Looking for a paradise island where you can swim, snorkel and especially relax? Koh Rong Samloem in Cambodia will probably meet all your expectations!
After a boat trip from Sihanoukville I arrived at Koh Rong Samloem, at Saracan Bay. I got out of the boat, waited for my bag to be taken off the boat, and walked onto the pier.
WOW! Was my first reaction. I’m sure I’m going to enjoy myself here, I thought to myself. The first thing I noticed was the incredibly blue, clear water and the beautiful white beach. Thanks to the clear blue sky and the full presence of the sun, it looked fantastic. This is paradise.
Koh Rong Samloem: 7 sights & activities
When you visit Koh Rong Samloem, it’s mainly to relax and enjoy the real island feeling. Enjoy a good book or magazine on your towel or on your lounger while enjoying a fantastic view. There are plenty of fun activities to keep you entertained here.
For example, go snorkeling in the incredible clear water and enjoy the underwater world. From Sunset Beach and Lazy Beach you can snorkel on your own if the sea isn’t too wild. It’s useful to bring your own snorkel gear, but you can also rent it on both beaches.
If you prefer to do an organized snorkeling trip, there are plenty of options at Saracan Bay, for example. The various snorkeling trips cost between $ 8 and $ 25. At Onederz Hostel you can do a snorkeling trip for only $ 8 where you visit two places.
2. Swimming with luminous plankton
Swimming with luminous plankton was one of the highlights of my visit to Koh Rong Samloem. At the beginning of the tour I was a bit wary, but as soon as I jumped into the water I loved it. You have to do this when you stay on Koh Rong Samloem! Read all about my experience with swimming in bioluminescent plankton.
3. Paddle surfing
Paddle surfing, or paddle boarding, is also a fun activity on the island. Renting a board costs around $ 5 an hour. Practice your balance while enjoying the view. Once you get the hang of it, it’s a great activity.
In the area of Koh Rong Samloem you can dive quite well. Both in Sihanoukville and on Koh Rong Samloem there are diving centers that offer diving courses and / or trips. If you would like to get your PADI, it’s wise to find out in advance and perhaps arrange this in Sihanoukville or on the island itself. The Cambodian Diving Group is located in the village of M’Pai Bay where you could arrange everything for your course (online).
If you like a bit of exercise and would like to see the beautiful surroundings, then you should go kayaking. There are several places on Saracan Bay where you can rent a kayak to go out on your own. You pay about $ 5- $ 10 an hour per kayak. Of course you can negotiate the price yourself, especially if you want to rent the kayak for a longer time.
Organized kayak tours also depart at 08:00 am and 1:00 pm. For example, you can kayak to the mangroves, a rock island and a fishing village. A four-hour tour costs around $ 25.
6. Fire shows
I have seen fire shows on many islands, and also on Koh Rong Samloem. In the evening awesome fire shows take place at the beach of Saracan Bay. Enjoy a drink on a lounger or on the cushions on the sand while watching the fire show. Every time the shows catches my attention and I’m impressed with their skills.
7. Discover Koh Rong Samloem by foot
From Saracan Bay you can explore different sides of the island by foot. There’s a path from Paradise Villas to the lighthouse on the southern tip of the island. This trek takes about 4 hours to the beach and back. Take plenty of water and snacks with you on the go.
You can also walk from Saracan Bay to Lazy Beach and Sunset Beach which are on the other side of the island. The jungle route to Sunset Beach in particular is quite tough. The route to Lazy beach passes through the jungle via a sandy path and is less difficult.
Chances are you will encounter monkeys while walking! Fortunately, these macaques have not yet been made aggressive by the people and I hope this remains the case. At the moment they are even more afraid of you than you of them.
Where to stay on Koh Rong Samloem?
Koh Rong Samloem has several beaches and a village where you can stay. There are plenty of different types of accommodation on the island with different prices. The nicest place to stay depends entirely on your preferences.
M’Pai Bay is a local village in the North of the island where you’ll find mainly cheap basic accommodations and shops. The beaches here are not as paradisy like other places on Koh Rong Samloem. However, you can walk from the village to the paradise of Clearwater Bay. Stay in M’Pai Bay if you’re looking for culture and a backpacker vibe and don’t necessarily have a paradise beach in front of your accommodation.
A pearly white beach, crystal clear water and green trees. The paradise-like long beach Saracan Bay, located in the western bay of the island, is the place to relax. You will mainly find resorts, but also some affordable hostels. There are also plenty of restaurants where you can eat delicious.
The water is shallow, making this place very suitable for families with young children. There are accommodations and restaurants along the entire beach, but there is still a quiet, chill vibe. I found this a wonderful place to stay.
An unbelievably fine affordable hostel on Saracan Bay is Onederz. They only have 6 and 8 bed dorms, but these are cleaned very often. The same goes for the bathrooms and the cozy common areas.
Sunset Beach has only four accommodations, which makes it very quiet. This is the place for you if you would like to relax and unwind in a quiet secluded area without too many facilities.
You reach the beach from Saracan Bay via a tough path through the jungle. Make sure to wear shoes when taking this route. In the blazing heat, this can be quite spicy! Some accommodations offer a boat taxi, but it depends entirely on the weather.
Lazy Beach is a beautiful quiet beach on the southern side of Koh Rong Samloem. The sand is golden yellow and the water azure blue. Lazy Beach has only one accommodation with very basic bungalows, but they are in a fantastic location. Here too, this is the place for you if you like to stay in a quiet area without different restaurants and nightlife.
You can also reach this beach via a jungle path. However, this sandy jungle path is easier than the path to Sunset Beach, but still tough in the scorching sun. After about 20 minutes from Saracan Bay you reach Lazy Beach.
Useful tips for Koh Rong Samloem
- Bring enough cash! There are no ATMs on the island. Rather bring too much than too little money. It would be a shame if you had to go back to the mainland earlier.
- Book your accommodation in advance because, especially in the high season, they fill up very quickly. Check out all the accommodations.
- If you want to leave the island, please let the boat company know the day before you leave. This can usually be done through your accommodation on the island.
How to get to Koh Rong Samloem
You can reach Koh Rong Samloem from Sihanoukville. Ferries to the island leave from this city several times a day. You can often easily arrange your return boat ticket in your hotel (s) where you are currently staying, at the pier or online via the Speedferry Cambodia website.
Would you like to go to the island of Koh Rong or from Koh Rong to Samloem? Then you can already buy an island hop ticket for $ 5. This ticket can be purchased on both islands.
What time the Ferry goes back to Sihanoukville depends on which company you bought tickets from. Check here all departure times from Koh Rong Samloem of the different Ferries. Do not forget to confirm this with the ferry company via your accommodation the day before you leave.