Koh Rong, Cambodia: A Complete Guide

In my recent journey through Southeast Asia, Cambodia’s pull was irresistible, as always.

After a few busy days visiting Angkor Wat I chose to dive into the mystery of the Cambodia Islands. Koh Rong, in particular, captured my heart in ways I hadn’t expected, Koh Rong is definitely worth to be added on your Cambodian itinerary!

Koh Rong is located in the Gulf of Thailand, near the coast of Sihanoukville in Cambodia. It’s renowned for its pristine beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and lush tropical jungles, making it a paradise for beach lovers and nature enthusiasts.

Koh Rong was once a hidden gem, accessible only by local fishing boats. However, in recent years, it has gained popularity among travelers seeking a more laid-back and secluded island experience. Despite its increasing popularity, Koh Rong has managed to maintain much of its natural beauty and charm.

Visitors to Koh Rong can opt for various activities, from relaxing on the soft sandy beaches and swimming in the warm waters to exploring the dense forests and hiking to panoramic viewpoints. The island is also known for its vibrant underwater life, making it a favorite spot for snorkeling and scuba diving enthusiasts.

How Long To Stay In Koh Rong:

When it comes to deciding how long to stay in Koh Rong, many travelers find themselves captivated by the island’s charm, often extending their initial plans. To truly experience the essence of Koh Rong, I recommend a minimum stay of 2-3 days. This allows you enough time to explore the island’s beauty and soak in its unique atmosphere.

When Is The Best Time to Visit Koh Rong:

The ideal period is during Cambodia’s dry season, spans from November to May. However, it’s worth noting that even during the summer months, particularly in June, when monsoon season is at its peak, Koh Rong can offer a delightful experience. Surprisingly, rain might not be as prevalent as expected, so don’t let the summer weather deter you from planning your visit. Regardless of the season, Koh Rong has something magical to offer to every traveler.

Getting to Koh Rong from Sihanoukville:

Koh Rong is located 25 km from Sihanoukville pier, and there are two options to get there: the slow boat or the fast boat.

Traveling from Sihanoukville to Koh Rong is made convenient by five modern ferry companies: Speed Ferry Cambodia, Island Speed Boat Cambodia, Buva Sea, Angkor Speed Ferry, and GTVC.

The journey takes approximately 40 minutes if it’s a direct trip. However, if the boat makes stops elsewhere, it might take around an hour or so. These ferry services provide comfortable seating, life jackets, and the option to purchase food and drinks on board. While not all ferries are air-conditioned, the pleasant cool breeze once the boats set off compensates for it.

All five ferry services depart from the Ochheuteal Pier, also known as ‘Serendipity’ pier, in Sihanoukville and head towards the main tourist beaches on the islands: Koh Touch.

For Koh Rong, the services make stops at two piers that are in close proximity to each other.There is a 20-minute beach walk between the two sides, but most hotels offer pickup services from either location.

Upon the return journey, all five services will depart from the same pier they arrived at and head back to the Ochheuteal (Serendipity) pier in Sihanoukville.

Where to Stay in Koh Rong

Bungalow on the beach in Koh Rong

Exploring Koh Rong can be a bit challenging due to its limited road infrastructure. Therefore, selecting the right accommodation is crucial. Opting for places near Kaoh Touch beach or the southern end of Long Set beach is highly recommended. These areas are conveniently situated within walking distance of the island’s primary restaurant and bar hub. Along these stretches, you’ll find a plethora of options, including hotels, resorts, and hostels, making it relatively easy to find suitable accommodation.

What To Do In Koh Rong

Whether you decide to spend your day unwinding at the beach, enjoying your resort, kayaking, hiking or swimming with bioluminescent plankton, one thing is for sure: you will not get bored!

Swim in the bioluminescence: Must do is definitely taking a trip to see the plankton and swim in the fluorescent blu water! Tours usually starts in the early evening and cost is between 20-25 USD. It’s a fun, budget-friendly, and unique experience. Usually all these experiences are organised by your accommodation to ask at the reception and they will be able to give you details.

Explore Koh Rong Samloem: just a $5 ferry ride away from Koh Rong. This less crowded slice of paradise offers opportunities to lounge in hammocks in the ocean and relish the warm tropical waters.

Go Diving or Snorkeling: The clear waters teem with marine life, making diving or snorkeling a favorite pastime.

Catch a Sunrise or Sunset: Take advantage of the opportunity to witness both stunning sunrises and sunsets – and the best part is that they’re entirely free!

Enjoy a Secluded Beach: Koh Rong boasts numerous white sand beaches that lead to clear turquoise waters. Finding a secluded beach for yourself is easy, as many can only be reached on foot.

Exploring the mangrove forest by kayak: Nestled in the island’s core, there lies a dense mangrove forest, complete with a meandering river that eventually meets the ocean. Gliding down this tranquil river in a kayak offers a delightful diversion for those seeking a reprieve from beachside relaxation. If kayaking isn’t your preference, there’s also a charming boardwalk cutting through the heart of the forest, inviting exploration and immersion in nature’s wonders.

Additional tips to keep in mind while visiting Koh Rong:

Koh Rong Beach
  • There are no ATMs in Koh Rong, so plan accordingly.
  • They do offer a cash-out service, but be prepared for higher fees compared to regular ATMs.
  • While there are no hospitals on the island, a pharmacy is available.
  • A $5 ferry ride connects Koh Rong and Koh Samloem, making a day trip possible.
  • There are no many roads on Koh Rong, mainly well-trodden paths, so be ready for plenty of walking or alternatively you can hitchhiking and hop on a Cambodian tractor!
Ride with a Cambodian Tractor