Posted By : Threeland Travel / Travel Guide (Top Tips & advice)
Talking about Cambodia, you may think of it as a country of temple with the most famous Angkor Complex, that’s all. Don’t you know that Cambodia also offers you beaches which have all components to be a dreamy beach from the white silky sand, the green coconuts and the tranquility? Get away from busy life now and take a Vietnam-Cambodia tour to discover the hidden paradise – Koh Rong Samloem island.
1. Where is Koh Rong Samloem?
Located off the coast of famous Sihanoukville, Cambodia, and 4km from Koh Rong Island to the south, Koh Rong Samloem is a small island with around 9 km long and 4 km wide, in the narrowest point, it just about 1 km wide.
The word “Samloem” means “hard to discover” in Cambodia’s language, you can say that this is an isolated destination with the world outside. As the name of it, Koh Rong Samloem is a tranquil place, no wifi or internet, no residential area, no supermarket or crowded playground, just exist some resorts built and managed by foreigners for visitors come to relax. This is perfect for anyone who runs out of energy to get recharged with sandy beach, crystal water, and blue sky.
2. Best time to visit Koh Rong Samloem Island
Generally, you can say that every time is a perfect time to explore Koh Rong Saloem Island. Like most the other countries in the area, it has two main seasons: the dry season and wet season. The temperature here is pretty good, averaging above 25 degrees even in the coldest time of year. Even when it went up to 34°C, there is always that nice sea breeze giving some fresh air.
Anyway, the best time to visit Koh Rong Saloem is between December and February – it’s also a good time for a Vietnam-Cambodia combination trip. This is the time when the sun shines bright all day, no rainfall and pleasant temperatures.
On the contrary, from May to July, half of the month is range of rainy days which may prevent you from exploring the island some time. Even worse, you probably get stuck on this island due to the bad storms.
3. Where to stay in Koh Rong Samloem
Like have said above, this area is used for relaxing, therefore, you can find a suitable place from luxurious resorts to common accommodation in Koh Rong Samloem Island.
For budget accommodation, here are the top homestays recommended:
- The Mad Monkey Koh Rong Samloem: it’s a chain of hostels in Southeast Asia. Here it has a private bay (Monkey Bay) and just can be reached by boat. They have cool swings and hammocks suspended above the water – a perfect place for incredible shots. The price is very cheap, about 9 USD/night for a single bed in a mixed dorm.
Photo: Two Ducks homestay
- Two Ducks: situated in M’Pai Bay, its rooms have a balcony with stunning bay below. The price is good, about 15 USD/ night for a double room and it also has a restaurant on site
For mid-range accommodation and high-end one, if you want to spend your time in this paradise with luxury service, here are some suggestions:
- Sweet Dreams: just like the name of the hotel, you can have a sweetish dream here and when waking up, surprise yourself with a stunning view of turquoise water. The rooms are very cozy and clean, also the Russian masters are friendly and attentive. A standard bungalow with a fan for two will cost you some 50 USD/night.
Photo: Sweet Dreams Hotel
- Pearl Resort – the highly luxury: located on Saracen Bay where the boat first takes you there, it is one of the best resorts you can find on this island. Each modern bungalow has its own air conditioning, a TV and for more unique: a private plunge pool. Besides, you can spend your time in an infinity pool overlooking the beach and enjoy swim up bar. Along with the luxury conditions is the price between 150 – 180 USD for a room.
4. How to get to Koh Rong Samloem Island
On your tour in Cambodia and Vietnam, you must come to Sihanoukville first, from here you can catch a boat to get to Koh Rong Samloem Island.
The easiest, most convenient and also most expensive way is getting an airplane to Sihanoukville. It has an international airport and costs around 60 – 150 USD depending on airlines and your positions. In one to two hours from Ho Chi Minh City or Phnom Penh, you may put your first step on the sandy beach of a beautiful city.
On the other hand, if you are in Ho Chi Minh City, you can get a beeline from the city to Sihanoukville, this is the most convenient way but also very expensive. On the other hand, you can catch a bus from Ho Chi Minh City to Ha Tien, when you get there, get another minibus to Sihanoukville. It may cost more time and energy but help you to save an expense for your journey.
From the port on Serendipity beach (in Sihanoukville), you can opt of Party boat or Speed ferry boat. If you like to take your time and enjoy the beautiful view, Party boat is your choice, you will spend some 2.5 hours on the ocean, the boat offers buffet service and has half an hour to go swimming on the beach.
Otherwise, you can choose Speed ferry, it takes 40 - 45 minutes from Sihanoukville to Koh Rong Samloem Island and around 1 hour to get back. You can book the ticket online on Speed Ferry Cambodia's website. You also have the option to buy your ticket on site, depending on the seats available.
These two boat board at Saracen Bay and they only sail once a day at 9 a.m and return at 3:30 p.m. Remember to keep your ticket tight, without it, you can’t go back to the mainland.
Photo: Saracen Bay on Koh Rong Samloem
5. Things to do in Koh Rong Samloem Island
If your Vietnam-Cambodia tour itinerary is full of activities from the beginning, this Koh Rong Samloem is undoubtedly a perfect spot for you to take it easy and soak up the serenity. Because it's an isolated place, don’t think about a beach party or a vibrant nightlife as most restaurants close around 9pm. But on the other hand, it’s a destination for you to get away from modern life and immersed in nature. Go back time when the internet doesn’t exist, chill on the beach with a glass of coconut juice, enjoy the cool turquoise water of the ocean or lie down and finish your book that has been forgotten for ages. No more sorrow or tension, just relaxation, and peace still remain.
That’s not all, there are also some other activities to do than sunbathing and napping under palm trees.
• Hike all the way to Sunset Beach and/or Lazy Beach
• Get lost in the jungle
• Go snorkeling in the turquoise water
• Relax on the hammocks
• Go island hopping
• Take a boat tour around the island for sightseeing and snorkeling, fishing
• Book a night time trip to see the bioluminescent plankton
Tip for travel: If you come to Koh Rong Samloem Island on full moon day, you have a chance to take part in Full moon Festival held overnight. It is a perfect opportunity to who likes parties.
There is a small Aid Post on the beach with a lifeguard. There isn't any hospital on the island, and it is quite isolated, but not so remote.