Koh Rong Island, Cambodia
Koh Rong, Cambodia
We arranged the ferry to Koh Rong through our accommodation, which used the Island Speed Ferry Cambodia, and cost $20 each open return. The bus comes and picks you up an hour before the ferry and collects other people from the surrounding area before heading to Sihanoukville City pier where all the boats leave. You take a short walk from the bus to the pier and wait until you are called to your boat. We would really recommend this company as the boat is big and quite modern, it has a toilet and lifejackets on every seat.
The boat took about 45minutes and it stopped at Koh Rong Sanloem first, then continued to Koh Rong Island. It was a really easy ride and I actually nodded off for a few minutes. Of course Jackie and Luke were already asleep…Jackie wearing the life jacket!
We stepped off the pier to crystal clear waters and a reggae buzz drifting through the air. The first thing you notice, apart from the gorgeous water, is how the island seems to be packed with tattooed hippies. The island is a bit reminiscent of the Gili Islands in Bali, where you can get ‘shroom shakes’ and ‘happy cookies’ from every bar. As you walk around you see some very red-eyed travellers!
Our accommodation Sok Heng, was located just up the hill off the main drag and at $38 USD it was one of the more expensive places to stay but we didn’t fancy a dorm room in a beach hut. It was very nice and relatively new and all around there is building and spaces being cleared for more guesthouses to pop up. The staff aren’t that friendly and very disorganised but if you want a modern private room this is a good option.
From the main beach, Koh Tok, you can walk about 25 minutes to 4km beach which is a bigger stretch and not so full of people. We sheltered from the rain here in ‘The Nest’ which has a volleyball net out the front and cheap drinks.
The next day, we trekked through the jungle to Long Beach. The ‘trek’ part is used loosely, as there is a path but at times you are scrambling over rocks and down very steep boulders. It takes about an hour to go from east to west but if you went the other way it would take considerably longer as you have to climb a very steep path. We used Maps.Me to check we were on course and not wondering off into someone’s private plant farm which you could smell everywhere! We were also advised NOT to walk back through the jungle at night as people get lost and it is not safe.
We had pre-booked a boat to take us back to Koh Tok, through our hotel which cost $10 pp. There are a lot of guys asking for taxi boats on Long Beach so if you change your mind you can always get a boat back. However, make sure you do it before sunset as all the boats leave pretty quickly.
Koh Rong Island is a lot bigger than you think and there are loads of beaches to choose from. The one thing we did notice is that because it is still relatively under developed the sewage runs straight into the sea or fills up in open cesspits next to the beach. You can smell the stewing sewage as you walk along the beach a harsh comparison to the spectacular sight a few metres away.
Don’t be fooled, the island is beautiful but is well known for causing severe sickness. Unfortunately, three out of four of us suffered. Luke and Jackie were both sick by second night and I was struck down SEVERE sickness and diarrhoea. This lasted for a full 24 hours and not made better by the fact we had to change rooms twice as we had to extend our stay and our hotel charged us the highest possible rate of $50 a night, exploiting our situation.
By the end of the stay I was ready to get the hell out of there! It was so beautiful but I can’t remember being that ill since I was a child. I was physically and mentally drained!
To leave the island you must check in at the ferry office near the pier and book your ferry back to the mainland. After a few mix ups and being told to not get on our correct ferry we eventually made it back with a different company called ‘Speed Ferry Cambodia’ (the yellow one). I would not recommend this for travellers who get sea sick as you are bounced around for a good 30minutes with no toilet. Jackie and I were praying to god that our stomachs and bowels would hold out for this horrendous journey.
Vagabonds-delicious burgers and vegetarian tacos, the servers are all off their head but the food is delicious!
The Nest- Open bar and chill spot with volleyball pitch by 4k beach-free wifi
Fruit lady- Long Beach-prices up food per dollar and slices and dices it infront of your very eyes-delicious!
Sigi Thai– delicious Thai food, made fresh in front of you by Sigi-a man of few words but AMAZING food!
- Island Speed Ferry Cambodia, and cost $20 each open return. (you can find cheaper but it was more expensive due to Chinese new year holiday makers)
- Taxi boat from Long Beach to Koh Tok- $10pp.
- Plankton trip with three brothers company $5 (we didn’t do this as we all got sick) The same trip with sunset and BBQ included $10