Koh Rong is a beautiful island 2 hours west of Sihanoukville, with resorts scattered across various locations, providing something for everyone from comfortable budget beach bungalows to luxurious resorts. The main area of the island is ‘koh Touch’ beach located on the south of the island this can be accessed from Sihanoukville with regular ferry journeys departing in the morning and afternoon. For more specific locations on the island it is important to contact your hotel prior as they may have their own direct transfer or require boarding another boat upon arrival.
We travelled to a more remote part of the island called Palm Beach, located within walking distance to a local fishing village named ‘Prek Svay’, where we stayed at the beautiful “Palm Beach Bungalows”. As this is the only resort in this area of the island there isn´t any public ferries that will take you there, meaning that you will have to catch a boat run by the resort which departs every day at 1pm from their head office in Sihanoukville.
Be considerate of this departure time when planning and booking your trip and make sure that it will fit with your schedule, as travel times in Cambodia can vary a lot and once you have missed you transport you have no other option than waiting another day. We actually had a very close call, because we travelled from Phnom Phen on the same day. Normally being a 4 hour journey, it ended up taking us over 6 hours and we didn’t arrive till 1:15pm! We ran straight to the Palm Beach Bungalows office and managed to get there just in time to check in and jump on a tuk tuk to the dive boat. Luckily for us the boat doesn’t normally leave till 1:30-2pm.
We made it! Now we could finally relax, the 2 hour journey was beautiful I sat on the top deck of the boat blissfully reading as I could see our destination in the distance. Feeling the cool sea breeze and warm afternoon sun Jana and I began to feel excitement for the next three nights.
As the boat approached the pier, we spotted a small island just off Koh Rong, only like 200 meters out from Palm Beach. Rooms on this island can cost up to $1000 a night, and with the same view as Palm Beach Bungalows it’s quite obvious where the value is.
Being treated to a delicious welcome drink upon arrival, we sat down in the main area, where we now started to take in just how wonderful our surroundings were. The whole main area of the resort, including bar and restaurant is overlooking the ocean and so is the pool table. There is a sand volleyball court in front of the beach bungalows, each one having it´s own hammock hanging across the front balcony and bright white sand beaches stretching in both directions for as far as the eye can see. We immediately thought that we were going to spend some great days in this special place! Click for more about the Palm Beach Bungalow Resort and its facilities.
In the bar we noticed a sign for a sunset boat trip which included swimming with glowing plankton and as we had never heard of it before we were super curious about it. After only an hour we knew what the plan was for the next day and booked two spots for the trip. Now it was time to take advantage of this pool table and have a few drinks.
The next day we got up early to spend some time at the beach as the plankton trip didn’t start until 4pm. Here the beaches are heavily affected by the tides, but if you visit at the right time you can experience some pristine water of the most beautiful blue colour. We spent hours swimming around discovering plenty of harmless aquatic life.
The plankton trip that evening was one of the most unique and amazing experiences, including some time for afternoon snorkelling, fishing at sunset and the swimming with the plankton. Unfortunately the glow in the dark plankton are nearly impossible to effectively photograph, all the more reason to go and see it yourself. Remember to wear goggles and swim underwater with them because that is when they are most vivid. Read in more detail about The Plankton Trip.
Today we woke up to a strong storm which is quite common throughout this area, however our bungalow stayed completely dry and waking up to the rain was actually quite relaxing. Fortunately the resort has a big collection of board games and so we spent our morning playing chess, observed by our new found friend who would visit us every morning after breakfast.
We discovered there was a local fishing village only 30 minutes down the beach, so we decided to visit the area and it was a great experience. This was the only time we felt in a truly local area during our travel around Asia, somewhere completely untouched from tourism. There were only a few people in the whole village who could speak English and we managed to purchase the largest coconut we have ever seen and some freshly roasted cashews. For the rest of our time there we engaged in some funny chats with locals and exchanged English vocabulary for Cambodian. Click the link for a more detailed story about Prek Svay fishing village.
Unfortunately the three night stay was now coming to an end and we had to check out at 8:30 for a 9:30 departure. This gave us time for some delicious breakfast on the beach and a final games of chess, to end what has been an extremely relaxing trip and one of our highlights of Asia.
We returned to Sihanoukville for a couple of nights and then jumped on another boat, this time taking us to the closeby ‘Koh Rong Sanloem’. Accessible via ferry directly from Koh Rongs main pier or through Sihanoukville, we were very interested to see what the less developed island had on offer to compete with this amazing experience.