About Koh Rong, Cambodia
Koh Rong or Kaoh Rung (kaoh = island) is 78 sq km big (appr. four time the size of Koh Tao and significantly smaller than Koh Phangan) and lays in the Gulf of Thailand 20 Km northwest of Sihanoukville in Cambodia. There are four small villages (Koh Tui, Dam Dkeuw, Prek Svay and Soksan), in which appr. 1000 Cambodians earn their lifes from fishing and tourism.
The relatively flat island is covered with dense tropical rain forest and surrounded with 43 km of long and white sandy beaches as well as coral reefs. Till now there are no streets on the island and only some jungle pathways can be used for short treckings. Koh Tui village and beach is located in the south of Koh Rong. The most bungalow resorts are here, nearby the pier to Sihanoukville and Samloem. Shops, a dive center, bars and restaurants make the place a nice holiday location for mainly young people who also enjoy the night parties on the beach. Koh Tui has internet access, but no ATM or medical care.
One kilometer long Koh Tui beach is followed by three kilometer long Long Set Beach to the north. The highest point in the south is 163m.
Plans for Koh Rong
Just since the early 90th Koh Rong is inhabited again. The few Khmer people are earning their lifes from fishing,a bit tourism and unfortunately, from cutting trees illegaly. The land ownerships and land rights are still unclear. Since the cambodian Royal Group has taken the island on lease for 90 years, there are tensions and discussions, and many inhabitants are afraid to loose their homes. The Royal Group is planning to built an airport, a marina, a golf course and luxury homes for the rich. So, there is fear, that Koh Rong will follow a destiny that other tropical destinations have alraedy experienced. The near future will show, whether there will be enough investors how are willing to take the risks in the uncertain political situation. The affected people on Koh Rong are expecting no major changes to the island in the next five years.
There is a small and steep jungle trail leading from Koh Tui to the western side of the island. The walk takes about 60 minutes with good shoes. Climbing down from the hill, one have brilliant views on the Sok San Bay (paradise bay) with its 6 km long white beach, one of the most beautiful undiscovered beaches in southeast asia. At the end of the trail lays Broken Heart Guesthouse (BHGH). Sok San village is located at the northern end of the bay and beach, a small community of some wooden houses beside a lagoon and at the foot of the 317m high rainforest covered hill, the highest on Koh Rong. Only two very simple bungalow resorts are offering accommodation and good food for their guests: Sok San Beach Bungalows und Sok San Longbeach Bungalows. 200 meters beside the village is Sok San Base Camp, a french built resort that has higher quality standards and higher prices. It was built to accommodate the film teams that came here for making movies like ‘Survivor’.
Further north the Bai Cheap Bay has good snorkeling and dive spots. The beautiful palm tree lined two beaches bay can only be reached by boat. There is no infrastructure and nobody lives there.
On the northern tip of Koh Rong lays the small but phantastic Lonely Beach. Its a hideaway on a hideaway island. A german and english speaking frenchman has taken this little paradise for lease and built eight wooden bungalows and a restaurant, all supplied with solar energy.
Arriving on the northeast coast, there are some sandy bays and two small islands. One of them is Koh Bang Pahin or Song Saa, on which the owner has opened a luxury resort with bungalows above the sea, a nice pool and a restaurant over the sea. Opposite the islands lays Palm Beach Bungalow Resort (owned by a dutchman), a nice palm garden with simple bungalows and a nice restaurant. A little bit north of it, Koh Rongs largest village ‘Prek Svay’ is located.
Along the eastern coast of Koh Rong are some more sandy beaches and bays, all lonely and natural. On the eastern tip of the island, the forth village ‘Dam Skal’ has only a few huts made from palmleafs and corrugated metal.
There are mainly backpackers coming to Koh Rong, who like to make party at Koh Tui Beach and enjoy the silence and remoteness of the island. Apart from Koh Tui is hardly anything to find or do, just relaxing and bathing in the clear warm sea. And enjoying the natural beauty of this jungle paradise island. Prices are still low, as the quality of accommodation and service is.
The plans for Koh Rong are very different though. An airport, a marina, a golf course and luxury residences should change the face of the island dramatically. The owners are promoting their plans by stating, they want to preserve the beauty of the island. We will see.
To get around the island, it is only possible by renting private boats by now. For those, who like silence and remoteness on beautiful beaches, Koh Rong is an extraordinary place and hardly topped by other islands. But it is necessary to accept the minimalistic circumstances and the sandflies. For these reasons, there are mainly backpackers and daytrip guests coming to Koh Rong till now.
book your Sihanoukville and Koh Rong accommodation here
Since 2016 Koh Toch and the Saracen Bay and some better resorts provide WLAN and all day electicity.