“An Island paradise”.
Where is Koh Rong Samloem?
The island of Koh Rong Samloem is located in the Gulf of Thailand, about 16 miles off the coast of Sihanoukville, Cambodia. The stunning sister island to Koh Rong. A peaceful relaxing island with breathtaking scenery. A tropical jungle wilderness, clear turquoise sea, and pristine white beaches.
Our journey from Kampot to Koh Rong Samloem was by minivan and ferry.
During our time on the island, we stayed at the Sara Resort. A beachfront resort in Saracen Bay. All bungalows have air conditioning, a tv, hot water shower, and a private terrace. Breakfast is included.
Good Western and Khmer food. Located centrally along Saracen Bay Beach. The restaurant has a pleasant atmosphere and friendly staff.
Beachfront BBQ with fresh local fish caught that day. Sit at your table listening to the sea gently lapping the shore. Western food is also available.
Another beachfront BBQ restaurant with fresh local fish caught that day. The tables on the beach in front of the restaurant blend in with those of Titanic restaurant, so check which restaurant you are actually sitting at before you order. Having said that, both the food and service in both establishments are comparable.
Beachfront BBQ again with fresh local fish caught that day. Vegan food is also available together with daily specials. Along with accommodation and local craft shop.
Tucked away behind the hostel is a great beach bar. A large pool table, darts, table tennis and of course beer pong. Nice chilled atmosphere.
A seafront resort, with a bar on the beach, serving food here. They have a good pool table. The staff are nice and the place has a chilled atmosphere.
Places of interest
Koh Rong Samloem consists of two small villages and a hamlet. On the north of the island is M’Pai Bay village. To the south of the island is Phumi Kang Khnong village. The hamlet of Phumi Kang Krau is to the south-west of the island.
Under the French Colonial Empire, there was a very basic road network built on the island. This network has all gone now. The only remaining part of this era is the lighthouse on the south of the island.
There are no ATMs on the island, so ensure you have sufficient cash for the whole of your trip.
A fantastic feature of the island is the 3km crescent-shaped Saracen Bay Beach. The beautiful bay received its name after HMS Saracen. In 1857 the British Royal Navy’s brig conducted a survey of the Cambodian coast and islands. This led to the production of the first map of the area three years later.
Saracen Bay is the main area of Koh Rong Samloem. All the main ferry services call here on a daily basis. All of the resorts along the beach can be easily reached from either of the ferry piers.
Several new resorts and shops have opened up along the beach recently. The shops have made it possible to buy essentials that you forgot to bring. However, this convenience comes at a price. Mosquito repellant is 50% more expensive than on the mainland.
Even when the resorts are busy, the beach doesn’t get crowded. Still having a laid back and peaceful charm.
Nightlife is almost non-existent. Most restaurants and bars close at 11 pm. The Full Moon parties you might see advertised are held at the Jungle Republic resort, so away from the main resorts.
Wi-Fi is available in most of the resorts, bars, and restaurants. Should you want to break away from dipping your toes in the warm turquoise waters, whilst watching the world drift by.
Snorkelling and diving trips can be arranged from Saracen Bay.
Listed in the ‘Top 21 Beaches in the World’ by National Geographic. Quietly tucked away on the western side of the island. Not the most accessible place on the island.
There is a private taxi boat from Saracen Bay.
Walking there takes between 25 to 40 minutes, depending on which jungle trail is taken. The trail starts next to the Octopussy in Saracen Bay.
The main trail taking the longest. The shorter trail branches off to the left as shown in the photo below.
Both trails can be done in flip flops. Having heavy bags could make it more awkward.
There are no shops and limited facilities on the beach. There is a restaurant with a bar. However, they don’t have any electricity until 1730 hrs. So you won’t have WiFi.
Wildlife on Koh Rong Samloem
The island is teeming with wildlife. Sometimes monkeys can be seen on the walk to Lazy beach. Along with great hornbill, kingfisher, and osprey can also be found here.
The best place to snorkel is at the far right-hand end of Lazy beach. The rocks around that area contain the best collection of coral and fish.
Snorkelling equipment can be hired from Snooky SUP Adventure on the beach. The cost of hiring a snorkel and fins is $2 per person. A small deposit is required to be left.
Among the rocks and small reefs is different coloured coral with a plethora of exotic fish of all shapes and sizes.
Adjacent to Freedom pier and Freedom Island resort is the Freedom waterfall. The jungle surrounding the waterfall is beautiful, and the pool at the bottom would be refreshing on a nice hot day. We were there at the end of June and the waterfall was no more than a trickle.
Sunset Beach is on the western side of the island. It is not the most accessible place on the island. Walking there takes a good 40 minutes, through the jungle and over the hill. Meaning some quite steep climbs up and down. We did the walk-in flip flops but these were by no means ideal for this walk.
We would recommend wearing proper walking shoes or at least a pair of trainers and using insect repellant before walking there. Having heavy bags would make it more awkward. So if you intend to stay over there, a backpack would be the easiest way to transport your stuff. The trail starts from a couple of places along Saracen Beach. The first is next to Octopussy, the second being next to The Dive Shop adjacent to the pier.
There is a small shop, run by a Sweedish couple. Also very limited facilities on the beach. Sunboo has a seafront restaurant and bar. However, they don’t have any electricity until 1730 hrs. So you won’t have WiFi.
During our visit in June the sea was rough and the beach had a lot of woodland clutter and rubbish.