Koh Rong Samloem is a microcosm of all things South East Asia. Each of the four main beaches offer a different atmosphere to enjoy. Only a short boat trip from Sihanoukville but a world away, being on this island feels like paradise.
So far Koh Rong Samloem has remained fairly development-free which gives it a more low-key vibe than nearby Koh Rong. As it stands most of the resorts, hotels and hostels on Koh Rong Samloem are small-scale and locally owned. It is recommended to visit the Cambodian islands sooner rather than later due to development and commercialisation fears.
Getting to Koh Rong Samloem
The best way to get to Koh Rong Samloem from Sihanoukville is by the fast ferry. Which boat you catch depends on which beach you are staying at. The boats leave Sihanoukville from Serendipity Beach Pier and arrive to either Saracen Bay or M'Pai Bay.
- Sihanoukville - Saracen Bay: 0900, 1500
- Saracen Bay - Sihanoukville: 1100, 1600
- Sihanoukville - M'Pai Bay: 0900
- M'Pai Bay - Sihanoukville: 1045
The tickets are around $10USD and can be bought from many restaurants, shops and hostels/hotels around Sihanoukville and on Koh Rong Samloem itself.
Some more information on ferries to Koh Rong Samloem can be found here.
The pier at M'Pai Bay
Where should you go on the island?
Saracen Bay is the fancier side of Koh Rong Samloem. The long stretch of perfect white beach and turquoise waters show why. If you are able to part with a bit more cash then Saracen Bay is for you.
Sunset Beach and Lazy Beach
Sunset and Lazy Beaches make up the western side of Koh Rong Samloem. This side is more of the backpacking/flashpacking atmosphere. The accommodation on offer is more hostel-style but it is a relaxing place to be. Food on the western side of the island is better than anywhere else.
M'Pai is a fishing village on the northern side of the island and is my favourite part of Koh Rong Samloem. In M'Pai Bay itself there are quite a few accommodation options but my top recommendation is further along the beach. If you want a feeling of isolation and getting "off-the-grid" then staying at EcoSea Dive and Bungalows is for you. The snorkelling here was great and the atmosphere incredibly relaxed.
The centre of Koh Rong Samloem is mostly jungle and I did not get around to exploring it. There are several walks you can do here though if you get sick of snorkelling and lounging by the beach.
What to do on Koh Rong Samloem
There are plenty of trails around Koh Rong Samloem if you feel like a walk. Going between Saracen and Lazy Beach to watch the sunset is the simplest walk at around 20mins on a cleared path, the walk to Sunset Beach (despite better sunsets) is a lot more difficult.
On and in the water
Diving is a big deal on Koh Rong Samloem and there are plenty of places to try it. EcoSea Dive and Bungalows is the place I would recommend. If diving isn't quite your style then many hotels/hostels give out snorkels for free or a small fee. Kayaks and paddle boards are also available for hire in many locations.
Attend a Full Moon Party
I haven't attended a Full Moon Party on Koh Rong Samloem (nor would I entirely recommend it) but they do happen if you're interested. The parties are hosted by Good Vibz in the centre of the island and occur over the high season. People come to Koh Rong Samloem from nearby Sihanoukville to attend.
READ MORE: How To Survive Your First Full Moon Party
Koh Rong Samloem Accommodation
I stayed at the EcoSea Beach Resort and Bungalows and had a phenomenal stay! I would definitely recommend renting a bungalow for a cool and unique experience. The beautiful wooden bungalows come equipped with beds, a bathroom and bug nets (but not a whole lot else). You will also get nice and cozy with the big Cambodian geckos which was a bit of a shock for me! It is hard to think that there is Koh Rong Samloem accommodation much better than the hospitality, setting, and value of EcoSea.
Visiting Koh Rong Samloem is something you won't regret doing. The island is beautiful and barely touched by development -- for now. Whether you are after the dive holiday of a lifetime, a relaxing off-the-grid experience, or a backpacking party extravaganza, each corner of the island offers something different. So take the plunge and get on the speed boat away from uninspiring Sihanoukville and off to paradise.
Been to Koh Rong Samloem or have questions? Let me know in the comments below - I would love to hear from you [icon color="#64c5e0" icon="icon-heart2" size="24px"]