Koh Rong

Koh Rong is an Island off the coast of Sihanoukville.

Understand

Until few years ago, Koh Rong used to be an undiscovered Island with only a few local families living from what the sea provided. There are about four small villages. Tourism slowly started around 2008, but the island remains deserted for the largest part. In 2012 new bungalow resorts and guesthouses pop up at Koh Tuich which is the main touristy destination. The Island has been sold to an investor planning to create an ecological resort, but the huge development probably won't start until 2020.

As the local villages and tourism sites mainly use the wood provided on the island, the local jungle is subject to severe deforestation due to the illegal logging, which will hopefully be stopped by the investors that plan to preserve about half of the jungle as a nature reserve. The development of the small villages continued even heavier in 2013 with more and more guesthouses, restaurants and bungalow resorts popping up. Unfortunately almost all places seem solely interested in short-term profits: garbage and unfiltered wasterwater are routed to the sea and one can watch the island getting dirtier every month.

Get in

Koh Rong can be reached by a ferry ride from Sihanoukville. The ferries itself are pretty basic. There are wooden benches on either side of the ferry and plastic covers in case it rains. Typically the roof is accessible, allowing you to stretch out and catch a quick snooze. Make sure you carry a hat and sunglasses for the ride, and use sunscreen if required. As of 10/2012 there are two daily ferries leaving Sihanoukville at about 8:00 and 13:30 from the port. Both head to Koh Tuich. The return ferries leave at 10:00 and 16:00 from the Island. The boats are quite slow, so the trip takes about 2 hours.

Not all ferries sell water or snacks, so it may be a good idea to carry some with you, especially if you are travelling with children. There is a small toilet on board the ferry which seems to be clean and in decent working condition.

To board and disembark from the ferry you will need to walk on an average sized plank of wood connecting the pier to the ferry. The process is not very efficient and can be a little scary the first time you try it, so bear this in mind if you have any foot injuries, have special needs etc.

Ferries used to run to two opposite sides of the island.

Make sure that you are absolutely certain that the ferry you are booked to take will drop you off at your destination. There have been instances of resort owners refusing to let guests take boats to the other side of the island (Sok-San to Monkey Island etc.), and insisting that you stay on their beach.

Prices seem to vary, depending on season and the place you book at. Expect to pay between US$10 to US$20 for the roundtrip including pickup in the main town area in Sihanoukville, so you should not have to pay extra for it.

Sok San Cambodia

Get around

By foot

There are no roads on the island yet so the only way to get around is on foot, however there is no map of trails, so you’ll either need a guide or good instinct and a compass.

However, the resort village areas are easily navigated, there is typically only one path and the only obstacles may be occasional streams.

There are four villages:

By boat

The only other option is to hire a local fishing boat to take you around the Island. The trip from Koh Tuich to Bai Tau will be $25 per boat.

See

With 23 white sand beaches to choose from Koh Rong has plenty to see and do. For the adventurous there's plenty of trekking to be done through the relatively untouched jungle. Diving and snorkelling is excellent both off the beach and at sites nearby. But above all the best attraction is the phosphorescent water which sparkles when disturbed like twinkling stars. Best seen in around 4 feet of water and on a dark part of the beach. Because Koh Rong has minimal development and light pollution the conditions are perfect for the phosphorescent plankton and it can be seen every single night.

Do

Eat

There are many restaurants available. In Koh Tuich, the cheapest ones are the Khmer restaurants in the village (mains $2-3) that offer surprisingly good food. Each bungalow resort also has its own restaurant. While more expensive, these offer a nicer atmosphere. Various Restaurants offer the standard beach BBQ fare for $4-$6 at night.

Drink

Most restaurants also serve alcohol and cocktails. A can of Klang is typically about $1. Monkey’s also has buckets and is often putting on a fire-show at night, so this is likely the place party activity will start. Most restaurants and bars will close by midnight. One or two bars will remain open and with electricity on until late depending on the crowd.

Sleep

As electricity is mainly provided by generators, power is typically only available in the evening from around 18-22. Bathrooms are usually very basic, with water being provided by streams running down from the mountains, so the water may sometimes have a brown tone.

Koh Tuich

There are some budget accommodations, including dorms and guesthouses in the village, so unless everything is booked, you can find a place to sleep from about $5. Due to construction in the village area, most travelers head for one of the calmer bungalow resorts. From the village, head north to find Monkey, Paradise and furthest away Treehouse bungalows.

Sok San

In Sok San, there are two bungalow resorts, one with 10, the other with 15 bungalows. Both have restaurants.

Lonely Beach

Long Set Beach

Long Set Beach is located to the North of Koh Tuich on the sunset side of the island. It can be reached via a 45 minute jungle trek or private boats hired either in Sihanoukville or at the dock in Koh Tuich. A private boat from Koh Tuich costs from 5-10 USD. It is a secluded 7 km strand of white sand beach, starting at Broken Heart Guesthouse and ending in Sok San, with crystal clear water and excellent opportunities to view the phosphorescence. The sunsets are beautiful and, at the start of the rainy season, the lightning storms are phenomenal. Closed during the rainy season.

Connect

In Koh Tuich, Wi-Fi is available at several restaurants.

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, March 11, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.