In the South West of Cambodia you can find some beautiful tropical islands. One of them is named Koh Rong. This piece of paradise is ideal if you want to escape from the buzz at the mainland, or when you are just after some quality island time. The vibes are laid back, the beaches are white, and the people are friendly.
At the beginning of May we had the pleasure of visiting this island together with sister island Koh Rong Samloem after we traveled through the mainland of Cambodia. The temperatures inland were so hot, but on Koh Rong it was just perfect. In this blog, we will tell you all you need to know before visiting the beautiful island of Koh Rong.
The gorgeous 4K Beach
needed to see it all
Things to Know
Visa upon arrival is available on the airports of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. A 30-day tourist visa costs $35 USD. Applying is easy and fast, make sure to bring to passport photos. Waiting for the visa process takes approximately 10 minutes only. You can also apply online via the official government website. Process time for an e-visa is up to 3 working days.
Koh Rong has a pleasant 30˚C all year round day temperature. During the night it cools off to approximately 22˚C. The island knows two seasons: the dry season and wet season. Dry season starts from December and lasts until March. From June to September it is wet season. During April and May the climate builds up towards the wet season with high humidity and during October and November it will tail off again.
Best time to visit
The best times to visit Koh Rong is during the dry season, from December to March. A little before and after dry season the weather is usually still fine (mid November until the beginning of May).
Although the official currency in Cambodia is the Riel, the prices are usually indicated in US Dollars, and that’s the most common currency used. At the time of writing (July 2019), $1 USD is approximately 4000 Riel. ATM’s usually have both currencies available. There is a users fee of $4-$6 dollars every time you use the ATM. One side note: there are NO ATM’s on the island so make sure you bring enough cash.
Compared to the mainland, the island is slightly more expensive. A basic double room with bathroom and aircon starts from $25 per night. For an average dinner with some drinks, you pay $15 to $20 for 2 persons.
Count on a budget of around $25 – $50 per day when staying here on a reasonable budget.
The official language of Cambodia is Khmer and this is their main language as well. Most people in tourist areas speak basic English though.
Most accommodation options offer free wifi, and also in restaurants they often do. You have phone coverage on large parts of the island.
The major religion in Cambodia is Buddhism. The people are friendly and very helpful. On islands like Koh Rong you can enjoy the laidback island vibes.
Koh Rong can only be reached by ferry from Sihanoukville. To get to Sihanoukville you can take a minibus from Phnom Penh. The ride is about 6 hours and costs are approximately $10 per person. Make sure to book at least one day in advance. We can recommend Bayon VIP.
There are plenty of options for ferries from Sihanoukville to Koh Rong. We would advise to take the first ferry you can get because there is no reason to stay in Sihanoukville. It is the most disgusting city we have ever seen with trash everywhere. The ferry companies offer open retour tickets for $22 dollar. You can also use them to return from Koh Rong Samloem if you decide to visit both islands. All ferries go to White Beach (Koh Touch), the main beach of the island. There are 3 other piers on the island and some boat companies go there. If you are planning to stay in another part of the island as Koh Touch we recommend you to book a ferry that goes to the closest pier as well. You can find more information about the ferries and the time schedule here.
Koh Rong is a small island, but bigger than Koh Rong Samloem. You can get around by foot or by boat or rent a motorbike. The roads on the island are not all that great so you need to be comfortable with driving a scooter around the island. It is all dirt/gravel roads with many holes. When the roads are wet it can be very slippery. At some parts, you’ll need to drive via the beach but if you take your time it is ok to drive around the southern part of the island.
Since you are on a small tropical island you can not miss the beaches! There are several around the island. Usually you arrive at White Beach in Koh Touch. This is already a beautiful beach, but quite crowded. A little bit to the north is another beautiful beach called Longset Beach or 4K beach. It’s a 4km stretch of white sand. In a small bay at the far east side of the island, you can find Coconut Beach and we must say that this beach wasn’t as attractive as the other ones we’ve seen. On the west side of the island, you can find the longest beach, which they gave a very creative name: Long Beach. The beach is 14km long and in the north part is a small town called Sok San. We really loved this beach!
Sok San Waterfall
In Sok San village you can find a bridge over a lake which will lead you to a waterfall. At least that’s what should be there. When we visited this waterfall at the end of the dry season there was no waterfall, only a bunch of rocks. During or just after rain season there usually is a waterfall here. It’s only a 5-10 minute walk.
Rent a motorbike to go around the island
Koh Rong is a pretty small island and that makes it perfect to have a drive around the island by motorbike. We must say that the roads are not the best. The gravel/dirt roads are slippery when they are wet, but besides that, they are ok to drive if you drive carefully. You can rent motorbikes in Koh Toch village or Sok San village for $15-$20. It’s a bit more expensive than on the mainland, but the bikes have to endure a lot on the gravel roads. You can drive a nice loop covering the following beaches and places: Koh Toch – 4K beach – Coconut beach – Sok San Village – Sok San Waterfall – Long Beach.
Go on a boat tour
Compared to Koh Rong Samloem, the prices on Koh Rong are a bit cheaper, and so is a boat tour. For about $10 you will be on the water the whole day including lunch and a beer. Most tours take you fishing, snorkeling, watch the sunset and swim with bioluminescent plankton. It is an awesome day for a cheap price.
Watch the sunset at Long Beach
This beach is not only one of the most beautiful ones of the island, but it is also facing to the west which means that it is a great place for sunset! Head over to one of the piers in the north of the beach or sit down in the sand to watch the sky turn orange while the sun disappears.
Go kayaking or paddle boarding
You can hire a paddleboard or kayak at many of the resorts and hotels around the island. Paddle out on the ocean to watch the island from a complete other view, or make your way to Small island.
Enjoy the underwater world while snorkeling or diving
There are several dive shops around Koh Rong where you can get your dive certificate. If you are an experienced diver the waters might not impress you a lot, but it is a nice place for beginners. If you don’t dive you can always go snorkeling. Small island is a great place to do so!
Embrace the island life by doing nothing at all
One of the things you can never miss on an island like Koh Rong is to do nothing at all! At this paradise island, you just have to lay down on a beach and chill! And if we can recommend one, we would recommend the northern part of Long Beach.
Where to Stay
Koh Rong has plenty of options for accommodation, from budget hotels to luxury resorts. The center of the island is at Koh Toch. This bay is full of accommodation and you can also find the main pier of the island. This town is buzzing but if you want a bit more quietness you can also go to 4k beach, where the accommodation is a bit more basic but the beach is stunning, or you can go to Sok San village at the northern end of Long Beach which is our favorite beach of Koh Rong.
Budget accommodation on Koh Rong:
Midrange hotels on Koh Rong:
Resorts on Koh Rong:
There are plenty of restaurants around the island, and many of them offer good food for a fair price. Here are some recommendations:
- Da Matti?: The location on the southernmost pier of Koh Toch is awesome, the food was great and nicely priced.
- Nice Food II: Great place if you are on a tight budget.
- La Terrasse Restaurant and Lounge: The restaurant of Sok San Beach Resort offers a great variety of delicious food.
- Eat Pray Love: This Italian restaurant is known for its good food, located in Sok San Village.
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