Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloem (islands)
These two islands are 4kms (2 miles) apart and geographically very similar, though Koh Rong is more developed – not necessarily a bad thing up to a certain point, as accommodation, food, drink and transport options are considerably greater and it has an ATM! On the other hand those in search of a very quiet, simple life may prefer Koh Rong Sanloem (Samloem) but need to ensure they have enough cash on hand (including small dollar bills) to cover all costs.
Koh Rong Sanloem Police Station and typical beach bungalows.
• Southwestern Beach is a massive, 5 kilometre (3 miles) stretch of undeveloped white sand fringed with palm trees and rinsed by shallow turquoise waters. There’s good snorkelling with colourful fish at the rocky southern end.
• Long Set Beach is also on the southern side of Koh Rong, a lot smaller than Southwestern but equally unspoilt, white and benefiting from calm crystal waters. Long Set is conveniently close to various guest houses and fruit farms growing mangoes, cashew nuts and coconuts. It’s also a favourite spot for crabbing.
A typical breezy, open-sided, Rong islands bar/restaurant, serving cold beer and mediocre food. Relaxed but not necessarily over-friendly as wait staff are poorly paid and visitors come and go rapidly. As bars and restaurants gradually go upmarket so does the service.
Koh Rong Sanloem, around 9 km (6 miles) long, 4 km (2 miles) wide:
• 3kms long Saracen Beach Bay on Sanloem’s east coast is the island’s main tourist location, with a dozen or so accommodation options ranging from almost boutique hotel standard to extremely basic. The sand is a squeaky white powder and the sea warm and clean, though occasional trash does end up on the beach somehow and doesn’t get cleaned up with any urgency, which is a pity.
• Lazy Beach on Sanloem’s west coast is a fine strand a couple of kilometres across the island from the pier. The beach is soft brown there, regularly manicured and fringed by pine trees. Lazy beach is good for snorkeling, fishing and sunset drinkies. A couple more brown sand beaches share the sunsets and very few visitors.