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Thursday, 22 June 2017

Must-Visit: Koh Rong, Cambodia

Koh Rong, the beautiful island situated just off the South coast of Cambodia, is a must-visit if you are travelling Cambodia. The island boasts beautiful white sands that stretch over 43 kilometres, turquoise seas bursting with marine life and dense, luscious jungle. Koh Rong has only become a popular tourist destination in recent years, with many foreign-run guesthouses, restaurants and bars cropping up all over the island. Although Koh Rong has earned itself a 'backpacker-party' status over the last few years, it is still very much untouched and pristine in places, and definitely worth the visit.


HOW TO GET THERE 

The only way to access Koh Rong is by a speed ferry from Sihanoukville, the closest small city set right on the coast. It is super easy to buy a ticket - there are plenty of small tourist information desks and agencies dotted around in Sihanoukville. You can even book on the day! A return ticket to Koh Rong costs $20, and you have up to two weeks to use your return trip. 
The speed ferry leaves at various times throughout the day, so if you don't fancy an 8am trip then you can catch the one around midday - or even take the latest one, which is at around 3.30pm. 
You simply meet at the agency where you booked your ticket and someone will pick you and the other people catching the ferry up to take you to the pier where the ferry waits. 

WHERE TO STAY

There are so many options of accommodation on Koh Rong, and it is definitely worth taking a little walk around until you find somewhere perfect for you. The main beach (called Koh Toch) is where most of the accommodation is. Accommodation options range from guest houses, bungalows and hostels. 

TIP: Don't bother looking on Booking.com or HostelWorld for accommodation before arriving, just turn up! Many of the guest houses on Koh Rong do not feature on booking websites, and some only show the more expensive ones. It is definitely worth just turning up and checking room rates and prices yourself. 

RECOMMENDATION: Sunflower Guesthouse on Koh Toch
During our time on Koh Rong we stayed at the Sunflower Guesthouse, which was situated just off the main beach and pier. We stayed in a double room with a private bathroom for only $7. We were provided with towels, bedding and a big mosquito net. The owners were very friendly and welcoming and it was a great little spot for other backpackers too - it was close to the bars and restaurants yet slightly tucked out of the way. 


WHAT TO DO 

1. Visit The Beaches

During our stay on Koh Rong unfortunately it did rain quite a lot (we visited during wet/low season in May), making some options limited. There are many beautiful beaches dotted around the island, and all are worth visiting. In total, the island has seven beautiful bays including some which are very quiet - so if you need a break from the backpacker lively areas, you can find some lovely secluded beaches. A great one to visit is 4k Beach, which is around a 20-30 minute walk away from the main beach, Koh Toch. The beach is absolutely beautiful and definitely worth a visit - expect white sands and beautiful clear turquoise water. There is a lovely bar called Nest Beach Club right on the beach so you can enjoy a cold beer and some food. 

Other beaches to visit: 
  • Coconut Beach
  • Long Set Beach
  • Lonely Beach 
  • Nature Beach
  • Palm Beach

2. Swim with Bioluminescent Plankton

A lovely and rather magical thing to do on the island is to see the plankton glow in the sea. Lots of boat trips offer to take you to good spots to swim with the plankton, but if you are on a budget then it is very easy to just find a good spot yourself. If you walk far down Koh Toch beach and go out far enough into the sea you will be able to see and swim with it yourself. It is definitely worth trying, and it's easy to find.


TIP: Try to avoid swimming on Koh Toch beach as lots of sewage and pollution filters down into the sea, making it unhealthy to swim in. It can make you sick, so be careful and try to swim on the more remote beaches instead where there is less sewage. 

3. Have a Cocktail at the Sky Bar 

A nice option is to grab a cocktail at the Sky Bar. Just off Koh Toch beach, the Sky Bar is at the top of some steep steps. It has a great view overlooking the island and the bar provides lots of different board games. So go and lose yourself for a few hours - especially if it is raining! 

4. Watch a Fire Show

In the evenings, the best place to be is on the beach. Lots of restaurants and bars open out onto the beach and provide comfy seats and tables on the sand. Most nights you can catch a fire show right on the beach. The boys who perform them are mostly young, so it is pretty impressive what they can do. It also makes for a great atmosphere! 

5. Eat and Drink

There are lots of different restaurants and bars on Koh Rong, meaning that there are lots of different options for food and drink. Here are two of my recommendations: 

White Rose Guesthouse
Our favourite place to go for breakfast was the White Rose Guesthouse, who offer a great breakfast for a great price. We opted for the English breakfast which came with a free beer (!) - great if you're nursing a hangover... The breakfast was always great and cooked to perfection. 

Bamboo Restaurant
If you want to grab a good pizza, we found the best place to be Bamboo. They have a wood fire oven and whip up delicious pizzas in no time at all. They provide seating on the beach so that you can enjoy a pizza overlooking the sea, cheap cold draught beer, good happy hours and - of course - amazing pizzas. 

25 comments:

  1. The plankton glow 😍 unreal. Such a shame that some of the beaches are polluted but hey cocktails make it better x

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  2. This place seems interesting where I would like to go with my friends and family and spend some good time there. I did not know before about this place before reading your post.

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  3. I'd love to head to Cambodia, it's been on my bucket list for so long x

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  4. That looks like the definition of paradise! Such a bargain with the guesthouse as well, great find x

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  5. I have heard a lot about KOH RONG,it seems to be a very nice place to visit.I'll start making plans of visiting there.

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  6. I so enjoyed reading this, what a lovely place to visit - the image of the glowing sea is just wonderful x

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  7. Koh Rong, looks like an amazing place ...the beaches look so peaceful and more unspoilt :) x

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  8. i like the name of the beaches haha ive never been to cambodia in general. one day!

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  9. oh the beach looks amazing day and night, sad to hear that some can't be swam in due to pollution.
    looks so delicious

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  10. I've never thought about visiting Cambodia before reading your post, but now I really want to go! :)

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  11. Bioluminescent plankton amazed me from the first time I saw it, I would love to experience it first hand!

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  12. This sounds amazing!! Swimming in the sea with the plankton how magical does that look!?

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  13. The Sky Bar sounds amazing! I love a good cocktail and I'm sure from the photos the view would be breath taking.

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  14. I've never really considered Cambodia, but those beaches look stunning. Thanks for that top tip of just showing up. It makes sense that the more affordable accommodation wouldn't feature on booking sites as that just inflates the prices.

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  15. This looks amazing! I've always wanted to see bio-luminescent plankton in real life :-O. Hope you had a wonderful time on your travels x

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  16. We'd love to visit Cambodia in the future, but the idea of just turning up without booking scares us especially with a kid in tow. The beaches sound great apart from the polluted ones :(

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  17. Wow!! Beautiful place to visit apart from the beaches being polluted it sound like a great vacation time!

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  18. I always regret not going to Cambodia when I had the chance - it looks amazing!

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  19. WOW!!! I don't think I have ever seen a more beautiful beach, and this comes from someone with a fear of sand! That plankton is just fascinating too, I would love to go and see it for myself x

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  20. Wow, wow, wow! Cambodia looks like utter paradise! xxx

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  21. Wow swimming with the plankton looks amazing, I didn't realize they glowed so much x

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  22. That place looks very lovely. I absolutely love eating Pizza so l am looking forward to try that Bamboo Restaurant too!

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  23. Wow what a stunning place. That glow at night and love the sound of a cocktail at the sky bar x

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  24. Ah it looks absolutely beautiful there, I'd love to visit... great review x

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  25. This looks amazing, Cambodia is on my bucket list!

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