Two islands destinations are accessible out of Sihanoukville are Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloem. Both represent the storied tropical island getaway, at the same time they are totally different. Koh Rong Samloem is as close to deserted as you’re likely to find in Southeast Asia, perfect for anyone looking to find peace in a serene tropical paradise.
Koh Rong is the larger of the two and slightly more developed than Koh Rong Samloem, still rustic but developed enough to attract and support a steady flow of visitors. On both islands power is limited to certain hours of the day, so Wi-Fi is limited and there are no ATMs. For most, this means a short but truly relaxing stay, the kind of tropical escape hard to find today in densely populated Asia.
Both its blessing and its curse is assuredly the lack of power on the islands. Koh Rong limits power to certain times of day, during which it often goes out anyway. This rewards visitors with a dark night, without the light pollution we’re so accustomed to, but take a light if you’ll be out late. Some restaurants run generators, but don’t expect raging parties by any means. It’s not quite Koh Rong Samloem, and some places do have Wi-Fi, and it’s one of the most relaxed island destinations in Southeast Asia. If you forget to replenish funds at the ATM in Sihanoukville, you are able to borrow on the island, but it’ll cost you a pretty penny. Speaking of funds, the island’s young development and lack of resort investments make accommodation affordable for all types of travelers.
Koh Rong’s main beach is beautiful, keeping many visitors happy all day with easy access to refreshments and facilities. However, the most beautiful beach is considered to be Long Beach on the north coast, 45 minutes walk or a $5 boat ride round trip. Long Beach is quieter without the restaurants and accommodation and is a romantic spot for watching the sunset.
If you really want quiet, of course, Koh Rong Samloem is the place to be. As to be expected, the only real activities are diving and snorkeling, which only helps to maintain the island’s languid character. If you’re very very active, it might be wise to only plan to stay on Koh Rong for a couple days, expecting the lack of activity and connectivity to get a bit boring. However, you can just find yourself extending your stay, surprised at how much you enjoy the chilled vibe.