Survivor Cambodia Conditions Are "Brutal"

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.

Photo Credit: Ant‫‬ via Compfight cc

Martin is a 28-year-old writer from Hull, England represented by Berlin Associates. He graduated from the University of Hull in English and Creative Writing. But if you have found yourself on this website you probably know him better as “Redmond” – the Survivor spoiler.

  • Mohamed

    So why the hell would they go there for a second time?!!

    • JIm

      Because in order to save money, starting around season 20 Survivor started to film seasons back to back at the same location. So Cambodia is home for season 31 and 32. It’s too late to move it to a different location at this point anyway since they are now filming season 31 “second chances” and they’ve just finished filming season 32 which this report is about (Yes they filmed it out of order).

      • Mohamed

        Yea I know that, that’s not what I meant. The French season got cancelled, some crew and contestants needed surgery, so why not pay some extra money and avoid risking a supposedly great season as survivor second chance.

        • Jim

          Who knows? Maybe production wanted the game at a new location and that Cambodia was cheap. Plus we don’t know if it was the environmental conditions that caused the man to died from a heart attack or he had a preexisting condition they didn’t discover.

          • SolidEther

            The fatal event in the French game of survivor happened on their opening day.
            It began much like Heroes and Villains… introductions and then a strenuous physical challenge.
            Just weeks later, SEG began filming Samoa highly aware of the French tragedy.
            Mike Borassi showed cardiac insufficiency and was quickly removed from the game.
            Shortly after that, Russell Swan lost consciousness during a challenge and production and medical worked feverishly to get him stabilized and he too was removed from the game.

            In the Israeli VIP (celebrities) season, a rather young man with a previously identified heart condition (he was medically ineligible to join the IDF) also went down during an opening day physical challenge.

  • Megan

    If the French version was cancelled, why would survivor go there anyways?? It seems ridiculous to put these people through this. Surgery??! People needed surgery???!

    • SolidEther

      Surgeries are not uncommon in the American Survivor series.
      We know Chet from S16 had to have his infected heel cleaned out (the actual reason why he wanted out of the game).
      Penner and James both had infections that season requiring attention for similar reasons.

      I am not justifying that risks are acceptable but reminding everyone that Survivor is rough and dirty (ever see the pictures of Yates’ knees after she got voted out in S20?).
      We all know the yo-yo effect of starving for 6 weeks. Most come out of the game stark thin, and then bloat up for months. We’ve heard Malcom say he still doesn’t have the physical strength he had before his back to back seasons.

      I keep waiting for the long term effects to start kicking in. What parasites are still residing? When are teeth going to begin falling out? While we enjoy their game play and the players love the game, it’s not a picnic on Gilligan’s island.

  • tcrawpaco

    It makes you wonder: If redmond knew this information, did those contestants that just got Second Chances know what they were getting into ahead of time? We may have to ask some of the DirtyDozen

    • SurvivorFan

      Yes, they knew what they were getting into. I know one of the contestants personally, and believe me, they were aware of the conditions. I remember that Elizabeth Hasselback (S2, Australia) had trouble with her hair falling out for months (if not years) after returning home. It’s not a picnic, folks.

  • nickmatt

    i’m french. the season had been canceled because of a death. But the death was not due to the conditions of the place. The guy had a healthy problem. The problem was that he never should have been cast. that’s all. so, stop the speculations.

  • stiingofiintere

    What could possibly Koh Rong?

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  • Ignacio Nexlson

    I loved how Survivor used to be with a brand new location every season, except for season 7, 8 & 12 that were filmed in Panamá. But, nowadays the location it doesn’t seem to be so important, since the betraying, backstabbing and bichetness are more important. We all get that, but they could go to other places like Malasia, Madagascar or a dessert location like Namibia, Tanzania or even going to the australian jungle. I don’t know, i’m kind of bored of the islands. #AubryToWin