A Trip "Home" - Koh Ta Kiev Island, Cambodia

Over a week went by since we left Koh Ta Kiev island… and we were already missing our little slice of paradise! After a week in Kampot, we had to return to Otres Beach to pick up our renewed visas. Instead of venturing onwards, we excitedly decided to take the boat (yet again) back to Koh Ta Kiev and surprise our friends working at Koh Ta Kiev Bungalows!

Beautiful sunset at the dock! 

Sunset at Elephant Rock. 

I didn’t realize how much I’d missed this place (in only one week's time) until we came back. Stepping our feet back on the sand, we felt like we were home (home away from home, at least). We were welcomed back with some screams and huge hugs by our friends: Nak, Melissa and Andy. What a good feeling! Even the women working in the kitchen came out to welcome us back (not speaking any English but greeting us with huge smiles)! 

Elephant Rock: one of our favorite places to hang out on the island. 

Our previous bungalow was occupied so we chose to upgrade to the big bungalow down the row, with an en suite western toilet and bucket shower!! Pure Luxury!! Now I wouldn’t have to trek the 5 minute walk to the bathroom in the middle of the night anymore! The day’s flew by filled with relaxation and enjoyment, unplugging from the world can be quite the experience. 

Our luxurious bungalow. We spent quite a lot of time in those hammocks! 

Exploring the island. 

Highlights of our return were: 

  • Re-building the benches around the evening fire pit and painting a swinging sign, dubbing the area “The Pit.” According to our friends, swinging signs (like in the western movies) are very American… Who knew?
  • Walking to Elephant Rock, a huge monolithic rock suspended above the ocean. This became our official hang-out where we sat up top taking pictures, talking, and watching the amazingly colorful reef, stories below us.
  • Playing volleyball with guests and some of the Khmer employees! It's crazy how well you can communicate when you have something in common. We really bonded with two of the teenage employees: Num and Chamrun. Even though neither of them spoke more than a handful of English we still had an awesome time laughing and joking with each other.
  • Fanta (our favorite little hyena guard dog) had babies! We had been expecting another dog, Komi, to burst any day, but Fanta was a complete surprise. Playing with the eight newborn sand puppies at the bungalows was the icing on the cake!
  • Spending our last night in Cambodia, chasing down a cow and attempting to “fix” its dislocated shoulder. After tackling the cow while it lay unsuspecting with the herd, we quickly overtook it and pinned it to the ground. A few bruises and scrapes later we released it after confirming that its shoulder blade was broken and there was nothing to do but let nature take its course. 

Building the campfire benches and painting the new swinging sign, "The Pit."

The finished product!

Hanging out on Elephant Rock. You can see the colorful coral down below! 

Sunset!

Volleyball! 

Game Time. 

Our competitive volleyball games. 

Left: Mikey and Fanta. Right: The puppy den!

Left: Mikey's scratch from getting kicked by the cow. Right: One of the best tuk tuk ideas of the whole trip in Otres Beach! 

Taking a long walk. 

We will never forget our last night on Koh Ta Kiev because Nak made it more than memorable for us! He surprised us with a massive traditional dinner of Khmer food: a whole BBQ fish, curry, rice, BBQ chicken, and drinks! Nak, Andy, Melissa, Mikey and I all sat down and ate a true family dinner together. It was the most memorable experience of our whole trip and I will always hold it dear to my heart. That night we all sat around the new and improved fire pit, talked and said our last sad goodbyes. 

Our family dinner- Andy, Melissa, Nak, Mikaela, Mikey

Our best friend Num! 

Two Finnish guests (Anna and Edo) made Nak a shaman stick on our last night! 

After everyone went to bed we concluded that our night wasn’t yet over and did one last avatar swim (with the bioluminescent plankton). It was truly a night to remember. Early the next morning we slowly and sadly walked to catch the boat back to the mainland. It was time to head to Vietnam and then catch our plane to the Philippines to meet up with the family. 

The stars! 

This was a hard shot to get but you can see the bioluminescence in the water. So cool. 

We spent a total of 24 days on Koh Ta Kiev including the first trip as well as our return! That speaks louder than any praise we could give this incredible place! I am so thankful to have met these amazing people! I will never forget them! Thank you so much Nak, Andy, Melissa, Chamrun, Num and all the other wonderful people we met, for a once in a lifetime stay!

Walking to the boat... so sad!

The boat ride back to civilization. 

Goodbye Koh Ta Kiev!