During our travels through Cambodia, I had heard whispers of a paradise island in the south. After celebrating Christmas in the party town of Sihanoukville, Joe and I were ready for some relaxation on the beach, so we decided to check out this island we had heard so much about. That’s how we ended up spending a few days on the beautiful island paradise of Koh Rong.
How to Get There
Koh Rong is an island located just off the coast of Sihanoukville, a town in the southern region of Cambodia.
You can reach the island via a 45 minute speedboat or a 2 hour slow ferry. The speedboat costs about $25 for a round trip ticket. The slow ferry is only $10 round trip but the safety and comfort of the boat really depends on the day.
Both rides can be a bit bumpy so bring some motion sickness medicine, if you need it.
What to Do
Hike to Long Beach-
The hike to Long Beach is about an hour through the jungle from Koh Touch. The hike is a bit perilous, with lots of steep climbs and dangerous drop offs. But the beach on the other end is amazing! You can also take a long-tail back to the main beach if you want to watch the sunset.
Rent a Kayak-
Almost all of the resorts along the beach will rent you a kayak for a reasonable rate. You can kayak around the island to various snorkel areas or to different spots along the beach.
Have 4k Beach to Yourself-
Just a short walk from the main pier you can find 4k beach, a long stretch of beach that only has a few resorts on it. If you hike far enough you can have an entire beach to yourself!
Go Snorkeling or Diving-
The snorkeling & diving around Koh Rong is subpar due to overfishing and coral bleaching, but some good spots can still be found. PADI open water courses are reasonably priced but can be found cheaper in other parts of Southeast Asia.
Swim with Bioluminescent Plankton-
This is one of the coolest things you can do on the island! If you have enough darkness you can see the plankton light up as you move through the water. If you are staying at one of the resorts farther from town you can see the plankton right on the beach. If you are staying on the main beach, you may need to take a tour or rent a boat in order to see them.
Take a boat tour-
If you only have a short amount of time on the island you can see most of the above things at a quicker pace on an all-day boat tour. I suggest the tour by Three Brothers in the main town of Koh Touch. They took us all around the island, stopping at all the main spots and included a delicious dinner of fish we caught earlier in the day!
Nightlife on Koh Rong-
Koh Rong Pub Crawl-
The Koh Rong Pub Crawl takes place on Tuesdays and Fridays every week. For around $10 you go to a few bars along the main beach. You also get a free shot and a Koh Rong Pub Crawl tank top!
Raves on Police Beach-
Police Beach has all-night beach parties a few nights a week. You can buy tickets at some of the guesthouses before the party for around $5 or pay a bit more at the door. If you happen to be there at the Full Moon, they have an even bigger party on Police Beach to celebrate.
Where to Stay
Most backpackers stay on the main beach in Koh Touch since the popular speedboat companies drop off there. There are also a few resorts on Long Beach or father along 4k beach. If you stay at these resorts, you will need to get a specific speedboat to that part of the island or arrange long-tail transportation with your resort.
Hostels on Koh Touch-
Island Boys Hostel-
Island Boys Hostel can be a bit loud and rambunctious but is definitely the place to stay if you are looking to party on the island!
Bong’s has decent private rooms with en-suite or shared bathrooms. They also have a few dorm options. Bong’s has its own bar so sleep might not be possible until the earlier hours of the morning, but the people and the atmosphere are worth it. Their happy hour deals are great!
Resorts near Koh Touch-
Paradise Bungalows has beachfront bungalows, mountain bungalows and even bungalows with AC (this is probably one of the only places on the island with AC!). There is an office on the mainland in Sihanoukville, if you would like to book in advance.
Tree House Bungalows-
The Tree House Bungalows are located a short walk down the beach from the main town. You can get a tree house bungalow or a regular raised bungalow. These are a bit pricier than some of the other accommodation on the island. We paid $50 for one night in a raised bungalow.
Where to Eat
The main beach of Koh Touch is teaming with amazing restaurants. If you want to sample some local food or BBQ just walk along the beach and check out the menus. The restaurants often have drink and food specials nightly. There are a few restaurants that really stand out though:
Sigi’s Thai Food-
Sigi’s Thai food is some of the best you can find outside of Thailand. Try the curries or keep it simple with some delicious Pad Thai.
Da Matti? –
Da Matti is a strange mix of Italian restaurant and reggae bar, making for a strange atmosphere with amazing food. I had the pesto gnocchi and it was literally the best gnocchi I have ever had!
Tree House Bungalows-
In addition to being amazing accommodation, the Tree House Bungalows makes an amazing pizza for only $6!
The Western food at Monkey Island and Monkey Republic is amazing. I had been craving a decent burger after traveling Southeast Asia for two months and Monkey Island definitely delivered!
Important Things to Know
There are no ATMS on the island. The entire island, like most of Cambodia, operates as cash only and there are no ATMs available on the island. Make sure that you take out enough cash on the mainland to last your whole stay. If you are in a jam there are a few places that will lend you money until you get back to the mainland, but you have to leave your passport as collateral.
Since Koh Rong is a small island, there is no hospital. There are a few pharmacies that can give you some basic first aid but there are no doctors. Please keep this in mind when planning your trip. If you need to get back to the mainland for a medical emergency a fast boat back to the mainland can cost more than $200 USD.
Be wary of food poisoning on the island due to lack of proper refrigeration. Just make smart food choices and you’ll be fine.
Lastly, Koh Rong has sand fleas. If you are sensitive to bug bites like me you will want to pick up one of the containers of coconut oil the locals are selling everywhere and lather up before hitting the beach. Just make sure to use sunscreen on top!
The island has everything you could want from a tropical paradise—crystal clear water, delicious food, vibrant nightlife and plenty to see & do! Make sure to add Koh Rong to your Cambodia itinerary!
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