The two jewels of Cambodia: Koh Rong and Koh Rong Sanloem

  Sonia   |     28/04/2018

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After visiting the capital Phnom Penh (, I decide to take a night bus and go to Sihanoukville (5 hours away). I arrive at 6 am at the bus station and what I see in the neighbourhood is just rubbish.
I am told that the pick up to go to the port is at 7.30 am so I decide to go for a coffee while waiting.
I then come back where the bus left me and start looking for the bus company with whom I bought the ticket. However, some people here tell me there is no pickup and that I could lose my ferry if I keep waiting for it. Therefore I take the TukTuk heading to the port. Fortunately, the boat that goes to the island of Koh Rong Sanloem has not left yet!
Koh Rong Sanloem is an island off Sihanoukville, Cambodia, 4 km south of Koh Rong Island. It is about 9 km long (north-south), 4 km wide (east-west) and 1 km wide at its narrowest point. Its distance from the local port of Sihanoukville is 25 km
I stay at the Dragonfly Guesthouse for $ 6.50 per night in an 8-person dormitory. The accommodation is very basic but has lockers and a bar with sunset view. In the village M 'Pai (point of arrival and departure of all boats), instead, there are various restaurants with local dishes and slightly cheaper prices ranging from $ 2 to $ 5. You can also find small shops selling snacks and drinks (a 1.5-liter bottle of water here costs 0.75 $).
As soon as I arrive in the accommodation I join a group of German and French backpackers to start a trek with the aim of visiting the famous "Clearwater bay" beach. At a certain point, we realize that the path we have started is not the right one and that there is no longer a path; we are in the middle of the jungle. So we either continue looking for a path or go back. We decide to keep going because we probably would not be able to retrace the way done until now. After an hour and a half, we arrive at the so-called "fishing village", that is an old military base. We ask local guys how to get to Clearwater bay so they offer us to take us by boat. We bargain over the price and at the end, we pay 4 $ each.
Finally, after 2 hours we arrive at this much desired white beach and it is really worth it: amazing beach with crystal clear water!
We spend here all afternoon and return to our accommodation for the sunset time. The marked trail to come back is not so difficult. It takes about 1 hour and is characterized by an initial flat path but then followed by uphill and downhill.
In the evening we decide to go and see the plankton on Plankton Beach (10 minutes from 'M'Pai Village). It is really magical to see "stars in the water" and as soon as you look up at the sky, admire the celestial stars! Just shake the water with your hands and feet to make the magic begin. Really amazing!
Plankton beach is also very beautiful during the day. The sand is not white but brown but it is still beautiful!
The next day we rent a private boat to see the other village that is on this island: Saracen Bay. Here there are fewer restaurants and bungalows and it is also possible to visit a waterfall at the end of the beach.
We follow a path for half an hour that leads us to Lazy Beach. On this beach, there is only a resort with a restaurant where you can buy food and drinks. It is considered the most beautiful beach on the island but I honestly have not been so impressed perhaps because I attract more beaches with white sand.
However, we spend a fantastic afternoon of group games and exchange of experiences.
In the afternoon at 5.30 pm, the boat waits for us to go to the other island: Koh Rong. While we are on a boat, we enjoy a beautiful sunset too!
We arrive at Koh Rong at 7 pm and we start looking for an accommodation. We finally stay at Pig's hostel, right on the pier for $ 6 per night; it's a 10-bed dorm with 2 bathrooms but nothing special.
Koh Rong is an island in the province of Sihanoukville, just half an hour's boat from Koh Rong Sanloem. It is known for its sandy bays and coral reefs, such as those around the pier at Koh Rong. Inland, the dense ground of the jungle is dotted with coconut palms. In the south, there are the orchids, a small zoo that hosts butterflies, snakes and birds and the lively Police Beach, a party place where every night they organize parties.
High Point Rope Park has suspension bridges, rope paths and zip lines for those who want to venture out. The harbour area is where there are more restaurants, bars and lodgings. Here the music starts from the early afternoon or maybe already from the morning so if you want a bit of tranquillity it is better to find accommodation near the end of this beach. The sea here is amazing.
We then take a boat for $ 7 (round trip) to go to Long Beach. It is a very long beach without accommodation for now so you can really relax here. It is a dream white-sandy beach with crystal clear water and an unbelievable sunset. At the end of this beach, there is the village Sao Sak (original name of this beach) where there are few restaurants and accommodation. It can be reached by boat or by walking along the beach for 8 km.
Another beach within walking distance of the village Koh Tui, is 4k Beach so called because it is 4 km long. You have to walk a path between jungle and beach for 40 min. The walk is definitely worth it. Here too the beach is very white and the water is so clear and limpid that it is very difficult to get out, especially at this high temperature.
On this beach, there are several accommodations with various options: bungalows, tree houses, tents and dorms. On Monday night there is Festival at the Nest beach hostel. It is the ideal place if you want to play beach volleyball, make friends and listen to various DJs.
The island of Koh Rong is much larger than in Koh Rong Sanloem. There are other beaches that are worth seeing as Lonely Beach but the distances are huge and the private boat costs quite a bit. Another option would be to hire a scooter but the price for the whole day is 30 $: quite expensive and the roads are not even in very good condition so we decide to enjoy the nearby beaches.
Moreover, I highly recommend a restaurant called Yaya which is at the end of the pier where you can also find western food. Prices are ranging from $ 2 to $ 5 with free beer. Absolutely not to miss is the chicken Schnitzel dish with mashed potatoes and salad ($ 3.50).
In total, I've spent 3 days on the island Koh Rong Sanloem and 2 on Koh Rong. Both islands deserve a visit. I've been really impressed by the beauty of the beaches especially in Koh Rong which is a lively island with so many activities to do every day.

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