Koh Rong Guide: Planning Your Trip (Part 2)
Jungle trekking, waterfalls, bioluminescent plankton tours, kayaking, or just lounging on the beach ...
This is our favorite island in Southeast Asia. It's small, there are no roads, and until recently Koh Rong Samloem had no internet/wifi connections.
It really is an island in the middle of nowhere, with nothing but crystal blue water and beautiful white-sand beaches.
We hope you enjoy watching this video about The Travel Guide to Koh Rong
Source: Int Affair
Where to stay
Compared to the islands of Thailand, many of the accommodations on Koh Rong are not good value for money. The standards are lower while the prices are higher. For this reason, choosing where to stay on Koh Rong can be tricky on the first visit.
Koh Toch, the default arrival beach, is far from the best the island has to offer. To add to the challenge, some of the more distant beaches (you'll probably need to take a taxi boat) have only one or two accommodation options each.
You should try to book early in the peak season months between November and April. Please understand that some of the remote beach bungalow operations do not have online listings; You can try contacting them via email or Facebook.
If you're not sure where to stay, but you know you don't want to be near the noise of Koh Toch, consider setting the default for 4K Beach (also called Long Set).
A handful of accommodation options - hostels, tents, and bungalows - are widely spread along the long stretch of sand. The most expensive resort options are at the far end (northeast) of the beach.
The ferry from Sihanoukville can drop you directly at the pier, or you can walk from Koh Toch in about 20 minutes. If you're hiking from Koh Toch at high tide, you'll have to cross thigh-high water with your luggage at one point to continue along 4K Beach.
Make no mistake: if you are staying on Koh Toch beach, you will have to deal with the vibrant music every night and the loud parties.
For a calmer setting, you should choose a different beach. If staying elsewhere is not an option, you can limit the noise a bit by staying at the north end of Koh Toch or further down the road leading inland (turn into White Rose restaurant).
Koh Rong is accessed from Sihanoukville (airport code: KOS), a port city that was once popular with travelers. Unfortunately, rampant foreign development has reduced Sihanoukville to a literal wasteland of rubble and casino construction. Limit your time there.
Several companies operate ferries and speedboats between Sihanoukville and Koh Rong; Speed Ferry Cambodia is one of the largest operators.
When you book a ticket, tell them where you want to go on Koh Rong: Koh Toch (the default), 4K Beach (Long Set), or Sok San.
Listen carefully to the noise of the pier above the noise before each ferry stop. Your ship can also reach Koh Rong Sanloem, a completely different island! Ask someone if you are not sure where to go.
The ferry crossing can be a wild ride on rough seas. Passengers and luggage get wet. Waterproof your passport and take precautions if you get dizzy.
When leaving Koh Rong to fly from Sihanoukville, please wait longer than normal. Sea conditions and mechanical problems can delay ferries.
Road construction and other unforeseen events in Sihanoukville can lengthen the usual hour-long journey to the airport by 90 minutes or more.
Sandflies are a serious nuisance on some beaches, especially on Koh Toch. You'll see travelers everywhere with wounds sprouting from slow-healing bites.
Use mosquito repellent when you are not swimming and sit in a sarong. Avoid sunbathing directly on the sand.
Dengue, a mosquito-borne disease, is another good reason to bring mosquito repellants from the mainland. Outbreaks on the island are frequent.
If your bungalow has a mosquito net, there is a reason: use it! Spray holes in screen and window screens with repellent.
Theft has been a problem in the past. Close the door of your bungalow when you go to the beach.
Make sure the windows can be protected; broken latches may indicate that they were forcibly opened in the past.
Although easily avoidable, Koh Rong has an open stage for drugs. Ironically named "Police Beach", located next to Koh Toch, is a place where regular parties include easy access to illegal drugs. Deaths occur from overdose or drowning. Although illegal, marijuana is openly smoked on Koh Rong.
Cambodia's drug laws are among the strictest in Asia; if caught, you could face jail time or pay an exorbitant bribe.
Tips to save money
- Bring extra US dollars. With no ATMs on Koh Rong, your only option for accessing cash is to use a cash back service offered by some shops and resorts.
This doesn't always work and you will be charged at least 10 percent for the transaction. Taking a boat to Sihanoukville and returning only to find an ATM is a costly waste of time and energy.
- You don't need to pay for a taxi from Koh Toch to enjoy the best sand at 4K Beach. The same goes for staying at 4K Beach and rushing to Koh Toch for supplies or more dining options.
You can walk from beach to beach in about 20 minutes through an easy jungle trail.
- If you need to fly out of Sihanoukville after leaving Koh Rong, consider purchasing just a one-way ferry ticket, rather than succumbing to the pressure of booking a round-trip ticket to Sihanoukville.
Later, you will have more flexibility when purchasing your ticket back to the mainland and you will not be restricted to using the same company that brought it in.
If sea conditions or other problems cause one of the operators to delay or cancel service, you have other options.
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