This travel guide shares everything you need to know for visiting Cambodia’s paradise island; Koh Rong. Includes how to get to Koh Rong, where to stay, when to visit, what to eat and things to do.
Renowned for soft sandy beaches and crystal clear bays, it’s no surprise that Koh Rong has made it onto every backpacker’s Cambodia itinerary. The mixture of beaches, jungles and tropical weather, alongside a small island vibe is a match made in heaven. If you’re looking for a paradise island to include on your travels in South East Asia, Koh Rong is the one.
Koh Rong is the largest island in Cambodia and offers some of the most beautiful beaches in South East Asia.
When I first visited in 2016, the islands were still very undeveloped, with limited accommodation options and an absence of wifi; the island even hosted the 32nd season of Survivor! Word got out about the idyllic island and its growing popularity has helped to spur development, so now there are lots of places to stay and activities to do.
Koh Rong is notorious for luring travellers who only plan to spend a few days, but end up staying for weeks. I recommend 2-3 days minimum to explore Koh Rong.
As an island, Koh Rong is best visited during Cambodia’s dry season (Nov to May). We visited in June, the height of monsoon season, and didn’t see a drop of rain so don’t be discouraged from visiting during the summer months either.
On the surface, there isn’t a lot to do on Koh Rong aside from spending time on the beaches, but there is actually a whole host of activities you can get involved in.
✍ For more details and things to do on Koh Rong, check out my 10 Things to do in Koh Rong in 2022 (coming soon).
The water off Koh Rong is one of the few places in Asia where you can swim with bioluminescent plankton, that glow when disturbed.
In the heart of Koh Rong is a thick mangrove forest, with a winding river you can kayak all the way to the ocean.
💰 $10/hr (kayak fits 2 people)
Head on a boat tour to swim and snorkel your way around the bays of Koh Rong. Many of the tours stay out past sunset so you can snorkel with the bioluminescent plankton.
If you’re on Koh Rong on a Saturday, Nest is the place to be! Every weekend they host an afternoon of social games and drinking called the Nestival!
Nest Beach Club Long Set beach
3pm every Saturday
To get to Koh Rong, you must take the ferry from Sihanoukville.
Sihanoukville is no small city and is accessible via plane, bus and train within Cambodia. The airport is normally international, though it’s currently only operating domestically (Summer 2022).
There are five ferry companies operating the route from Sihanoukville to Koh Rong, so finding a time that suits you is no challenge. I recommend buying a return ticket as it will be slightly cheaper than two one-way tickets – just notify the ferry company 24 hours before you want to return to the mainland and they will confirm the ferry pick up for you.
Approx. $25 return
You can book the ferry in person at Sihanoukville Port Autonomous, or pre-book your ferry using Camboticket.
Koh Rong doesn’t have great road infrastructure, which means that walking along the beach is the easiest way to get around.
For further distances, your accommodation can arrange shuttle boats, though I found these expensive for the distances covered. Or, if the places you plan to visit are near the main road, you can rent a motorbike in Kaoh Touch for $10/day (including gas).
Most of the restaurants and cafes are located in the main village on Kaoh Touch beach.
📍 Nest Beach Club (western menu with a special dinner each night)
📍 Enocafe Coffee & Italian Restaurant (great Italian pizza and pasta)
📍 The village at the end of Sok San beach has tasty and budget-friendly seafood
While not a huge island, Koh Rong can be tricky to navigate due to a lack of roads so it’s important to pick carefully where to stay. Kaoh Touch beach or the bottom of Long Set beach are great areas to stay on the island as they are within walking distance of the main area of restaurants and bars. There are many hotels, resorts and hostels along this stretch, so finding accommodation* isn’t challenging.
Being an island, Koh Rong is a little bit more expensive than the mainland. The biggest difference is in the price of accommodation and food.
To get to Koh Rong you will need to first get to Sihanoukville. Open return tickets for the ferry from Sihanoukville to Koh Rong average $25. You can book them online at Camboticket.
Food is the main area where you might see a difference in prices, especially if you mostly eat street food like me as it’s mostly restaurants on the island. You can find meals on Koh Rong for as little as $3, but most meals are $5+.
In Koh Rong, it is entirely possible to spend no money on activities, by hanging out on the beach, swimming and seeing the bioluminescent plankton at night.
Boat tour 💰 $15
Kayak 💰 $10/hour