After my first adventure to Cambodia in 2012, I was so excited to be returning again in 2015, setting out on another incredible journey with a group of friends. Having been before, I wanted to make new memories by exploring new territory, as well as re-visiting some of the places I had seen before.
One place that stuck out for me when planning this trip was Koh Rong, located off the coast of Sihanoukville in the Gulf of Thailand. The pictures were incredible and the overall vibe I was getting from other traveler’s reviews was one of serenity and complete bliss! Safe to say, we were not disappointed and Koh Rong is every bit of paradise that is portrayed with its white-sand beaches, crystal clear water and untouched island hideaway vibes.
(Thankfully) many are not aware of the beauty of Koh Rong and whilst I am very sad to hear that those who do know about it have big plans to turn it into a tourist-hot spot, it is worth getting to see now before it becomes the next Sihanoukville.
We stayed for 3 days and stuck to the main part of the island, although if you have the time, I would suggest booking a night or 2 at Long Beach or Sok San Beach and experiencing the serenity of this exquisite island!
Getting to a from Koh Rong is a very painless, efficient and cost-effective activity. Boats travel to Koh Rong from Sihanoukville, with the options being:
- Speed Ferry cambodia – ($25 return ticket) Takes 45mins and leaves 3 times a day and can be booked online (http://speedferrycambodia.com/) or in Sihanoukville at the booking office.
- Princess Speed Ferry – ($25 return ticket)Takes 45mins and leaves 3 times a day and can be booked here online
- Koh Rong Island Slow Ferry – ($10 each way) Takes 2hrs, leaving twice a day from Sihanoukville and can be booked here online
Once you arrive at Koh Rong, the speed ferry company gives you a briefing on do’s and dont’s for your time on the island, as well as recommendations of where to stay if you don’t already have accommodation booked, places to visit, good island eats and a bit of information on facilities or lack-there-of! Baring in mind, Koh Rong is a developing tourist spot. There is limited electricity (all solar :)), no hot showers, no cars, scooters or airports. Every day is spent on foot, ensuring you can work off all the good food and cocktails that will be consumed!
There are plenty of hostels on the Island as you arrive at Koh Rong village, all within the backpackers budget range. There are also a number of bungalows which are located in and around the main beach area, so if you are looking for more an authentic stay, I would recommend the following:
It wouldn’t have been a true island experience without a boat trip to Long Set Beach, complete with snorkelling, fishing, swimming, an on-board BBQ and a magical sunset over the water. Many tour operators are in business, and whilst they are ‘tour operators’ many are in their infancy, offering the same run of the mill day for the tourists. You can book a trip for as little as $7 or $8 for a 7hr experience. Many are around the $10 mark so ask around for the best deal. You get a small meal on board so make sure you eat lunch before you set off! There are also private boats that can be rented for the day for a higher price, although you get to navigate where you wish to go and can see some seriously amazing secluded areas around Koh Rong!
Volunteering on Koh Rong is an aspect of the travels that I would have liked to have fulfilled, although the time-frame we were there is not sufficient. Volunteering is recommended from 3months upwards and includes a range of options that you can participate in. We went and spoke with the Friends Of Koh Rong group who are located just left of the main pier, who can arrange volunteering opportunities with you should you wish to take part. Details can also be found on their website – Friends Of Koh Rong
If you do have the opportunity to visit this spectacular piece of paradise on your Cambodia Adventures, be sure to embrace this gem of SE Asia before it is turned into a tourist mecca.