Koh Rong Samloem, unlike its sister Koh Rong, hasn’t (yet) been spoiled by the backpacker culture. You can still find quiet days and nights, no party, no electricity at night and a super laid back atmosphere. Also, only a few places (some high end ones) have wifi available.
After a day sick in bed in Kampot, I finally reached Sihanoukville, where I was supposed to get a speedboat that would take me to Koh Rong Samloem, located ~30 minutes away from land. You have 3 main beaches where you can stay in the island;
- Beach in Saracen Bay Pier (where you're dropped of the speedboat)
- Sunset Beach
- Lazy Beach
The most crowded beach is the one in the Bay Pier, maybe because you don’t have to walk ~40min through jungle to get to other beaches, but also its where most of the accommodation is located. However, if you don’t mind walking for a bit in order to have an even more peaceful stay in the island I recommend you to go directly to the Sunset Beach.
Located on the west side of the island, a lot less tourists come here. The path through the jungle is easy to follow, but hard to do if you carry a lot of bags. If you only have a backpack it’ll be completely fine. However, I recommend you to be always on watch because of the wild snakes.
Once you get to the west side of the island you’ll have around 4 places where you can stay. If you’re on a budget, the best place to stay is the Sleeping Trees, where you can get a tent for 15$ a night. They also have a restaurant where you can have your daily meals, something that every place in the island should have.
Overall, I enjoyed staying in the Sleeping Trees despite my flip-flops being stolen while I was sleeping in there, and they not caring anything about it when I told them. The food was nice and they helped when it started to rain a little bit and the tent was getting wet. The worst part, and I can totally understand the reason for it, is that the water that you have available to shower is a little bit brown, if you know what I mean.
I’m not the biggest fan of beaches on earth, but I must admit that this experience was very good and I never saw any beach as enjoyable as this one. There aren’t a lot of people around, no noise, really hot water… Well, that cliché about paradisaic islands? It’s here, for real… I even went into the water at 7/8am and it was hot!
While in here you should take this time to relax and enjoy the calmness. It is always possible to do some snorkelling if you are up to it, Sleeping Trees has some snorkels available, but you will be better off bringing your own equipment so you’re not dependable on others.
After 2 days it was time to move on. I crossed the jungle again to the east side and headed to the Saracen Bay Pier to get the speedboat to Sihanoukville. Once there, it’s impossible to miss the bus stand on your left while walking out of the pier. I got my ticket to Battambang, an overnight trip on a very comfortable bus with beds for 2 people. If you don’t have someone with you, chances are that you’ll be put in one bed with a random person.
Since I had the rest of the afternoon to spare, I explored Sihanoukville by foot and I must confess that I didn’t find the city worthwhile. I’m glad I didn’t plan to stay there overnight, because there is nothing really worth seeing. Maybe the beaches around town are nice, but with Koh Rong Samloem just ~30 minutes away, why should you stop here?
Overall, bearing in mind that I’m definitely not someone that really enjoys beach, I would still go back again. Koh Rong Samloem is just that calm paradise that everyone thinks about while looking into beautiful beach pictures.
How to get there and away
- From Kampot to Koh Rong Samloem I arranged transportation from my Guest House, which consisted in a mini van to Sihanoukville + speedboat from there to Koh Rong Samloem.
- From Koh Rong Samloem I went directly to Battambang with a night bus, booked at the Sihanoukville pier bus stand (impossible to miss).
What to do/see
- Beach, beach and beach!
Where to sleep
- Sleeping Trees, 15$ for a suspended tent.