Word coming out of Cambodia, the location for the recently filmed Survivor Koh Rong: Brains vs. Brawn vs. Beauty II and the upcoming Survivor Cambodia: Second Chance, is that the conditions were “brutal” with the “worst bug bites ever” and intense levels of heat. Koh Rong Island in Cambodia is the home to the 31st and 32nd editions of Survivor, but despite its beauty and exotic locale the climate has been described as a “nightmare”.
Sources have claimed that members of both the cast and crew became sick, and some crew members were even sent home due to illness. Infections spread due to bug bites, and surgery was required for both cast and crew. Temperatures soared to almost 120 degrees at certain points during filming, causing extreme exhaustion and discomfort for everyone involved.
It has been a widely held belief that Season 4, which filmed in the Marquesas Islands, had the worst bug bites ever, here is former on-set medical doctor Dr. Adrian Cohen describing the conditions back in 2004:
“French Polynesia is a beautiful place [but] the Marquesas had some of the nastiest bugs, little biting gnats called nonos, that made life hell for everybody. No amount of insect repellent would get rid of them. The locals would use an oil that worked as physical barrier. It was horrible, horrible conditions for everyone — the crew got all sorts of skin infections, boils, abscesses.” – Chicago Tribune, September 2004.
That was the reaction to the conditions in the Marquesas, so for Cambodia to be described as one of the toughest seasons with the worst bug bites ever gives you some sort of idea of how severe the Survivor Cambodia conditions were. In 2013 filming of Koh-Lanta, the French version of Survivor was cancelled when 25-year-old contestant Gérald Babin died of a heart attack during a challenge; this season was also filming on Koh Rong Island. Cambodia marks the first brand new location for Survivor since Season 25 in the Philippines.