the island and found a nice little rocky cove to eat at.

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Complete with big crabs.

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But mostly what we did was go for a swim. . .

DSC00830W. . . then relax in hammocks or swings reading, and then go swimming again.

DSC00820WWhy mess with a perfect plan. In the evenings, we’d sit together and watch the sunset behind another nearby island; very picturesque and romantic.

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One night we were all sitting around the fire, and these guys all of a sudden decided to pull out their instruments.

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A sax and guitar, with drum accompaniment had a little jam session as we all happily looked on. A really special experience, I think. Have a listen! See if you can pick out the following sounds: saxophone  guitar, hippie drum, fire crackling, waves crashing.

We also had a few really amazing meals while we were there. One day they were doing this big barbecue, and we had this amazing fish, pork rib, and some truly giant prawns. There was this garlic based dipping sauce that had some flavor combinations that I’d never experienced anything like before. The last night on the island, a communal meal was prepared; a delicious beef curry stew.

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Here’s a few other neat things we saw during our stay. Some staff took out an empty cage in the morning and in the the afternoon brought it back totally stuffed with crabs. The next evening, I was walking down the trail after dark, and happened to shine my light down at the path. Hermit crabs were emerging from their hideaways and slowly starting their day. Later I found them all crammed together in a hollow in the bottom of a tree. Why? I’m not sure. Another time, I saw something on the path and as I got closer, this lizard bolted up onto it’s hind legs and sprinted off into the woods. One morning we woke up to find a gecko on our tent.

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We did have to leave eventually though, and after arriving back on the mainland we spent another two days on Otres beach, relaxing in a similar but different way.

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The seafood looked amazing, but by that point we’d had our fix so we opted for pizza instead.

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The trip out to Koh Ta Kiev was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I can’t think of a better way that Alina and I could have celebrated the 6 years we’ve spent together.

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