You probably ended up here after reading my post on Sihanoukville, and want to know more about the island of Koh Rong Samloem! It’s pronounced koh rong salam by the way and it’s definitely my favorite place in Cambodia. I am going to tell you why in a moment and will also give you some tips on how to make the most out of this Cambodian island.
Koh Rong or Koh Rong Samloem ?
There are actually two islands called Koh Rong near Sihanoukville. Koh Rong, the bigger one, and Koh Rong Samloem, her smaller neighbor. Koh Rong is a typical island for party people and since I’m not in that party mode everyday when I travel, I decided I wasn’t going to visit Koh Rong.
To be honest, it also has a little bit of a bad reputation and all the people I met in Cambodia recommended against it. I didn’t go to Koh Rong so I can’t tell you or confirm to you what I’ve been told about it but I’m open to your suggestions and would love to hear your opinions! Feel free to tell me what you thought about Koh Rong in the comment section at the end of the blog post.
As for Koh Rong Samloem, and having spent 3 days on this beautiful island, I can tell you that it is an absolute must if you happen to be travelling to Sihanoukville and its surroundings. The natural setting is amazing, the beaches are breathtakingly beautiful, and the general atmosphere is quiet and really relaxing. Absolutely wonderful !
How to get to Koh Rong Samloem from Sihanoukville
Did I mention Koh Rong Samloem was an island? You’ll need to take a boat to go from this ferry terminal to Sihanoukville. Two options are available to you: a slow boat and a speed boat (see picture above). I do not recommend the slow boat because it is very slow and not comfortable at all. I opted for the speed boat and it went very well.
I recommend you buy your tickets online because the boats are quickly sold out, especially during high season. I bought mine on Camboticket, a website where you can choose the means of transportation (bus, taxi or ferry) you need anywhere in Cambodia. Feedback and reviews on transportation companies are also directly available on the website, which is really convenient and allows you to avoid suspicious companies. Unfortunately, they do exist in Cambodia.
Sihanoukville Koh Rong Samloem on a speed boat :
Price: round trip about $20
Duration: 40-50 minutes (from Sihanoukville, you will first pass by Koh Rong before you get to Koh Rong Samloem)
Here is a glimpse of the speed boat trip:
Where to stay?
Koh Rong Samloem is an island that does not offer many accommodation options, and I’m tempted to say it’s better that way. If you want to spend the night on the island though, you’ll need to book your rooms in advance. I spent one night in one of the bungalows of this hotel. It is located on the same beach you will land on right after the ferry trip.
If you’re traveling with a partner, this hotel is a really great accommodation option and it’s not that expensive. The cool thing about these bungalows is that the windows are made of reflective glass. You will therefore have a gorgeous view from your bed without anyone looking at you through the glass windows (see picture below).
Then I decided to spend a night on the other side of the island, on a beach called Sunset Beach (more details to come).
We rented a very nice tent at Sleeping Trees and surprise, surprise! The hotel is managed by Bretons from France:
The concept of the hotel is really nice and eco-friendly. As the name suggests, guests sleep directly on trees… Well, sort of. Actually, there are tents hanging from trees in which guests are supposed to spend the night. I know it doesn’t sound very comfortable but I assure you it’s more than enough to spend a night or two there. I can also tell you it was perfect for my meditation sessions!
I was travelling with a friend so we ended up renting a tent that’s on a concrete little floor and looks like this:
Doesn’t it look great? So all in all, I really recommend Sleeping Trees, it’s a great place to stay at with a very friendly staff.
Where are the best beaches in Koh Rong Samloem ?
As you can see, there are three main beaches in Koh Rong Samloem. Upon your arrival, you will land on a beautiful sandy beach. Let’s name it Ferry Beach because it doesn’t have one, you’ll get there on a ferry after all and I don’t feel like finding a fancy name for it right now! So the hotel’s bungalow where I spent my first night in Koh Rong Samloem happens to be on Ferry Beach!
The great thing about it is that you will find several bars and restaurants pretty much all along the beach. Because, let’s face it, you can be in the most heavenly of all places, you’ll end up getting bored at some point. Here’s the view we enjoyed during breakfast:
Here’s another glimpse of the beach:
Sunset Beach is another beautiful beach in Koh Rong Samloem… But you’ll have to cross a jungle for about 30 minutes to get there. It can be a little scary sometimes but I really loved the walk in nature, although it’s better to avoid it at night.
Sunset Beach is where you’ll find Sleeping Trees and its hanging tents. And of course, as the name suggests, Sunset Beach is a great spot to watch the sunset.
As for the beach itself, no fine sand here but a great place still. The other great thing about Sunset Beach is that you can snorkel and see lots of fish in some places (especially around the bridge you can see below). Fins and masks can be rented on the spot.
Lazy Beach is another popular beach in Koh Rong Samloem. I didn’t go there myself but I was told a lot of good things about it. Although just like Sunset Beach, you will have to walk through a jungle for about 40 to 50 minutes from Ferry Beach.
Lazy Beach has another great advantage and that is undoubtedly its great diving spots that teem with vibrant marine life. Have a look at the picture above, can you guess how magical it can be under water ?
For more info about beaches in Cambodia, feel free to read this blog post: Best beaches in Cambodia.
That’s pretty much it for this guided tour of the island. I hope my advice will be valuable to you in organizing your next trip to Sihanoukville and Koh Rong Samloem. If there’s something important you think I haven’t covered, please let me know in the comments below.
Last but not least, I am sure that many of you are very responsible travelers but I invite you to always do your best to travel as responsibly as possible and respect the beautiful and unspoilt natural environment of this island. Take only memories, leave only footprints! 😉
And for more travel tips, feel free to read these articles too: Cambodia Travel Blog.
See you around,